Following reports of ?webjacking?, a new type of crime sweeping the internet, computer forensics experts are urging legal practitioners to investigate its use in industrial espionage cases.
UK computer forensics firm, Zentek Forensics, claims that whilst web-jacking is a new phenomena for home PC users, similar techniques are being widely-used in commercial environments.
Web-jacking involves planting a Trojan on a PC or server in order to gain access to or steal files, often with criminal intent. Trojan programs are so-called because they enter a system in a seemingly harmless way, but once activated release ?malicious code? which effectively unlocks a back-door to PCs and servers.
Whereas home PC users are being taken in by the use of ?pop-ups? to plant the Trojan, businesses face an even bigger potential threat ? from their people. In today?s cut-throat business environment, there is a rise in cases of companies sending spies into competitors. The moles? go ?undercover? as employees to plant the Trojan directly onto computer hard drives, usually via a portable storage device such as a memory stick.
Even those with seemingly robust IT security are at risk, as John McConnell, Forensics Analyst at Zentek Forensics, explains:
?We had a case where a ?key-logger? had been installed by a cleaner, which captured the key strokes of the company and sent them to their competitor. They lost some major accounts, however we were able to discover the hidden Trojan on the system, which gave the company legal recourse.?
Legal practitioners are usually the first port of call for those suspecting industrial espionage, so the company is urging the profession to ensure it gives its clients the correct advice. John says:
?Computers, like any other crime scene, need to be treated carefully. The biggest issue in cases of industrial espionage is the preservation of evidence. For example, the simple act of opening an email or investigating file access by suspect employees could render data as inadmissible in Court.
?You should advise clients to call in computer forensic experts in cases of suspicion, at the earliest opportunity. The hardware can be then analysed in the proper manner, and any evidence recovered can be presented in Court.?
Advancements in the computer forensics industry over the past 10 years means it is playing an increasing role in prosecutions of all types of cases, ranging from fraud, terrorism, and industrial espionage to employment tribunal hearings and commercial contract breaches.
Zentek Forensics is a national computer forensics firm, dealing with a broad range of crimes involving computer-based evidence. It works with businesses and Police forces across the UK to investigate and prove cyber-crime.