If you believe you may have been a victim of a cryptocurrency scam and need to gather evidence to support a police complaint, Orion Investigations may be able to help.
A cryptocurrency blockchain is a decentralized public digital ledger that exists across a network which contains details of cryptocurrency transactions.
In order to conduct investigations, Orion’s Director of Computer Forensics Services Andrew Smith has developed Blockchain Detective, an investigation tool that simplifies the downloading of cryptocurrency transactions. It automatically generates a visual representation of the transactions (one node per unique address) making it easy to follow the flow of cryptocurrency from one address to the next and automatically identifies exchange addresses.
If you have become a victim of a crypto scam, contact Orion to see how we can assist.
Read full article ==> Cryptocurrency Investigations
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Responding to a RANSOMWARE ATTACK
When a company becomes a victim of a ransomware attack they will often contact Orion to ask if we can recover their encrypted data. In almost every case the answer is going to be no as we will not have access to a recovery key to decrypt the data. Therefore, it is vital that the company maintains up to date backups of their data.
The number of ransomware attacks continue to rise year on year. According to the Verizon 2022 Data Breach Investigation Report there was a 13% increase in ransomware attacks and ransomware was involved in 25% of all breaches.
One of the trends now employed by the attackers is the double extortion method. The attackers gain access to the network and steal the confidential data. They will then encrypt the data on the network and demand a ransom to be paid to decrypt the data. If the victim has the data backed up and refuses to pay the ransom, the attackers will then threaten to release the data online.
When a company falls victim to a ransomware attack the natural response is to wipe the infected machine and restore the data in order to get up and running again as quickly as possible. As a result, attackers will often use ransomware as a way to destroy any evidence of a data breach after they have extracted the data from the network.
It is therefore important for the company to conduct a thorough investigation even if the encrypted data cannot be recovered.
The purpose of the investigation is to preserve potential evidence in order to:
- Identify how the system came to be infected with ransomware
- Identify if any confidential data has been extracted from the system
- Provide answers to the regulatory authorities and show you have taken reasonable steps to prevent a repeat
- Preserve the data in case decryption keys are released at a later date
If you become a victim of a ransomware attack, how should you respond?
- Do not shut down the infected devices
- Disconnect the infected devices from network
- Preserve logs such as Firewall, VPN, anti-virus logs or any other logs which can be saved
- Document all information pertaining to the ransomware attack
- Photo or copy of the ransom demand note/splash screen
- Ransomware variant name if known
- The file extension of encrypted files
- The date and time of the attack
- The file naming scheme for the ransom note/readme file left by attacker
- Any email addresses or URL or other method provided by the attacker for communications
- Required payment method/bitcoin addresses provided by the attacker
- Ransom amount demanded if known
What information will the investigators need to know from you?
- Number of devices affected
- Type of devices, make, model, size of hard drive
- What OS is on the devices
- Is there encryption on devices and If so what encryption and can IT provide a recovery key?
- Location of devices
- Timeline of events
- Details of ransomware
It is important to respond quickly and get the investigators onsite as soon as possible so that they can begin the process of preserving potential evidence from the infected devices. This will include not only the data from the hard drives and logs but also volatile data such as RAM memory which can provide a wealth of information such as network connections, open ports and destination IP addresses.
We would therefore recommend that you do not wait until you become a victim of a ransomware attack before deciding which investigation company you wish to work with. Do your research, due diligence and complete the vendor onboarding process before an attack occurs. This will ensure a quick response and prevent the loss of any potential evidence.
The Analysis Process Infographic
The Article provided by – Andrew Smith – Director of Computer Forensics Services
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Mobile Phone : +66(0)89-960-5080
Download Article => RESPOND TO A RANSOMWARE ATTACK
Orion Forensics has organized training course Hands-on Workshop Digital Forensics Foundation Training Course – 4 DAYS on 20th – 23rd December 2022
Tech Direct Co., Ltd. organized the Hands-on Workshop Digital Forensics Foundation Training Course – 4 DAYS on 20th – 23rd December 2022.
A 4-day practical training course for National Intelligence Agency Thailand and police who are responsible for digital forensic investigations.
- The course is aimed for people wishing to become digital forensic investigators or wishing to update their forensic skills.
- The course is designed by digital forensic experts with many years’ experiences both domestically and internationally.
- The training provides a solid foundation in forensic principles and techniques reinforced by practical hands-on exercises using a wide range of free and open-source forensic tools.
The In-House \ On-Site Training available -please contact Digital Forensics Team directly at email@example.com
On November 9-10, 2022, Orion Forensics Investigations Participated in the Cyber Defense Initiative Conference CDIC 2022 at the BITEC Exhibition and Convention Center.
CDIC is the largest cybersecurity conference and presentation in Thailand.
There were many government and private sectors participating in the meeting.
Organizing this event The presentation under the theme
“Optimizing Security of Things and Digital Supply Chain Risk”
The event is important in enhancing security potential in various areas such as;
- The Importance of empowering cybersecurity for connected IoT devices
- Risk management in the digital information
- Blockchain, AI-powered, Quantum technology advancements are applied both positively in defense and negatively in attack.
