You might be breaking the law online and not even know it

Downloading movies from a torrenting site is not only illegal, it is a common vector for spreading malware.

If you’ve ever uploaded a video to YouTube, you know how fast it will be flagged if there’s even a hint of a copyrighted song playing in the background.

If you’re shaking your head, you’re not alone. There are many things you shouldn’t do online. Some are just plain dangerous. Tap or click for five silly mistakes putting your online privacy and security at risk.

Benign actions can put your info in the hands of clever criminals. Take your phone number. Tap or click for why you need to stop sharing your real phone number with anyone who asks.

Before we dive into my list of illegal online activities, I must remind you: I’m not a lawyer. Use your best judgment.

Getting movies for free

This illegal activity shouldn’t be a surprise. Downloading a movie – or album, eBook, audiobook, or another piece of media – from a torrenting site is a no-go. You hear a lot less about torrenting than in years past, given how easy it is to stream just about anything.

Still, people flock to download copies of newly released movies. Go to a torrenting site, hit download, and you're just as likely to get a shaky, dubbed version of what you want to watch as you are the real thing.

It could get worse. Watch the mail for a warning notice when your ISP detects you have downloaded copyright-protected content. If you don't knock it off, they could cancel your service altogether as well as alert the authorities.

Here’s something else to consider. Torrents are a common vector for spreading malware. Stay safe and only use reputable apps and services that have the right to show you what you want to watch.

Tap or click for 13 tried and true ways to watch movies for free.

Using images on your site or videos

Unless you have express permission or know for sure that a photo is in the public domain, it’s not yours to use or share online. It’s unlikely you’re going to get nailed for copyright infringement by posting a meme on Facebook. However, be especially careful when posting images to your website or using images in your videos.

At best, you’ll get a slap on the wrist. At worst, you could end up with a bill for tens of thousands of dollars for posting someone else’s work without permission or credit.

If you’re going to Google Images, typing in a search term, and pulling down the best photos that pop up, you’re going to get into trouble eventually. Tap or click for free, legal ways to find solid images for any purpose.

Like what you’re reading? Get my smart tips for a better digital life right to your inbox. Sign up here. (It’s free!)

Bypassing paywalls

Years ago, you could access most news sites online for free. Today, you're hit with paywalls on most major sites. Some of us get out our credit cards and often pay for the sites we visit.

Others find clever ways around the paywalls, like browser extensions or other tricks. Before you celebrate, know that it’s illegal. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act says you cannot go around technology meant to restrict access to copyrighted material.

Sharing passwords

Raise your hand if you have ever shared a password for a streaming service or other subscription. Not only is that against the terms you agreed to when you signed up, but it might also be illegal. Depending on how you interpret it, the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act implies using someone else's passwords is a federal crime.

Now, don’t expect Netflix to come knocking at your door. Things are changing. Netflix is starting to stop people from mooching off accounts.

Are you spending too much money on subscription services? Tap or click for your action plan to cut back.

Using particular search terms

There are some things you should not search for online. You can guess, but the list includes child abuse materials, hiring the services of a criminal and steps to make a bomb.

Then there are the things you should never Google for other reasons. Tap or click for a list of search terms that could put you at risk online.

Downloading YouTube videos

Maybe you find a video that perfectly explains a subject you’re trying to learn. You download the video so you can reference it again later. No harm, right? Not so fast.

According to YouTube's terms of service, you cannot download content without express permission from the creator. And, of course, standard copyright laws apply too.

Videos that fall into the Public Domain, Creative Commons and CopyLeft are fair game for downloading, though you could still be violating YouTube’s Terms of Service.

Stick to adding videos you want to come back to to a playlist. Tap or click for some simple YouTube tricks you’ll use again and again.

Bonus Tip: Essential tech cleanups to do before 2022

Is your digital life in need of a little TLC? Listen for smart ways to tidy up your tech, inside and out. You'll learn a few cleaning secrets, along with simple methods of sorting the clutter, clearing out junk and freeing up space on your devices. It looks like you just found your new holiday project.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple , Google Podcasts , or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcast s. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

Learn about all the latest technology on the  Kim Komando Show , the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at .

The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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Table of contents

Using Unofficial Streaming Services

Using torrent services, using copyrighted images, sharing passwords, addresses, or photos of others, bullying and trolling, recording a voip call without consent, faking your identity online, using other people’s internet networks, collecting information about people younger than 13, extracting audio from youtube, illegal searches on the internet, how to keep yourself out of trouble, 11 illegal things you unknowingly do on the internet.

While the internet can feel like the Wild West, many common laws still apply. Our shift to the online space has been kind of sudden, and some of us may have overlooked a few important rules. One could be an internet outlaw and not even know it. To avoid becoming a victim of any illegal actions online, you should always use a good VPN, such as Clario's secure service, to conceal your identity and cover your tracks.

Get it for iOS , Android

Limit the information you share

Create strong passwords, browse in incognito or private mode, use a virtual private network (vpn).

The internet is a huge part of our everyday lives, so the same rules apply online as they do offline — be nice and abide by the law. 

To make sure you don’t get yourself into a sticky situation, we’ll go over some of the illegal things you do on the internet that are quite common but may lead to unwanted consequences. In addition to that, we'll cover the best ways to protect yourself online.

Pro tip: Using a virtual private network (VPN) is always a good idea. Read further to find out how it can keep you out of serious trouble. If you are looking for a reliable, unlimited VPN, consider giving Clario a shot — download it today .

You probably cannot imagine modern life without watching a movie online or sharing some information, like photos or addresses, with people you know. Some of these innocent things can still be illegal; let’s take a closer look at what can get you in trouble.

internet illegal activities

Many people ask, “What is illegal to watch on the internet?” Well, unofficial streaming services are illegal, so it is against the law to watch movies, TV shows, music videos, or premium sports content online for free. They can be dangerous, too. If they’ve stolen film content from production companies, what would stop them from stealing your personal data as well?

In case you were wondering, “Is streaming movies online illegal for me?” The answer is obvious: streaming movies is considered a copyright violation; thus, you can be sued.

Torrent services are yet another way for users to get pirated copies of movies and music. Through torrents, copyrighted material can be accessed without paying for it, which is unfair to its creators and also illegal. Most music and films are subject to copyrights owned by the people who created them.

Despite popular opinion, unless it’s in the public domain, any image or photo on the internet has an owner — photographers, corporations, and other creators. This means you can’t use these images for personal or commercial purposes without due permission, payment, or attribution.

Are you wondering whether it is illegal to post someone's address online? Yes, it is, if it happens on a public forum without their knowledge and/or with the intention to harm them.  

Is it illegal to take a picture of someone and post it on the internet? Yes, if you're on private property that isn’t yours. As for public places, you don’t need consent for taking a picture and posting it online in such a setting. However, it’s more polite to ask for consent anyway.

