Cyber investigations are hard, really hard, but the best way might include statistics. Anyone who has attempted to locate individuals making anonymous threats and claims online knows this to be the case. What’s worse is that even when law enforcement accepts a case, many times subpoenas are rejecting under privacy laws governing the use of data. There’s not much to do about this except to find alternative ways to prove an individual’s guilt.
According to the department of justice, ‘ One of the biggest challenges of most computer crime cases is proving who was at the computer .’ This is primarily due to the anonymity afforded to individuals online. For more information on the DOJ’s take on cyber crimes, click here: If you’re trying to understand why this is, you need to consider the following.
Quick Note: IP Addresses & Devices
IP addresses, which are thought of by the general public to be irrefutable evidence, can often be meaningless without other evidence. IP addresses show nothing except the public end of a router, nothing more. If an IP address is traced back to a business of 500 people, you’ve confirmed nothing except the possibility that an individual in this business might be involved.
Devices send information to routers which translate that data across multiple networking layers. From the outside looking in, you cannot determine which computer sent the data which may be criminal in nature. There are ways to determine if any given PC sent the data/information, but that usually needs to be done internally. This requires the individual letting you into their physical space with consent or by obtaining a search warrant. It is not legally possible to gain access into someone’s PC or any other information system without their permission or a court order!! Period!
At the time of this writing, there are still options used by legitimate and honest investigation agencies to investigate cyberbullying, cyber harassment, and other forms of digital crimes. These tactics rely on a combination of traditional and modern investigative tactics, including statistics:
- Obtaining witness testimony and following the Who, What, When, Where, and Why approach.
- Obtaining and analyzing digital footprints and online evidence left behind by digital attackers.
- Studying individuals for behavioral trends that may be indicative of certain antisocial and otherwise undesirable habits.
- Obtaining data from regulated databases that may match suspicions of clients but are unable to obtain by themselves.
- In severe cases, perform surveillance on subjects to monitor their behavior and other types of activity which may be indicative of certain criminal activities.
- Conducting internet research on subjects under suspicion to examine their online presence.
- Running a statistical analysis of evidence obtained and structured for legal or administrative bodies.
Statistical & Intelligence Analysis
One of the most innovative and interesting forms of analysis we at Spectre Intelligence perform is a method based on a system called the “Analysis of Competing Hypotheses”. Originally invented by an intelligence analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1970s, this method aggregates all the evidence we obtain during the course of the investigation. It then puts it together based on mathematical functions we’ve predetermined on legal experience and our understanding of case law in order to score the most likely scenario, or “least unlikely” for you stat-nuts.
We then take this evidence to narrow down possibilities and increase the time spent on more legitimate leads for your case.
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Spectre Intelligence is a private investigation and intelligence firm located in sunny Round Rock, TX (Austin area). If you need investigation or cybersecurity services, visit us at www.spectreintel.com and www.spectretechnology.com