Demystifying Digital Forensics: A Comprehensive Guide to Digital Evidence

Digital forensics focuses on the digital devices that may have been used to commit a crime or to provide supporting evidence to link a suspect to a crime such as murder, theft of intellectual property, distribution of indecent images, burglary, drugs, and many others. 

The term “digital forensics” was originally used for the use of computers, but as technology has evolved, it has now come to refer to any digital device that can store data. The evidence found on any device can be pieced together to form a story of what happened when the crime was committed. This evidence can then be used in a court of law if and when required or for other instances, such as Human Resources during employment (alleged misdemeanour, disclosure of sensitive information or theft).

The Five Branches of Digital Forensics

Though digital forensics is a wide discipline, it has only five main branches. Each branch derives its name from the type of data it examines and analyses. 

Database Forensics

Database forensics is a division of digital forensics that focuses on databases. It often has to do with the analysis of stored data or data living in databases.

This includes some of the digital evidence types we discussed above, this includes metadata, volatile data, replicant, and sometimes residual. 

A database forensics expert will review the timestamps associated with the activities in question. This will give cues and clues as to what a user was doing on the computer. Another source of evidence for database investigators is the Transaction Log Data Files

Database forensics can be used in various ways when uncovering digital evidence. Some of the most common uses include detecting suspicious activity, discovering database loopholes, and guarding against cybercrimes.

Computer Forensics

Computer forensics remains one of the broadest branches of digital forensics and likely the oldest. This branch first emerged with the rising use of computers among the public. It focuses on investigating, analysing, and understanding data from a computing device. 

The most common end goal of computer forensic science is prosecution. But this branch of forensics can also prove helpful in unearthing reasons for failure in digital devices. 

A quick example would be when an operating system crashes. Investigators will depend on computer forensics to figure out the cause of the failure.

Mobile Device Forensics

With 16 billion mobile devices around the world, it is no wonder mobile device forensics exists. More people today depend on their mobile devices than their personal computers. 

Most consumers’ mobile devices house their personal information, are connected to their bank accounts, and contain other sensitive data like their location. 

This increasing dependence means mobile devices are the perfect place for investigators to look when in search of digital evidence.

Mobile device forensics is the gathering, analysis, and presentation of data scientifically gathered from mobile devices. From mobile devices, investigators can review a user’s search history, financial records, location patterns, and conversations.  

Mobile device forensics is used in different industries such as the military, business, and law enforcement.

Network Forensics

The third subset of digital forensics on our list revolves around the investigation of computer network traffic. If investigators suspect that a particular network is responsible for spreading viruses or is being used to steal information, they will lean on network forensics to solve the problem. 

During a network investigation, forensic scientists are out to find the source of an attack or network event, the path it took, and the techniques used in the attack. 

There are two ways to analyse a network event, but the investigators don’t get to choose the method; the method picks itself. Depending on the stage of the attack, investigators can either use the postmortem approach or the real-time investigation technique.

In the postmortem approach, the event has already occurred and leaves investigators with clues they can piece together to find out how the event occurred and possibly who was behind it. In a real-time investigation, the event is still ongoing. This allows scientists to analyse the event as it occurs.

Some network attacks are:

  • Session hijacking
  • IP address spoofing
  • Buffer overflow
  • Ad hoc connection
  • Rogue access point attack

Forensic Data Analysis

Forensic Data Analysis (FDA) is a branch of digital forensics that encompasses aspects of every branch of digital forensics. FDA, much like database forensics, involves studying information from storage devices. And like network forensics, it includes the analysis of data on a network.

Therefore, FDA is an exploration of data to understand trends and enhance digital routes. Simply put, forensics data analysis looks into data to prove fraudulent activities and improve security.

What Is Digital Evidence in Forensics?

Digital evidence is the bedrock of digital forensics. It refers to all information and data that is stored on or communicated by a digital device.

In its earlier days, digital evidence and forensics focused on computers. But in today’s digital landscape, digital evidence comes from mobile devices, hard drives, or even cloud accounts.

This integration of technology into our daily lives puts digital evidence at the forefront of criminal investigations. We are not only talking about cybercrimes – digital evidence is an important resource in an array of different crimes.

What Is the History of Digital Evidence?

The history of digital evidence journeys far back, there are recorded events dating as far back as the ’70s and ’80s. At that time, digital forensics was in the hands of government officials with a background in computers. In the UK, digital forensics was first embraced by the Metropolitan Police which formed a unit called the Fraud Squad.

It was not until the ’90s that this branch of science was born and accurately termed. Several governing bodies came together in this same era to produce standards and procedures that would regulate digital evidence. This help us to further understand how binary information is collected, stored, and analysed. 

In 1998, the Association of Chief Police Officers produced the first Good Practice Guide for Digital Evidence. The next year followed a revision of the ISO Guide 25. This was a collaboration between the ISO and the IEC, which resulted in new guidelines for laboratories.

The new International Organisation for Standardisation guidelines were later revised in 2005 and again in 2017. The guidelines have worked to standardise laboratory testing and calibration and so minimise inaccuracy in evidence gathering and reporting.

Why Do We Need Digital Evidence?

There are a number of reasons why digital forensics is so important, it can help identify criminals whilst retrieving valuable information to present in a court of law and persecute:

  • Theft of data or network breaches (hacking) – digital forensics can help understand how a breach happened and who the hacker was.
  • White collar crimes – this involves crimes such as embezzlement or corporate fraud and digital forensics can help gather evidence to persecute.
  • Violent crimes (assault, burglary) – digital devices can contain a lot of information regarding locations, messages or people who were involved in the crime.
  • Fraud and identity theft – digital forensics are used to understand the impact on customers and businesses, should personal data get into the wrong hands.

Types of Digital Evidence

There are different types of digital evidence laboratories can collect. Below, we have covered the top seven forms processed by most laboratories.

Logs

At the helm of digital evidence, we have logs. Logs are digital files that summarise an electronic event and they are part of the visible data family.

The information found in logs includes the time an event was initiated, raw text and the source of the activity. 

From a forensics point of view, log data can help laboratories identify who started an event, when they initiated it, and what information they targeted.

There are several common log data files within the digital network:

  • Device fingerprints
  • IP logs
  • OS logs
  • Phone logs
  • Door access records
  • Network logs
  • Software logs
  • Email logs
  • Database logs

Through log forensics, companies can identify points of vulnerability in their systems and find ways to mitigate future attacks. Log forensics is also a great way to understand the lifecycle of an attack, reconstruct incidents, and identify attack patterns.

Video Footage and Images

There is nothing like a high-resolution image of a culprit to solve a case or even a video stored in the cloud to retell how events took place. Another member of the visible data group, video footage and images are among some of the most communicative forms of digital evidence out there. 

Not only can this type of evidence outline the incident in finer detail, but it can also help individuals identify suspects faster. Though videos and images are one of the most important resources, they actually come in an array of formats and these formats aren’t always easy to process.

Another challenge that rises from this data type is the resolution. If the integrity of your data is compromised, it will be both unusable and inadmissible. 

This means to access and analyse this visual data, you will need access to compatible software. 

The different types of video formats include:

  • MP4
  • FLV
  • AVI
  • WMV
  • AVI
  • AVCHD
  • FLV
  • WebM
  • MOV

Of all of the above formats, MP4 is clearly the most popular. These formats are usually a result of a mobile phone recording.

Metadata

Metadata doesn’t only have its place in SEO. There is room for it in the digital forensics lab as well. 

