Computer misuse act (1990)

Computer misuse act (1990)

Computer Misuse Act (1990) creates three criminal offences

This makes it illegal to access a computing system unless authorised to do so. As such it makes the activity of "hacking" a crime. It does not matter whether the hacker is remote, working from a distance over the remote area networks, or local, where persons such as employees or students who may have limited authorisation to use the computers but they knowingly exceed that authority. The hacking need not be directed at a particular computer, program or data. For example, it is unlawful, without proper authority:

  • to use another person's ID and password in order to access a computer, use data or run a program;
  • to alter, delete, copy, or move a program or data, or simply to output a program or data; or
  • to lay a trap to obtain a password.

N.B. any use of the University's computing facilities that is not consistent with the Regulatons and Code of Conduct for the Use of IT Facilities constitutes at least a technical offence under this provision of the act.

This covers the situation where unauthorised access is gained with intent to commit a further offence. For example, a person may gain unauthorised access to computer material in order to commit theft by re-directing funds from someone elses bank account.

This offence includes the deliberate deletion or corruption of programs or data. It also includes the introduction of viruses etc., where these result in the modification or destruction of data.

  • Unauthorised access to computer material
  • Unauthorised access to a computer system with intent to commit or facilitate the commission of a further offence
  • Unauthorised modification of computer material

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