Cyberbullying and trolling are both widespread phenomena now that a greater number of people have access to smartphones and the internet. However, apps now have the authority to take action against such individuals. There are several laws regarding cyberbullying, and usually, it’s treated as a civil matter but can sometimes turn into criminal offense charges and jail time.

Voice over Internet Protocol calls (VoIP) use technologies such as business phone system that support the delivery of voice communication over the internet. The use of such technologies to film, record, or photograph any person or thing in secret is illegal. Thus, you should obligatorily obtain consent before recording.

Identity fraud by using someone else's information without their knowledge is a crime when the aim is to deceive people or defraud the person themselves. Using an inaccurate age for social media sites goes against the “terms of use,” and while not against the law, it is still dangerous and can potentially expose minors to decreased privacy.

In most US states, there are no laws prohibiting such behavior, but then, no laws allow it either. However, using someone else's internet, which they solely pay for, without their permission is illegal because it’s essentially stealing. Borrowing someone else’s WiFi can be dangerous too.

Gathering and using data about children under 13 (through surveys, etc.) violates the Children’s Online Protection Act and, without verifiable consent from parents/guardians, it’s 100% illegal.

On the same note, is it illegal to lie about your age online? If you lie about your age to get onto a website intended for adults, you’re most likely to be blocked if someone reports you. Though some websites requiring personal data may not really need it, children may be exposed to some illicit content if they lie about their age.

According to YouTube’s terms of service, copyrighted content can’t be downloaded or ripped without explicit permission from the content owner. In US copyright laws, extracting audio for personal use is simply not advisable.  

Few people know that some Google searches may be illegal. Here are some FAQs you should get familiar with to stay safe while surfing online:

  • Can a Google search be illegal? Yes, some terms are illegal to Google, and your activity after these searches can be monitored by the authorities.
  • What is illegal to search on the internet? What is illegal to type into Google? Some search terms that can land you in jail include child pornography, hiring a criminal, and other questionable terms (e.g., bomb-making).
  • Does Google report illegal searches? No, but it has algorithms in place to prevent you from seeing the results of illegal internet searches.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure you’re covered in case you step into something illegal online. The following safety measures can help keep you secure.

internet illegal activities

Avoiding oversharing on social media is the number one way to protect your information from cybercriminals. Using your real name and age is fine, but putting up personal pictures or giving out your address or any other contact information can be dangerous. This could potentially lead to criminals stealing your identity and committing cybercrimes on your behalf.

Weak passwords are easy to guess and even easier to hack. One of the threats is that an attacker may get remote control over your device, making it part of a botnet and thus involving you in illicit activities without you even knowing it.  

Following these password guidelines to create strong passwords is your best bet against getting hacked:

  • Create long passwords
  • Use numbers and symbols
  • Mix capital and small letters

Incognito mode doesn’t save your browsing history or cookies, so it’s a fairly safe and private way to browse the internet. However, the authorities can still track your web activity while browsing in private mode, especially if it appears to be illegal.  

Another option is using the Tor browser to surf the web anonymously, though it may provide some limited opportunities online.

A VPN uses encryption to create a secure private network from a public connection, giving you complete online anonymity.  

By using a VPN, you can protect yourself from something illicit or controversial. Imagine accidentally looking at illegal material on the internet but realizing it too late. It is normal not to have a clear idea of what Google searches are illegal. In any case, a VPN will be able to hide your:  

  • location and IP address
  • browsing history
  • web activity
  • location for streaming

If you like the idea of staying safe and anonymous online, you can download the Clario VPN to give you greater privacy and security. 

Just because certain activities are common, this does not mean they're not illegal things to do on the internet, so you should make an effort to stay safe online. Keeping personal information off the internet, creating strong passwords, or using a private browsing mode are great ways to achieve that.

  • Top 15 Internet Safety Rules for Everyone
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By Andriy Slynchuk

Senior content manager at Clario, cybersecurity and house music enthusiast

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Common Legal Issues Easily Explained

Can Your Internet Search History Get You Arrested?

March 16, 2018

illegal internet searches

Whether intentional or not, certain online searches could land you in jail — or at least getting questioned by the authorities. With an increase in cybersecurity, law enforcement officials are keeping a close eye on certain internet search terms and logging the computer’s IP address that searched for the term.

Although the search may have been innocent in nature, you may still find yourself talking to police at your door and being told that you’re being arrested.

Here are some of the internet search terms and topics that can be considered illegal and land you in jail:

1. Child Pornography

Viewing content where persons under the age of 17 engage in sexually explicit activities is considered a sex crime . However, even just searching for child pornography, even if not to view it, can potentially get you arrested. When you perform the search, terms remain in your browser history or cache. This can be enough to have the police determine that you may have intended to watch child pornography. Officials may then conclude that you’re in possession of child pornography.

If you do download a video depicting someone under the age of 17 engaging in sexual activities (even accidentally), then may expect a call or visit from the police. Because law enforcement officials monitor certain keywords of all online searches, they can locate the IP address of your computer if they choose to make an arrest.

Be sure to avoid searching for anything related to child pornography. That way, it’s a visit you won’t have to worry about.

2. Torrenting

Streaming has become incredibly popular over the past decade. Illicit or unofficial streaming, known as “torrenting,” is a form of streaming that’s wildly popular. However, torrenting material that’s protected by copyright can land you in jail. Torrenting itself isn’t illegal, but viewing or sharing copyrighted material via torrent violates copyright laws. Not only you could face jail time, but also hefty fines from the copyright owner and you may be denied internet service.

Keep in mind that besides torrenting, unofficial streaming sites that show TV programs or films without permission may be illegal. If you’re caught as a user of one of those sites, you could also face jail time. Paying the extra few dollars to procure a legal streaming service seems a little less daunting when faced with years in jail and no internet usage.

3. Questionable Explosive Terms

With terrorism a constant threat to the world, cybersecurity investigators are keeping a close eye on anything related to terrorism or bomb-making. Officials are keeping such a close eye that innocent searches for backpacks and pressure cookers (or innocently clicking on “how bombs are made” because you’re curious) could wind up placing you on a potential terrorist watch list.

Not only will your internet searches become even more heavily watched, but you may just end up having a talk with some law enforcement officials about your intentions.

4. Hiring an Assassin

Although the “dark web” is a mystery to some, it does exist and is the criminal underworld of the internet. Not only can you find child pornography for sale, but you can also hire an assassin. Obviously, hiring an assassin to kill someone is illegal. This is precisely why you must express caution when performing such searches. Stay away from the dark web so that your innocent search for a crime novel or video game will keep you off a watchlist.

Although it seems stressful to put in additional thought as to what you’re searching for, it could save you some time explaining to the police or FBI the innocent intention behind your search items. Best not to search anything related to the items listed above at all, in the end.

