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Practical UNIX and Internet Security, 3rd Edition by Alan Schwartz, Gene Spafford, Simson Garfinkel

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Your Legal Options After a Break-in

If you suffer a break-in or criminal damage to your system, you have a variety of recourses under the U.S. legal system. This chapter cannot advise you on the many subtle aspects of the law. There are differences between state and federal law, as well as different laws that apply to computer systems used for different purposes. Laws outside the U.S. vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; we won’t attempt to explain anything beyond the U.S. system.[352] However, we should note that the global reach of the Internet may bring laws to bear that have their origin outside the U.S.

Discuss your specific situation with a competent lawyer before pursuing any legal recourse. Because there are difficulties and dangers associated with legal approaches, you should be sure that you want to pursue this course of action before you go ahead.

In some cases, you may have no choice; you may be required to pursue legal action. For example:

  • If you want to file a claim against your insurance policy to receive money for damages resulting from a break-in, you may be required by your insurance company to pursue criminal or civil actions against the perpetrators.

  • If you are involved with classified data processing, you may be required by government regulations to report and investigate suspicious activity.

  • If you are aware of criminal activity and do not report it, you may be criminally liable as an accessory. This is especially true if your computer is being ...

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