Cybersecurity investigators are specialized professionals who primarily focus on digital forensics and incident response (DFIR). Many work with law enforcement agencies while others work with advanced managed cybersecurity companies.
|“Digital forensics and incident response is crucial in the face of sophisticated cyber attacks, particularly in environments where precision and legal compliance are non-negotiable” – Tab Bradshaw, Chief Operating Officer, Redpoint Cybersecurity
Given their specialized nature, the assumption that you don’t always need one to protect your computer system is understandable. There are many types of cyber incidents that simply require the expertise of a general cybersecruity team.
In this article we’ll clarify when you do need the help of a cybersecurity investigator. We’ll explore what they do, how cyber investigations work, when you need one, and how to choose the best one for your business.
What is a Cybersecurity Investigator?
A cybersecurity investigator is a specialist that identifies and analyzes digital threats in an organization’s network after a significant incident occurs. They use advanced investigative techniques to uncover the source and impact of cyber attacks.
These professionals are skilled in examining digital evidence across various platforms. They understand cybercriminal tactics and use this knowledge to strengthen an organization’s defenses and gather evidence to be used in a court of law if necessary.
Many investigators are also capable of navigating the dark web, using specialized tools to track and investigate cyber threats that originate from this part of the internet.
What Happens During a Cybersecurity Investigation
1. Initial Assessment & Reporting the Incident
The first step in a cybersecurity investigation is the initial assessment. This involves identifying the scope and impact of the incident. Investigators gather preliminary information to understand what happened and how it has affected the organization.
Reporting the incident early is also crucial. Not only is this a best practice, it may be a legal obligation depending on your industry and the severity of the attack. Under the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 (CIRCIA), certain entities are required to report cyber incidents to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
2. Collection of Evidence
Investigators then collect data from identified devices and systems, either onsite or remotely. This includes logs, user activities, and network traffic data. The evidence is gathered using forensic tools to ensure its integrity for a detailed forensic investigation.
3. Analyzing Data
The collected data is thoroughly analyzed at the investigators’ headquarters.They perform detailed analyses to identify indicators of compromise and the origin of the incident. This step is essential for establishing a comprehensive understanding of how the security incident evolved and can also provide evidence for legal proceedings.
Throughout the investigation, maintaining communication with authorities like CISA may be essential. This ensures compliance with legal requirements and facilitates a coordinated response to the incident.
4. Recovery & Remediation
Evidence preservation isn’t just for legal processes. It also helps security professionals react and respond to the incident more effectively. Your team can use the evidence gathered by the investigator to remediate the threat at its root, which will lead to longer lasting results.
Detailed information about the incident will also help your organization regularly assess your security protocols to prevent similar incidents in the future and keep information secure.
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When Should You Contact a Cybersecurity Investigator?
You should contact a cybersecurity investigator when a cyber incident is complex, requires deep analysis, or has potential legal implications. Digital forensics are especially important if sensitive or highly-regulated data might have been compromised.
If your organization faces an incident that could have regulatory implications, such as potential violations of data protection laws, it isessential to involve a cybersecurity investigator. They ensure evidence is preserved for potential legal proceedings and their expertise is vital for accurately reporting the extent of the incident to regulatory bodies.
Even if your incident is not severe, you may still consider seeking a cybersecurity investigator. If your internal cybersecurity team is unable to fully resolve or understand the nature of the cyber incident, an investigator can help.
What to Look For in a Cybersecurity Investigator
Cyber Threat Intelligence
Select investigators who can demonstrate cyber threat intelligence. This involves understanding and analyzing the landscape of cyber threats, including emerging trends and tactics used by cybercriminals. Investigators with this skill can proactively identify threats and provide insights to prevent future attacks.
Look for investigators with a proven track record in handling cyber incidents in large enterprises. Experience in your specific industry can be a significant advantage. This ensures they understand the unique challenges and regulatory requirements your business faces.
Certifications & Education
Consider investigators with relevant certifications, such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) or Certified Computer Examiner (CCE). These certifications indicate a level of expertise and commitment to the field.
Choose investigators with strong analytical skills. They should be capable of dissecting complex cyber incidents, identifying patterns, and drawing meaningful conclusions. This skill is crucial for unraveling the intricacies of cybercrimes and providing actionable insights.
Opt for investigators who have a solid understanding of legal aspects related to cybersecurity. They should be familiar with laws and regulations governing data protection, privacy, and cybercrime. This knowledge is essential to ensure that the investigation is legally sound and the evidence collected is admissible.
Work With Digital Forensics Specialists With Military-Grade Experience
When you need a cybersecurity investigator, you need a firm with technical expertise and extensive experience. The right company will offer comprehensive services, risk assessments, incident response, and of course digital forensics, all in one place.
An excellent option is Redpoint Cybersecurity. We offer military-grade solutions and excel in both digital forensics and compliance consulting. With Redpoint, you’ll also get 24/7 monitoring, rapid support, and advanced threat intelligence.
Reach out to Redpoint to get started today.