Awareness of corporate cyber crime has significantly increased in recent years but, for all the media attention on the highest profile cases, it can be difficult to develop an understanding of the best approach to protecting your own business. Installing the latest security software, and training staff in data protection are both legitimate internal defensive policies, but a more expert strategy is often needed.
Though the criminal element of ‘cyber crime’ immediately calls to mind the need for calling in law enforcement officials, the involvement of a reputable Private Investigator can greatly improve the chance of a positive and satisfactory resolution when your organisation finds itself under digital attack. This is because your call to law enforcement necessarily happens after the event. Private Investigation, by contrast, can be an integral part of a more pro-active approach for your organisation.
Knowing what to look for
The overall impact of cyber crime on business has the potential to be far more complex than it may at first seem. The repercussions can go much further than the loss of data or intellectual property. While private individuals must always guard against attempts at ‘phishing’ through fake emails asking for personal information, commercial organisations have much bigger considerations.
As a business, you have a legal responsibility to your employees and customers to protect their data, and this is a part of the regulatory guidelines you are required to meet. It means you should be guarding against both external and internal data theft, along with ‘accidental’ data leakage. Additionally, the threat of hacking, or the shutting down of your digital systems is a constant issue for business operating in today’s market.
Perhaps most insidious is the potential for ransomware attacks on your systems. These are among the most difficult of cyber crimes to deal with, because they involve the installation of well-hidden malware through deceptive means or links, followed by criminal threats that amount to blackmail. The attack can include different types of threat. For example, the ransomware could encrypt your files, preventing your business from accessing them until a set fee is paid. Alternatively, depending on the nature of your organisation, its activities, and the status of its intellectual property, a ransomware attack could prepare to release your data into the public sphere unless financial demands are met.
Each of these types of cyber crime has the potential to wreak havoc throughout your business, halt your operations, and have a resounding negative impact on your bottom line – not just for the duration of the attack and in the immediate aftermath, but for many months after normal function has been restored. Internally, there are digital repairs to be made, and possibly issues of trust or misconduct to address with staff. Externally, it can take a considerable amount of work to get your business back to the position it had once achieved in the marketplace.
Reputational damage is major concern for any company, regardless of the nature of the digital attack. The process of recovering from this can often take considerably longer than the task of boosting defences in the aftermath of the crime. While in-house teams of IT personnel can get your business functioning again, it takes a different set of skills and technology to properly investigate the source, and gather the necessary the evidence.
Evidence gathering: The case for hiring a Private Investigator
Evidence gathering is a key element in your response to corporate cyber crime, because it can potentially answer four important questions:
Determining the nature of the attack, and the type of damage that was done, provides a great deal of information that can help identify the culprit(s), as well as helping in the recovery efforts of your business. Going forward, it provides invaluable opportunities to learn about the particular vulnerabilities of your operation which, in turn, helps you strengthen your defences against such incidents happening again.
The establishment of an accurate timeline of the attack is vital, in order to collate an thorough body of evidence, and also to institute effective damage control. Data flow through any business is constantly fluctuating so, in order to know exactly what data has been targeted or lost, it is important to know the timeframe in which the attack occurred. This particular information can sometimes reveal that the initial breach happened long before it was first noticed, and this, in turn, can help identify the source.
In order to know the extent of the damage or threat, it must first be determined which areas of your business have been most affected. This can provide a considerable amount of intelligence regarding the motives and ultimate goal of the person or group responsible. It also helps determine the steps required to contain and repair the damage done to commercial operations, as well as your relationships with customers, employees, and suppliers.
Accountability and responsibility is important for a swift resolution to a cyber crime situation. It is vital to rule out the involvement of any in-house personnel, but it is just as essential to identify the actions of any internal parties that may have inadvertently increased the vulnerability of your operation. Ultimately, the identity of the culprit should be confirmed with legitimate evidence, so next steps can be determined.
These are the questions that Private Investigators can help you answer, with the utmost discretion and by carrying out carefully planned, covert operations. This approach ensures that reputational damage is limited, and that you are provided with comprehensive, accurate evidence for any future legal proceedings that may occur. Such legal actions can be in pursuit of prosecution against cyber criminals, or they could be in defence of your company policies and procedures surrounding cyber security. In some cases, both types of legal action may result from a cyber attack on your business. Evidence gathered by Private Investigators can also prove vital when it comes to dealing with your insurance provider after a cyber crime has been committed.
What techniques do Private Investigators use to deal with cyber crime?
Qualified and experienced Private Investigators have a number of strategies ready to deploy in order to put you control of a corporate cyber crime situation that is affecting your business. With electronic surveillance, Private Investigators can legally access corporate phone call records and computer activity – including checking email accounts and the online activity of employees within your business environment, and on your equipment. Counter surveillance methodologies can also be used to identify cyber hacks or breaches. These strategies are made possible by cutting edge technology, in which Private Investigators strive to remain trained and up to date.
Once these surveillance and digital investigation techniques have yielded results, all evidence is prepared and provided to you as the client. This evidence is presented without fear or favour, and in a format that is admissible in legal proceedings. It is vital, at this point, to review the evidence in such a way as to inform decision pathways regarding recovery from the current attack, and also to work toward preventing such incidents in the future.
Unlike law enforcement officials, it is not necessary to wait until your business has been the target of cyber crime to engage the services of a Private Investigator. In addition to gathering evidence after an incident of cyber crime has occurred, these skilled professionals are also able to mount covert operations specifically designed to find the existing vulnerabilities in your data protection. Such information is invaluable in preventing incidents of data theft and even in the prevention of ransomware attacks. These types of investigations allow you to fortify your operation, without the lasting reputational damage that often accompanies a real cyber crime.
Hiring a Private Investigator as a pre-emptive measure of data security is also prudent because, when cyber crime does occur, the situation created is time sensitive. If a Private Investigator is already on board with your organisation, and is familiar with your data security systems, then evidence can be gathered swiftly, accurately, and discreetly. With some cyber attacks designed to unfold over an extended period of time, having a trained professional on hand in such circumstances can give your business an important edge in getting ahead of the incident. When your commercial reputation, consumer relations, and ability to buy business insurance all hang in the balance, nothing could be more important.
The OpSec Solutions team is made up of expert security and intelligence professionals, all of whom have a range of experience, as well as backgrounds in government, military, law enforcement, or corporate environments. Taking an approach that is guided by the principles of law and ethics, this fully accredited Private Investigation firm uses innovative technology to gather the evidence you need for the action you choose to take. Whether the business in question is based within the U.K, or involves international territories, OpSec Solutions can get to the truth of the matter quickly, so you can get back to work.
While OpSec Solutions provide services in surveillance, intelligence, and ethical risk management, every package is fully tailored to the needs of your situation, and your specific case. This ensures transparency for you, as the client. Call OpSec Solutions today to arrange your cyber security consultation. We have offices in London, Manchester and Cheshire.