Massachusetts Technology Law: Companies Face Hackers, Increasing Liability

When it comes to cyber crime, a new CNN article makes a sobering assessment:

“There are probably some corporations and credit cards that haven’t been hacked,” said Kim Peretti, director in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ forensic services practice. “But you have to assume you’ve been compromised.”
Massachusetts business attorneys who are familiar with information and technology issues understand the importance of protecting consumer databases, trade secrets and other information stored on servers or in the cloud. Security breaches can cost companies millions and it’s becoming more common for companies to face lawsuits from consumers or to agree to purchase identity theft protection services for millions whose personal information was compromised.

In other cases, contract disputes and litigation can arise over online issues, shared technology or other disagreements. Consulting a Massachusetts law firm with the knowledge and experience to protect your rights can be critical to the growth and survival of your business.

A Cambridge man is facing wire fraud and computer fraud charges in Massachusetts after authorities say he hacked into a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer system to steal millions of scientific and academic articles, according to the Boston Globe. He is charged with unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and faces up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines if convicted.

“Stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data, or dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. “It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away.”

The defendant in this case has founded a political action group that advocates for free distribution of materials over the Internet.

The CNN report focuses on computer crimes committed for profit by large organized crime syndicates. The report indicates the criminal activity costs major corporations billions of dollars each year and that the criminals target the most sensitive computer systems of large corporations. It notes Sony had the credit card information of 77 million customers stolen and Citigroup dealt with the theft of $2.7 million from 3,400 accounts earlier this year.

And the thefts occur internationally, with the most advanced attacks often coming out of Russia. Many former KGB computer experts when to work for criminal enterprises after the Iron Curtain lifted in the 1990s. Many organizations have hackers who work in tandem — hacking into a company and passing the hack up the ladder as the complexity increases.

Credit card scams have decreased in popularity and profitability because there is a glut on the black market. The new target: corporate espionage and the theft of intellectual property. The sale of such information to competitors has become much more profitable.

The Massachusetts business law attorneys at The Brown Law Firm, LLC are available for no-cost, confidential consultations. Call (617) 489-0817.

Additional Resources:

Cambridge man accused of hacking MIT computers to steal 4m scientific papers, By Milton J. Valencia, The Boston Globe.

Boston Bar Assosiation