The first in our list of the invisible data category, metadata is often described as data about data. In a simple general discussion, this is accurate. But that is until you speak to data and forensic scientists. 

They will tell you that metadata is underlying information that is not perceivable. This data holds a set of attributes about another form of data. It can be anything from when the file was created and who created it to where it is stored.

The most common example of metadata is the information you can see when you right-click on an image stored on your personal computer to reveal its properties. 

During digital evidence collection, metadata can reveal the owner of a file in question and when the owner created it. With the aid of the right software, digital forensic investigators can also review the software used to create the file, down to the exact operating system model it uses. This makes it easier for them to narrow down potential perpetrators.

Volatile Data 

Volatile data is data that can be lost once the device powers off. For an interactive user experience, your computer will store your data on the RAM. This is because the RAM processes data faster, making for a more responsive system.  

However, when your device turns off, the data stored on the RAM is deleted. This is where volatile data differs from persistent or non-volatile data.

Even when deleted, non-volatile data is recoverable. This is particularly true if the data has not been overwritten by another file.

But there is a place where these two meet. Should the RAM become full as you are working on a file, your data will be transferred onto the hard drive. This will turn your volatile data into persistent data.

This way, even when the device turns off, the volatile data now stored in that computer becomes recoverable.

Volatile data can reveal the activity on a device, files a user accessed, and sometimes their unsaved documents. Volatile data forms part of active data as it can reveal the live activities of a user on a device.

To access all proprietary volatile data, it is important to do so when the device is still on. This can reveal to digital investigators the type of activity the user was doing on the device.

Along with the RAM, volatile data resides in cache and CPU registries. Since this type of data is not easy to detect, it is part of the invisible data family.

Replicant Data

Another great way to discover a suspect’s activities on their device is through replicant data. Replicant data is exactly what the name suggests. It is data that has replicated itself.  

Sometimes to guard against data loss, a system will save a user’s file. This is most common in Microsoft Word. Should your device turn off unexpectedly, chances are you will still be able to recover what you were last working on in Word. 

But this data retention method can also prove very helpful during digital evidence collection. When examined, replicant data sources can reveal what the user was up to on the device. The data can reveal information like what the last accessed file was or the last browser site visited.

Some examples of replicant data include web cache and cookies.

Residual Data

And finally, we have another member of the invisible data group: residual data. This is data that the user may have deleted but is still lingering on the computer.

Residual data can be recovered to trace a user’s journey through a computer. In data theft cases, recovered residual data is also used to depict the file a user had access to, and files they received and reviewed.

Who Examines the Digital Evidence?

Digital evidence must only be examined by those trained and qualified to do so. For example, if a phone was stolen, someone may be able to search for the stolen device on an online shopping site, but they wouldn’t be able to access any valuable data on the device that would provide valuable clues. There is also a risk of evidence being destroyed if someone who is unqualified tries to obtain it themselves. 

The process of handling a seized device follows a number of steps to ensure all of the necessary data is collected:

  1. To prevent cross-contamination, a copy of the original device is made and stored somewhere else to protect the original data. For example, if data from the original device was placed on a form of media that already contained data from a previous examination, the previous data may be examined by accident instead. Wherever the new data goes, the location must be clean and new.
  2. When examining the data, an isolation chamber is used to stop the device from connecting to wireless networks. If an isolation chamber is not available, the device can be switched into airplane mode to prevent connections.
  3. Software may be implemented on the device that disallows any data to be added, changed or removed, similar to a read-only copy of a document.
  4. Extraction software is used to extract the evidence from the phone and this is determined by the make and model of the phone.
  5. When the data has been extracted, the device is given back to evidence, where other forms of data can be taken, such as fingerprints.
  6. The examiner will then have access to all of the files on the device, including those that have been deleted.

Techniques For Gathering Digital Evidence

There are a variety of techniques that are used to gather and analyse evidence:

Reverse Steganography

Steganography is something criminals use to hide data inside messages or files. Reverse steganography allows the examiner to compare the hash value of the original file to the altered file. This value will be different for both, even if the files look exactly the same at first glance.

Live Analysis

Live analysis is the process of accessing data when the device is operating. Specific tools can be used to find volatile data that is stored in the cache or RAM. If live analysis is required, the device will be kept in the lab to ensure none of the evidence is lost. 

Cross-Drive Analysis

This process involves analysing and cross-referencing information from multiple devices to find similarities. Similarities can lead to the detection of suspicious events. This technique is also known as anomaly detection.

Stochastic Forensics

This process enables analysis from digital activity that doesn’t generate digital artefacts. Digital artefacts can occur if a digital process alters the data. An example of this is text files, where content can be used to find evidence for a data theft that changes the file’s attributes. 

Find Out More About Digital Forensics

Digital evidence is an important component of ensuring that any crime committed through a digital device is looked into as soon as possible, especially when regarding the privacy of your data. 

At SYTECH Consultants, we offer a range of services to help you find the full story. From computer forensics to mobile phone forensics, we can help you find the evidence you need for your case. Contact us today to hear how our consultants can help you with digital evidence. Take a look at our Digital Forensics Services.

Enhancing Trust in Digital Evidence: The Role of Forensic Science Regulator’s Code and ISO 17025

A square peg in a round hole or a necessary step to ensure evidence credibility? Many digital experts have their views on ISO 17025. But one thing is sure; getting accredited presents a lot of benefits for your lab and clients.

With the new Regulator’s Code, accreditation is no longer an option but a necessity. For you to ensure the credibility of your evidence, and to be statutory compliant, you must turn to the ISO standards.

Both these new standards and accreditation are changing the way digital scientists collect, process, and present evidence.

What is ISO 17025, what is its place in the world of digital forensics, and how can you get accredited? We have all those answers for you below.

What Is the New Statutory Code?

The new statutory code is a set of regulations that govern forensic science activities in England and Wales. This excludes Scotland and Northern Ireland. These two countries have their own forensic science crime investigation standards.

What this means for forensic laboratories is that compliance is mandatory for investigations aimed at solving criminal cases. 

The new code will officially come into effect on the 2nd of October 2023. Though it encompasses some ideas embodied in the Forensic Science Regulator CoP v7, there are some notable differences to anticipate. We will dive further into these in the next header.

The Forensic Science statutory code is issued by the Forensic Regulator’s office after section 2 of the Forensic Science Regulator Act 2021.

New Statutory Code Vs. FSR CoP v7

In August 2022, the Regulator published a draft of the Statutory Code which provided the forensics industry with a glimpse of the requirements to come. The House of Lords approved the new Code on 1st of March 2023 under section 3 of the Act.

Since the Code is changing from voluntary to statutory, it has been expanded. This permits it to clarify areas that were only regarded as a scope of operation.

But what are some of the changes to anticipate?

Statutory

The new Code of Practice arising from the Regulator is statutory. This means that all parties involved in Forensic Science Activities (FSA) in Wales and England must comply. The previous code of conduct was not statutory.

This allowed industry participants to decide on compliance. With the new CoP, however, laboratories that are not fully compliant will be required to be compliant.

Management Requirements

The new Act expands on the management requirements all units must meet instead of covering only accreditation requirements. In this section, the FSR Code mandates that forensic units define all roles involved in Forensic Science Activities (FSAs).

This includes roles that have an impact on FSAs. For unit personnel whose roles do not directly affect the FSAs, but are supportive roles, training must be conducted.

Forensic Processes

Another area seeing better clarification is the process and procedure scope. The non-statutory FSR Code provided simple guidelines on processes. For example, we didn’t see much information included when it came to the control of records or personnel competence.

