Computer Crime Research Center


Cyber-crime: how to fight back

Date: December 15, 2004
Source: Continuity Central

As our reliance on computers and e-communication grows, so do the opportunities for cyber-criminals. Although organisations are now recognising the problem and identifying a larger proportion of the crimes taking place, many run the risk of failing to collect and protect evidence. If the crime was conducted by an employee, this leaves the company in a position where they either have to retain or reinstate the employee, leaving the offence unpunished. Many companies spend much energy trying to formulate barriers to stop cyber crime occurring, but don’t consider how to react when a breach occurs.

When organisations have been hit by cyber crime they often frantically rush to trace sources of evidence by trawling through laptops and company networks. But by doing this, they may unwittingly be changing evidence. Prosecuting for any crime requires the evidence to be admissible in court, reliable and have weight.

“The problem that many companies encounter is that on the onset of an investigation they may consider the issue to be a minor internal one, and attempt to carryout investigations themselves. As they delve deeper into the issue they begin to realise that criminal proceedings maybe required,” says Penny Harper, director of Professional and Expert Witness Group at Bond Solon Training, London, one of the UK's leading legal training consultancy's for non-lawyers.

Computer based electronic evidence is very fragile, it can easily be altered, damaged or destroyed by improper handling. If the data has not been dealt with correctly, judges will not allow it to be used in legal proceedings. As a result, anyone gathering or collecting digital evidence must have procedures that enable them to show the court it has not been tampered with. The evidence must also have weight, linking directly to a particular individual.

Detailed guidelines for protecting evidence are contained in the ACPO Good Practice Guide for Computer Based Electronic Evidence. See

A conference and exhibition as been developed on this subject. Computer and Internet Crime (CIC) 2005 will take place on the 24th and 25th January 2005 in London. The event has been specifically designed to address the current issues, guiding individuals through the process of dealing with computer and internet crime. For more details, or to register for the exhibition and the conference, please visit
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