Suppose you have an account on a local domain, but you were given it only to use a local server for personal storage. If you collect personal information of employees and users in this network (such as personal id, phone number, email address, home address, ...), is this work known as a kind of Hack? And can you be prosecuted for any crime?

Does it make a difference if you only use the information obtained for sending them advertisements, or suppose that you collect the information just for your own amusement?


1 Answer 1


In the United States the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act would likely apply. The questions would be whether the cracker exceeded authorized access to the computer and whether the computer "is used in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or communication".

It can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the number of computers affected, amount of money involved, etc...

  • user is penetrate system through holes of security in configuring network properties. Act is assembled interstate using local network. No money is subject of fraud, Only personal information such as user contacts, user emails, educational history, and such other things are gathered.
    – HOPE
    Feb 1, 2016 at 9:54
  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is the name of the federal law. Violating that law is possible regardless of whether fraud or money is involved. Exceeding authorized access to a computer used in or affecting interstate commerce (which is most computers) is a federal crime. If the hypothetical cracker is advertising with it he raises additional issues. If he has another person involved he also has the federal conspiracy statute, which is serious. And this is all just the federal criminal side--there would also be the risk of state crimes and civil lawsuits.
    – Tom
    Feb 1, 2016 at 10:16
  • You could also have theft of trade secrets, violation of the contract providing the original access, conversion of the company's resources, maybe wire fraud, maybe even theft of electricity if someone really went for the kitchen sink. Black hat cracking is a crime. Cracking for a mailing list is definitely black hat.
    – Tom
    Feb 1, 2016 at 10:21
  • To be clear, people stealing company lists is ordinarily a problem when they are switching companies, and usually results in civil lawsuits, but can also be criminal for a number of the reasons I mention above.
    – Tom
    Feb 1, 2016 at 10:28
  • The last illustration: is this crime need any complainant or it's a public crime ? I mean if the company has no compliance would you be still under arrest?
    – HOPE
    Feb 1, 2016 at 11:29

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