However, the new Code sheds more light on these regulatory areas. An area worth noting is under competence guidelines (Section 28). Here the Regulator has added rules that govern practitioners whose role involves evidence reporting.

Expert Testimony

The Statutory Code has also added more weight to the rules surrounding expert witnesses. The Code further impresses the importance of the impartiality of expert witnesses. But it doesn’t end there.

The Code also clarifies that the expert called to testify should be loyal only to the court. It expands to make demands on these witnesses to have been investigated for competence in their capacity as experts.

This is particularly true for expert witnesses called to share their opinions in criminal trials.

Business Continuity

The Regulator didn’t neglect to outline requirements in the event of business interruption. Though highlighted in the previous Code, the new Code further defines the appropriate courses of action in the event of interruption.

For example, what used to be a three-part section covering the frequency of business continuity assessments, recovery of data, and maintenance of data integrity is now a five-part section.

Under this section, continuity plans are better defined. This includes what the plan should cover and expands on data recovery and integrity preservation. The document also warrants that units have safeguard measures should external legal partners go out of business. 

What Is New?

There are several aspects of the soon-to-be-implemented Code that cover areas not included in the previous Code. These areas include: 

Senior Accountability Individual

The Code now mandates that forensic units have a senior manager whose role shall be to ensure compliance. This manager shall be the senior accountability individual.

Every unit that has two or more practitioners must appoint a senior accountability individual or SAI. But if a unit has only one practitioner, then that practitioner shall assume the role of SAI.

The SAI will be the point of communication between the unit and the Regulator. In their capacity as SAI, appointed practitioners will be responsible for ensuring data quality including averting quality failures. 

The senior accountability individual will be held liable for any action the Regulator takes against the unit. 

Every unit must report the contact details and appointment date, and outline the responsibilities of the SAI to the Regulator. And should any of the information change, the unit has 30 days to communicate these changes to the Regulator.

Infrequently Commissioned Experts 

Though covered in the FSR-C-100, it was not in-depth. But in the new document, the parameters for infrequently commissioned experts earned an entire section: Section 46.

In the FSR-C-100 regulations concerning these experts, there is a subset of a section discussing a team of experts from other professions. It outlines obligations the experts must meet before participating in a testimonial capacity. 

But in the new document, rules about infrequently commissioned experts are more strictly governed.

Some of the rules state that the expert shouldn’t have been called as a witness in any criminal justice system case within the preceding 12 months in the Wales and England territory. Experts are also required to comply with several Acts applicable to the CJS (criminal justice system) like the Criminal Procedure Rules and Criminal Practice Directions.

The Role of ISO 17025 in the Code

The Statutory Code places a significant demand on quality.  The majority of the sections in the Code reference standards of quality expected of the Wales and England forensic units and laboratories. The Regulator’s office has the responsibility of upholding these standards.

One of the outlined quality requirements in the Code is compliance with an internationally recognised standard. 

For digital forensics, the Regulator continues to suggest the ISO 17025 standards as the most appropriate.  

ISO/IEC 17025 in particular exists to regulate global laboratories. This ensures consistency in the results provided. And it enhances global collaboration and international trade.

With ISO 17025, all testing and calibration bodies will have the confidence to trust results from other laboratories regardless of their location around the world.

Why? Because with ISO 17025, labs follow the same standards for testing. These standards help laboratories produce credible results that are globally admissible.

In the Code, ISO accreditation is required from 2nd of October 2023 at 00:01. 

How to Achieve ISO 17025 Accreditation

Now that we have outlined the place of ISO 17025 in the Forensic Science Regulator’s Code, let’s explore steps for achieving accreditation. 

If you need help with ISO accreditation, we are the team to partner with. Backed by over 40 years of experience, we can help you and your unit develop an accreditation strategy that ensures compliance.

Step 1: Study the ISO Requirements 

Before you start your accreditation journey, you must acquaint yourself with the ISO 17025 requirements. To employ ISO, you must know what it means and demands from your unit. 

The three focus areas for ISO are:

  • Quality management
  • Technical competence
  • Result accuracy

Gaining an understanding of how the three interact with your organisation will help you know the standards you need and which copy is perfect for your business. 

Step 2: Create a Gap Analysis

With the Code becoming mandatory, you will have to review your existing systems to ensure compliance. This will involve an in-depth study of your quality management system or QMS. 

Review areas that don’t line up with the required ISO standards. You may need to involve a consultant in this step. Working with a professional consultancy firm like SYTECH can help you create an analysis that encompasses all areas of your operations.

With SYTECH by your side, you can create an accreditation plan that will guarantee you are ISO accredited. We will help you ensure that you don’t miss any standards outlined in ISO 17205 and help you modify any operation that falls short. 

Step 3: Employee Training

The third step to accreditation is training. For your ISO standards to succeed, your entire unit will have to be educated in line with the requirements. 

You can create PowerPoint presentations for your employees, partner with Sytech, or send your employees to online training.

Step 4: Documentation of the QMS

Regardless of industry, QMS documentation is important. This makes compliance audits easier while also ensuring all parties know their roles.

But for digital forensics, this is vital on your road to accreditation. Not only will it help you know which standards need updating, but the QMS document will be reviewed as part of your application.

Step 5: Audit the QMS

Conducting an internal audit can help you review your QMS before the accrediting body sends an assessor. This will assist you in reviewing your system and reveal areas where it needs improvement. After an internal audit, you may need to redesign some aspects of your QMS.

Step 6: Apply for Accreditation

When your QMS system is in order, your technical competence is verified, and the internal audit is complete, then it is time to apply for accreditation.

You will need to pick an accreditation body to help you conduct the assessment. 

The assessor will review your documentation before doing an onsite review. These audits will review your competency in line with the ISO 17025 requirements. The assessor will look into your equipment calibration and proficiency testing. 

Benefits of ISO Accreditation

Getting an ISO 17025 accreditation can help your organisation build trust, avoid penalties and enhance trade. Below we review these benefits in greater depth.

Improved International Trade

One of the major benefits of ISO accreditation is that it opens the door to international trade. What this means is that results from an accredited lab in one country can be admissible as evidence in another. This allows for the collaboration of labs in different countries.

Competitive Advantage

Laboratories that are accredited inspire trust among clients. This assures that data is handled with integrity and that testing is conducted by qualified personnel.

Build Trust

ISO 17025 is designed to ensure a management hierarchy in an organisation. This makes a demand on labs to ensure that only qualified personnel handle testing and calibration. Therefore, an accredited laboratory communicates trust to its clients, certifying that qualified employees are the ones handling laboratory operations. 

Regulator’s Code Compliance

Implementing ISO 17025 standards within your organisation is one of the best ways to be Statutory Code compliant. The ISO 17025 standards are part of the requirements listed within the new Code, especially for testing and calibrating laboratories. 

Your Journey to Accreditation

With the new Statutory Code effective from October 2023, an ISO 17025 accreditation is no longer an option. For every lab and forensic unit within the UK, it is now a must. 

When it comes to getting started on your accreditation journey, SYTECH can help. We are the consultancy firm that can support your journey.

Contact us today to hear how our consultants can guide you to ISO accreditation.

 

Hook, Line, and Sinker: How to Spot Phishing Like a Pro

According to a recent survey, almost 40% of small businesses in the UK report being the victims of cyber attacks each year. Of these cyber attacks, more than 80% are phishing scams.

You should do whatever it takes to prevent phishing scams from negatively impacting your company. This will start with you learning about the different types of phishing attacks that exist.