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Cybercrime: Recognising and preventing malicious activities online

With the advent of digital banking and digital technologies, new pathways to criminal and illicit activities have opened up. This post discusses cybercrime, and analyses its impact and potential prevention measures that might be applied to avoid online malicious activities.

Cybercrime vs traditional crime

Digital technologies have: introduced new modalities in the commission of illegal activities; amplified the reach of criminals, giving them almost limitless global access ; obliged potential victims (citizens, companies, governments) to find new ways to protect themselves; and have even allowed for the emergence of new crimes.

security alert

Although cybercrime is an increasingly prevalent phenomenon in modern society, its definition presents difficulties. We could attempt to define it broadly as every illicit activity carried out by means of an internet-enabled computer . However, this definition seems too vague and does not reflect the legal complexities and the diversity of activities encompassed by the concept of cybercrime. Instead of defining the concept, the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has established categories of activities that constitute a cybercrime , which include:

  • offences against the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of computer data and systems
  • computer-related offences
  • content-related offences
  • offences related to infringements of copyright and related rights

David S. Wall has proposed a similar distinction referring to:

  • crimes against the machine (hacking, denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, etc.)
  • crimes using the machine (traditional crimes, like fraud and theft, carried out with new technologies)
  • crimes in the machine (pornography, hate speech, etc.)

Whatever definition we take, there is no doubt that new technologies have pushed traditional criminal activities to evolve , and adapt to the new digital environment where economic and social interactions are increasing. Fraud, deception, identity theft, money laundering, extortion, and the purchase of illicit goods or products are traditional crimes that have been facilitated by digital technologies. 

Compared to traditional crimes, computer-enabled crimes can be committed from anywhere to anywhere, as long as there is a connection to the internet at both ends. One person can commit several crimes against several victims located in different countries at the same time. As put by David S. Wall, ‘cybercrime can be committed at a distance, much more quickly and in much greater volume than offline crime ‘.

Another important difference is that online criminal activities require certain technological expertise to deceive the victims, to gain access to their information, to use this information to generate a profit, but also to hide and erase digital traces. The larger the victim or the offense, the bigger the expertise of the offenders needs to be.

If traditional crime was able to adapt and transition to the digital world, the development of new technologies has also allowed the development of new criminal activities that would not exist without the internet, such as hacking, DDoS attacks, ransomware, malware, etc. These new illegal activities will probably have a greater economic impact in the future than traditional crime has had in the past.

Impacts of cybercrime

As most modern daily activities become increasingly internet dependent (including those in the fields of medicine, transport, entertainment, finance, and education), cybercrimes have negative social impacts in numerous and unsuspected ways.

Recent attacks have shown that a group of hackers can paralyse a hospital only to obtain financial gain . According to a recent report, in 2020, 560 healthcare organisations were victims of ransomware attacks , costing these organisations US$20.8 billion. Another report states that a data breach costs an average of US$9.23 million per incident, with healthcare leading as the top industry for the most expensive data breach costs. And these numbers are only the tip of the iceberg.

stealing money online

Cybercrime also affects regular people who fall into criminal traps. In 2019, the FBI received 467,361 complaints (an average of nearly 1,300 every day), and recorded more than US$3.5 billion in losses to individual and business victims. Among the most reported crimes were phishing and similar ploys, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and extortion . The most financially costly complaints included business email compromise, and romance or confidence fraud.

Preventing cybercrime

Given the potential harm caused by cybercrime and the challenges that law enforcement agencies face bringing offenders to justice, prevention seems to be the primary tool to counter cybercrime. However, in the context of cybercrime, prevention has different meanings, as preventive measures need to be adapted to the type of crime and its potential victims (e.g. individuals vs big companies). These measures will also depend on the type of activity that is being prevented. For ‘crimes with the machine’ (e.g. fraud), the focus shall be on raising awareness so people avoid falling into criminal scams. For ‘crimes against the machine’ (e.g. DDoS, ransomware), prevention will require investing in technological and human resources to improve cybersecurity. For content-related offenses, there has to be a mix of these two types of measures.

These approaches to prevention are of course oversimplified, as it is clear that preventing cybercrimes requires a multiplicity of complex and innovative strategies and technological tools that go from educating users to protecting critical infrastructure.

In conclusion, the words of S.B. Hoar from 2005 retain their relevance today: ‘As long as profitable opportunities for cybercrime exist, cybercrime will threaten our privacy and prosperity. It is imperative that we invest the resources to increase the security of computer systems that comprise the Internet. It requires individual and organizational responsibility. It also requires cooperation and resources from both government and private industry .’

Guillaume Michel is a Mexican diplomat specialised in legal and multilateral affairs. He currently serves as head of Legal Affairs at the Embassy of Mexico in the United States.

Browse through our alumni blog posts at Diplo Alumni Blog . 

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Traffickers abusing online technology, UN crime prevention agency warns  

Containment measures to control the spread of the virus meant that people spent much more time online, especially children since schools were closed

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Human traffickers who trick people with fake job offers and promises and then exploit them for profit, are taking advantage of online technologies for every step of their criminal activities.  

Research conducted by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC ) shows how victims are being targeted and recruited via social media and online dating platforms, where personal information and details of people’s locations are readily available. 

Sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation are taking place virtually and photos and videos sold further on different platforms to customers worldwide, resulting in even more money for the traffickers at no additional cost. 

New strategies

This week, experts from around 100 countries met online and in Vienna, Austria, to discuss strategies to combat this phenomenon and make the best use of technology to prevent  human trafficking  and investigate cases of this crime.  

The discussion formed part of the annual intergovernmental  Working Group of Trafficking in Persons  and centres around an in-depth  background paper   on this topic produced by UNODC’s Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section.  

Sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation are taking place virtually

“Traffickers are quick to adapt their business model to suit their needs and increase their profits, so of course they follow online trends,” explains Tiphanie Crittin, a UNODC Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer.  

Dark web exploitation 

“Traffickers are currently using technology to profile, recruit, control and exploit their victims as well as using the Internet, especially the dark web, to hide illegal materials stemming from trafficking and their real identities from investigators.”  

The illicit proceeds from this highly profitable crime are also being laundered online through crypto currencies, which makes it easier for traffickers to receive, hide and move large amounts of money with less risk of being detected.   

Today, the Internet provides easy access to a much larger group of potential victims because traditional physical and geographical limitations no longer exist.  

Traffickers create fake websites or post advertisements on legitimate employment portals and social networking websites. 

Live chat scams 

Some of these sites feature the option of a live chat. This gives the trafficker immediate contact and the opportunity to obtain personal information, such as passport details, enhancing their power over the targeted victims.   

Victims can be repeatedly exploited through live streaming on multiple websites, and there is no limit on the number of times videos of their abuse may be viewed and by how many people.  

The global nature of human trafficking and the abuse of technology makes it even more difficult for law enforcement authorities to tackle this crime, explains Ms. Crittin.  

