Owning or running a business is more than a full-time job. The bottom line is an always looming reminder that you need to do more, to produce or even sell more to keep business going. Not only that, but you also must worry about the day-to-day workings of your business. And one of the biggest concerns for many business owners is their IT needs. With the growing threat of cyber attacks and data breaches, for many businesses, it is a matter of time before they are hit with an attack. If this happens to your business, know that there is help in the form of cyber forensics professionals who can help you recover and find out who attacked you. If your company hasn’t faced an attack, the following tips are here to help you avoid future cybercrime and therefore begin preventing cyberattacks:
Monitor your networks.
Keeping a close eye on your network will help cut down on potentially harmful attacks. Your employees might hate not being able to surf the web at will but having a closely monitored and closed network will promote cyber safety.
Keep up with the updates.
Too many times, companies put off OS updates and program updates. It is seen as a loss of valuable work time that can’t be replaced. So, the updates wait. Not updating programs or OS’s means your company infrastructure doesn’t have the latest upgrades to its cyber protection as well. This leaves you vulnerable. Keep the updates up to date to keep your tech safe.
Spend the money.
When companies want to save money they usually skimp on the IT department, hardware or software. Big mistake. Not having the new or newest protective programs leaves you open for attack. What’s more, hiring under-experienced IT won’t give you the talent to keep things as safe as they should be. Don’t skimp on software or talent.
Email security is a must.
More than one employee has opened a seemingly harmless email only to allow cybercriminals access to the company database. Optimizing email security protocols and rigorous employee training makes it more difficult for criminals to gain access to your company files.
Cybercrime is a sad reality of today’s business world. Prevention is the key to saving time, money and stress. However, if you find your company has experienced a data breach or cyber-attack, contact a digital forensics investigator to find out who is responsible and how to avoid future attacks.
As a company owner or even upper management, you know it’s important to find the right employee to help your business grow and thrive. Taking the time to interview and find the perfect worker only adds talent to your business and makes the daily workings move more efficiently. And every employee stays loyal and happy, right?
Not so much.
Some employees will stay for a while, some a lifetime and others only a few months. And unfortunately, the employee that loved the job on day one might morph into an employee who hates his or her job and the company on day 500. When that hate grows to action, you have a rogue employee on your hands.
An employee who undermines the business or organization he or she works for. This subversion might look like good-natured (or nefarious) flaunting of company rules, making them a target for HR and repeated reprimands. More common and more dangerous are the rogue employees that have taken their hate underground and are working, silently, to destroy or at least cause havoc for the company.
The Cyber Problem.
Too many times, rogue employees who take their grievances underground, start to cause problems on the digital front. These employees might commit computer crimes such as stealing company information, purposely introducing worms or viruses, deleting sensitive information–and the list goes on.
What you can do.
Taking greater measures to protect sensitive information is the first step to thwart rogue employees. Better encryption, multi-level cybersecurity and more frequent IT audits are a good start. Keeping in contact with employees and regular meetings or evaluations can help management pinpoint possible problem employees as well.
And if They Do Cause Problems…
The best thing to do if you find your company has fallen prey to a rogue employee is first, get a team of computer forensics experts and start the investigation. These highly trained experts will know where to look to find evidence of any type of technological tampering. Stolen files, deleted files, even employee digital activity, will all be there to use as fuel to rid your company of this problem.
Rogue employees can be anywhere. Protect your business and, in case of emergency, have the right cyber forensics team on your side to get the information and keep dangerous employees out.
Corporate Fraud: Activities undertaken by an individual or company that are done in a dishonest or illegal manner, and are designed to give an advantage to the perpetrating individual or company.
A generation ago, company plans and assets were tangible. Filing cabinets could be found in many an office, overflowing with paper spreadsheets and ledger books full of information that made the business succeed or fail.
Today, computers, laptops, tablets, servers and cloud storage have become the repositories of company secrets and success. But like the early days of business, there have always been individuals within the company willing to cheat, steal and misrepresent to make themselves or their business come out on top.
Instead of white out and erasers used to change information on paper, files are deleted, digital spreadsheets are illegally altered and corporate fraud has become a digital battleground.
Many times, the investigation starts with a whistleblower sending an email or a phone call. Then the big guns are sent in. A Computer forensics investigator or team of investigators come in and start digging into the digital information.
Emails will be searched, digital activities mapped, information changes noted and when employees log on and off will be noted. All this data isn’t just gathered, it is organized and examined closely. Activity patterns are created and a digital footprint starts to appear for the person(s) being investigated.
Investigations don’t always need a whistleblower to start things off. Often, if upper management is suspicious of illicit activities or even quiet computer crime, a digital forensics team will be called in to investigate.
Once the information is gathered, examined and the guilty parties found, then the case can be created. Most digital forensic investigators, like the pro’s at Guardian Forensics, will give expert testimony supporting the evidence that has been found.
Litigation should be decisive with the evidence and the expert witnesses who found it testifying.
As long as there is something to be gained through fraud, there will continue to be dishonest business actions. With the help of the right computer forensic investigators, the truth will be found and the guilty punished.
It’s a common site; you walk into a coffee shop and see multiple people with their laptops and tablets out, typing away with their drinks and snacks close at hand. It’s nice to be able to work outside the office and thanks to many establishments offering free Wi-Fi, people can work in a relaxed atmosphere while generating business for the establishment offering the internet hook-up.