You should also teach your employees about phishing scams and make sure they’re ready to stop a phishing attack from taking place. It’ll make your entire company safer when it comes to cyber attacks.

Here are some of the most common types of phishing attacks and what you can do to spot them.

Spear Phishing

Of all the types of phishing attacks on this list, this one is probably the simplest and most straightforward. But it’s also one of the phishing scams that people tend to fall victim to most often without thinking twice about it.

During a spear phishing attack, one or more of your employees will receive an email that will ask them to either download a file or click on a link. When they do, they’ll invite malware onto their computer and into your system. It can then wreak havoc on your company as a whole.

You should train your employees on how to spot spear phishing attempts. These types of phishing scams can strike quickly if those within your company aren’t careful.

The National Cyber Security Centre recently warned UK businesses of spear phishing attacks originating from Russia and Iran. They should be on your company’s radar.

Email Phishing

Email phishing is a lot like spear phishing in that it will involve your employees receiving emails with files to download or links to click. The big difference between these two types of phishing attacks is that email phishing will involve mass emails going out and hitting more of your employees’ inboxes.

The good news is that there is anti-phishing technology that can be used to stop email phishing attempts. But one of these attempts might slip past this technology every so often and cause complications.

Just like with spear phishing, you should train your employees on how to spot email phishing attempts. You should also tell them to always think twice before downloading a file or clicking on a link from someone they might not know.

Clone Phishing

Clone phishing is one of the scariest types of phishing attacks because it isn’t always easy to identify a phishing attack when it’s used. It involves an attacker using an existing email to try to phish those who work for your company.

The problem with this type of phishing attack is that it’s going to look very convincing. The emails that your employees receive during a clone phishing attack might look just like the emails they would normally get. It can make it difficult for you to train your employees not to open them.

You can, however, stop clone phishing attacks from taking a toll on your company by investing in anti-phishing software that can spot them. This software should help your employees make good decisions about opening up emails and clicking on links in them even when they appear to be from trusted sources.

Credential Phishing

If a prompt popped up on your employees’ screens asking them to input their login credentials, what would they do? Ideally, they would report this to your company’s IT team to make sure it’s legit.

But unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. It’s why some companies will fall for credential phishing attacks.

These attacks take place when those who work for a company start inputting their login credentials into prompts that aren’t legit. It can lead to a company’s internal system being exposed and confidential data falling into the wrong hands.

You should ask your employees to please report any unexpected prompts on their various devices that ask for their login credentials. It might help stop these credentials from getting stolen by attackers.

Smishing

Email phishing scams have become so common over the years that many of them have stopped working. It’s forced those who try to pull these types of phishing scams to get a little more creative.

Some of them have responded by taking part in what is called “smishing.” It’s just like email phishing except that it involves trying to get people to click links through text messages.

If your company provides cell phones to your employees that are utilized for work purposes, you should talk to them about smishing and advise them not to click on links in any text messages from unknown senders.

Image Phishing

In an effort to deceive those who might be too smart to fall for other types of phishing scams, some attackers have started to participate in image phishing. This type of phishing involves sending images that people can click on through emails as opposed to links.

Many people have been taught not to click on links, but they haven’t always been advised not to click on images. Some will even accidentally click on these images in an email without thinking twice.

You should discuss image phishing with your employees and ask them to send any potential image phishing attempts to your IT team.

Pop-Up Phishing

Most companies have put pop-up blockers into place to stop pop-ups from appearing on their employees’ computer screens. But it isn’t impossible for those who launch pop-up phishing attacks to get around these blockers.

You should talk to your employees about not clicking on any pop-ups that might appear on the screens of their devices. If they do, it could expose your company to malware.

Avoid These Types of Phishing Attacks at All Costs

There are so many types of phishing attacks that take place these days. It can be difficult for your company to keep up with all of them.

But you should make an effort to teach your employees how to stop phishing attacks in their tracks. You should also invest in the latest anti-phishing technology to ensure that you’re able to eliminate as many phishing attacks as you can automatically.

SYTECH can provide you with many of the cyber services you’ll need to keep your company safe. Contact us today to get more information on them.

 

The Threat of Covert Spying: Understanding and Protecting Yourself

James Bond made it look cool. From fancy devices and trinkets, he got the intel with tracker devices and hidden cameras. He used it to catch the bad guy. Yet what if the threat of covert spying wasn’t in the interest of government security or gathering intelligence, as James Bond made us believe? The threat of secret surveillance is increasingly used for nefarious reasons. Even ones that put people in danger and are a great invasion of privacy.

So, how is this threat of covert spying happening? What can you do to ensure you aren’t a victim? Read on to learn more.

What Is Covert Surveillance?

Let’s start with a common understanding of covert surveillance or clandestine surveillance. As the name suggests, this type of surveillance gets executed where the person or activity being surveilled is done in secret. It’s a calculated action done secretly to watch or gather information about or from someone unknowingly. Sometimes this covert surveillance gets done by a person who’s nearby. Other times it’s executed through a device, and the person watches or gathers information from a distance.

Eavesdropping, Spying, Snooping, How It’s Done

The average person doesn’t have access to James Bond’s arsenal of secret gadgets and tools. Yet, it’s become easier for those who want information secretly to get it in today’s tech-driven world. 

So, how is eavesdropping, spying, and snooping done in today’s world? With many hidden devices, including:

  • Remote cameras
  • Hidden listening devices
  • Tracking devices, like GPS tracking
  • Apple Air tags, used for tracking
  • Drone surveillance
  • Hidden data readers 

While these devices are secret, how do you know if someone is trying to spy on you? It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the most minor clues that tell you someone has been in your space. 

Types of Clandestine Surveillance

So, what’s being used to execute this invasion of privacy? Let’s take a closer look at some types of devices used to gather clandestine surveillance. 

Hidden Cameras

You know that surveillance cameras are everywhere as you go about your daily life. From parking lots to common business areas, security is watching. But where are the hidden cameras you aren’t supposed to know about?

Hidden cameras can be nearly anywhere. The technology is so advanced that cameras can be the size of a pinhead. These can be hidden in almost any object around a room. 

Be most worried about hidden cameras in areas like bathrooms and bedrooms, where your privacy is most at risk.

Tracker Devices

Tracking devices allow someone to know your whereabouts at all times. Often cell phones now carry tracking technology, so your whereabouts are available to anyone with your cell information. 

Unwanted tracking can be achieved by adding a secret GPS device to your transportation. Apple Air tags are meant for luggage, yet are the same type of tracking device that could be hidden in a bag or clothing. 

Covert Surveillance

Other types of covert surveillance include using drones to get a birdseye view to gather information. 

Secret devices hidden in card readers to steal credit card information are a huge problem for retailers constantly working to protect their data. 

When Should You Be Most Worried About Unwanted Surveillance?

You have some understanding of the types of threats that could be used for unwanted surveillance. You know how that surveillance might be attempted. Let’s consider where you’re likely most at risk for the potential for unwanted surveillance. 

Businesses Managers and Owners

If you’re a James Bond movie buff, you will likely have seen a few films involving corporate espionage and insider trading. 

You’re at risk if you own or run a business with valuable information. Every employer wants to trust the people who work for them. Yet, one disgruntled worker could wreak havoc with some covert spying. 

Gathering and using the information to start a new business using your information or selling to the competition could profoundly damage any business. 

If you’ve created a product or service, businesses must also protect their intellectual property. Covert spying could take your most valuable assets from you.

School Environments

Most people want to believe they send their children to school where they are supervised and taught by well-intentioned individuals. Sadly, in today’s world, that isn’t always the case. 

