Cyber Crime in Texas Reaching a Boiling Point; Houston Criminal Attorney Discusses Recent Report Showing Major National and State Computer Crime Security Issues

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As technology grows at an exponential pace, the chances for being the victim of cyber crime are increasing every day. Matt Horak, Houston criminal defense attorney, analyzes recent data and discusses this increasingly worrisome issue.

Houston, with its regional dominance, growing business environment and tech savvy population, is a primary target for computer crimes.

Cyber crime has become a major issue throughout the United States as the proliferation of technology has made it easier to deceive and defraud individuals and businesses. Matt Horak, a Houston criminal lawyer, examines the recent data that rates Houston as one of the nation's hot spots for cyber crime.

"The exponential progress of the internet has been followed in lock step with those looking to profit from the manipulation of this technology," says Matt Horak. According to National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander, cyber attacks escalated 44 percent in 2011, while malware development grew by 60 percent. The NSA chief went on to say in mid-July that cyber attacks are causing the greatest transfer of wealth in history and that the global cost of cyber crime totals $1 trillion.

"The most important thing that we can do at this point is to improve security through legislation and research," Matt Horak observed. "Investing money in developing systems to halt these cyber attacks will save Texans millions, if not billions, of dollars a year that would have been lost otherwise."

Threatmetrix, a cyber crime prevention and solutions company, compiled a list earlier this year of the most vulnerable cities in the United States regarding computer crimes, and Texas had two cities with high rankings. Houston and Dallas were among the ten most problematic cities, and were named 8th and 6th respectively.

As those committing online fraud continue to become more precise in their craft, the most vulnerable areas will be large cities with international profiles. "Urban areas that have direct access to shipping, along with high rates of connectivity, will become the primary battlegrounds regarding cyber crime," says the Houston cyber crime lawyer. "Houston, considering its regional dominance, growing business environment and tech savvy population, has become a primary target for computer crimes. The city needs to respond in a timely and efficient manner when it comes to prevention."

Texas is beginning to understand that this is not a subject to take lightly. Not only is the protection of innocent individuals from cyber espionage becoming a primary concern, but the criminal consequences of taking part in cyber crime are becoming increasingly severe as well. The laws concerning Texas computer crimes are growing, with some of the basic offenses including knowingly accessing a computer, computer network or computer system without the consent of the owner; knowingly tampering with voting systems; or creating content using the persona of another.

On a nationwide level, as the technological infrastructure continues to grow more interconnected in the United States, an attack on one system can cause major issues to others, creating an unsafe environment for businesses and individuals alike. As further evidence for this new threat, General Keith Alexander also noted that the number of attacks on critical systems increased from nine in 2009 to more than 160 in 2011.

Partly in response to these alarming numbers, The Cyber Security Act of 2012 was introduced in the Senate recently. This bill would place minimum cyber security standards for critical infrastructure to protect essential and life-sustaining networks and systems from attack. "A federal bill, if written in a concise and focused manner, has the potential to streamline computer security procedures and allow for greater protection from highly sophisticated hackers who are looking to cause widespread disruption," states Matt Horak. Yet he still warns, "The future cyber security laws must be targeted, enforceable and evolutionary. A broad and reactive bill will only serve to encroach on the rights of individuals throughout this country, so a measured and studied approach to legislation is paramount."

Matt Horak of the law firm Matt Horak, Attorney at Law, PLLC is a Houston criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of various crimes, including those currently under investigation for theft and fraud offenses. This legal counsel extends throughout Harris County, Texas and surrounding areas in Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, Liberty County, Galveston County and Waller County.

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