Computer Crime

Investigations

CCC has been providing high-quality investigation services to clients since 1996. Where the experience of former members of new Scotland Yard’s Computer Crime Unit and Company Fraud Department come to bear. As detectives working at NSY, they were involved with some of the largest and most complex crimes of their times. Where circumstances have dictated, officers worked independently, while being part of a team. That experience remains with those at CCC equally at home, working either independently or as part of a team. The investigations we have undertaken are many and varied, and include the following areas:

  • Asset Tracing
  • Asset Stripping
  • Banking, On-shore & Off-shore
  • Blackmail
  • Company Fraud
  • Computer Forensics
  • Domestic Violence
  • Due Diligence
  • Hostile Takeover
  • Industrial Espionage
  • Intellectual Property (IP Theft)
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Murder
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Share Ownership
  • Shipping Frauds
  • Unauthorised Access to computer networks

We understand how sensitive inquiries of any kind can be to all parties and that badly handled or insensitive investigations can cause more damage than the original incident. All our investigations are undertaken in a considered and controlled manner, where the potential risk to reputation is always at the forefront of our thoughts when making suggestions as to a particular course of action that may be required.

We also appreciate that in many, if not all cases where it may not be possible to conclusively prove that an individual was responsible for an incident. It is just as important to prove they were not responsible. Especially where there is an need for trust between the parties to remain.

Although many of our investigations start with the examination of digital devices. We can also undertake more traditional elements of investigations, such as due diligence or risk assessments. As well as having access to other investigative services that include bespoke qualitative due diligence services internationally, bug sweeps or TSCM (Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures), covert surveillance, vehicle tracking, through a long-standing trusted partner.

For more information on any of our capabilities, please email contact@ccc-ltd.com

Computer Security Education & Awareness

Computer security education is an important element of providing a safe environment for digital assets.

CCC has provided a variety of education and awareness programs on differing aspects of computer security, these include:

  • advising on how to undertake internal investigations, the requirements for gathering evidence and the potential pitfalls that may be encountered.
  • educating employees on company policies and procedures.
  • ensuring employees understand the potential consequences of a breach, hence the reason for policies and procedures.

Get users to ‘buy into’ security…

I.T. Security Awareness

Talks and presentations should be aimed at raising staff and client awareness. We have found that a combination of question-and-answer sessions, combined with providing examples and giving demonstrations, has been the best approach.

Users with little or no technical abilities, who do not ‘buy into’ policies and procedures, looking to take shortcuts will increase the risk of compromise. Whereas those that understand the need to comply are likely to improve security. We have frequently found users circumventing or bypassing security measures simply because they were unaware of the implications or the measures were so restrictive that it prevented them from doing their work efficiently. Resulting in them looking for ways to get around those security measures.

We have also found it beneficial to break down the areas of education and awareness into the following groups.

  • Computer Security
  • Policies & Procedures
  • Malicious Programs
  • Wireless Exploitation
  • Password Security

One of the many gripes we have found employees to have are the password policies implemented by many companies, which are often poorly thought out. Resulting in users having difficulty remembering them because of their complexity or the frequency with which they are changed. It is quite possible that the reason for this is a lack of knowledge by the policymakers in relation to the real lifespan of a password, with decryption frequently cited as the main reason for policy.

Most policymakers have no experience of what is required to break a password. As a result, a ‘belt and braces’ approach is often taken, without fully understanding the impact on users or the increase in risk this may have. Forcing users to change their passwords every month can have a detrimental effect.

For example, a user may have a password that complies with policy, an example of which may be TheCanaries@01, with monthly changes resulting the password incrementally changing to TheCanaries@02, TheCanaries@03 etc.

Experience has shown that as time passes, users tend to forget the number they have reached, leading to frustration with passwords being written down. In reality,  good quality passwords can take years to decrypt even with the fastest and most sophisticated of attacks. Where, depending on circumstances, a more rational approach may be possible once company specific factors have been taken into consideration. Extending the life of a good quality password that meets company requirements has often been found to have a positive effect on users with no additional risk to the organisation.

Finally, senior management also needs to be seen to be complying with policy.