There are too many news stories of secret cameras in schools and school personnel using surveillance as sexual predators. This could include teachers, coaches, and school support staff. If your child suspects anything or you get an uncomfortable feeling, trust it and investigate.

Hotels and Rental Accommodations

You’ve heard plenty of stories about when people do a property share through a business like Airbnb or VRBO, only to find they’ve been under surveillance while staying in the property. 

This is a massive invasion of privacy, even if they aren’t the property owner. It’s important to learn about hidden cameras and listening devices and learn how to find a hidden camera when you’re on or staying at someone else’s property.

Retail Environments

You also face some potential unwanted surveillance risks when you’re out shopping. Be very aware of dressing rooms and their set-up. Some people have chosen to avoid them together to avoid the risk of clandestine cameras watching while trying on clothes. 

Other retail risks include cameras working on getting PINs from debit cards or tracking devices in card readers to steal customer information.

Be aware of the cybersecurity measures used by the places where you spend your money. You should expect any business to be working to protect your data. 

Understanding the Threat of Covert Spying

Unfortunately, the threat of covert spying is real. The more aware you are of the risks, the better you can work to protect yourself. 

If you’re worried someone is attempting to spy on you covertly, it might be time to call in the professionals for an assessment. Contact us for help with the digital forensics you need to protect yourself. 

The Science of ISO 17025: How Sytech can Help You Gain and Maintain ISO 17025 Accreditation

Did you know that more industries are now seeking ISO 17025 accreditation to demonstrate their competence and gain a competitive edge in their marketplace? According to recent numbers, over 85,000 organisations worldwide were accredited by the ILAC MRA Signatories. But what exactly is ISO 17025 accreditation and why is it so important for your business? 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the requirements behind ISO 17025 accreditation and how Sytech can help you navigate the process.

Understanding ISO 17025: The Key To Unlocking Your Potential

If you’re looking to gain ISO 17025 accreditation, you’ll need a solid understanding of what it entails. ISO 17025 is an international standard that outlines the requirements for testing and calibration laboratories. It sets out guidelines for:

  • Quality management
  • Technical competence
  • The ability to produce accurate and reliable test and calibration data

Think of ISO 17025 like a key that unlocks your potential. With it, you’ll gain a competitive advantage in your industry. Which in turn should boost the confidence of your clients and stakeholders. 

You’ll be able to demonstrate that you have the necessary technical skills and management systems in place. And can consistently produce accurate and reliable results.

One of the key differences between ISO 17025 and other ISO standards is that it is an accreditation, not a certification.. The requirements are tailored to the unique needs of your  facilities. This can include anything from medical to environmental testing facilities.

In order to achieve ISO 17025, your facility will need to undergo a rigorous audit process. This process involves a detailed review of your facilities quality management system. An evaluation of your technical competence will also be necessary.

The assessor will be looking for evidence that you meet the requirements of the standard. This can include processes such as:

  • Document control
  • Equipment calibration
  • Proficiency testing

The audit process can be challenging. But the benefits of ISO 17025 accreditation are worth it. 

You’ll be able to compete more effectively in your industry. And, also be able to demonstrate your commitment to quality and accuracy. 

This can be a powerful differentiator for your business, especially if you operate in a crowded market.

Why Accreditation Matters: The Benefits Of Being ISO 17025 Accredited

Becoming ISO 17025 accredited can have a significant impact on your laboratory. It also opens doors to new clients and opportunities.

Here are just a few of the benefits of being ISO 17025 accredited:

Improved Quality Management System

ISO 17025 accreditation requires laboratories to implement a robust quality management system. This can lead to better documentation, more accurate test results, and fewer errors. 

By establishing and adhering to strict processes, you can reduce the risk. Plus, you’ll ensure that your testing procedures are consistent and reliable.

Competitive Advantage

In today’s market, stakeholders are looking for reliable partners that they can trust. With accreditation, you can differentiate yourself from competitors who do not have this. This can help you win more business and build a reputation as a leader in your industry.

Increased Credibility

ISO 17025 accreditation is recognized worldwide as a symbol of excellence. This accreditation can help you build trust with clients, stakeholders, and regulatory bodies. 

It can also be a requirement for certain types of testing. This can include environmental and medical testing.

Access To New Markets

Many clients and organisations require their suppliers or partners to be accredited. By achieving this accreditation, you can open doors to new markets and opportunities that were previously closed to you.

Continuous Improvement

ISO 17025 accreditation is not a one-time achievement. It requires ongoing effort and improvement. 

By maintaining your accreditation, you can ensure that your facility is always striving to improve. This can lead to better results, happier clients, and a more successful business overall.

How Sytech Can Help: Expert Guidance for ISO 17025 Implementation And Accreditation

At Sytech, we understand that achieving ISO 17025 accreditation can be a daunting and complex process. That’s why we offer a range of services designed to guide you through every step of the process.

Our experienced consultancy team has combined 40 years of testing and calibration laboratory experience and we’ve achieved ISO 17025 accreditation ourselves. 

With our guidance, your organisation can transition smoothly to the new ISO 17025 revision. We can also help you maintain your accreditation for years to come.

Guiding You Through Your ISO 17025 Journey

Our team of experts can help you establish a suitable quality management system that meets the requirements of ISO 17025. We’ll work closely with you to ensure that your laboratory is up to date and in compliance with the standard:

  • Procedures
  • Policies
  • Processes

We can provide ongoing support throughout the accreditation process by:

  • Helping you to develop and manage documentation
  • Establishing a robust audit program
  • Fully CPD certified 17025 training programme 
  • Audit provision
  • Validation Guidance
  • Pre-assessment checklists
  • Preparing for your accreditation audit

We’ll guide you through the process, providing you with the tools and knowledge you need to succeed.

Maintaining Your ISO 17025 Accreditation Made Simple

Once your organisation has achieved ISO 17025 accreditation, it’s not the end. Maintaining it requires continuous effort and improvement. 

You’ll need to be responsible for the continuous maintenance and improvement of the management system. We can help if your organisation doesn’t have the personnel to support this. 

We offer a range of maintenance services designed to help you maintain your accreditation, including:

  • Internal audits
  • Management system reviews
  • Ongoing support

We’ll work with you to ensure that your facilities quality management system remains effective and compliant with ISO 17025. We can provide this through a managed service resource provision. 

Why Choose Sytech?

At Sytech, we have a deep understanding of the ISO 17025 accreditation process. Along with the benefits that it can bring to your organisation.

Our team of experts has a wealth of experience in testing and calibration. We’re dedicated to sharing our knowledge and expertise with our clients. We work closely with you to:

  1. Understand your organisation’s unique needs
  2. Develop a tailored solution that meets your specific requirements

Achieve ISO 17025 Accreditation With Sytech

Earning ISO 17025 accreditation is a significant achievement for any business. It can set you apart from the competition and demonstrate your commitment to quality and competence. 

At Sytech, we have over 40 years combined experience in testing and calibration laboratory services. We’ve helped many businesses earn their ISO 17025 accreditation. With our guidance and support, you can successfully navigate the accreditation process. Enjoy the benefits of this prestigious certification. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve ISO 17025 accreditation and elevate your business to the next level.

 

Stay Ahead of the Game: Why Your Business Needs Cyber Essentials

The average cost of dealing with a ransom attack on an organisation or business can be £4.10 million. The cost of a cyber attack or a data breach in the UK has increased by 8.1% over the last year.

