Cybercrime, Bitcoin and Crypto-Currency

Society is increasingly dependent on technology and online transactions. Inevitably, there has been a similar increase in investigations and prosecutions for offences relating to online activity. Cybercrime includes hacking, online fraud and offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

Cybercrime can often involve crypto-currency, such as Bitcoin, for example in ransomware attacks. The anonymity built into the digital ledger or blockchain, which forms the foundation of crypto-currencies is often leveraged in criminal activity.

Police and the Crown Prosecution Service are now considering the movement of Bitcoin and the increase in assets of an individual that could potentially have links to criminal activity. Seizures and investigations are undertaken relating to this but also the increased use and acceptance of crypto-currency for goods and services has led to more restrictions being put in place in Great Britain and internationally.

Our specialist lawyers have extensive experience in dealing with cybercrime, and its link to financial crime.  We also have considerable knowledge of  Bitcoin seizures by the prosecuting authorities as Nicholls & Nicholls have been instructed to assist with defending the largest bitcoin seizure in British history reaching billions in value.

Computer Crime

In addition to cybercrimes relating to crypto-currency, there are a range of computer and internet offences that can be prosecuted including hacking, online identity theft, phishing, maliciously creating and spreading viruses, using counterfeit software and selling illegal goods on the ‘dark web’.

The technology used to commit these crimes is constantly evolving, but investigations into these crimes are also becoming more sophisticated. Law enforcement agencies are working hard to detect and disrupt this activity and prosecute those responsible.

The dark web is commonly used for international drug supply and people trafficking along with sex offences and banking fraud. Information sold online to assist in offences being committed is also subject to investigation by organisations such as the National Crime Agency. The police now have specialist units that deal with these types of computer crime due to the Dark Web creating false IP addresses and their processes that are designed to hide the identity of the user. This is how transnational investigatory police-led teams now work to hack and obtain access to systems, such as Encrochat.

Those involved in computer crime or online fraud can be convicted under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 or more generally under the Fraud Act 2006. EncroChat is a mobile phone company that had direct links with offences taking place on the Dark Web and directly linked to computer crimes.

Nicholls & Nicholls have experienced lawyers who can advise and assist in relation to allegations of computer crime. We also work with a number of forensic and digital experts to interrogate prosecution evidence in criminal cases.

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