Data Tampering Offences in Victoria

what constitutes data tampering in Victoria, how charges are laid, the court process, and potential penalties

Data tampering is a serious offence that involves unauthorized modification, deletion, or manipulation of data stored on a computer or network. In Victoria, Australia, data tampering offences are covered under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) and can result in significant penalties, including imprisonment.

What is Data Tampering?

Data tampering involves modifying, deleting, or manipulating data stored on a cyber-and-computer-offences or network without authorization. This could include altering financial records, modifying personal information, or deleting important documents. Under Section 247J of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), a person is guilty of an offence if they intentionally modify any computer data, knowing that they are not authorized to do so.

Charges and Court Process

Charges for data tampering offences in Victoria are laid under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). Once charges are laid, the accused will be required to appear in court to face the charges. The court process typically involves several stages, including a first appearance, a committal hearing, and a trial.

At the first appearance, the accused is formally charged and enters a plea of guilty or not guilty. If the accused pleads not guilty, the matter will proceed to a committal hearing, where the magistrate will decide if there is enough evidence for the matter to proceed to trial. If the matter proceeds to trial, the prosecution and defence will present their cases, and the judge or jury will deliver a verdict.

Penalties for data tampering offences

The penalties for data tampering offences in Victoria can be severe. Under the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), the maximum penalty for unauthorized modification of data is 10 years imprisonment. However, the actual penalty imposed will depend on several factors, including the nature and severity of the offence, the offender’s criminal history, and any other relevant circumstances.

Consequences for a data tampering offence 

In addition to the legal penalties, a conviction for a data tampering offence can have far-reaching consequences. Individuals may face reputational damage, loss of employment, and difficulties in obtaining future employment. Businesses may suffer financial losses, damage to their reputation, and loss of customer trust.

Preventing data tampering

Preventing data tampering is crucial for both individuals and businesses. Some key preventative measures include:

  1. Use Strong Passwords: Create strong, unique passwords for each online account and change them regularly.
  2. Keep Software Updated: Regularly update operating systems, applications, and antivirus software to protect against malware and other security threats.
  3. Implement Security Measures: For businesses, it is crucial to implement robust security measures, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular security audits.


Data tampering offences in Victoria carry severe penalties and can have far-reaching consequences for both individuals and businesses. It is crucial to be aware of the risks and to take proactive steps to prevent and protect against data tampering. If you believe you have been a victim of data tampering, or if you are facing charges for a data tampering offence, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.