IT Criminal Law

IT Criminal Law

Lawyer for IT Criminal Law and Cybercrime

IT criminal law deals with criminal offences in the digital space. The terms "cybercrime" and "computer crime" are used to describe various criminal offences in which either IT systems are the target of the attacks (e.g. hacking) or the offence is (merely) committed using IT as a means of committing the offence (e.g. internet fraud). We specialise in this area of law and can advise and represent you in all matters relating to IT criminal law.
Spezialisierter Rechtsanwalt für IT-Strafrecht und Cyberkriminalität: Wir vertreten Sie in Cybercrime-Fällen in ganz Österreich

Typical cases in IT Criminal Law

IT criminal law covers a wide range of offences that have a connection to information technology and often a connection to the internet. Typical case constellations include, for example

  • Hacker attacks and unlawful use to a computer system (Section 118a StGB)
  • Disrupting the operation of a computer system (Sec 126b StGB)
  • Misuse of computer programs or login data (Sec 126c StGB)
  • Data damage and data theft (Section 126a StGB)
  • Online fraud and phishing (Sec 146 StGB and Sec 147 StGB)
  • Social engineering attacks and CEO fraud
  • Forgery of data (Sec 225a StGB)
  • Improper interception of data (Sec 119a StGB)
  • Espionage of trade or business secrets (Sec 123 StGB)
  • Spread of malware such as viruses and ransomware
  • Defamation and credit damage on the internet (Sec 111 StGB and Sec 152 StGB)
  • Misuse of personal data and identity theft
  • Criminal law issues in connection with Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Our expertise in Cybercrime

Attorney for IT criminal law, Dr. Elias Schönborn has many years of defense and consulting experience in the field of cybercrime. In the course of Criminal Defense, he defends clients nationwide against criminal accusations in the field of IT criminal law or assists them as an injured company to enforce their rights in criminal proceedings as a Private Party or in Civil Proceedings. If necessary, we can draw on our extensive network of highly specialised IT forensic specialists and crisis communications experts.

Criminal law and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) not only makes countless processes much more efficient, but can also be used as a tool for criminal offences in the area of cybercrime or in the preparation and follow-up of crimes. At the same time, AI enables new ways to investigate criminal activities. As a modern law firm, we keep a very close eye on developments in the rapidly evolving field of Artificial Intelligence in order to provide the best possible advice in the area of cybercrime.

Leading publications on IT Criminal Law

Our criminal law expertise in the field of cybercrime is documented by numerous specialist publications (see most recently Schönborn/Steinhofer, chapter “Involvement of the police” and “Criminal Law Permissibility of ransom payments” in Anderl (ed.), Cybercrime, 2023). For the criminal procedural publication in the field of IT criminal law on the topic „Can law enforcement authorities force suspects to (biometrically) decrypt end devices?“ (“Dürfen Strafverfolgungsbehörden Beschuldigte zur (biometrischen) Entschlüsselung von Endgeräten zwingen?”), Dr. Schönborn and Univ.-Ass. Mag. Leo Seidl were awarded the Juristische Blätter promotional prize by the Austrian publishing house Verlag Österreich in 2022.

If you are facing legal challenges in the IT sector and need competent advice from an experienced lawyer in IT criminal law, please do not hesitate to contact us.


  • 1. What is cybercrime and IT criminal law?

    Cybercrime is defined as any criminal act that is committed with the assistance of computers, networks or other forms of information technology. The field of IT criminal law covers this phenomenon under the umbrella of substantive law and also relates to the prosecution of cybercrime.
    Due to the internet and the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into the fabric of modern society, cybercrime has become an increasing threat to states and companies. In order to provide optimal protection, it is essential to adapt to the rapid technological advancements.
  • 2. What are the penalties for violations of IT criminal law?

    In Austria, violations of IT criminal law are mainly regulated by the Criminal Code (StGB). As a result, penalties for cybercrime can include imprisonment or fines, which can vary considerably depending on the offence charged, the seriousness of the offence, and the circumstances of the individual case. Such penalties may include lesser fines, conditionally suspended prison sentences, or unconditional prison sentences of several years.
  • 3. In which cases does it make sense to consult a lawyer specialising in IT criminal law or cybercrime?

    If you are accused of a cybercrime, it is recommended to consult a lawyer for IT criminal law as soon as possible. In addition to legal expertise, it is advantageous for the lawyer to possess a working knowledge of the technical aspects of the accusation, as this enables the development of an optimal defense strategy.
    Even if you have been the victim of cybercrime yourself, it can be beneficial to consult a lawyer for IT criminal law. They can help you to assert your claims for damages and enforce your rights, for instance in the context of the private participation in criminal proceedings or by initiating a civil action.
  • 4. How can companies respond appropriately to cybercrime attacks?

    The question of whether a company will fall victim to a cybercrime attack is not one of "if", but rather one of "when". Consequently, companies should proactively prepare for cybercrime attacks so that they can counter them at an early stage and defend against them in a professional manner. Robust IT security measures, including firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection systems and regular security audits can mitigate the risk of potential attacks at an early stage and, ideally, prevent cybercrime attacks altogether. In addition, employee awareness training should be conducted on a regular basis in order to reduce the risk of the primary cause of cyber security breaches, namely human error.
  • 5. What are the special features of criminal defense in IT criminal law?

    The field of IT criminal law is a relatively new legal area with constant evolution. Criminal defense lawyers for cybercrime and IT criminal law must therefore regularly deal with the latest developments in the field of cybercrime. Moreover, IT criminal law requires a deep understanding of the underlying technologies and the increasingly complex legal aspects.
    Another distinctive feature of criminal defense lawyers for cybercrime is the often complex presentation of evidence, which frequently requires the evaluation of extensive digital evidence and forensic data. A criminal defense lawyer with expertise in cybercrime and IT criminal law is able to identify deficiencies in the prosecution's evidence and present counterarguments proactively, thereby ensuring an effective defense.

Do you need legal support in the area of IT Criminal Law and cybercrime?

Contact us.