“When a crime is planned in one country, with victims in another country, and a customer in a third one, law enforcement authorities face practical challenges such as finding and securing evidence, as any investigation requires cooperation across borders and a certain level of digital expertise,” she says. 

Remote control 

Traffickers use technology to control their victims remotely, sometimes without having to ever met them in person. 

For over a decade, online advertising has been the main tactic used by traffickers to solicit buyers for commercial sex

Location-tracking applications and use of global positioning systems in mobile phones can be used to know the victim’s location, while cameras in smartphones used during video calls enable traffickers to see their victims and their surroundings.  

Traffickers also maintain control over their victims by threatening to release intimate photos or videos of them to families and friends if they do not comply with their demands.  

One of the panellists at the Working Group, Alexandra Gelber, the Deputy Chief for Policy and Legislation at the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the United States’ Department of Justice, highlighted the links between trafficking and online technology in her country. 

Online marketplace 

“Data shows that in the United States approximately 40% of sex trafficking victims are recruited online, making the Internet the most common place where victim recruitment takes place,” she says.    

“For over a decade, online advertising has been the main tactic used by traffickers to solicit buyers for commercial sex. In 2020, over 80% of the [Justice Department’s] sex trafficking prosecutions involved online advertising.”  

Ms. Gelber adds that technology is also being used to commit “virtual child sex trafficking” which takes place when an offender in the United States sends a digital payment to a trafficker in another country.  

“The trafficker will then sexually abuse a child in front of a web camera, while the offender in the United States watches a livestream of the abuse.” 

COVID factor 

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided further opportunities for traffickers due to the increased use of the Internet, in particular social networks and online video gaming sites.  

Governments in a growing number of countries intentionally disrupt internet or electronic communication, exerting control over the flow of information.

“Containment measures to control the spread of the virus meant that people spent much more time online, especially children since schools were closed. We have seen an increase in child sexual exploitation materials created and shared online during the pandemic,” says  Tiphanie Crittin.  

Despite the increasing criminal uses of technology by traffickers, technology can also be used to identify victims and support police investigations and prosecutions. 

Stricter frameworks needed 

“However, when investigators enter the digital world of citizens, they have access to personal information. It is crucial to have strict frameworks around such access and use of  data to make sure that the right to privacy and human rights are respected,” says UNODC’s Ms. Crittin.  

The UNODC  background paper  shares numerous examples of existing or promising partnerships and tools which countries are using or developing. These include digital forensics, data scanning tools, smartphone apps and successful collaborations with technology, social media and Internet companies.   

UNODC has also co-organized  “DataJams”  with computing giant IBM and the Colombian non-governmental organization Pasos Libres, in which students compete online to develop technology-based solutions to identify and protect victims of trafficking and support prosecutions.  

  • human trafficking
  • social media
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Wi-Fi Networks and Criminal Liability

(This may not be the same place you live)

  What Is “Wi-Fi”?

The term “Wi-Fi” means a router device that allows other devices to connect to the internet using wireless network technology. Examples of wi-fi capable gadgets include, but are not limited to:

  • Personal computers;
  • Smartphones;
  • Video game consoles;
  • Digital music players.

Wi-fi networks are commonly available in homes and offices. A hotspot is a public location where any individual can access free wi-fi.

One of the main issues with a wi-fi network is that users on the network are able to view the computer files of other users who are on the same network. This may result in computer issues, including hacking.

In addition, any individual may use an unprotected wireless network, even if they do not have permission from the owner. However, this is prohibited in most jurisdictions.

Is It Legal to “Piggyback” or Use a Neighbor’s Unsecured Wi-Fi Connection?

Is it legal for me to use a public wi-fi hotspot without their permission, is it legal for me to share my wi-fi with my neighbor, what happens if someone engages in illegal activity using my wi-fi connection, how can an owner of a wi-fi connection be held accountable for someone else’s illegal use, are passwords required for wi-fi accounts, do i have any privacy rights when using another person’s wi-fi account, what is a reasonable expectation of privacy, what are the consequences of using a wireless network without permission, do i need a lawyer.

Using another individual’s unprotected wi-fi without their permission is called “piggybacking” or “mooching.” If an individual’s wireless internet connection is not password-protected, any individual can normally log into the account, even if the owner is not present.

Piggybacking on wi-fi occurs when an individual uses their neighbor’s wi-fi without their permission or when an individual parked in a car near a home connects to the wi-fi of the resident. In many states, piggybacking is against the law.

It is also against the law under federal statutes, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act . For example, piggybacking is a Class A misdemeanor in New York State.

Many individuals claim that the regulations governing piggybacking are ambiguous, especially regarding phrases such as “access” and “permission.” However, there have already been many examples of individuals being arrested on criminal charges for the use of an unsecured wi-fi connection without permission.

Because of this, it is important for an individual not to use a wi-fi connection unless they have the consent of the owner to do so. Although the laws governing these issues are still being clarified, piggybacking may result in criminal penalties, including incarceration or criminal fines.

Prior to using any wireless connection, an individual should always obtain permission from the owner.

A public wi-fi hotspot enables individuals to connect to wi-fi networks for free. Hotspots are often found in public places, including restaurants or coffee shops.

There are also many organizations that set up wi-fi hotspots, even though they frequently limit the usage of their network to certain conditions, including:

  • Restricting the locations and times from which the public internet may be accessed;
  • Limiting the amount of network bandwidth that a single individual is able to use;
  • Inappropriate online activity is prohibited, such as accessing or downloading illegal content; and
  • Requiring the user to remain within a specific area of the business premises.

There are also some businesses that require customers to visit their establishment prior to accessing the wi-fi network. It is important for an individual to seek the permission of the wi-fi owner prior to using their connection.

If an individual shares their wireless connection with a neighbor, it may be illegal. The language in an individual’s service contract with their internet provider will determine the legality of this issue.

The majority of wi-fi providers prohibit unsubscribed and non-paying users from sharing their networks. If this applies, an individual who is sharing their wi-fi with a neighbor who is not authorized to use the services may violate contract laws.

Wi-fi Internet service providers are able to detect excessive usage of a single account, which is typically created by illegal sharing. As a result, an individual’s wireless provider will be able to monitor an individual’s account and determine if they are in violation of the provider’s policies.

There are some wi-fi contracts that, on the other hand, actually encourage the shared use of a wi-fi connection. This will depend on the type of contract an individual has with their wireless provider.

In general, an individual who did not engage in illegal wi-fi activity should not be held liable for that activity. This also applies to the unauthorized use of wi-fi connections.

Law enforcement authorities should be equipped to trace the source of the illegal wi-fi activity in order to apprehend the individual who engaged in the activity. For example, if an individual’s neighbor hacks into a wi-fi account without their permission and then engages in illegal activity, the owner will not likely be held liable.