For more information email contact@ccc-ltd.com

Computer Forensics - Computer Crime Consultants

Computer Forensics

The original discipline in a growing group of electronic devices and storage media that are now the subject of digital forensics. CCC has and continues to provide investigative services and expert testimony covering the full range of disciplines for both criminal and civil cases, with clients including police forces, government agencies, corporate clients, the legal profession and individuals alike.

Where there is a potential for the results of an examination being used in legal proceedings, examinations are undertaken in accordance with ACPO guidelines.

Examples of the types of information or data capable of recovery from a computer would include:

  • Audio
  • Backups
  • Calendar events
  • Chat
  • Cloud
  • Digital assistant reminders.
  • E-mail
  • Encrypted
  • Files – documents, spreadsheets etc.
  • File
  • Internet activity
  • Media
  • Messaging
  • Peer-to-Peer
  • Pictures
  • Remote
  • Keyword search results
  • Social networking
    – Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • Timezone data
  • User Account
  • Videos
  • Virtual environments
  • Wi-Fi
  • Xbox
  • Virtual environments
    – MS teams, Zoom etc.

For more detailed information regarding specific artefacts that may be recoverable during an examination. Such as, bitcoin logged queries, cryptocurrency clients or cryptocurrency wallets, please email forensics@ccc-ltd.com.

Mobile Forensics - Computer Crime Consultants

Mobile Forensics

With advances in solid state technologies, mobile devices have increased their capabilities significantly, where apart contact, voice and text communications existing, social media technologies, audio, video and graphics can now also be found on the same device. Increasing the need for comprehensive mobile forensics to be undertaken.

The examination of mobile devices and other hand-held devices have increased significantly as the number of applications capable of use and volume of recoverable data has also increased. For many, these devices act as organisers, storing additional personal information. Such as significant dates, events, meetings, contact information, even passwords.

CCC provide a comprehensive range of mobile forensic services, for evidential, intelligence, or data recovery purposes.

Examples of the type of data available mobile phones and other handheld devices can include:

  • Application Data
  • Call logs
  • Deleted information
  • Documents
  • Emails
  • Geo-location data (GPS)
  • Images
  • Instant Messaging
  • Internet History
  • Multimedia Messages
  • Network Connectivity
  • Passwords
  • Phonebooks
  • Residual “digital assistant” data
  • SIM Card Data Analysis
  • Social Media
  • Text Messages
  • Video
  • VOIP Data
  • Wi-Fi History

Meta data contained within files such as images, can also contain location data, which may be relevant to an investigation.

For more information regarding this service, please email contact@ccc-ltd.com

 

mobile forensics

Wireless (Wi-Fi) Security

Background

In the continuing evolution of IT technology, the vast majority of today’s devices now have built-in wireless capabilities. As a result, wireless technologies can now be found in most homes, as well as being adopted by most organisations, due to its cost effectiveness, ease of use and deployment capabilities. Making it a viable solution for corporate networks large and small, wishing to ensure cost effective connectivity with any satellite elements of their businesses.

The definition of ‘handshake’; a form of friendly greeting or a way of capturing Wi-Fi passwords!

Unfortunately, this deployment has led to a significant increase in the number of targeted attacks on systems where poor configuration or a quality assurance on updates has led to attackers identifying vulnerabilities that have allowed access to networks. Individuals at home, who may be executives associated with target corporations, need to know that wireless access points, both at home and at work, are frequently seen as a means by which attackers can gain access systems with little risk to themselves. Furthermore, by subverting either, there is a high probability that the attacker will be able to gain access to other internal elements of a target network. It should also be noted that any decent hacker who has gained access to a network using the wireless network as a point of entry will have passively monitored the network, looking to garner sufficient information about the identify authorised users and their devices so as to emulate them during an attack. Making it harder for security systems to detect their presence.

It is important to verify that wireless security measures commensurate with the environment are not only in place but also current, applied correctly and relevant.

Testing

CCC, wireless testing is undertaken by experts using a combination of in-house tools and techniques together with industry standard equipment.

Never heard of Zero-day warez? You need to?

For more information regarding this service, please email contact@ccc-ltd.com

Open Source Intelligence OSINT - Computer Crime Consultants

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is the application of information gathering from public sources, which includes the collection, processing and analysis of data. With a view to utilising the results in the best possible way. At CCC, we understand the diversity of data sources and how to apply information identified.

