Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law

Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law


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Is disclosing a business’ computer password a punishable offense?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2023 | Criminal Defense

When you think of cyberattacks, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? You might imagine a group of hackers accessing a major company’s servers by exploiting a backdoor in their systems or by launching malware.

However, the truth is that most cyberattacks and data breaches are often the result of social engineering and compromised passwords. No matter how advanced an organization’s cybersecurity systems are, its employees are still people vulnerable to deception.

But sometimes, there are occasions when an employee willingly discloses their company’s passwords for outsiders to exploit. Whether it’s for revenge or because the employee is part of an inside job scheme, disclosing passwords is a crime in Arkansas.

Computer password disclosure as an offense

Per state law, a person commits the offense of computer password disclosure if they deliberately and without authorization disclose a number, code, password or other means of access to a computer or network.

The offense is typically a Class A misdemeanor, but it can become a Class D felony if the offense was committed to help launch a scheme to defraud or illegally obtain property from the owner of the compromised password.

The penalties for computer password disclosure

If a person is convicted of computer password disclosure as a Class A misdemeanor, they face up to a year in jail and $2,500 in fines.

However, if a court convicts them of computer password disclosure as a Class D felony instead, the penalty becomes up to six years of prison and $10,000 in fines.

Disclosing a password might not sound like much of a crime, but it’s an offense that can lead to greater violations such as unlawful access, identity theft, computer fraud, and so on. If a disclosure offense leads to a felony conviction, years of imprisonment and tens of thousands of dollars in fines await the convicted.