A ransom attack on a business can take up to 237 days to identify and another 89 days for containment. Cyber threats are very real, costly, and are always becoming creative and invasive. 

So, how should a business or organisation address potential cyber vulnerability? Cyber Essentials is intended to help you address potential threats you face in cyber security.

Read on to learn more about why Cyber Essentials are so important to you.

What Is Cyber Essentials?

As early as 2014, the British government reckoned the serious threat related to cyber security. Through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, developed Cyber Essentials.

Cyber Essentials has multiple goals for organisations, including:

  • Guarding against common cyber threats
  • Addressing common online threats to cybersecurity
  • Identifying vulnerabilities
  • Reducing the chances of an attack

The threats included addressing phishing, hacking, and illegal password retrieval. Cyber Essentials is set for organisations to work through a checklist to evaluate their cyber security protocols. 

Then it helps to address weak areas of their cyber security plan.

Cyber Security Threat Landscape

The world of cyber security is evolving at a breakneck pace. As soon as you think you’ve addressed one possible threat, another can appear.

But an organisation can’t address its cyber security needs without having a good understanding of the possible threats that are out there. 

As businesses rely more and more on technology, with  information and data in a computer or on a cloud, the risks increase.

One of the keys to a solid cyber security plan is that it can evolve and adjust as your needs change over time.

Five Technical Controls of Cyber Essentials

As Cyber Essentials was developed, the goal was to help organisations look at five key areas of their IT infrastructure. 

An organisation starts with a self-assessment questionnaire to consider how their IT infrastructure will hold up in these five areas. Then the business can go on to address its needs in each area. 

Let’s take a closer look at these five areas. 

1. Firewalls

As the name suggests, a firewall is like a cyber wall that prevents access to private networks. When a cyber attacker attempts to get into a network to access information or data, the firewall, if done right, should prevent them from gaining access. 

Your IT infrastructure can be built to identify who has access to your networks and their information. It can even delineate where certain users can go on the network. 

2. Secure Configurations

Computer networks have servers that help organise information and where to go when looking for information. A key to quality cyber security is your server configurations. They help to prevent access where it shouldn’t be granted. When you have quality server configurations, you reduce your network’s vulnerability. This prevents your network from releasing information when it shouldn’t and helps to prevent unauthorised actions into your network.

3. User Access Control

Most organisation networks are built with users in mind. They also have network administrators who oversee and have more access, ability and control over things within the IT infrastructure. Any organisation has to be thoughtful about who and how many people have administrator privileges. The more people with total access, the more risk of hackers getting in. You want limited access to computers, applications, and networks for anyone without administrator status.

4. Malware Protection

Malware is malicious software. It’s a type of software used by hackers to cause harm to computers and networks. Malware can be particularly dangerous and costly to organisations. 

It can:

  • Damage files
  • Steal confidential information
  • Lock files
  • Prevent access

It’s a common practice for hackers to use malware to invade a network and hold it hostage until paid to release it. You need your IT infrastructure set up to prevent malware invasions. 

5. Patch Management

The world of cyber security is constantly evolving. You find ways to protect your IT infrastructure; then hackers work to invade in new ways. 

It requires your cyber security plan to be prepared to address changes and needs as they arise. If a weakness develops, you can patch the issue to remain secure. 

Types of Cyber Essentials Certification

There are two types of Cyber Essentials certification. There’s the Cyber Essentials certification and Cyber Essentials Plus. Both certifications start with Cyber Essentials requirements with a self-assessment questionnaire.

Your IT expert completes the assessment questionnaire answering questions about the five areas and your IT infrastructure. Many organisations will seek professional assistance to guide them through the assessment questionnaire. 

Once complete, an external certifying body evaluates the assessment and decides if your IT infrastructure qualifies for Cyber Essentials certification.

Benefits of Cyber Essentials Certification

A Cyber Essentials certification shows your organisation has done what needs to be done to protect against the most common types of cyberattacks. 

Those who’ve suffered through a cyberattack can tell you that you’ll suffer business loss. You could face potentially great expense if you’re a victim of a cyber attack. 

Although Cyber Essentials is often required to bid on government contracts, show your organisation has done everything possible to protect itself from the risks of cyberattacks. You gain the trust and confidence of those you do business with. Your credibility and reputation with a Cyber Essentials certification show you care about IT security. You get more business while assuring existing customers you take securing their data and information seriously.

Protect Your Organisation With Cyber Essentials

Without a careful cyber security plan, your organisation can face a significant risk of a cyberattack. Cyber Essentials certification helps ensure you have a solid security plan.

Get a free consultation for your Cyber Essentials certification. Contact us today to get started. 

 

Why We Need Corporate Digital Forensics Now More Than Ever

Did you know that modern forensics dates back to the 1800s?

Fast forward to today, and forensics has been revolutionized by technological advances. In addition to fingerprints and DNA, we now have smartphone records and other digital elements that can be used as evidence within a court of law. While digital forensics is new within the grand scheme, a corporate digital forensics industry can’t be ignored.

Are you wondering why it’s so important? Keep reading to learn all about why we need corporate digital forensics now more than ever.

What Does Digital Forensics Involve?

There are several types of digital forensics, including those relating to smartphones and laptops. If it’s an electronic device of some kind, then chances are information can be obtained from it. A single photo on a smartphone can reveal plenty of information, such as the date, the time, and even the exact location where the photo was taken.

Laptop and desktop computers have records that relate to browser history, deleted files, time logs, and so much more. The wealth of information a forensic expert can get from a device is almost unlimited. Even a device damaged by fire or water can often have valuable data still hidden inside of it.

Once a forensic expert gets the information, then it’s possible for them to testify in a court of law. This can end up making a world of difference in the results of a given case.

Aside from court matters, there are many different situations in which a digital forensic expert can help. For instance, there may have been a deliberate or accidental disclosure of sensitive data. It’d be important to get to the truth of this matter so you can act accordingly.

Other situations include employee internet misuse or abuse, intellectual property theft, data breaches, and even industrial espionage. Don’t forget about the range of white-collar crimes that happen on a regular basis, such as embezzlement, Ponzi schemes, and many others.

Third-Party Digital Forensics Is Essential

Did you know that an attack by hackers occurs every 39 seconds? Many people and businesses assume it will never happen to them. The truth is, almost anyone can turn into a target at the drop of a hat, including small and large businesses.

By investing in third-party digital forensics, you can gather evidence that you’ll need for insurance claims. It may even come in handy in a court of law.

By learning what went wrong, businesses can also protect themselves more effectively in the future. The good news is that you don’t have to wait for a cyberattack to occur to prevent cybercriminals. Instead, you can schedule a digital forensics consultation and get priceless advice.

This can help you reinforce your business from the ground up.

These kinds of services are essential because they provide every business with valuable tools and knowledge. That way, you won’t always have to rely on the police for everything.

Plus, you can see results much more quickly instead of waiting around for the authorities to handle whatever issues have cropped up. It’ll also go a long way towards freeing up the police’s time.

Some people prefer not to get the authorities involved at all. In this situation, a corporate digital forensic expert can allow you to handle delicate matters in a way that works best for you and your needs. This includes finding out if your competitors are spying on your activities, whether your employees are getting harassed online, and so much more.

The Importance of Digital Forensic Accreditation and Experience

Whether you want to resolve cyberattacks or ensure that there are no glaring holes in your security, it’s a good rule of thumb to seek out a digital forensic provider that has both accreditation and experience. The last thing you’d want is for an inexperienced team to meddle in your electronic devices and gain access to your sensitive data. Having an amateur do the job could end up making a bigger mess of things.