- Major changes to the new version of ISO/IEC 27002 include the “Information Security, Cybersecurity & Privacy Protection” controls for ISO/IEC 27001 (ISMS) certification organizations to know when implementing them.
- Promulgation of law Cyber Security Act and Personal Data Protection Act, Etc.
Over two days, Orion Forensics Investigations participated in the event as set up booth, give away prizes to attendees and discuss Digital Forensics Services and Digital Forensics Training Courses, as well as build relationships with other cybersecurity leaders in attendance.
Although, Orion Forensics Investigations has brought and presented sample of equipment in work – related in Digital Forensics, both in terms of software and hardware for study and experiment purposely.
Hands-on Workshop |Digital Forensics Foundation Course 4 Days to GrowPro Consulting & Services Co.,Ltd.
Orion Forensics LAB has organized training course On-Site| hands-on Workshop Digital Forensics Foundation Training Course (4 DAYS) for GrowPro Consulting & Services Co.,Ltd. on 6th – 9th September 2022
A 4 day practical training course for people who are responsible for digital forensic investigations or are wishing to become a digital forensic investigator. The course will provide a solid foundation in the understanding of digital forensics principles and techniques. Each subject is covered in depth and supported by practical scenario based exercises to reinforce the learning points.
As required from expertise, Orion Forensics lab had adapted the curriculum to meet the professional workload of Cloud data collection, Malware Analysis and the Volatility Framework to analyze RAM Memory.
In-House \ On-Site Training available -please contact sales directly at firstname.lastname@example.orgRead More
Offences according to the 2007 Computer Crime Act section 3 and 7, Judgement of the Supreme Court 2600/2563”A case study of an ex-employee who illegally accessed their company email account after have resigned from the companyRead More
With the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial currently underway and being broadcast live around the world, I thought now would be an appropriate time to discuss what an expert witness is and what their role & responsibilities are.Read More
Orion Forensics was invited to conduct a 2-day course training to Tokio Marine Life Insurance (Thailand) PCL. On the first day was an online class ,The training course was Digital Evidence – Unlocking the Secrets, which is a theory course throughout the training. The 2nd day of Training was an In-House Class, which is Workshop class – Forensic Techniques for Auditor -This course is a one day workshop for It /Auditor /Fraud Analyst or those who working on fraud investigations or Who works related to digital evidence. the event hold on 3rd-4th March 2022 .The Location is S31 Sukhumvit Hotel.
Orion Forensics would like to thank Tokio Marine Life Insurance (Thailand) PCL. for giving us the opportunity to lecture and educate employees to upskill of digital forensics and are able to apply digital forensics techniques to adapt to the current work.
Course Training Activity
Day1 (Online Class ,Participants 26 Person).
Day 2 (In-House Class, Participants 15 Person).
All Course Training CLICKRead More
We have seen a significant increase in the number of cases where employees responsible for issuing payments on behalf of the company have been tricked into transferring the money into bank accounts under the control of a malicious person (Business Email Compromise). Already in the first 13 days of this year (2022) we have been contacted in relation to three such cases.
How is this type of fraud achieved and what can you do to prevent your company becoming another victim of fraud via email?
The fraudster will can often gain unauthorized access to an email chain via a number of ways. This includes
- Hacking the company network or your vendor’s network
- Unauthorized access by a malicious employee
- Using social engineering or phishing emails
- Using email login details that have become compromised for example by malware located on the computer system or the user using an unsecured WIFI network without a VPN
It should be noted that it is often very difficult to identify how the actual compromise has occurred.
Having gained access to the email chain the fraudster will then create an email address that looks almost identical to an email address within the chain that should be receiving a payment. They will then send an email from the fake email address using an excuse such as “our bank account is being audited so you need to make the payment into this other account of ours”. They will often then follow up with several more emails pushing for the payment to be made as quickly as possible. By using a fake email address, they have now taken control of the conversation. Most victims fail to notice the slight differences between the real email address and the fake one. As a result, all further emails are being diverted away from the intended real recipient to the fraudster. Once the payment has been made it will be extremely difficult to get the money back so prevention is the best policy.
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of having been a victim of this type of fraud, then Orion may be able to assist in gathering evidence and preparing the evidence so you can report the crime to the police. It is important to take the following steps.
- Retain an electronic copy of all original emails in the email chain and especially the emails requesting payment to a new bank account and any follow up emails from the fraudster.
It is important to keep an electronic copy of the original received emails and not ones that have been forwarded on internally to other staff members. The reason for this is that the emails contain embedded hidden information that is not usually seen when looking at the email through an email client. This information is known as email header information and contains details of all the computers the email has passed through from the sender to the recipient.
