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Offences

In summary these are:-

Unauthorised Access

Unauthorised access with intent to commit another offence

Unauthorised modification of data (writing viruses comes under this level)

See beow for more detail

handcuffs

The Computer Misuse Act (1990) created three specific offences :

  • Unauthorised access to computer material : Any attempt to gain unauthorised access to a computer system is illegal. The attempt does not have to be successful. Simply trying to access a computer system that you do not have permission to access is illegal. Under this section of the Act simply trying to "guess" another user's password or trying to load a file that you do not have permission to load would be an offence. Anyone commiting such an offence can be punished by up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £2000.
  • Unauthorised access with an intent to commit further offences : If unauthorised access to a computer system is achieved and this access is used to carry out a further offence e.g. changing the contents of a file to increase your bank balance then the penalties are much strong class="light-tan"er. A prison term of up to five years can be imposed as can a large fine.
  • Unauthorised modification of computer material : This offence covers deliberate erasure or corruption of computer data. It also covers the deliberate introduction of a virus onto a computer system. A prison term of up to five years can be imposed for commiting this offence.