Have you ever wondered what makes hacking illegal?

In the 1980s, some lawmakers created the first federal computer fraud law, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). CFAA primarily deals with hacking into systems. According to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the CFAA “prohibits intentionally accessing a computer without authorization or in excess of authorization.” However, this definition falls short as it “fails to define what ‘without authorization’ means.” This can be an issue as it allows for broad interpretation (which we will see later).

Nonetheless, even though the act does not clearly define ‘without authorization,’ one thing is for sure, it is illegal to break into a computer system, and it is illegal to exceed what you were authorized to access.

In this lesson, we’ll explore some popular case studies that made the CFAA what we have today.


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