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  • Writer's pictureSam Kuhn


In Queensland, it is a criminal offence to use a restricted computer without consent.

It is easy to assume that ‘hacking’ a computer is an act conducted from a remote location, requiring an intimate understanding of cyber-security.

However, in the eyes of the law, the crime of computer hacking and misuse can be attributed to the contrastingly ‘simple’ conduct of using a restricted computer to view private work files without consent.

Accessing restricted computers

First, what is a restricted computer?

According to the Criminal Code section 408E, a restricted computer means one that has a certain “device, code or a particular sequence of electronic impulses” that are necessary to gain access to it.

Therefore, bypassing digital security measures to use a computer that does not belong to you means to have accessed a restricted computer.

This act alone commits an offence, however, if the means of access was to retrieve information or cause damage – the consequences become higher.

What are the consequences?

The severity of the penalties will vary depending on the offence at hand. Generally speaking, there are three possible offence levels and charges when it comes to ‘computer hacking and misuse’ as stated in sections 408E of the Criminal Code Queensland.

The first;

(1) A person who uses a restricted computer without the consent of the computer’s controller.

The second;

(2) If the person causes or intends to cause detriment or damage, or gains or intends to gain a benefit.

And the third;

(3) If the person causes a detriment or damage or obtains a benefit for any person to the value of more than $5,000, or intends to commit an indictable offence.

The Maximum penalty for section (1) will be 2 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for section (2) will be 5 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for section (3) will be 10 years imprisonment.

Have you been faced with a Computer Hacking and Misuse charge? Let us help you.

You must receive the best legal support possible to put you in an optimal position for success.

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No one’s ever ‘ready’ to face the courts on their own. No matter where you are in life, whether you know the Queensland courts or not, going it alone or with improper legal representation is never advised.

We urge you to seek guidance from our professional and results-driven team of legal experts. We do what other lawyers do not; getting you the results you need, treating you like one of our own, and allowing you to rest easy while we fight for you, no matter the case.

Find out more about our Crime and Misconduct team:

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