High tech crime

Definition of high tech crime

High tech crime offences are defined in Commonwealth legislation within Part 10.7 - Computer Offences of the Criminal Code Act 1995 and include:

Each State and Territory in Australia has its own legislated computer-related offences which are similar to the Commonwealth legislation.

Computer intrusion

Computer intrusion is any unauthorised access of a computer or network of computers.

This might take the form of hacking of free email services. If your free email account has been hacked and an unauthorised person is using it then, firstly, contact the provider of the email service and seek assistance to fully resolve the problem.

If you know who the perpetrator is, the person resides in Australia, and you consider the matter serious enough to warrant reporting to police, you can report it to the State or Territory police where you live.

In most cases, Australian law enforcement will not have the jurisdiction to take action. Only when the perpetrator resides in Australia or the computer server of the company that provides the free email service is located in Australia are Australian law enforcement officials able to act.

Unauthorised modification of data, including destruction of data

Denial-of-service is the deliberate disruption or impairment of a service or communication.

In general, for a matter to fall within the jurisdiction of Australian police, when an unauthorised system intrusion, disruption or impairment occurs:

  • the system or computer server where the content is hosted must be in Australia, or
  • the offender causing the intrusion, disruption or impairment must be an Australian citizen.

Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks using botnets

Malicious software

Malware, botnets, Trojans and computer viruses (or virus writing) are all tools used by offenders to gain unauthorised access to a computer system or network.

The discovery of these sorts of tools on your computer system or network should be reported to your antivirus software and firewall provider.

What to do if your computer is infected

If your home computer is infected with malicious software such as a virus, spyware or adware, you should use commercially available antivirus software to quarantine and remove the malicious software.

If the virus was sent to you via an infected email from someone you know, then you should advise them that their computer may also be infected.

If you believe you were intentionally infected with a virus and you have evidence as to the identity of the person who sent you the virus, then you can report it to the State or Territory police where you live.

Pop-up advertising

Pop-up advertising on internet sites can be annoying and can appear as a result of unknowingly having adware and spyware programs installed on your computer.

What you can do

Programs designed to defeat adware and spyware, and browsers with built-in pop-up blockers, can be found on CDs supplied with some computer magazines, downloaded from program creators' websites, or purchased from retail computer software outlets.

More information about taking care of spyware is available from the Department of Broadband, Communication, and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) website.

For Australian business

CERT Australia (the CERT) is the national computer emergency response team. It is the single point of contact in Government for cyber security issues affecting major Australian businesses. The CERT is part of the Australian Attorney-General’s Department. It also works in the Cyber Security Operations Centre, sharing information with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), and the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).