Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower Michigan.

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Installing backdoor malware is a punishable offense

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Malware is a broad term used to describe the various types of intrusive software hackers and other cyber criminals use to steal data from, damage or disable the computers of others.

One of the most dangerous types of malware is the backdoor. Backdoor malware exploit the vulnerable components of a web application to allow hackers to remotely issue commands to the affected computer system or even launch additional malware attacks.

In Michigan, it’s a crime to use backdoor malware. Years of prison time and heavy fines await those convicted.

Backdoor malware is prohibited conduct

Per state law, it’s illegal for anyone to insert or create the opportunity for the insertion of a set of instructions or a computer program into a computer, system or network, with the intent to acquire, alter, damage, delete, disrupt or utilize the services of the affected computer without permission. The offense is a felony.

This definition is broad, covering not just backdoor malware but also any exploitation of a zero-day vulnerability. A zero-day vulnerability is a security hole in a computer program or system that its developers may have missed, which hackers could abuse.

Penalties for using backdoor exploits

If a court convicts a person of using backdoor malware or exploits, the person faces up to five years of imprisonment and $10,000 in fines. However, if the person has a prior conviction, the penalties increase to up to 10 years of prison and $50,000 in fines.

Backdoors may not be the most destructive of malware on their own, but they can enable worse cybercrimes as hackers use them to avoid dealing with security measures. If you face charges for using backdoors, consider your legal options by consulting with an attorney. A conviction for using backdoors, even if no theft or destruction of data occurred, can lead to prison time and fines.