Cyber Crime – Can Locard’s Exchange Principle Be Applied to Cyber Crime?

Cyber Crime is replacing drug trafficking. Recent government findings indicate that cyber crime has pushed aside the illicit drug trade as one of the top sources for hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains the world over. In its infancy, the Internet seemed like something that could develop into a useable tool for scientific research. If we had only known back then what potential it held, perhaps more thought would have gone into its protection.

Today the newswires are filled with reports of massive thefts of personal information as well as depleted bank accounts-all due to the criminal element that, for a small investment in a computer and an Internet connection, is changing the landscape of criminal investigation. One highly regarded research survey stated that 8.1 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2010. Losses were in the hundreds of millions.

The Locard Exchange Principle (LEP)

Dr. Edmond Locard (1877-1966), known to many as the French “Sherlock Holmes,” was a pioneer in forensic evidence investigation. Locard formulated the basic principle of forensic science, “Every contact leaves a trace,” Of course Locard’s theory dealt with the physical contact made by the perpetrator to items in the crime scene. But today’s crime scene may not involve a physical structure-more than likely the crime scene is located out there in cyberspace.

So the question evolves, “Does Locard’s Exchange Principle apply to an electromagnet passing over a spinning disk?” Some digital detectives believe that it does. For example, a hacker gains access to a computer system that may or may not be secure. Is any computer completely secure? Granted, security software is effective against many such invasions, but a secure system will only take the hacker a little longer to get into it. Now, the question is, does the exchange principle apply?

Cyber crimes leave no physical evidence

On the surface, the infiltrator would leave no physical trace of his having been there. But other electronic trace evidence may be present. If the computer’s file access logs were accessible, it’s possible that a record will be available showing that the file was, in fact, accessed, and even that a network transmission followed. Also a possibility is that a side-channel analysis of any activity on the hard drive will uncover network operations. As a last resort, the examiner may check the access logs of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to uncover surreptitious entry. This step will not necessarily divulge what specific data was removed, but it will indicate that data was, in fact, lifted from the line.

Industrial espionage is becoming commonplace

Personal information and cash are not the only targets of this spreading menace. Online industrial espionage is a growing threat to the U.S. economy as well as our national security. U.S. intelligence agencies recently warned elected officials that China and Russia are engaged in cyber-espionage. “Trade secrets developed over thousands of working hours by our brightest minds are stolen in a split second and transferred to our competitors,” said one counterintelligence executive. These foreign governments deny this claim.

The Cyber Exchange Principle

Perhaps when relating to cyber crime, the “Cyber Exchange Principle” applies. Forensic examination of a computer or server will uncover artifacts of invasion. The investigator is then, faced with a situation that the crime scene is not limited to a single computer and may involve another computer half the world away.

The hacker will not be leaving latent fingerprints, foot prints, or traces of physiological fluids in the wake of his intrusion. But electronic activity in this case can be far more valuable in the bits and bytes this activity leaves behind. The principle that Locard espoused so long ago must be forefront in the minds of our digital detectives as they seek what clues an invaded computer holds as well as what traces are awaiting discovery out there in cyberspace.

Essential Points To Consider When Selecting A Computer Repair Company

Computers are perhaps one of the most useful gadgets that have ever been invented. They have become even more powerful with the advent of web technology. There’s hardly anybody these days who doesn’t find computers necessary, whether it’s for work, business, or other purposes. However, despite how advanced this device is, it’s still prone to encountering defects. In other words, it’s far from being perfect. Sooner or later, problems will arise, either with the unit itself or with the programs installed. Hence, there will be a need for repair work. If you don’t address the problem as soon as possible, it will be more troublesome later on.

When it comes to problems with your computer, it’s best to rely on an expert for help. There are many cases of units getting damaged beyond repair because inexperienced people fiddle with them. As a result, even just a simple repair job gets blown out of proportion. The entire system even needs to be reprogrammed sometimes. This will cost a lot and it’s probably better to just think of buying a new unit instead. Hence, if something goes wrong with your computer, do the right thing immediately. Look for a competent computer repair company to handle the job.

The question now is how to choose the right computer repair company. Remember that there are so many of them nowadays, so you have to choose wisely. Here are a few key points to look into when you’re out hunting for one. Number one, look for repair companies that are more established and check them out first. Those who have been in the business longer are presumed to have more experience. However, this is just a presumption, which means that it’s up to you to verify the nature of services actually delivered by them. With the help of online resources, you can search for customer feedback and other reviews.

Number two, make sure that the company is licensed to do business, specifically in the computer repair business. Also check out the credentials and other qualifications of their technicians. Be wary of those companies that do not openly display their business permits and licenses. If it is indeed an established one, it will have no qualms about displaying its legitimacy. Number three, assess the kind of customer service the company delivers. You can do this by setting a personal appointment with them or calling them up. Last but not the least, also make sure that they provide for the necessary warranties.

Basic Checks Before Visiting a Computer Repair Center

Today, computers are everywhere. It’s difficult to ideate life without computers. Directly and/or indirectly, computers have really changed our lives. If you are a regular computer user, then you must have experienced different types of problems. It doesn’t matter if the problem is a minor or major, if it gives problem when you need it, it’s real frustrating. If your computer still covers warranty period, then it is not a problem. If the warranty period is already over, then you may need to take it to the computer repair center to fix it. Before you visit any computer repair center, there are some basic checks you must do to find what the problem might be:

Anti-Virus

First and foremost thing that can affect the health of computers are viruses. If you do not have an anti-virus, which is up to date, then your computer is prone to getting affected with these viruses and malwares. Usually, these viruses enter your system through internet downloads. If your computer is slow, unable to open local disks, or restarting for no reason, then most probably your computer is affected by viruses and malwares. If your anti-virus is not updated, it is advised to keep your anti-virus up to date. If the problem still continues, then you may need to visit a computer repair center where professionals can find out what the problem is.

Hardware Drivers

Computer hardware devices come with plug-and-play option and also with the drivers. A driver is software that allows the computer to identify and run hardware properly. Some of them are included in the OS and some are not. If any of your hardware is not working properly, then chances are that the drivers are not installed properly or are corrupted. When you try to connect any external device or hardware to your computer, it always asks for the driver. Almost all the hardware devices come with the driver. If you have not received one, check with the retailer or you can get it installed at computer repair center as they own driver CDs for all the major brands of computer.

Excessive Heating

Computers can be used for any long but it should have proper cooling system. All computers come with the fan attached to reduce the excessive heat it generates while it is on. When computers get overheated, chances are that it will cause it to malfunction. Computers must be kept in cool place. Clean the dust regularly so to allow proper air flow. Always check if the fan is working properly.

These are just some of the basic things you must check before visiting computer repair centers so that you know what to expect from them and get your computer into working condition soon.