Computer Forensics managing director Brian Eardley-Wilmot says his business has seen a rise in computer crime over the last year.
His company is often called in to investigate data theft and other intellectual property crimes. He says there are now more than 100 data crimes each day in New Zealand.
Cybercrimes committed by outsiders are headline news. The media loves images of masked hackers hunched over darkened keyboards. Yet the reality is that inside jobs are more common, often more serious and usually committed in broad daylight.
Insiders have trusted access. They have more idea of what to look for. They know where they might find it.
It is often hard to know when someone inside your organisation compromises your systems. Often the first sign is when you find money is missing or when your best clients switch their business to a new company set up by your former employee.
Client lists and pricing information are among the most commonly stolen data. Computer crime is mainly about intellectual property theft, but it can include any unauthorised computer use.
Insiders who steal intellectual property usually store files on a USB memory stick. In most cases they leave a trail.
That’s where Computer Forensics can help. After 17 years of following those trails, Eardley-Wilmot and his team know where to find evidence of data crimes.
He says: “Companies frequently know when they have a problem – people’s instincts are usually correct. But managers are loathe to undertake a full investigation before they feel quite sure, because of the cost and disruption.”
To get around this reluctance, Computer Forensics has come up with a new service called CheckIT.
If, say, a manager or business owner suspects someone has committed a crime, they can ask for an exploratory examination of a computer, hard drive or device.
They tell Computer Forensics what they think might be going on. Investigators then poke around looking for clues.
Eardley-Willmot says: “We come back with indicative information that essentially says yes, you’re right and you should move to a full investigation, or no, there isn’t a problem”.
“If there is no sign of any wrongdoing, then the company has saved the cost of a formal forensic investigation and can be confident that no offence has occurred.
“If we are instructed to conduct a full forensic investigation, to provide incontestable evidence, we are forearmed with the knowledge that the investigation will be successful.”