Mag. Balazs Esztegar LL.M.
Attorney-at-law Vienna

Wickenburggasse 26/5
1080 Vienna, Austria
Tel. +43 1 997 4102
Fax +43 1 997 4102-99

Computer Criminal Law

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Computer criminal law and cyber-crime outline the segment of penal law in which the act threatened by punishment is perpetrated with the use of a computer. Either the fact-act itself occurs over a computer or the object of the act consists of data stored on a computer.

The Penal Code (StGB) enumerates a whole series of pertinent computer offenses, like e.g. the illegal access to a computer system (Section 118 (a) StGB), the abusive interception of data (Section 119 (a) StGB), damage to data (Section 126 (a) StGB), interference with the functionality of a computer system (Section 126 (b) StGB) or the abuse of computer programmes or access data (Section 126 (c) StGB). These latter two offenses play a central role just in the event of hacker attacks via denial of service or via the application of Trojan Horses or other malware.

In addition to these typical offenses of the computer penal law numerous punishable acts can be perpetrated with the use of computer or “online”. This “internet criminality” can take up a high variety of forms. e.g. fraud or blackmailing are often perpetrated as online crimes. A form of internet criminality particularly unpleasant for the victim is cyberstalking, i.e. the tenacious persecution online and frequently offline too. Finally, certain offenses against honour, like defamation and malicious gossip belong to the criminal acts accumulated in the internet, since internet forums and social networks clearly facilitate this kind of conduct penalised by law.