Introduction to the Computer Misuse Act (CMA)
Introduction to the Computer Misuse Act (CMA)

This course takes a look at the four main offenses under the Computer Misuse Act (CMA).


The CMA comprises 4 main offenses:

Unauthorized access to computer material. This is the lowest level of offence and is one that many of us might be guilty of at some stage in our lives. If someone found or guessed a password belonging to someone else then by looking at their files you are guilty of accessing materials without authorization. This offence carries the risk of being sentenced to six months in prison and/or a hefty fine.

Unauthorized Access with Intent to Commit a Crime. The difference here is that access is sought with the intent to commit a crime. Phishing emails where someone seeks to obtain bank details to steal money would be covered by this part of the act.

Unauthorized Modification of Computer Material. This offence relates to the deletion or changes made to files with the intent to cause damage to an individual or company. This offence also covers purposely introducing viruses to other peoples’ systems If you knowingly transmit a virus to others, you are guilty under this section of the Computer Misuse Act.

Making, Supplying or Obtaining Material

Making – This includes the writing or creation of computer viruses, worms, Trojans, malware, malicious scripts etc. Supplying – It is an offence to supply or distribute these files to others. Obtaining – If you purposely obtain malicious files then you have committed an offense under the Computer Misuse Act.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Mark was a Senior Investigating Officer working in Law Enforcement with over 31 years’ experience of working in the various government agencies including the National Crime Agency. He has handled numerous cases involving drug trafficking, money laundering, endangered species, fraud, tackling child abuse online, extortion, hacking, and various other computer crimes. Mark is an advanced mobile and digital Forensics practitioner. Mark has utilized his open-source intelligence skills to locate and identify individuals and criminal organizations online. Mark was one of the founding members of the elite team called the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, set up in 2001 to tackle online threats.