One of the most troubling scenarios a business owner can imagine is often a common occurrence, being the victim of corporate espionage. Endless amounts of personal, financial, and business information can be accessed through any business computer, and if an unwanted party has stolen access, the damage to a business could be catastrophic.
Corporate espionage can be a major problem, especially for lucrative businesses. This form of espionage is particularly difficult because it can be nearly impossible to detect, so often it has been going on for an extended period of time before you even become aware of a problem. Some common signs of corporate espionage are:
- Private information has become public
- Documents or conversations found only in your private office are being referenced by others
- Secret company information, formulas, or schematics have been implemented by other companies
This was exactly the case in a recent eDiscovery investigation completed by ICS, in which a successful business owner felt his private information was being viewed by an ex-partner who stood to gain from knowing the company’s inside strategy. To begin this case, the business owner came to ICS with little more than a suspicion that his inner office might be under surveillance. Even when the client has found little or no physical evidence of illegal surveillance prior to beginning their investigation, ICS has the expertise and man power to conduct a thorough counterintelligence investigation to discover whether or not our client's suspicions are correct.
As a part of this business owner’s investigation, ICS began a Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) sweep, and conducted a Computer Forensics evaluation and malware search of an office computer that is primarily used for browsing the Internet and remotely accessing the office surveillance and security systems. ICS created a forensic image of the computer and investigated it for any security concerns. ICS computer forensics technicians discovered that the computer security had been breached, and as a result had been remotely accessed on at least three separate occasions. During the computer breaches, the hacker viewed the security systems and watched live feeds from the internal security cameras.
Hackers are generally located by tracing their IP address, which is a digital address unique to each computer and location. Unfortunately, the business owner had not become suspicious of illegal surveillance until much later, and the IP address of the hacker was too old to identify. ICS was able to trace the IP address to an account in another state, and the internet service provider was notified of the IP address and the times of each instance of a security breach. The internet provider was able to provide account information attached to the IP address. ICS then shared its finding with our client, providing the identity of the computer hacker to verify his suspicions of corporate espionage.
What to do Next
If you think you have been the victim of illegal surveillance, or your computer has been hacked, please fill out a free consultation form with ICS to begin your eDiscovery case today. It is important to take immediate action against hackers because by time you notice anything suspicious, your computer may have already been breached multiple times over months or even years.