However, assume the responsible individual’s initial access was authorized, or the network was unsecured and did not have a password. In that case, it is possible that the network owner may face criminal charges .

As noted above, if an individual does not secure their network, they may be held accountable for someone else’s illegal use. In addition, if they provide the individual with permission to use their network, they may face liability.

For example, in 2011, an individual’s New York home was raided by law enforcement because they suspected that the individual inside was downloading child pornography . The resident, however, was not responsible for the activity.

Instead, the individual’s neighbor was responsible. Although the resident was found not guilty, they were still involved in the legal process because they did not protect their account with a password.

No, passwords are not required for wi-fi accounts. The law does not require an individual to password-protect their wi-fi accounts.

It is best, however, for individuals to have a secure Internet connection. Passwords are typically sufficient to deter an individual who is seeking to piggyback on another individual’s wi-fi account.

Courts have held that individuals who are using wi-fi accounts of other individuals do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy for their internet activity. This is especially true if the individual uses another’s account without their permission.

Law enforcement may lawfully monitor an individual’s internet activity while an individual is logged into:

  • A public connection;
  • Another individual’s wi-fi connection;
  • Wi-fi connections without permission.

The concept of a reasonable expectation of privacy is a central tenet of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. This expectation refers to the belief that certain activities, information, and spaces are private and should be protected from intrusion from the government.

The United States Supreme Court has held that an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy in places, including:

  • Their home;
  • Their person, including their body and clothing;
  • Their personal effects including bags or containers.

In addition, individuals may have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their:

  • Digital communications;
  • Banking records;
  • Medical records;
  • Other personal data.

Although cyber laws are still developing and being clarified, piggybacking may result in criminal penalties, which may include criminal fines or even a Class A misdemeanor . Before using any wireless connection, an individual should always get permission from the owner.

If you are facing criminal charges related to wi-fi connection issues, you should consult with a criminal lawyer immediately. Your attorney can advise you regarding the laws in your state governing wi-fi activities.

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internet illegal activities

An official website of the United States government

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Official websites use .gov A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS A lock ( Lock Locked padlock icon ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

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Report a crime

Find out who to contact to get immediate help in an emergency, file a police report, and report different types of crime.

What to do in an emergency

To report an emergency outside your area, you must contact the local law enforcement agency where the emergency is taking place. Search online for that local law enforcement agency’s website to find their 10-digit phone number.

How to file a police report or report crime anonymously

To file a police report, search online for the local law enforcement agency’s contact information where the crime occurred. 

Most local law enforcement agencies accept anonymous tips or crime reports online or by phone. To learn more, contact your local police department.

How to report a crime

Crimes involving children.

Child abuse and neglect:

  • Call 911 in an emergency.
  • Contact your state child protective agency .
  • Call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
  • Text 1-800-422-4453.
  • Report abuse through live chat.

Child pornography

  • File a report online at .
  • Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

International kidnapping

  • If your child is still in the U.S., call 911. And learn from the Department of State how to stop a child abduction in progress . 
  • Your local law enforcement
  • The Department of State Office of Children’s Issues

Human trafficking

  • File a report online at . 

Cyber crime or illegal website activity

  • Report internet crime to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) .
  • Contact your local FBI field office .
  • Call 1-888-373-7888.
  • Text HELP to 233733 (BEFREE).
  • Email [email protected] .
  • Chat live online through the Human Trafficking Hotline Web Chat .

Sexual assault

  • Connect with a counselor anonymously by calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673).
  • Talk to an advocate, and find resources in your state by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233).
  • Call 1-866-331-9474.
  • Text LOVEIS to 22522.
  • Chat live online .

Restraining orders

  • To file for a restraining order against someone, you must contact your local court system. Learn more about restraining orders from the National Domestic Violence Hotline , and call them at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) to find resources near you.
  • Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
  • Contact the National Center for Victims of Crime’s VictimConnect Resource Center at 1-855-4-VICTIM (1-855-484-2846) to find resources and understand your rights.

Hate crimes

  • Submit a tip online to the FBI.
  • Call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).

Bomb threat

  • Contact your building’s supervisor first.
  • If you cannot reach your building supervisor, call 911. 
  • If someone makes the bomb threat by phone
  • If you discover a suspicious item that you think may be a bomb

Organized crime

Whistleblower protection.

If you have experienced retaliation for reporting workplace violations, learn how to file a whistleblower complaint. You can do so through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) :

  • By mail and email
  • In person at a local or regional OSHA office

Report international crimes

To report an international crime, contact your local law enforcement agency. They may ask Interpol to help.

Interpol is an intergovernmental agency that helps national police agencies work together to solve international crimes. However, Interpol does not accept crime reports directly from the public.

LAST UPDATED: November 1, 2023

Don't Fall for These 7 VPN Myths

If you're considering getting a VPN, here's what you should know about some of the most common misconceptions.


The internet can be a really confusing place. As simple as it is to surf the web, it's the technology behind how it works that can sometimes be perplexing. And this technology changes quickly – often without warning. If you're not caught up, it's easy to get left behind.

So it would make sense that you may not know much about VPNs, or virtual private networks, which are pivotal to protecting your privacy online.

A VPN can provide you with a secure and private connection over the internet, by creating a virtual tunnel between your device and a remote server, so that your IP address is masked and your internet traffic is encrypted.

That's easy enough to understand, but how much do you really know about VPNs, and how they can protect you? Does a VPN make you completely anonymous? Does it protect you from viruses and malware? Is it really only for illegal activity?

In this story, we'll take a look at 7 common VPN myths you should know the truth about. Here's what you need to know. 


How much do you know about VPNs?

For more, check out how to set up a VPN on your iPhone and the best VPN options out there in 2023 .

Myth No. 1. VPNs are mostly for illegal activity

A VPN can definitely be used to aid in illegal activities, like downloading copyrighted material, but that's not its primary purpose. The primary use of a VPN is to enhance your online privacy, which is legitimate and legal. By encrypting your internet traffic, you actually protect yourself from cybercriminals or hackers or even prying governments.


Note that whether or not you are masking your traffic with a VPN, illegal activity is still illegal.

VPNs, as a service, are illegal in certain countries that have strict censorship laws, like North Korea and Iraq. In China and Russia, only government-approved VPNs are allowed.

Myth No. 2. VPNs make you completely anonymous

A VPN works by encrypting your internet traffic and masking your IP address, and while that makes it much more challenging for websites, advertisers and ISPs to track your online activities, it doesn't mean you're completely anonymous.

Whichever VPN you use, the company behind the service may have access to your real IP address and all the websites you visit, which means they could potentially trace all your activities back to you. This is why it's important to choose a reputable VPN provider that has a strict no-logs policy to ensure that they don't keep records of what you do online.

In addition, law enforcement or other legal authorities could potentially request data from a VPN provider for a criminal investigation, which could lead to your private information being disclosed unless your VPN service has a strict no-logs policy.

