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Cybercrime: A Sketch of 18 U.S.C. 1030 and Related Federal Criminal Laws

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The federal computer fraud and abuse statute, 18 U.S.C. 1030, protects computers in which there is a federal interest -- federal computers, bank computers, and computers used in interstate and foreign commerce. It shields them from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage; from being victimized by computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, time bombs, denial of service attacks, cyber crime, cyber terrorism and cyber attacks; and from being corruptly used as instruments of fraud. It is not a comprehensive provision, instead it fills gaps in the protection afforded by other state and federal criminal laws. It is a work that over the last two decades, Congress has kneaded, reworked, recast, and amended to bolster the uncertain coverage of more general federal trespassing, threat, malicious mischief, fraud, and espionage statutes. This is an abridged version of CRS Report 97-1025, Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute And Related Federal Criminal Laws, stripped of the authorities and footnotes found there.