Instead, you should always research various companies before enlisting them for help. One way you can narrow down your list of potential providers is by seeing what past clients have said about them on review sites. You can get an even more reliable impression when you ask for a recent referral and speak with someone on the phone.

Referrals allow you to ask a range of crucial questions while also getting a much better idea of what to expect from a given company. Since digital forensics is fairly new in the grand scheme of things, many providers won’t have the necessary experience. However, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than the best, such as the services offered by Sytech Digital Forensics.

Sytech can even provide you with an experienced expert witness who can provide valuable testimony in a court of law. You can’t find services like this just anywhere. If you try to cut corners and get digital forensic results from a provider that doesn’t have accreditation, then the evidence may not hold up in court.

Are You Ready for the Future of Digital Forensics?

Now that you’ve learned all about why we need corporate digital forensics more than ever, you can make sure you seek out the services of a third party with proper accreditation and experience. That way, you can rest easy, knowing that you’re in good hands.

We can provide you with various reliable digital forensics and cyber solutions. These include everything from computer and mobile phone forensics to penetration testing and incident response. Our clients know they can always count on our attentive expertise.

Please contact us for a free digital forensic consultation. We look forward to assisting you.

A Tale of Two Courtrooms: Giving Evidence in the Crown Court vs Magistrates Court

Appearing in court is a nerve-wracking affair.

It’s intimidating even if you aren’t the defendant being charged with a crime: Back in 2016, a watchdog found that more than 10,000 criminal cases had to be dropped because witnesses simply didn’t show up on the day.

Whether you’re due to appear in Crown Court or Magistrates’ Court, we’ve compiled this easy guide to break down the jargon and explain what will happen on the day.

Keep reading to learn how to prepare the right way.

Types of Offence in the UK

In English law, all criminal offences fall into three categories:

  • Summary-only offences
  • Triable either-way offences
  • Indictable-only offences

The difference is in the type and severity of the alleged crime committed. You might call a summary offence a “petty” crime, such as a motoring offence, criminal damage case, or an instance of minor assault.

In 2020, 74% of cases in the UK were summary offences, while 23% were triable either way. The remaining 3% were indictable offences.

Indictable-only offences are serious crimes, such as murder, manslaughter, FGM, and rape. Either-way offences are those that fall somewhere between summary and indictable incidents. They’re often crimes that have a broad spectrum of possibilities, such as assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

As you’d imagine, the maximum punishment for summary offences is far more lenient for more serious crimes – most summary offences carry a 6-month maximum penalty of £5,000. Indictable offences are punishable with up to life in prison.

Magistrates’ Court vs Crown Court

The key difference between the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts is the type of offences. In virtually all cases, summary offences are tried at Magistrates’ Court.

Crown Court, presided over by a judge with a jury present to deliver a verdict, deals with either-way and indictable offences.

In other words: Serious crimes are tried before a judge and jury, while lesser criminal cases are tried before a panel of judges.

What Is A Magistrates’ Court?

Magistrates’ Court is a lower court that handles most summary offences. Usually, a Magistrates’ Court is presided over by three judges, who hear a case and pass a judgement – though it’s not unheard of for only two judges to be present.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases in the UK.

Giving Evidence in Magistrates’ Court

Cases heard in Magistrates’ Court are typically resolved far more quickly than in a Crown Court. Often, you’ll only be required to attend court for a day, and we’ve compiled a list of tips for you on how to give evidence in a clear and concise manner.

You will be asked questions by the panel of judges directly and may be cross-examined by the defending lawyer. 

What Is A Crown Court?

The Crown Court primarily handles indictable offences, as well as either-way offences that are triable only as indictable offences because of the circumstances of the incident.

Giving Evidence in Crown Court

Cases that go to Crown Court are heard before a jury and the most severe criminal cases can take months to reach a verdict. If you’re required to give evidence before the Crown Court, you may find yourself waiting around for a long time to be called up.

Sometimes, certain witnesses are ruled out as unreliable or not needed by the CPS or defendant’s lawyers – but usually, if you’re there, you will appear before the court.

Witnesses wait in a separate room from defendants and their families to prevent conflicts. On the day, a representative from the Citizens Advice Witness Service will help you find your way around.

They will listen to and address any concerns you may have, and accompany you when you give evidence.

What Is an Expert Witness?

Expert witnesses are people with extensive knowledge of specialist topics. They may include forensic experts, cyber security specialists, data analysts, and coroners.

Ultimately, it’s up to the courts to decide who can and cannot give evidence as an expert witness. And importantly, an expert witness cannot offer up their own opinions, claiming them as fact – that’s hearsay and isn’t admissible as evidence.

Expert witnesses are expected to provide independent opinions in accordance with the questions they are asked. They don’t speculate on areas beyond their expertise and don’t provide advice to the courts on how to proceed.

Prior Considerations Before the Court Day

Before you go to court, you will need to take care of a few administrative tasks. That can include hiring a babysitter and informing your boss or manager that you’re required to give evidence in court. Your employer can’t refuse your request for time off, but they aren’t required to pay you for it.

However, you are able to claim expenses from the government.

If you suffer from a disability or require a translator to help with your statement, you can contact the CPS for assistance, which will be provided to you.

Finally, if you’re considered a vulnerable witness, the CPS will offer additional protections, such as shielding your identity to prevent a defendant from knowing who you are.

Etiquette in the Courtroom

Regardless of whether you give evidence at Crown Court or Magistrates’ Court, you must observe courtroom etiquette. This includes matters such as:

  • Dressing in formal attire
  • Treating your witness statement seriously
  • Being clear and precise in your testimony
  • Answering questions directly when asked
  • Staying on topic

It’s important that you don’t volunteer information or meander when you’re asked about a matter. You’re giving evidence in court to answer specific questions that may (or may not) be deliberated over by a jury.

Prepare for Court Testimony

Whether you’re headed for Crown Court or Magistrates’ Court, knowing how to prepare in advance helps calm your nerves and ensures you’ll give fair and accurate testimony.

If you need assistance to prepare for court, we can help. At Sytech Forensics, we offer consultancy and training for court appearances to ensure our clients give professional testimonies. Click here to arrange a free consultation.

 

Cyber Attacks and Business Growth: How to Avoid Being the Next Victim

A recent report by the UK government found that two in every five businesses (39%) have experienced a cyber attack or security breach in the last 12 months.

The report found that fewer businesses are using security monitoring tools to identify suspicious activity, highlighting how many businesses are unaware of the attacks and breaches they are facing. The report also found that 17% of businesses in the UK, do not have up-to-date anti-virus software.

These statistics highlight the threat that many businesses are not prepared to deal with the ever-present threat of cyber attacks. The bottom line is that cyber attacks directly affect a business’s growth.

In this blog post, we will highlight the impact of cyber attacks on UK businesses and share practical advice on how your business can take steps to prevent cyber attacks from occurring. Let’s get started.

Impact of Cyber Attacks on UK Businesses

According to the National Cyber Security Centre, hundreds of businesses and organisations in the UK reported cyber incidents in 2022. Several dozen of these were deemed significant enough to require a national-level response. These incidents included various malicious cyber activities including ransomware, malware, reconnaissance, disruption of systems and services, data exfiltration, and network intrusions.

Efforts to defraud UK businesses have a direct impact on their growth. Recent data indicated that the cost of a data breach in the UK is on the rise, jumping 8.1%. At more than £4.5 million, the average total cost of a data breach in the UK is the fourth-highest in the world, higher than countries such as Germany, Japan, and France.