Complete anonymity isn't realistic or necessary, which is perfectly fine for most people who use VPNs to protect their privacy.


You won't always be completely anonymous, even with a VPN.

Myth No. 3. Free VPNs are just as good as paid VPNs

You may be inclined to skip out on another monthly paid subscription, but if you're adamant about getting a VPN for your privacy, think twice about using a free VPN.

Free VPNs typically don't have the same commitment to privacy as paid VPNs, because well, if you're not paying the VPN, the service still needs to find a way to make money. And that may include sharing your user data with third parties, which can compromise your privacy and security.

A free VPN may also have limited server options, and so you might experience slower speeds, especially during peak usage times. Paid VPNs are typically faster and provide more reliable connections, thanks to a larger number of servers in locations across the world.

If you decide to use a free VPN instead of a paid one, you may also not get much customer support, have to deal with bandwidth and data limits, get bombarded with advertisements and not have access to features you may need..

The only free VPN we recommend is  Proton VPN , because it has unlimited bandwidth and data.


ProtonVPN's paid subscription for $10 per month offers premium features, like a malware and ad blocker.

Myth No. 4. VPNs speed up your internet

Network latency is the time that it takes your online data to go from one place to the other. If you're using a VPN, your data goes through an encrypted tunnel, which is a private route to the internet via third-party servers.

Encryption takes time, and if VPN servers are far away from you, then your latency and speeds may be slower than you're used to when you're not using a VPN.

Still, even if a VPN does slow down your data speed, it may not be noticeable if you're simply surfing the web or performing other low-intensity tasks. If you're streaming or playing video games, you may notice lag, in which case you may want to connect to a VPN server near you or try other techniques to help improve your speeds.

The only exception is if your ISP is throttling your internet connection , in which case a VPN could actually speed up your connection.

Myth No. 5. VPNs can bypass any geo-restrictions

By using a VPN server in a different country than where you live, you can spoof your IP address and access content or services that are typically restricted to those that live in that region. For example, if you pay for a US-based streaming account, and you're traveling abroad, you may not be able to access that content, unless you use a VPN to change your IP address back to your home country.

However, this doesn't always work. Some websites and streaming services use VPN detection mechanisms that can recognize if you're using a VPN and block you from accessing any of their content unless you turn your VPN off.


Netflix may block you from watching if they detect that you're using a VPN.

Myth No. 6. VPNs are too complex to use

A VPN may sound complicated to use, but that's not always the case. VPN services provide user-friendly applications, available on your computer, phone and tablet, with intuitive interfaces and straightforward guides you can follow to quickly and easily enable set up your VPN.

Typically, after installing a VPN, it really only takes a few clicks or taps to create an account, select a server and connect to the VPN service. After you use your VPN for the first time, and configure your settings, you may only need to tap or click once to connect to the VPN from then on.

If the VPN offers it, you may have the option to allow the VPN to choose a server for you based on best connection speeds at the moment, and to automatically connect to the server as well, to ensure you're always protected without having to manually enable the VPN.

And paid VPNs typically come with customer support, in case you have any trouble. You may find FAQs, online guides, live chat or email support options to guide you through any issues.

Myth No. 7. VPNs protect against malware and viruses

VPNs may encrypt your data and mask your IP address, but that doesn't mean they are a one-stop-shop for all things privacy -- they're just a part of the equation. A VPN does provide indirect benefits related to cybersecurity, like securing your connection when you're on public Wi-Fi, but they do not replace antivirus, antimalware and password tools.

To protect your devices against viruses and malware, you need dedicated software that is specifically designed to identify and remove malicious software, so that your computer or phone is protected.

The best thing you can do to maintain comprehensive cybersecurity is to have both a VPN, for safeguarding your online privacy and security, and antivirus/antimalware software, to get rid of anything malicious on your device.


A VPN is not a substitute for antimalware software.

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Russian and Moldovan National Pleads Guilty to Operating Illegal Botnet Proxy Service that Infected Tens of Thousands of Internet-Connected Devices Around the World

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A Russian and Moldovan national pled guilty to three counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A) Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Computers.

The FBI today revealed US law enforcement’s dismantlement of a botnet proxy network and its infrastructure associated with the IPStorm malware.

According to online reports, the botnet infrastructure had infected Windows systems then further expanded to infect Linux, Mac, and Android devices, victimizing computers and other electronic devices around the world, including in Asia, Europe, North America and South America.   

In connection with the operation of that IPStorm malware and botnet proxy service, on September 18, 2023, Sergei Makinin, a Russian and Moldovan national, pled guilty to three counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A), knowingly causing the transmission of a program that intentionally caused damage without authorization to protected computers.  Each count of conviction carries a statutory maximum of ten years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

According to court documents, from at least June 2019 through December 2022, Makinin developed and deployed malicious software to hack thousands of Internet-connected devices around the world, including in Puerto Rico.  Makinin controlled these infected devices as part of an extensive botnet, which is a network of compromised devices.  The main purpose of the botnet was to turn infected devices into proxies as part of a for-profit scheme, which made access to these proxies available through Makinin’s websites, and  Through those websites, Makinin sold illegitimate access to the infected, controlled devices to customers seeking to hide their Internet activities. A single customer could pay hundreds of dollars a month to route traffic through thousands of infected computers.  Makinin’s publicly-accessible website advertised that he had over 23,000 “highly anonymous” proxies from all over the world.  Makinin acknowledged that he gained at least $550,000 from the scheme. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Makinin will forfeit cryptocurrency wallets linked to the offense.

“This investigation shows that we will use every lawful tool at our disposal to disrupt cybercriminals, regardless of their location,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow.  “This case serves as a warning that the reach of the law is long, and criminals anywhere who use computers to commit crimes may end up facing the consequences of their actions in places they did not anticipate.”

“It is no secret that in present times, much criminal activity is conducted or enabled through cybernetic means. Cybercriminals seek to remain anonymous and derive a sense of security because they hide behind keyboards, often thousands of miles away from their victims,” said Joseph González, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Juan Field Office. “The FBI’s cyber mission has been to impose risk and consequences on our adversaries, ensuring cyberspace is no safe space for criminal activity. This case is one example of how we are doing just that, and I’d like to thank the DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and the FBI San Juan Cyber Team for their meticulous and relentless work in this case.”

The scope of the law enforcement dismantlement was limited to disabling the defendant’s infrastructure and did not extend to the information of the owners and users of the computers.  The FBI emphasizes the importance of keeping computers updated with the latest security patches and operating systems.     

The case was investigated by the FBI San Juan Cyber Team, with cooperation from the FBI legal attaché office in Madrid in coordination with the Spanish National Police-Cyber Attack Group; and the FBI Legal Attaché office in Santo Domingo, in coordination with the Dominican National Police-Interpol and Dominican National Police-International Organized Crime Division, and Ministry of the Interior and Police-Immigration Directorate.  Valuable assistance was provided by the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (, including Bitdefender DRACO Team, Anomali Threat Research, and Intezer.  The NCFTA is an alliance of business and law enforcement working together to disrupt cybercrime.

