Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Cybercrime

Cybercrime

Cybercrime is now a sophisticated transnational threat that operates on a significant scale and has become an increasingly important issue for the global community. 

In Australia, cybercrime describes both crimes directed at computers or other information communications technologies (ICTs) such as hacking and denial of service attacks, as well as traditional crimes where computers or ICTs are an integral part of the offence such as online fraud, money laundering and identity theft. 

The online distribution of child exploitation material is also a very prevalent form of offending.

There are specific Commonwealth computer offences relating to the unauthorised access and modification of data and the impairment of electronic communications.

Key legislation

Main offences

  • s.478.1(1) Criminal Code—unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data
  • s.477.3(1) Criminal Code—unauthorised impairment of electronic communication
  • s.474.17 Criminal Code—using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence

Penalties

  • The maximum penalty for unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data is 2 years’ imprisonment.
  • The maximum penalty for unauthorised impairment of electronic communication is 10 years’ imprisonment.
  • The maximum penalty for using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence is 3 years’ imprisonment.

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