Better Late Than Never

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In November 2015 I had the pleasure of presenting a Workshop at the Society for Forensic Sciences AGM in Manchester, the subject of which was cyber/digital-security and crime. In attendance was a cross section of professionals, ranging from those in scene-of-crime fire forensic professionals, though to a number of current and past law enforcement officers.

What I found to be very surprising is the fact that, in this era of embracing technology, there is still a vast void between understanding the technology, and recognizing the implied significance imposed on any scene-of-crime.

In fact it may be the case that, in such a developed society as ours, the technological presence in the footprint of most crimes may be around 99.99%, and possibly actually amounting to 100%. The rationale behind this opinion is, consider the human interface with technology — be this on-line time, banking, social media, using cell phones, tablets, VoIP, ATMs —and  in fact it is very hard to avoid adding a technological trace to the human as they go about their daily business, or for that matter fun.

I also had the pleasure in November 2015 to present to a Cross Party Committee made up of members of the Houses or Lords, and Commons. Here post demonstrating just how easy it was to hack ‘most’ people, not to mention organizations, by using both old techniques, and by utilizing some very smart hack-attack equipment to accomplish the task.

An Educated First Response Team

In November 2015, I also spent some time with a number of law enforcement persons. Here it was refreshing to note that in the majority, they were in agreement with the above, but also went on to acknowledge that we need to do much more to assure that we have adequate training in place at all rank levels within the police to assure that the boots on the ground, and first responders to any scene-of-crime understand the potentials of identifying the digital trace, and are equipped to assure they do not damage those techno-volatile artifacts which may be so key to the case under investigation.

However, right now there may is still a minority who feel we have got this cyber/digital challenge sorted in the world of law enforcement, and that nothing more needs to be done – a gross miscalculation leaning toward stupidity(or maybe ignorance of the fact).

The skills we need to evolve will not manifest overnight, and in fact we must look to developing the digital brain, to deal with this digital age – and I feel with the correct levels of basic, through the advanced training programs delivered over a cycle of 1 to 2 years may well do the trick.

 There is also a need to evolve the required level of understanding inter commercial organization to evolve the touch-point-interface into the externals of law enforcement, facilitating a much required cooperation for those officers are attempting to investigate complex crimes, ranging from terrorism, pedophilia, fraud, corruption, money laundering, and insider trading. The reality check here is, this digital thing is only going to grow, and we need to take the required steps now, before we have any more surprises fall into our laps.

Cybercrime’s Long Reach

I have been very much aware of, and supportive in recognizing the implications of Cyber War, Conflict and Terror since 1993 - and along the way my opinion has been challenged on multiple occasions. In fact I recall one CISO some five  years ago stating that ‘you can’t harm anyone with a computer, short of banging them over the head with it’.

Well consider this for a new sad stream to the debate. We have recently seen the sad case of a very young boy being compromised by a group working out of the Philippines. With the criminal posing as a young lady, he was encouraged to take a picture of his person – which as an innocent he did. Following that a demand arrived for payment, to assure that the image was not made public. However, being a young person the victim did not have the means to service to the blackmail demand – a situation which he informed the blackmailer of. Their response was, that being the case, they suggested the victim should kill himself – which he did.

In all a sad recognition of the dark tentacles of crime which can reach into the most private corners of the home. Here I am both sadden and sorry to say but, I would also add ‘social-terror’ to the list of dangers we all face as a society in 2015. 

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