The case was prosecuted by AUSA Jonathan Gottfried of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico and Senior Counsel Jane Lee and Jeff Pearlman of the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, with assistance from the Office of International Affairs.

Related Content

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On March 29, 2023, a grand jury charged Brian Luis Valentín-Ramos with five counts related to the possession, distribution and sale of child pornography; conspiring...

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – After a seven-day jury trial, Francisco Xavier Ortiz-Colón was found guilty of 19 counts, including nine counts of production of child pornography, eight counts of...

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On October 12, 2022, United States District Court Judge Silvia Carreño Coll sentenced Iván Santell-Velázquez to 13 months in prison and two years of supervised...

The Daily VPN

The Daily VPN

internet illegal activities

What is illegal activity in Internet?

What is the definition of illegal content online?

Illegal and restricted online content includes material that shows or encourages child sexual abuse, terrorism or other extreme violence. eSafety can direct an online service or platform to remove illegal content or ensure that restricted content can only be accessed by people who are 18 or older.

Can you get in trouble for looking at something on the Internet?

On that note, your internet searches alone typically will not get you in trouble with the police. It is perfectly legal to search anything online in most cases, but if those searches are linked to a crime or potential crime, you could get arrested.

What is an illegal activity?

Illegal activities are, of course, those that are forbidden by law. Illicit activities are considered improper or socially forbidden; they may or may not be illegal but they go against social norms and values.

What are illegal activities like?

The different types of illegal activities include crimes against people, such as murder, assault or slander; crimes against property, such as theft, vandalism or arson; and crimes of noncompliance, such as failing to pay taxes, driving faster than the speed limit or various “victimless” crimes.

Is it illegal to go on illegal websites?

For instance, you could visit a website that sells illegal drugs or offers illegal downloads of copyright material, but as long as you don't purchase or download anything, you're not committing a crime.

What happens when you watch and illegal website?

Ultimately, when accessing illegal websites, you are leaving yourself open to being hacked or having malware installed. Because of this, it is probably not a good idea to watch movies online for free.

Is linking to illegal content illegal?

The court ruled that in the interest of the freedom of speech and the freedom of press, linking of an editorial internet service to the illegal offer can be allowed, if the editorial content discusses the legality of such offers without making such content its own content (BGH para. 26).

Is it illegal to browse the dark web?

Is it legal? Using Tor or visiting the Dark Web are not unlawful in themselves. It is of course illegal to carry out illegal acts anonymously, such as accessing child abuse images, promoting terrorism, or selling illegal items such as weapons.

Does Internet track your searches?

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can see everything you do online. They can track things like which websites you visit, how long you spend on them, the content you watch, the device you're using, and your geographic location.

Does Google block illegal content?

We do not allow content that: is illegal, promotes illegal activity or infringes on the legal rights of others.

What are the main activities of computer crimes?

Crimes in which the computer is the target include the theft of intellectual property or marketing information, blackmail, or sabotage of operating systems and programs. In all of these crimes, the offender uses the computer to obtain information or to damage operating programs.

What is illegal activity or behavior that threatens computer security?

The most common cyber threats include: Hacking – including of social media and email passwords. Phishing – bogus emails asking for security information and personal details. Malicious software – including ransomware through which criminals hijack files and hold them to ransom.

What can inappropriate computer use cause?

Inappropriate computer use can cause muscle and joint pain, overuse injuries of the shoulder, arm, wrist or hand, and eyestrain. Children can experience particular physical and psychological problems if they play computer games too much.

What is an example of illegal activity?

Crime can involve violence, sex or drugs but also discrimination, road rage, undeclared work and burglary. Crime is any behaviour and any act, activity or event that is punishable by law.

What is another word for illegal activity?

On this page you'll find 77 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to illegal, such as: banned, criminal, illegitimate, illicit, irregular, and outlawed.

Is 123 movies illegal?

What legally has to be on a website.

In addition to data privacy policies, your website might need to meet the accessibility requirements of the ADA, as well as requirements regarding ecommerce, copyright, plagiarism, and anti-spam laws. Specific industries also have requirements for websites if they pertain to health, legal, and financial matters.

Do you need a VPN for illegal streaming?

Many VPN users will turn to a VPN to help remain anonymous so that they can effectively engage in illegal or legally gray area streaming activities. A VPN service will hide copyright infringement activities, but it won't protect users who are caught even after using a VPN service.

Is 123 movies safe?

Is 123Movies safe? The original 123Movies no longer exists, but its mirror sites can come with all sorts of dangers. These copies are owned by people who could potentially inject malware into the site or show you malicious ads.

What websites are banned in the US?

The US practices forceful seizures of domains and computers, at times without notification, causing the websites to be unable to continue operating. Some high-profile cases are Napster, WikiLeaks, The Pirate Bay, and MegaUpload.

What content can be used without permission?

Whether the content is text, drawings, graphics, photographs, or sound recordings, the rule is always that if it is in the public domain, you can use it freely and without permission.

What happens if you download illegal content?

§ 506(a) by the unauthorized reproduction or distribution, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phono records, or 1 or more copyrighted works, with a retail value of more than $2,500 can be imprisoned for up to 5 years and fined up to $250,000, or both. 18 U.S.C.

Is it illegal to use someone else's content?

How much of someone else's work can I use without getting permission? Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports.

Can the dark web harm you?

Risks of the Dark Web Visiting the dark web is like walking on eggshells; you must be careful accessing certain sections. Some risks include: Automatic download of unsolicited files when visiting certain websites. These unwanted files can cause harm as they may contain spyware and malware.

What illegal things are sold on dark web?

Illegal Uses of the Dark Web Given its anonymous nature, the dark web is also used for illicit and even illegal purposes. These include the buying and selling of illegal drugs, weapons, passwords, and stolen identities, as well as the trading of illegal pornography and other potentially harmful materials.


  1. What illegal things are you unwittingly doing on the internet?

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  2. Information Security Tips to Implement at minimal Cost

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  3. The UK’s political system is at risk of cyber attacks from terror

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  4. Leveraging Technology To Combat Illegal Content Online

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  5. Record labels ask broadband providers to collect data on illegal

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  6. What illegal things are you unwittingly doing on the internet?

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  1. How To Find Anything On The Dark Web

  2. Top 6 MIND BLOWING Dark Web Stories

  3. How The Dark Web Became The Platform For All Things Illegal

  4. TOR Hidden Services

  5. What Are True Costs And Benefits Of Illegal Immigration?

  6. How Hackers Remotely Control Any PC?!


  1. You might be breaking the law online and not even know it

    0:45 If you've ever uploaded a video to YouTube, you know how fast it will be flagged if there's even a hint of a copyrighted song playing in the background. If you're shaking your head, you're not...

