Computer viruses and the law presented at Virus Bulletin 2002

by Meiring de Villiers (Stanford University),

Tags: Security


Summary : A transmittor of a computer virus can be prosecuted under criminal
law, or sued for monetary damages in civil court, depending on the
nature and circumstances of the incident. My presentation will outline
the principles governing legal exposure for perpetrators of virus
infection. The discussion will span a range of culpabilities, ranging
from outright destructive bahavior, such as intentional transmission
of harmful viruses by hackers, criminals and cyberterrorists, to
inadvertent transmission, e.g. through an infected e-mail attachment
of which the transmittor is unaware. The most culpable perpetrators
will likely be prosecuted criminally, while inadvertent transmittors
may be sued in civil court. I intend to discuss the applicable
criminal and civil legal theories and principles, in a computer virus
context, including when and how an unintentional transmittor can
immunize him or herself from legal liability.