Seems like a good plan, right? No, not really.
While free Wi-Fi is great for the budget and gives options for getting work done, it can also lead to computer crime.
One major concern when using free Wi-Fi is security. Most places that offer free Wi-Fi can’t or won’t control who uses it. It needs to be easy to access for patrons and hard to crack for hackers. The problem is, many “hackers” are also patrons. And those who aren’t, have no problem cracking public Wi-Fi security to steal information and cause chaos.
At home, personal encryption, antivirus, and firewalls for your router will generally keep you safe from spying and hacking. With so many homes with Wi-Fi, the chances of an outside cybercriminal specifically targeting your system from the outside is minimal.
Since public Wi-Fi is exactly that, public, anyone can get on the network. Different schemes like MiM attacks can easily control correspondence between devices. Just think of that if you’re trying to work with your bank over lunch.
Other cybercrimes like cloning (or diverting your traffic to a cloned site to extract information) and password theft are all too easy when public Wi-Fi is used.
If you just must use public Wi-Fi, there are ways to protect yourself from cybercrime.
First, be picky about where you use. Restricted networks or partially free Wi-Fi are usually safer than full-free sites.
Keep your Wi-Fi off when you aren’t using it and once you get to a trusted network or at home, be sure to change passwords.
Also, keep your antivirus up to date and frequently run scans for malicious activity.
If you do find yourself at the mercy of cybercriminals, don’t fret. Contact the Department of Justice. Their website has a contact page where you can report incidents. Let them know what happened. Also, many police departments will know a reputable computer forensics company you can work with to get more detailed help.
Wherever there are great ideas and profitable businesses there will inevitably be copy-cat businesses trying to do the same thing at a competitive price. Having a great idea isn’t such an uncommon event but making that great idea into a lucrative and successful business is quite another matter. Many businesses are built on hard work and great ideas that also create more growth for that business.
There’s nothing wrong with a little competition, after all, competition keeps us on our toes and working hard. The problem comes when businesses start to “borrow” ideas from competitors. Even among smaller businesses trade secrets and espionage are a problem; and no one wants their ideas stolen.
For employees with great ideas: guard them!
On the most basic level, corporate stealing starts with disgruntled or lazy employees that want to look efficient. They may take memo’s and present them as their own or even undermine projects so theirs will look better. Employees need to take precautions against this. Not printing up confidential documents, locking down laptop access with frequently changed passwords and shredding any printed documents once they are no longer needed will help cut down on inter-office espionage.
Disgruntled employees may have a reason to steal.
Dealing with disgruntled employees is never fun, but an angry employee has a reason to steal secrets and Intellectual ideas and sell them. Sure, there are always confidentiality-clauses, but then, you have to catch these crooks in the act. If an employee is suspected of espionage, management will have to work fast to stop the information leak.
Getting a hold of that laptop isn’t enough.
In a perfect world, stopping angry employees from selling trade secrets would be as simple as taking the laptop and giving it to the IT department to work their magic. However, this isn’t always the case because companies do not have the forensic expertise in collecting and analyzing digital evidence.
A forensic data recovery company like Guardian-Forensics.com is the best way to discover how much digital information was exfiltrated and where it’s being moved to a USB or into an unauthorized cloud account. Once the information is found, it also becomes evident in a potential future criminal investigation.
The key is not to be afraid. Business owners should never bow to corporate espionage or let it stop them from growing and thriving. If an employee is taking secrets, act fast, get the right help and repair the damage. Remember, avoid using your IT staff to handle evidence and retain the experts at Guardian Forensics.
Our Digital Behavior – From A Computer Forensic Investigator Perspective
The digital world is taking over and for many, this is a good thing. Shopping, shipping, communicating and sharing ideas or messages has never been easier or faster.
In fact, the average adult spends around twenty hours online per week.
Yes, the digital world is really taking over. But with every good advancement in technology, there will always be a way to exploit it for less than ideal purposes.
Cyberspace is only limited by storage capacity which can be updated at any time. It’s no wonder those seeking to hide illicit information or seeking to do harm turn to the ever-expanding digital horizon to serve their purposes.
Many times, a person’s activities online can determine a criminal act has or will take place. In these cases, a computer forensic investigator is needed to investigate and determine user patterns and characteristics.
Why is digital forensics important?
Every criminal—past, present or future–who stores any amount of information online leaves a trail. More often than not, these criminals or pre-criminals are good at hiding their cyber tracks. If there is nothing to follow, crimes can be committed without any chance to stop the crime or the offender.
Developing a digital behavior analysis will help law enforcement pinpoint persons of interest, criminal activity and hopefully stop future crimes. This is a specialty handled by a digital forensics investigator.
Where would a digital behavior analysis be used?
A digital behavior analysis can be used in a multitude of ways to further legal cases. For instance, if a business is suspicious of a former employee, maybe one who was fired for unsavory activities, holds a grudge against their former employee and has made threats, a computer forensic investigator can be utilized to perform a behavior analysis to see if this person is a true threat. In the case of a crime that has been committed, when the evidence is short, a digital behavioral analysis is performed to not only find hidden or abnormal digital behavioral patterns, but to determine if the alleged perpetrator should be further prosecuted.
While most of online activity are normal patterns of life and conducive to a productive business day, there will always be those who will use technology to further their own illegal agendas.
With the help of digital forensic experts, these individuals can be found, brought to justice or stopped before a crime has been committed.