  2. What illegal things are you unwittingly doing on the internet?

    11 Illegal Things You Unknowingly Do on the Internet While the internet can feel like the Wild West, many common laws still apply. Our shift to the online space has been kind of sudden, and some of us may have overlooked a few important rules. One could be an internet outlaw and not even know it.

  3. Illegal Internet Searches That Could Get You Arrested

    1. Child Pornography Viewing content where persons under the age of 17 engage in sexually explicit activities is considered a sex crime. However, even just searching for child pornography, even if not to view it, can potentially get you arrested. When you perform the search, terms remain in your browser history or cache.

  4. Cybercrime

    cybercrime, the use of a computer as an instrument to further illegal ends, such as committing fraud, trafficking in child pornography and intellectual property, stealing identities, or violating privacy.

  5. Cybercrime: Recognising and preventing malicious activities online

    Digital technologies have: introduced new modalities in the commission of illegal activities; amplified the reach of criminals, giving them almost limitless global access; obliged potential victims (citizens, companies, governments) to find new ways to protect themselves; and have even allowed for the emergence of new crimes.

  6. Cyber Crime

    The FBI's cyber strategy is to impose risk and consequences on cyber adversaries. Our goal is to change the behavior of criminals and nation-states who believe they can compromise U.S. networks ...

  7. Cybercrime

    Computer fraud that involves the use of the internet is also called internet fraud. The legal definition of computer fraud varies by jurisdiction, but typically involves accessing a computer without permission or authorization. ... The vendors, all of whom are involved in illegal activities, have no reason not to engage in exit scamming when ...

  8. Internet Law: The Regulation of Internet Crime


  9. Internet Crime Complaint Center(IC3)

    Internet crime includes any illegal activity involving one or more components of the Internet, such as websites, chat rooms, and/or email. Internet crime involves the use of the Internet to communicate false or fraudulent representations to consumers. These crimes may include, but are not limited to, advance-fee schemes, non-delivery of goods ...

  10. PDF Strategy and Efforts to Disrupt Illegal Dark Web

    web is also used to engage in illegal activities. Given the difficulty of enforcing the law on this global and largely anonymous platform, investigating illicit dark web activity is both a priority and challenge for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (Department). (U) Figure 1 (U) An Anatomy of the Internet

  11. Traffickers abusing online technology, UN crime prevention agency warns

    30 October 2021 Law and Crime Prevention Human traffickers who trick people with fake job offers and promises and then exploit them for profit, are taking advantage of online technologies for every...

  12. Are You Liable If Your Wi-Fi Is Used for Illegal Activity?

    Government Immigration Wills, Trusts & Estates Business and Commercial Law Tax At No Cost! What Is "Wi-Fi"? The term "Wi-Fi" means a router device that allows other devices to connect to the internet using wireless network technology. Examples of wi-fi capable gadgets include, but are not limited to: Personal computers; Laptops; Smartphones;

  13. Report a crime

    Cyber crime or illegal website activity Report internet crime to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Contact your local FBI field office. Human trafficking Call 911 in an emergency. Report a tip or find victim support by contacting the Human Trafficking Hotline: Call 1-888-373-7888. ...

  14. What is cybercrime? Definition from SearchSecurity

    Cybercrime, also called computer crime, is any illegal activity that involves a computer or network-connected device, such as a mobile phone. The Department of Justice divides cybercrime into three categories: crimes in which the computing device is the target, for example, to gain network access; crimes in which the computer is used as a ...

  15. Internet censorship in the United States

    RWB stated that the U.S. has "undermined confidence in the Internet and its own standards of security" and that " U.S. surveillance practices and decryption activities are a direct threat to investigative journalists, especially those who work with sensitive sources for whom confidentiality is paramount and who are already under pressure." [1]

  16. An Overview of Internet Content Blocking

    1. Attack the issue at the source: The least damaging approach for the Internet is to "attack" illegal content and activities at their source. Removing illegal content from its source, and undertaking enforcement against the perpetrators avoids the negative effects of blocking, and is more effective at removing illegal content. Cooperation ...

  17. Is the dark web illegal?

    The dark web itself is not illegal*. What's illegal is some of the activity that occurs on the dark web. There are sites, for instance, that sell illegal drugs and others that allow you buy firearms illegally. There are also sites that distribute child pornography. The dark web itself, though, is not illegal.

  18. Taking on the Dark Web: Law Enforcement Experts ID Investigative Needs

    The criminal side of the dark web relies on anonymizing technology and cryptocurrency to hide its trade in an assortment of contraband such as opioids and other drugs, bomb parts, weapons large and small, child pornography, social security numbers, body parts — even criminal acts for hire.

  19. 5 Illegal Uses of the Internet and How To Combat Them

    There are 5 common illegal activities: Hacking Harvesting Hypertext links and "deep linking" Framing Trade mark infringements and meta tags. 1. Hacking Hacking is the use of a person's computer skills to break into a computer system or website to create damage or steal information.

  20. Don't Fall for These 7 VPN Myths

    Myth No. 1. VPNs are mostly for illegal activity. A VPN can definitely be used to aid in illegal activities, like downloading copyrighted material, but that's not its primary purpose.

  21. Russian and Moldovan National Pleads Guilty to Operating Illegal Botnet

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A Russian and Moldovan national pled guilty to three counts of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A) Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Computers. The FBI today revealed US law enforcement's dismantlement of a botnet proxy network and its infrastructure associated with the IPStorm malware.

  22. What is illegal activity in Internet?

    Anything that is illegal offline is also illegal on the internet, including fraud, theft, gambling, drug trafficking, prostitution, and child pornography. Certain internet crimes, however, may only be committed online, and some people do not even realize they're engaging in illegal behavior.There are a wide range of illegal and harmful activities which occur on the...

  23. Illegal activities legal definition of Illegal activities

    n. a violation of a law in which there is injury to the public or a member of the public and a term in jail or prison, and/or a fine as possible penalties. There is some sentiment for excluding from the "crime" category crimes without victims, such as consensual acts, or violations in which only the perpetrator is hurt or involved such as ...

  24. Illegal Activities Definition

    Define Illegal Activities. means any of the following illegal activities or activities carried out for illegal purposes: tax evasion, tax fraud, fraud, corruption, coercion, collusion, obstruction, money laundering, financing of terrorism, organised crime or any illegal activity that may affect the financial interests of the EU, according to applicable laws.

  25. Illegal Activity Definition: 145 Samples

    Illegal Activity means an activity carried out which, under any written law in the Republic, amounts to a crime; Sample 1 Sample 2. Based on 5 documents. Illegal Activity means the manufacture, compounding, processing, preparation, sale, distribution, transferring, possession, storage, transportation, or concealment of illegal substances which ...