Security needs drive cyberforensics

Nov 23, 2010 By Byron Acohido

Cyberforensics, the science of finding and securing digital evidence buried deep within company networks, is fast emerging as a global industry.

Three major players are in the vanguard. PricewaterhouseCoopers has recently hired several former law enforcement agents and prosecutors to supplement its cyberforensic services, which already have 3,000 employees and 55 labs in 37 countries.

Verizon Business - supplier of communications, networking and technologies to large organizations - has pumped more than $50 million into cyberforensics-related services in the past two years. That includes setting up a state-of-the-art hygienic lab to examine computer circuit boards.

And Stroz Friedberg, a private CSI-like company founded by an ex-FBI agent and an ex-U.S. Attorney, recently received a $115 million investment from private-equity firm New Mountain Capital to open new offices across the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Demand for cyberforensics is being driven by "the proliferation and complexity of security issues companies are facing," says Alok Singh, New Mountain's managing director. "Issues of data security and integrity are critical for all companies around the world."

Large organizations increasingly need expert guidance preserving and extracting digital records, such as e-mail and copies of , for civil lawsuits and regulatory audits. They also increasingly need help getting to the bottom of security breaches.

U.S. Internet crime losses reached $560 million in 2009, up from $265 million in 2008, says the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Research firm Market Research Media estimates that the federal government will spend $55 billion from now through 2015 on cybersecurity. Globally, a recent study by the Computing Technology Industry Association, a nonprofit trade group, found that 63 percent of large organizations surveyed in 10 nations experienced at least one security incident in the past 12 months, with 45 percent of those incidents classified as serious.

Much like the CSI investigators portrayed on TV, cyberforensics sleuths preserve the crime scene and use their training, experience and intuition to ferret out crucial evidence. But instead of looking for fingerprints, DNA and ballistics, they hunt for "subtle data attributes inside company networks that have been changed or altered," says Ed Stroz, ex-FBI agent and co-founder of Stroz Friedberg.

PricewaterhouseCoopers forensics director Kim Peretti, a former Justice Department litigator, says the hunt can become intricate. "Looking for breach indicators is really more of an art than a science," Peretti says. "The more you do these type of investigations, the more you know where to look and what to look for."

Explore further: Lions Gate partners with online outfit RocketJump

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Foiling e-document hackers

Jul 18, 2005

A worker sends an office colleague an e-mail with a corporate document attached, but the seeming routine message turns out to harbor a malicious passenger, because the attachment contains hidden pornographic images that were ...

IM interoperability raises virus threat

Jan 30, 2006

Interoperability of instant-messaging services will allow worms and viruses to propagate more easily, creating more risk in online security, according to Postini's annual Message Management and Threat Report.

Recommended for you

Instagram photo-sharing service goes down

Apr 12, 2014

Popular photo-sharing site Instagram was not working Saturday, as frustrated users quickly turned to social network Twitter and other web sites to share their complaints.

Authors Guild asks US court to rule against Google

Apr 11, 2014

The Authors Guild says that Google Inc. is stealing business from retailers and has asked a New York federal appeals court to find that the Internet giant is violating copyright laws with its massive book digitization project.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

ESO image: A study in scarlet

This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

First direct observations of excitons in motion achieved

A quasiparticle called an exciton—responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits—has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within ...

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...