By now, we’re all aware of last week’s crisis that caused people to hurry to the pumps and fill up on gas. If not, here’s the news: a hacker group launched a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, a company that operates pipelines for gasoline, causing shortages of gas and panic buying on the east coast. Most likely, any criminal action against the group will happen at the federal level, but this post highlights relevant North Carolina laws that could apply if this or any similar acts are prosecuted within this jurisdiction.
Suppose that law enforcement becomes aware of criminal activity taking place through a website, like the distribution of child pornography or the sale of illegal drugs. Can officers use computer hacking techniques and malware to identify users who accessed the website? Would the officers need a search warrant to do that? What kind of a search warrant? This post tackles those questions.