Add On: Cyber Investigations

Case management and tracking for investigations by Cyber teams

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By Hubstream Inc.

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Cyber investigation

In the modern world, businesses and organizations rely on technology. This exposes them to risks and threats. One of these risks is cybercrime. Cybercrime is any criminal activity that involves the use of computers or the internet. It can range from simple offenses like identity theft to serious crimes like hacking. That’s where cyber investigations come in. A cyber investigation is a process of gathering evidence to identify, track, and prosecute (or refer to police) people who have committed cybercrimes. These investigations can be complex and time-consuming, but they are essential in protecting businesses and individuals from future attacks, as well as bringing criminals to justice.

The common types of cyber investigations

As the world increasingly moves online, so too do the investigations into potential wrongdoing. Here are five of the most common types of cyber investigations being conducted today.

Financial investigations :

With more and more financial transactions taking place online, there is an increasing need to investigate potential fraud and other financial crimes that occur in cyberspace. This type of investigation often involves tracing funds through various accounts and trying to identify the source of the illicit funds.

Data breach investigations :

Another common type of cyber investigation is one that is launched in the wake of a data breach. These types of investigations are conducted to determine how the breach occurred and to identify who is behind it. In many cases, data breaches are carried out by hackers who are looking to sell the information they have stolen on the black market.

Password breach investigations :

A password breach investigation is launched when it is believed that an individual’s or organization’s passwords have been compromised. Password breaches can occur through a variety of means, such as brute-force attacks, dictionary attacks, or social engineering. Password breach investigations often involve working with law enforcement and third-party providers, such as password management providers, to obtain evidence related to the attack.

Child exploitation investigations :

One of the most harrowing types of cyber-enabled crimes is child exploitation, which can take many forms, including child sexual abuse material (child pornography), child grooming, and sextortion. These crimes are typically investigated by law enforcement agencies in partnership with NGOs that specialize in this type of work. The goal of these investigations is to identify and safe guard victims and bring those responsible for their exploitation to justice.

Victim Identification is the core duty of anyone investigating online child sexual exploitation. These are complex investigations that involve an international community and require a coordinated response. Assisting investigators with advanced software that is current is our reason for existence.

– Arnold Guerin, Director of Child Protection at Hubstream

Malware investigation :

A malware investigation is launched when it is believed that malicious software has been installed on a device or network. This type of investigation can be initiated internally, by anti-virus software, or externally, by law enforcement. Malware investigations are often complex and time-consuming, as investigators must sift through large amounts of data to determine the source and scope of the infection. In some cases, malware investigations may also involve forensic analysis of infected devices.

Phishing investigation :

A phishing investigation is launched when a phishing attack is believed to have targeted an individual or organization. Phishing attacks are typically carried out by email and usually involve the attacker posing as a legitimate entity to trick the victims into disclosing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information. Phishing investigations often involve working with third-party providers, such as email providers, to obtain evidence of the attack.

Denial-of-service (DoS) investigation :

A denial-of-service investigation is a type of cyber security assessment conducted when there is suspicion that a malicious attack has targeted an organization or user. This investigation aims to identify how the attack was accomplished, who initiated it, and any other relevant information needed to remediate the issue.

Ransomware investigation :

Ransomware investigation analyzes malicious files to determine their exact purpose and identify the specific ransomware family present on a system. It involves researching the techniques used, their behaviors, and any known weaknesses to protect an organization from future attacks. Ransomware investigations are typically conducted by digital forensics experts that specialize in cyber security.

The process of cyber investigations  

Every day, businesses around the world fall victim to cybercrime. These attacks can come in many forms, from ransomware and phishing scams to data breaches and denial of service attacks. When a business suffers a cyberattack, it’s important to move quickly to mitigate the damage and prevent future attacks. But how is that done? The first step is to launch a cyber investigation.

A cyber investigation is a process of identifying, containing, and eradicating a cybersecurity incident. This process can be broken down into three main phases:

Identification :

This is the phase where a cyber investigation collects data and information about the incident to determine what happened and who was involved.

