The Press-Register reports that a person in Alabama was arrested by FBI agents, who conducted a nationwide sting in an investigation into cyber crimes in Alabama and throughout the United States.

The person from Alabama allegedly is a member of Anonymous, a computer hacking group that took responsibility for a 2010 breach of PayPal in protest of the company’s decision to not deliver funds to WikiLeaks.

Cyber crimes are becoming more and more common in our state and throughout the country. Because just about every company, bank, government entity and many people are connected to networks of computers, they are all susceptible to hacking. While this type of crime relates to federal laws that prohibit tampering with a company’s computer systems, there are state laws in Alabama that relate to other types of cyber crimes.

Identity theft, credit card schemes, bank fraud, Ponzi schemes and other white collar crimes happen every day. And those defendants require an aggressive Birmingham Criminal Defense Lawyer who will stand up for them as the pressure of law enforcement, prosecutors and the state bear down.

PayPal is a service that allows people to send and receive money to pay bills and make purchases. WikiLeaks is a web site that gets information about the government and private businesses and publishes it  for all to see. 

It famously released military documents, videos and other information to the entire world in recent years. PayPal last fall stopped allowing donations through its web site to WikiLeaks after the web site published classified cables from the U.S. Department of State. WikiLeaks said PayPal’s actions "tried to economically strangle WikiLeaks."

In response, the Anonymous group allegedly mounted denial of service attacks against PayPal’s. These attacks are attempts to render computers unavailable to users through a variety of means, including saturating the target computers or networks with external communications requests, thereby denying service to legitimate users.

Fourteen people in Alabama and eight other states and the District of Columbia were arrested in connection with the attack. The suspects range in age from 20 to 42.

If you’ve been able to follow all the computer jargon, you can see how complex these cases can be. Prosecutors must have quite a bit of proof to show that a suspect committed these types of crimes. And proving that can be difficult. Without properly documented proof, the charges may be unprovable.

More common than these types of prosecutions are financially based crimes, such as credit card fraud and other forms of theft in Alabama. Most internet-based fraud crimes are charged in federal court because the alleged crimes cross state lines. And federal authorities not only have more resources and time to dedicate to crimes than local law enforcement, but they also have steep penalties.

If you are being investigated or are charged with a computer-related crime, don’t speak with investigators. A statement can be used against you. Consult with an experienced Birmingham Criminal Defense Lawyer first.

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Woman Charged in Identity Theft Stemming from 2002 Purse Snatching: June 23, 2011