Cyber Crime Investigation: Insider Threats

By Veriato - May 22, 2020

Cyber Crime Investigation: Insider Threats

Cyber crimes involving Insider Threats are on the rise.  Every company needs to know how to investigate these serious offenses and keep their business safe.

Here’s what you need to know about conducting a cyber crime investigation into Insider Threats:

What Is A Cyber Crime Investigation?

Before you learn about the steps involved in investigating a cyber crime, it’s important to understand the basics of these crimes. A cyber crime is any type of criminal activity that involves the use of a digital device such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer connected to a company network.

These devices can be used in one of two ways. First, the devices can be used to actually commit the crime, for example, by stealing sensitive data from a company’s network. But in some cases, the device is the target of an attack by a malicious actor.

If a cyber crime occurs within your organization, you will need to conduct an investigation to identify how it occurred and who was behind it. An investigation will involve digging into, reviewing, analyzing and extracting meaning from digital forensic evidence

This evidence can be used to take disciplinary action against employees who have committed cyber crimes. In some cases, the evidence may need to be turned over to the authorities to assist with their investigation into the cyber crime.

What Are the Two Types of Insider Threats?

The two main types of insider threats that could occur within your organization are:

  • Turncloaks: A turncloak is an employee or contractor who legally has access to your network, but is abusing their position as an insider within your company. Turncloaks may steal data to sell to competitors, start their own company, or get revenge against their employer.
  • Pawns: Turncloaks intentionally participate in cyber crimes, whereas pawns are unwilling participants. Pawns get involved in cyber crimes by making simple mistakes that lead to data breaches or other offenses. For example, if a pawn’s password is easy to guess, a bad actor may hack into the network using their credentials. The pawn did not intentionally participate in this crime, but was part of it as a result of their mistake.

Both types of insiders pose a serious threat to your business.

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What Are the Steps Involved In A Cyber Crime Investigation?

The exact steps you will need to follow in a cyber crime investigation will vary depending on the nature of the crime. However, there are some steps that you will need to take in nearly every type of cyber crime investigation, including:

  • Provide Background Information
  • Gather Additional Information
  • Identify the Individuals Responsible for the Crime
  • Determine the Severity of the Attack

Provide Background Information

The first step in most cyber crime investigations is providing background information on the crime. What do you know about the crime so far? Now is the time to answer this question so investigators have the information they need to move forward with the investigation

Gather Additional Information

This is the fact-finding stage of the cyber crime investigation. During this stage, you will need to collect as much information as possible about the cyber crime. Some of the questions that will need to be answered include:

  • What cyber crime was committed? What systems/networks did it affect?
  • Was the attack launched by a human or was it automated?
  • Who has the specific skills needed to launch this type of attack? 
  • Who has access to the data that was affected by the attack?

Investigators may use a number of different tools to gather information about the crime. But most of the evidence will likely come from electronic device surveillance tools that monitor and record an insiders’ digital activity.

Identify the Individuals Responsible for the Crime

The next step involves analyzing the evidence gathered during the fact-finding stage of the investigation. Using this evidence, you may be able to identify the individuals that were responsible for committing the cyber crime.

For example, if there was a data breach, you will need to obtain and analyze electronic device surveillance records. These records may show that only two employees accessed the sensitive data that was stolen. After further review, it may be clear that one of these employees used their credentials to access the sensitive data before downloading it and emailing it to a third party.

This example illustrates the important role that surveillance data can play when it comes to identifying cyber criminals.

How Can Insider Attacks Be Prevented?

It’s crucial for every business to know how to investigate cyber crimes committed by insiders, but it’s also important to learn how to prevent these attacks from happening in the first place. Here are some of the many ways you can reduce your risk of insider threat crimes:

  • Identify your critical assets. Take stock of the critical assets within your organization. Make sure you know where they are located, who has access to them, and how they are monitored.
  • Train your employees. Teach your employees what they need to do to keep your company’s sensitive data safe. Training your employees may prevent them from being “pawns” in a cyber crime.
  • Enforce policies. Every company should have documented cybersecurity policies. But these policies don’t mean anything if they are not aggressively enforced. Make sure you impose penalties on those who violate the policies to show the rest of the company that you are serious about cybersecurity.
  • Monitor your employees. Using employee monitoring software is the best way to monitor, detect, and prevent insider threats

Take Advantage of Tech Tools to Protect Your Company

Having the right tools at your disposal can make it easy to prevent insider threats and quickly investigate cyber crimes. That’s why you should use Veriato, which is insider threat detection and employee monitoring software for businesses of all sizes.

Veriato reduces your risk of insider attacks by monitoring and flagging suspicious user behavior so you can step in and take action to prevent a data breach. This software also simplifies the complex process of conducting cyber crime investigations in the workplace.

Veriato will monitor and record your employees’ activity, so you can review their onscreen activity and have visible evidence to support your investigation.

Catching a cyber criminal has never been easier thanks to Veriato.

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