Containment :

Once the investigator has identified the scope of the incident, they’ll need to take steps to contain it and prevent further damage. This may involve things like disconnecting compromised devices from their network or changing passwords.

Eradication :

In this final phase, the cyber investigator will work to remove all traces of the incident from the systems and put measures in place to prevent future attacks. This may involve restoring data from backups or disinfecting infected devices.

The different types of data generated by cyber investigations

Cyber investigations can be complex and time-consuming. They often require collecting various types of data from different sources. This data can be divided into three categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Here’s a look at each data type and how it can be used in a cyber investigation.

Primary data :

It is directly from the source. This type of data is trustworthy because it hasn’t been interpreted or altered in any way. It’s essential to have primary data in a cyber investigation to confirm the information’s accuracy. Examples of primary data include:

Social media posts
Audio and video recordings
Investigative notes
Documentation from the scene of the crime (on the victim’s computer or network)

Secondary data :

It is information collected by someone other than the investigator. Examples of secondary data include:

Newspaper articles
Television news footage
Reports from other agencies or organizations

Tertiary data :

It is information compiled from multiple sources and organized in a specific way. An Investigators Notebook is an example of tertiary data. This information can be useful for getting an overview of the case, but it’s important to remember that tertiary data is often interpretive and may not be accurate. Examples of tertiary data include:

Summaries of witness statements
Chronologies of events
Organizational charts

All three types of data—primary, secondary, and tertiary—can play a role in a cyber investigation. Primary data is the most trustworthy but can be difficult to obtain. Secondary data can provide helpful context but should be double-checked for accuracy. Tertiary data can give one an overview of the case but may not always be reliable. By understanding the different types of data and their strengths and weaknesses, one can create a more efficient and effective cyber investigation.

Data handling in cyber investigations

In any type of investigation, evidence collection is a fundamental process. The collected evidence will be used to prove or disprove the hypotheses formulated by the investigator. In a cyber investigation, data is the main type of evidence.

Data can be broadly classified into two categories: volatile and non-volatile. Volatile data is lost when power is removed from the system, while non-volatile data is retained even when power is removed. Investigations usually focus on non-volatile data as it can provide more useful information than volatile data. Even within non-volatile data, different types, such as system files, application files, network traffic, and more, can be collected.

Carefully handling the collected data is important, as it can be easily corrupted or destroyed. Data should be copied onto a write-protected medium such as a CD-ROM or an external hard drive. The original data should always remain the same as it may be needed for court proceedings. If the data needs to be analyzed on a computer, a copy should be made, and the original should be stored securely. After the investigation, all copies of the data should be destroyed to protect the privacy of those involved.

How can Hubstream help investigators with cyber investigations?

Cybercrime investigators need to assess websites for phishing and malware attacks. In addition, they are required to work on identifying online profiles on various platforms used to steal someone’s identity or execute a social engineering attack. Investigators also need to know the worst offenders to make their investigations successful. Achieving all of it becomes a hassle when data is too huge to work through and identify helpful patterns manually.

Hubstream offers a powerful case management and tracking template called cyber investigations that teams can use for investigating cybercrimes.

What does the add-on template cyber investigation contain?  

An investigation entity type for cyber investigations.
Value lists of types of investigations that can be customized for teams involved in cyber investigations.
A team dashboard that shows all active investigations and can be used to assign work.

What goals can investigators achieve with this add-on template?

Investigate websites used for phishing and malware attacks.
Identify profiles used for identity theft and social engineering attacks.
Correlate information from various online platforms to identify the worst offenders.

What are the benefits of this template?

Connect investigations with online information obtained from reports and platforms.
Coordinate work across teams and outside partners.
Effectively manage tasks with reminders.

Hubstream ONE’s cybercrime investigations template is a powerful tool for cyber investigation teams, allowing them to track and store vital details on a range of cybercrimes. With the ability to visualize links between investigations as well as other entities such as people or online profiles, cyber investigation teams can quickly identify the source of information and uncover malicious activities. Additionally, with geo-location and internet service provider tracking capabilities, Hubstream’s cyber investigations template is an invaluable asset for any cyber investigation team looking to further their investigations.

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