As new technologies are developed and our reliance on computers has increased, criminals have also been coming up with new ways to steal money, personal data, and cause widespread disruption. Cyber crime comes in many forms and anyone can become a victim. From the ransomware attack which brought many NHS services to a standstill earlier in the year to phishing scams which infiltrate email accounts worldwide, crime is changing and so must the way it is approached.
It is difficult for businesses and police services to implement a long term strategy for combating cyber crime, as the threat is constantly changing. In 2016, one in five UK businesses were targeted by cyber criminals, and only 24% of companies had security in place to prevent hacking. It is critical that police services have the right resources to quell this growth in cyber crime. When Cressida Dick assumed the role of Metropolitan Police Commissioner in April this year, she identified cyber crime as one of her main priorities during her tenure of the role. However, with many police forces feeling the brunt of government cuts, it looks unlikely that cyber crime truly will be at the top of the agenda.
Use of forensic IT practices is an excellent way to gather evidence either to prosecute those responsible, or to defend those wrongly accused in the cases of cyber crime. There are several key practices which enable forensic IT specialists to target criminal activity either on the street or online. Cell site analysis, for example, can identify the geographical location of a mobile phone when data is being used accurate to within a few metres. Combining this with other identification techniques such as enhancing CCTV images and facial mapping, it can be determined whether an individual was at a location where a crime was committed.
With more and more personal data being stored online, it has become easier for hackers to gain remote access to computers. If cyber criminals can access either an individual or a whole network of computers remotely, they can potentially place offending material on their hard drives. Through the hard drive interrogation process, IT forensics specialists can seek to identify if remote access has been gained and illegal files were placed there by someone else. Tom Draper, writing in Solicitors Journal, recommends that companies and individuals alike put in place a ‘four pillar approach’ to prevent unauthorised remote access to computers – anticipate, prevent, respond, recover. This involves not just installing technological security software but encourages ongoing awareness of suspicious online practices.
IT forensics encompasses a broad spectrum of specialists who can assist investigators by gathering sufficient evidence to either prosecute, or defend those wrongly accused. Our IT forensics experts can examine a range of data to identify where it was used, when it was used and even who used it. IT forensics is just one of many ways we can combat criminal activity online. We have expert witnesses covering all areas of IT forensics, so get in touch and we will find suitable specialists to meet your requirements.