Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Digital Crime in Brazil

Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


As a huge target for digital crime, the Brazilian Government decided to enforce the law regarding these practices. This article presents how these crimes occur in Brazil and how the government is fighting against them.

Digital crime or cyber-attack are criminal practices held through electronic channels, like internet for example. Crimes of this nature utilize such technologies to illegal ends, such as theft, blackmail, defamation, calumny and violations of fundamental human rights.

Brazil: Target for Hackers

A report of RSA, the security division of EMC, shows Brazil as one of the largest digital crime victims. According to the data, the country was ranked in fourth position as having the largest number of companies hit by cyber-attacks, gaining worldwide prominence particularly with phishing.

In 2013 January, 30,151 digital attacks were registered in the world; the number is almost 2% higher than the quantity of attacks registered in December of the previous.The United States was placed in first place of the ranking, followed by United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and France occupied the third position, while Brazil and Italy were classified in fourth.

Common Digital Crimes

The report also mentioned the most usual digital crimes performed in Brazil:

  • To avoid the security filters of email, the phisher dominates a web page, and when it's accessed by the user he's redirected to another a malicious web page. After the phisher sends by email the original URL, but with fake and infected content.
  • Friday is the day of the week that phishers often send email to company employees with malicious links. The reason is that on this day, people often are less alert and are more likely to follow a link sent.
  • Another type of cyber-attack is typo squatting, in this cases the phisher tries to deceive the user with a similar link to the real one. The similar link has letters exchanged – for example: could be – and the page even look like the original, but has malicious code.
  • In water-holding, the phisher instals malicious codes in web pages usually accessed by the public target of the attack.

New Brazilian Legislation

Digital crimes can cause personal and corporate damages. In Brazil, the leakage of naked pictures of Carolina Dieckmann – a Brazilian actress – had national repercussions. The photos posted on internet were the consequence of a hacker invasion of her personal computer.

The crime led to a new legal project sanctioned by President Dilma Rouseff that entered in force in 2013. The Law 12.737, popular known as Law Carolina Dieckmann, it's the first legislation of the Brazilian Penal Code to comprise specific articles typifying crimes committed through electronic and internet means. It also criminalizes the illegal access to other digital equipments, such as smartphones and tablets.

Digital Crime Definitions

The Carolina Diekmann's Law defines digital crime as:

  • Invasion of any computer or digital equipment, connected or not to the internet, not depending of which security barrier that invasion has exceeded, with the objective to obtain, adulterate or destroy data and information without authorization.
  • Cloning or falsification of credit and debit cards, since they are considered personal documents.
  • Act to bring down or invade sites that may interfere or cause damage to essential public services.

Are also considered a criminal those who reproduce, offer, distribute, publish on the internet, sell or disseminate photos, card passwords, confidential information, malicious programs and commercial secrets aiming to obtain advantages.

Penalties for Digital Crimes

The penalties for crimes of this nature can vary from three months of detention to two years imprisonment, and also includes fine payment. If there's illegal access and obtaining and destruction of data, the penalties to the guilty may vary to three months to one year imprisonment, with the possibility to be converted into community work. In both case the payment of fine is mandatory.

In the case of crime result in obtaining private electronic communications content, commercial or industrial secrets, confidential information or unauthorized remote control of the device invaded, the penalty can grow to six months or to two years imprisonment. If the attacks were made against public officials, such as the president, governors and mayors, the penalty may increase.