He SPIED on his girlfriend via WhatsApp …and that’s a Cybercrime

FEATURE

BY KELESHIA POWELL Online Coordinator keleshiap@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, March 20, 2017

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You might be familiar with the phrase "curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought him back".


Curiosity is human nature, a trait that contributes to our learning process. But for many, it is also a trait that can cause them to push too far as they seek to quench their thirst for the unknown.


This is what led one inquisitive man to hack his girlfriend’s
WhatsApp and had him skirting with issues of Cybercrime.


He was overheard at a bar one evening telling his friends how he had accessed her account and was able to view the messages she sent. At one point in fact, he was showing his friends images he said were taken from her phone and screenshots of her conversations.


Whether or not he was telling the truth, it seems he was totally unaware that such actions were breaches of the Cybercrimes Act, 2015.


Section 3 of the Act makes it a crime for somebody to knowingly obtain data from any programme or computer without authorised access.


The definition of computer under the Act is wide, and includes mobile devices such as cellphones, which can be used to commit crimes electronically.


The provision under Section 3 of the Act, though not yet interpreted by the courts, could include hacking as well as physically going onto a computer and removing documents to which a person is not authorised.


The mental element of the offence requires the person to know that they are not authorised to access the data, however, they do not need to know exactly what they intend to access.


In the parish court, a person who commits a crime, or attempts to commit a crime, under this section can be sentenced to a fine of $3 million, three years’ imprisonment, or both. The fine can go up to $4 million, and imprisonment may be increased to four years if the person causes damage by their committal of the offence.


Repeat offenders will be liable to pay up to $5 million, five years’ imprisonment, or both whether or not they cause damage.


If the person is tried on indictment in the Supreme or Circuit Court, however, the sentences can range from a fine and up to seven years’ imprisonment, a fine and up to 10 years’ imprisonment with damage, and a fine and up to 15 years’ imprisonment for second offences.


In order for someone to hack Whatsapp, they would need access to your device. Intercepting messages is usually done through third party apps, rooting your device and/or copying your phone’s MAC address.



DigIT will not detail how the hacking is done but if you believe your WhatsApp account has been cloned, one step you could take is to go through your installed apps and delete strange, unused apps.


You could also delete then reinstall WhatsApp or do a complete reset of your device. Also, be sure that your smartphone is not logged in to WhatsApp web without your knowledge. However, if you use the web version then open the app on your smartphone and check your list of last used clients. If you don’t recognise the clients then tap on ‘log out of all computers’.


For your protection, be sure to research other ways to protect your smartphone and apps from snoopers.

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