The Counterfeit Access Device and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is a piece of federal legislation that focuses directly on computer abuses. It criminalizes various computer-related activities such as accessing without permission a computer system belonging to a bank or the federal government, or using that access to improperly obtains anything of value. It was enacted on October 12, 1984 and provides federal prosecutors with a specific crime titled, "Fraud and related activity in connection with computers" to prosecute criminal computer activity. Prior to the act's passage in 1984, federal prosecutors had no specific legislation to prosecute computer crimes. The Act is codified in title 18, section 1030 of the United States Code.
When initially passed in 1984, the Counterfeit Access Device and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act permitted prosecution of three forms of computer activity. It focused primarily on computer use related to:
1. Improper accessing of government information protected for national defense or foreign relations,
2. improper accessing of certain financial information from financial institutions, and
3. improper accessing of information on a government computer.
The Act was amended several times after its enactment.