The majority of UK businesses who have experienced a data breach say that they have experienced more than one. There are many reasons for the recurrence of breaches. These include employees without adequate cybersecurity training, unpatched vulnerabilities in a company’s network, and human error.

How to Avoid Cyber Attacks

While the threat of cyber attacks is very real in the UK, the good news is that there are many steps businesses can take to reduce the likelihood they will be affected. Let’s take a closer look at some of these.

Partner With an Expert

As a business, you shouldn’t have to face up to the threat of cyber attacks alone. Here at SYTECH, we are digital forensic experts, helping businesses to recover, analyse, and investigate detailed files, internet history, hidden files, and more.

We offer a range of services to UK businesses. For example, our computer forensic experts are here to investigate your computer data, recovering and examining digital data.

As your dependable digital forensics support, we also offer mobile phone forensics and specialist forensics. We are also available to act as your expert witness in court cases. 

Ensure Your Systems and Software Are Updated

Cyber attacks often occur because a business’s security software and systems are outdated, which results in vulnerabilities being exposed. Cybercriminals and hackers are therefore able to take advantage.

We recommend that businesses in the UK invest in a patch management system. This system keeps track of all system and software upgrades, which ensures that a business’s systems are up-to-date and secure.

Set Up a Firewall

A firewall, in computing, refers to a network security system. This system monitors and controls both incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. Effectively, it establishes a barrier between an untrusted network and a trusted network.

If your business doesn’t already have a firewall, it’s important to set one up. This is one of the most efficient strategies a business can take to protect itself. Any brute force assaults on your business’s systems or network will be blocked before any significant harm can be caused.

Make a Backup of Your Data

Data backups are a critical aspect of data security. There are many good reasons for this, including because preventive measures don’t always work. Many businesses who end up losing their data are simply unable to recover from the impact and end up closing down. 

Therefore, we recommend that you always have your business data backed up in the case of a disaster, such as a cyber attack. This will help to avoid a significant slowdown and the loss of important information and data.

Keep Track of Who Has System Access

In addition to cyber attacks, physical attacks on computers are also possible. Therefore, it’s important to have control over who has access to your network.

For example, it is possible that a person may enter your place of business and insert a USB key with infected data into a computer, resulting in them infecting your network or giving them access. It’s a good idea to install a perimeter security system. This is a way to prevent break-ins and cybercrime.

We also recommend that employees use separate passwords for each program they use and change them frequently. This will help keep your business safe from both internal and external threats.

How to Avoid Being a Victim of a Business Cyber Attack

As this blog post highlights, the risk of cyber attacks in the UK is very real. Cyber attacks pose a serious threat to a business’s growth. The above information and steps will help your business protect itself and reduce the risk of a damaging cyber attack.

SYTECH are leading experts in recovering, analysing, and investigating cyber security issues for UK businesses. We offer unrivalled experience and expertise. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

 

12 Days of Christmas: Our Top 12 Tips for Giving Courtroom Testimony

The truth is in your hands! More than one million cases were held in magistrates’ courts in 2020 alone. Many of these cases involved expert witnesses who explained difficult concepts for jurors and magistrates. 

Your testimony can be the difference between acquittal and conviction. For you to make the most effective courtroom testimony and to ensure that justice is served, you need to follow a few steps. 

How should you behave in court? How can you answer questions and give accurate information? What should you never do while you are testifying?

Answer these questions and you can perfectly fulfil your responsibilities as an expert witness. So, here are 12 essential tips for testifying in court.

1. Review Courtroom Etiquette

Even if you are familiar with testifying in court, you should study courtroom etiquette before your testimony. It never hurts to have a helpful refresher. Try to sit in on a hearing that your judge or magistrate is running so you can understand how they conduct themselves in the courtroom. Take notes on what types of answers they like, and what they don’t.

Read a guide on what to expect coming to a court so you’re fully prepared. You can also ask for tips for testifying from a judge not involved in your case if you would like extra reassurance. 

2. Understand Your Legal Rights and Limitations

As an expert witness, you cannot offer your own opinion and claim it is fact. You must base your testimony on science that is generally well-accepted, and you must explain your methods and thought process during your testimony. 

You should talk to a barrister or solicitor so you know what answers you can and can’t give. If you’re nervous about violating the law or courtroom procedures, hire an expert witness preparation coach to train you. 

3. Study the Case

Gather as much information about the case as possible. Understand how your testimony will elucidate a confusing point or procedure. Document your own process of researching the case, the surrounding issues, and consider taking written notes you can introduce as evidence in the trial.

4. Dress Properly

You should wear formal attire before going to court. Wear full sleeves, comb your hair, and trim any facial hair. You can wear a coat if you’re feeling cold, but select one that will not clash with the rest of your outfit.

5. Take the Responsibility of Testifying Seriously

Being asked to testify as an expert witness is a serious responsibility. Avoid saying anything about the case to anyone besides your lawyer. 

If you feel you cannot give your testimony due to a conflict of interest or another shortcoming, tell the judge as soon as possible. You can be excused if you have a valid legal reason. Testifying while you have a conflict of interest can lead to a retrial or a delay.

6. Be Clear

Your testimony will be useless if the judge or jury cannot understand what you are talking about. Use simple language and keep your sentences as short as possible. Do not talk over anyone, especially when someone is objecting to a question.

Be as specific as possible with your answers. If you are answering a multi-part question, mention what part you are addressing before you give your answer. If you need to qualify your remarks, make the qualification and explain the factors that can affect your answer. 

7. Use Your Own Words

You can ask a legal professional for help and get expert witness training for yourself. But you should not answer questions based on what you remember from your conversations with others. You should always phrase your answers as you would phrase them in natural conversation. 

Do not nod or shake your head to a question. You should speak aloud and make your thoughts known so everyone can understand what you are saying.

8. Take a Moment to Think

You do not have to answer a question as soon as it is asked of you. Take a few seconds to think about what the best answer is and how you can phrase it properly. There is no rush in the courtroom. 

Take a deep breath so you are calm and not rushing to speak. You can also take a sip of water if you’re feeling thirsty or dry. This will help you with providing a clear and concise answer. 

9. Answer Questions Directly

You may be asked uncomfortable or difficult questions. Do not get emotional, and do not dodge the question you are asked. Give the most honest answer you can and ask for clarification if something seems confusing. 

10. Never Volunteer Information

Do not meander while you are answering a question. Stay on the subject and stop talking once you’ve stated everything that you think is helpful. Do not talk about a different subject, even if you think it would be helpful.

11. Do Not Exaggerate 

Exaggerating or overstating your conclusions can hurt your credibility and cause you to contradict yourself. If you are not sure of something, say that you are not sure. If you think a lawyer is twisting your words or exaggerating your position, mention that when you are answering a question.

12. Be Positive

Though you should avoid exaggerating, you should also put as much authority into your answers as possible. Avoid saying “I think” or “I guess.” Bring up statistics, scientific theories, and processes that corroborate your perspective, and refer to other facts brought up in the trial if you can. 

Deliver a Strong Courtroom Testimony

Before you deliver a courtroom testimony, you need to take some preparations. Study the case, talk to a legal professional, and get training so you deliver clear answers. Before you answer any question, think it through so you are using your own words. 

Never make guesses, exaggerate your information, or avoid answering questions. Give the full extent of your knowledge and acknowledge your limitations. 

If these tips are hard to grasp, you should get courtroom testimony preparation. Sytech Consultants helps businesspeople and professionals prepare for giving testimonies. Contact us today.