Computer hacking is a criminal offence in Western Australia. Hacking is when an offender uses a restricted access computer without the consent of the computer's controller.

For hacking to become an offence, some form of restriction must be present on the computer to prevent any person other than the computer's lawful controller from accessing the data on it. This restriction is often a user name and password access.

If no restrictions are present, then no criminal offence of computer hacking has taken place, in Western Australia.

A firewall is an important security mechanism that should be installed on your computer to prevent unauthorised access to it. Some computer packages come with the firewall software already installed within the computer however this is not always the case. Firewall software can be purchased at most major computer/software retailers.

A computer that is connected to the Internet without a firewall is analogous to leaving your home without closing your back door.

Once access has been gained to your computer, an offender can monitor everything that you do on your computer and also control everything that enters or leaves your computer. The offender has full access to your Internet account and can use it to download data, or send emails from your computer that appears to have been sent by you. Without a firewall in place, there generally will be no evidence available for law enforcement agencies to identify the offender.

Note: If you believe that you may have been a victim of hacking please go to the reporting technology crime.

SUPPORT: For assistance and counselling services please go to ScamNet - Help for Victims. If you need to speak to someone urgently call Lifeline on 13 11 14.