Sources information include databases, published records, patent records and other data available to the public, effectively garnering such information, may require a variety of specialist techniques.

Where sources of information are likely to include social media and there is a possibility that the information could be used for litigation, there is a need to ensure that this information is from a legitimate source, accurate and has been obtained in an acceptable manner, with appropriate records being kept. Simply taking a series of screenshots while taking notes on a site may not be either sound or acceptable. Social media platforms are not designed to be ‘imaged or copied’ using conventional methods. Our tools and techniques meet those needs.

Most intelligence gathering exercises typically fall into the following areas:

  • Corporate
  • Criminal
  • Personal
  • Political

As such, these elements often form part of a case. Whether a fraud investigation, asset tracing enquiry or part of a larger and more comprehensive due diligence exercise. It is a discipline that we have become proficient at priding ourselves on being able to provide bespoke services that concentrate on a client’s specific needs within their specific arenas.

The aggregation of data from a variety of sources exponentially increases value

For more information regarding this service, please email contact@ccc-ltd.com

Industrial Espionage – Consumer Sector - North America

Background

As part of a bi-annual internal security audit undertaken by our client. We were asked to confirm the findings of a report which stated that no abnormal activity had been identified during a review of firewall and router logs.

During our review, one anomaly we felt warranted further investigation was that for the preceding month, on the same three days of the week at 3am, the same workstation came to life. The initial review attributing the activity to a poorly configured ‘at’ command that did not warrant further investigation.

Investigation

It transpired that the workstation in question was in one of the few areas it was possible to get to, without passing CCTV cameras at the main entrances, or main walkways and thoroughfares within the facility.

CCC was asked to monitor activity emanating from the workstation, as well as reviewing historical data. From an examination of the historical data, it was possible to determine that the activity had not previously occurred, whilst electronic monitoring of the machine identified additional human activity.

Further monitoring showed that the user was targeting systems specifically used in relation to the research and development of new products. It was also possible to determine that an authorised user’s of those systems credentials was being used to gain access to the restricted part of the network.

Following a combination of electronic monitoring and traditional surveillance, the person identified as being responsible for accessing the computer was a cleaner employed by a contracted third party providing the services. It further transpired that ‘the cleaner’ was in fact an out of work research scientist, having been dismissed from his former employment for what was described as ‘inappropriate activity.’ Now looking for work, he thought it might be possible to either sell or use the information as a bargaining chip or tool with which to get a job with a competitor of the client’s. His knowledge of computer systems, and also allowed him to increase his user privileges to administrative levels by identifying and exploiting a vulnerability within the system. Giving him unrestricted access to the data found within research network.

Surveillance of the subject also found him visiting one of the client’s competitors. Before any harm could be done and agreement between the two companies was reached preventing litigation, whilst ensuring the client’s information would remain proprietary for a significant period.

Leaving the ‘cleaner’ looking for another job.

For more information regarding any of the services associated with this assignment, please email contact@ccc-ltd.com

Intellectual Property Theft - Oil & Gas Sector

Background

A long-standing client working in the Oil and Gas industry had been at the forefront of developing innovative technologies in relation locating and identifying new sources of ocean borne energy had become concerned they were being targeted as a result of a break-in at an executive’s home where very little had been taken. Although there was evidence of documents being examined as well as items being moved in an area where the telephone lines entered the property and routers that provided both intra and internet services were accessible.

Investigation

Having been provided with rudimentary details of the client’s business and home networks, CCC deployed black boxes to monitor for unusual activity, which within days found that their mail server and back-up servers were being targeted and that the source of the attack emanated from a legitimate third-party connection.

Further investigation established that the specific email accounts being targeted belonged to members of staff, primarily engaged in the development as well as assisting with the provision of information in relation to patent applications.

As the client trusted the third-party, and with their co-operation, we were able to identify a wireless access point which had been compromised and despite our best efforts; it was not possible to specifically identify those responsible for the attack. Although the systems were secured together with additional protective measures were deployed.

For more information regarding any of the services associated with this assignment, please email contact@ccc-ltd.com

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