Computer Crime Research Center


Cyber Sherlocks

Date: October 12, 2007

Picture this. The team at a software company laboured hard to develop a vital code. Stringent checks were carried out to avoid electronic eavesdropping. Access to free e-mail accounts was disabled and external memory devices like CD-writers and pen drives were placed under a hardware lock. The company used potent firewalls to secure the code from intruders. Despite playing it safe, there was a suspected leak to a rival firm.

A team of cyber sleuths launched a trail to pin down the suspect. Scanning structured cabled-network, servers and routers, forensic investigators zeroed in on one particular machine used by the suspect to send a slew of mails involving MP3 songs to encrypt codes in music files.

This was a clear cut case of an insider fishing for confidential data. He used a technique called ‘steganography’ which enabled him to encrypt and send data inside music and picture files using third-party steganography software. The information was locked using a password and the person receiving the data used the same password to decrypt the information. This person used virtual machine software for this task to install a totally new Operating System within the existing OS and then the steganography software did the trick. He was caught after an elaborate investigation process.
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