Steps to Investigating a Cyber Crime in Your Small Business

Cyber crime is committed on a daily basis in the United States. Cyber crime, which is a high-tech crime committed by someone trying to steal your computer data and financial information, is advancing even as security measures get stronger. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Trends, there were more than 300,000 cyber crime complaints in 2011 alone and 2 million between 2000 and 2010. In the event that your business is the victim, there are several steps to investigate a cyber crime in your small business.

Preserve the computer data – As soon as a cyber crime occurs, you should act fast to preserve your computer data. This includes making a backup copy of your computer logs, files that were left behind, and any damaged or altered files — all of which are important for your business, but also for the crime’s investigation team. So you’re ready for it should a crime occur, you should learn how to quickly backup files and computer data now.

Install or activate auditing or monitoring software – If you’re lucky enough to catch a high-tech crime in the process of being committed, you can activate your auditing software. For instance, if you become a aware that a crime is in process involving your computer system or network, act quickly to activate any monitoring software or auditing software installed on your computer. You can use the software to monitor keystrokes once you get an alert that someone is tapping into your computer system. If you don’t yet have one installed, do it now so you’re ready if you happen to catch a computer crime in the works.

Document business losses – The last step before prior to filing the the complaint and beginning the formal investigating process is documenting your business losses. After an information technology crime has occurred, you may experience a number of losses that can be documented including any trade secrets, a loss of your business revenue, the value of data lost, the cost of temporary help following the cyber crime or equipment that was damages, the amount of credit you gave customers following the crime, and the number of hours spent for response and recovery.

File a complaint with local law enforcement – Finally, it’s time to file a complaint. Be sure you have made the necessary steps up to this point, especially having proper documentation. For the complaint, you’ll need to provide local law enforcement with your documentation of the incident, information you gathered about the cyber crime intruder, and any ideas or thoughts you might have into who they were or why they chose your computer specifically. Once the complaint has been filed, law enforcement will start by searching the IP address, if it is known. If law enforcement find out who committed the computer crime, you may hear from these regarding the details, particularly if you were targeted for a reason.

Follow these steps to investigate a cyber crime in your small business to help find the intruder. It is vital that you help prevent these types of crimes by installing proper software on your computer such as activating the firewall, having security protection, anti-virus spyware and anti-malware software. When choosing passwords, combine letters, numbers and symbols to make them more difficult to guess and change them on a regular basis. Lastly, you should obtain cyber liability insurance so the losses from the crime are covered.