Trading in illegal data has soared to record highs in the UK, with an increasing number of criminals stealing and selling personal information.
So far in 2014 there have been 110 million pieces of data bought and sold by criminals, according to Experian – this is a 40 per cent rise on last year and a staggering 300 per cent increase on 2012’s numbers. The reason? Because criminals are realising that ‘data is the new oil’; that is to say, it is a highly lucrative resource.
Data, whether it is stored within a company’s on premise hard-drives or located in a third party cloud environment, holds incredible value. But not just for criminals; it is also certainly true in the work that Frenkels Forensics carry out, which is why computer forensic investigations are becoming such an integral part of forensic accounting.
Let’s look at an example of when data can prove such an important asset. If a company were to be accused of fraud or illegal online activities – perhaps exploiting customers’ account details – then the evidence will lie in the trail of data that a computer user leaves behind with every click of the mouse.
In one case that Frenkels Forensics were in instructed on, a company had been accused of stealing £15 million of VAT. In taking the business’ computer and completing a thorough examination of the digital records it became clear that the individual accused (the owner of the company) had not been culpable; it had in fact been his business partner who had acted without his knowledge.
The evidence of one man’s innocence, or rather the other man’s guilt, lay in encrypted files within a vast, complicated computer system. That’s why the computer forensic experts at Frenkels Forensics have specialist software and techniques to unlock the truth within the data to find out who it was that took what action and when – this is incredibly valuable in determining the outcome of criminal cases that are linked to computerised or online activity, as so much criminal activity today is.
For expert help with a computer forensics investigations, contact Frenkels Forensics for an independent appraisal.
By Vitek Frenkel – find me via Google+.