Cyber Crime and Digital Forensics
Identifying Cyber threats quickly, and responding to them before serious damage is caused, is at the heart of an effective anti-Cyber Crime and Digital Forensics process. Not all companies can do this themselves, so having access to the experts and tools that can do this without compromising the forensic integrity of the evidence criminals may have left behind, is a critical partnership to forge.
The threat of cybercrime is an ever-present reality for most businesses and for many a daily battle of wits between teams of infrastructure, cybercrime and digital forensics experts, computer security specialists and the hackers and fraudsters so intent of gaining access and exploiting the data they retrieve. Data and information is, to criminals at least, a form of tradable currency that in their world makes companies with access to this data and information, a legitimate target for attack.
Tip of the iceberg
Even though reports of major hacking, fraud and data breaches do make the news at what seems an ever-increasing rate, most don’t. The ones we hear about are just the tip of a seriously large iceberg and are typically centered on large government departments, health services, institutions, and large brands. For the companies involved, information of that nature leaking out can represent the potential for even greater damage, through reputational loss and lost consumer trust. Even if the perpetrators can be tracked down, open litigation is a last resort.
Where incidents are as a result of ‘insider’ activity, effective digital forensics can assist in crime detection and successfully tracking down the perpetrators, launching internal disciplinary action, and with the overall goal of mitigation and process improvement.
The complexity of interconnectedness in business systems, the employees that use them and the customers they serve, is only increasing. Sensitive data is stored well beyond the traditional limits of the desktop computer or corporate data systems, and these still represent major weak points. Customer data can still end up stored on mobile phones, the mobile applications companies develop, card-based systems, wireless payments, door access, GPS, and security surveillance. The ‘internet of things’, representing the growth in increased interconnectedness and intelligence in remote devices, such as environmental controls and sensing devices, will further change the security paradigm.
Complexity breeds opportunity
This is a double-edged sword for all concerned. Particularly though for criminals. As complexity increases, so might opportunity, but also risk of detection. It’s getting harder for criminals not to leave some trace of their activities behind. The real issue though is still the process and ‘willingness’ to bring them to justice. Privacy laws still work in favor of the criminals too, making data essential to conviction, or even just pointing the way, unavailable to law enforcement or investigative organizations.
Organisations and businesses must constantly evaluate security processes ensuring that they are agile, resilient, thought through, well tested and rehearsed.
While litigation may not be at the forefront of thinking where cybercrime is concerned, identifying attack vectors and methods, uncovering evidence and preserving the forensic integrity of data, should be. The ability to detect and respond, prevent and protect, relies on this.
Even the most diligent organisations need to respond as ironically those with the highest levels of security represent those most likely to be attacked as they represent the greatest potential reward.
As security around traditionally weak systems improves, hackers and fraudsters are turning their attention to more underexploited means. In their goal of extorting or stealing money and information out of victims, criminals are exploring means to exploit third party systems in attempts to appear as somebody or some entity that they are not. Increasingly today, criminals are attacking lower-level computing systems, such as those found in smaller businesses. Often this can result in a criminal taking over a business website, without the owner really knowing; essentially, they are stealing the firm’s web resources and turning them into robots for their own use, or exploiting the trust the user base has with that firm.
Speed, preservation and protection
Dealing with cyber threats and breaches has become increasingly challenging, as threats multiply in both volume and method, companies must be prepared to identify threats and leverage available intelligence quickly. Companies must be prepared and vigilant, most of all, they need to cooperate and collaborate with other companies in their industry and with specialist security firms such as Blackhawk Intelligence.
Digital evidence can be critical to managing and understanding the impact of specific company processes on business risk. It’s also invaluable in supporting litigation, particularly in helping the company defend and protect against litigation from external parties, as it can support the company’s own position in maintaining due diligence and good process through any transactions under scrutiny.
As with any forensic investigation, speed and accuracy is of paramount importance. It’s the most important first step if a cyber breach is detected as it increases the chances of a forensic data specialist retrieving useful data. Having a response plan in place to protect the forensic integrity of data when a threat is uncovered is critical to this. At the heart of this is being able to call on a trusted cybercrime specialist partner like Blackhawk Intelligence.
Forensic Digital Investigations – How Blackhawk Assists
The Blackhawk cyber threat team is here to respond to a growing number and variety of cyber-attacks and data theft.
The types of attack Blackhawk Intelligence investigates includes:
- Extortion, fraud and phishing attempts
- Hacking operations
- Illicit distribution
- Insider activity
- Network attack inc denial of service
- Network intrusion
- Unauthorized access
Impact investigation and analysis
Actual attacks need to be dealt with swiftly, but understanding the damage caused, their route cause and putting in place improved, pro-active processes to help prevent or mitigate such occurrences in the future is critical to a company’s future viability and reputation preservation.
Blackhawk are experts in investigating and advising on:
- Data leaks – stolen or leaked personal or company business/ customer information
- Intercepted communications – data intercepted and used for purposes other than those intended; includes counter electronic surveillance, eavesdropping and intercepted emails.
- Deliberate data destruction or tampering – recovering delete files and file structure comparison
- Reputation damage assessment – assessing the impact on hijacked accounts, slander and misinformation on reputation
- Fraud – whether through identity theft of corruption of process by employees of external agents.
- Online vandalism – hijacking websites, social media properties for the purpose of defacing, adding or removing content for malicious or other reasons.
Fully understanding how cybercriminals achieve their goals can help you understand how you can implement processes to help thwart them or stop them altogether. Here is some additional information to help in the education process.
Trust the digital forensics and cybercrime experts, Blackhawk Intelligence
Blackhawk Intelligence makes a natural choice for organisations intent on reducing cybercrime and who realise that to effectively combat such incidents requires the resources of specialist investigators and digital forensics data analysts to assist in implementing processes for prevention, protection, detection and response.
Call our team of digital forensics experts and specialist cybercrime investigators today on +44 (0)20 8108 9317