The email header will also contain time and date information and possibly the originating Internet Protocol (IP) address of the sender. In order for a device to connect to the Internet it has to be allocated an IP address. This IP address will be allocated to the customer by an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Therefore, if we can identify the originating IP address of the email and the time and date information we can identify which ISP is responsible for allocating the IP address and from which country. Law enforcement can then make a legal request to the ISP for details of who the IP address was allocated to at the time and date the email was sent.
When you forward the emails internally the original email header information can be lost which is why it is important to preserve the original emails received in an electronic format.
Case Studies – Examples of cases where we have been able to assist our clients.
Example 1 – A Thai company asked us to examine the emails received from the fraudster to try and identify if they had been compromised or their USA vendor. We were able to show that the fraudster had used the USA vendor email login details to log into the email account via webmail from Nigeria and as a result it was the vendor who had been compromised.
Example 2 – A fraudster had created fake email addresses very similar to our client’s legitimate email addresses to commit the fraud. As a result, the other company concluded our client’s network had been compromised and they then took our client to court to sue for failing to maintain a secure computer network. Based on the evidence available it was impossible for the other company to draw this conclusion. Orion went to court as the expert witness for our client stating that based on all available evidence at the time it was impossible to conclude how the breach to the email system had occurred and which company had been compromised.
If you need assistance, then please do not hesitate to contact Orion Forensics to see how we may be able to help.Read More
With cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and various alt coins having reached all-time highs recently, this has resulted in a flood of new investors opening trading accounts with crypto exchanges around the world. Many of these investors blinded by the potential for large profits may only have a basic level of knowledge of the crypto markets and how the underlying technology works. This results in many people falling prey to scammers, losing their investment on exchanges that perform exit scams or making mistakes that result in them losing access to their crypto forever.
With the renewed interest in cryptocurrencies, now seems like an appropriate time to discuss the steps you need to take to keep your cryptocurrencies safe. There is a popular saying in the crypto world, “Not Your Keys, Not Your Coins”. The saying refers to the need to owning the private keys associated with your crypto. Whoever controls the private keys ultimately controls the crypto. When someone sends you some cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin you will provide them with a receiving address. The exact format of the receiving address will vary from cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency. The receiving address is your public key. It is called a public key because you can send it to anyone without compromising your cryptocurrency. Associated with the public key is a private key. The private key is what allows you to access and control your cryptocurrency. The private key identifies you as the owner of the crypto and allows you to transfer or sell your crypto asset.
When you store your cryptocurrencies on an exchange, the exchange is in control of the private keys and as a result while you may have access to your crypto assets you do not have control of them. With this is mind the following points should be considered when using a crypto exchange:
- Only use well known reputable exchanges
- Only use exchanges that offer security features such as:
- Two-factor authentication (2FA), such as Google Authenticator
- Complex captchas
- Additional verification via email or SMS when logging in from new devices or IP addresses
- Only use exchanges that are insured in the event that they suffer a major hack.
- Use exchanges that store the majority of the crypto assets in cold wallets. A cold wallet is a wallet that is not connected to the Internet.
- Only use exchanges that undertake yearly security assessments by independent cyber-security firms.
- Only store on the exchange the crypto that you are actively trading.
- Do not use the exchange for long term storage of your crypto assets.
When not storing your cryptocurrency on an exchange, what options do you have to safely store your crypto? There are basically two category of wallets that you can use, hot wallets and cold wallets. A hot wallet is any wallet that is connected to the internet while a cold wallet remains disconnected from the Internet for the majority of the time.
Before I discuss the different types of wallets in more detail there is one misconception that needs to be cleared up. People often mistakenly think that their cryptocurrencies is stored in the wallet. This is not the case. The cryptocurrency remains located on the public blockchain while the wallet stores the information required to access the blockchain thereby allowing the user to conduct transactions. Information held on the wallet includes the public and private keys.
So how are the private keys generated? When you create a wallet where you have control of the keys, private keys will need to be created. This will generally be done by using something called a recovery seed. The seed will often consist of a list of either 12 or 24 random words which is used to generate the private keys. You will then create a password for access to the wallet. It is vital that you retain a copy of the recovery seed and keep the copy somewhere secure. If you ever forget your password the recovery seed can be used to regain access to your crypto. If someone else gains access to your recovery seed, they will also be able to gain access to your crypto and will be able to transfer it to a wallet under their control. It is recommended to write down your recovery seed on paper and keep it somewhere safe so it cannot be accessed via the Internet. Remember if you forget your password and lose your recovery seed it will be impossible to recover your cryptocurrency.
Hot wallets offer convenience and include exchange wallets, web wallets or software wallets installed on the computer or on mobile devices.
Web Wallets – A web wallet allows you to access your cryptocurrency via a web browser interface. You would create a wallet and a password to secure the wallet. However, it is important to understand that depending on the provider, they may still control the public and private key. Many web wallets do allow you to control the keys and the safest way to do this is to store your private keys on a hardware wallet (see further details on hardware wallet under cold wallets section). This option would give you full control over your keys in the most secure way. Therefore, it is important that you do your research before entrusting your cryptocurrency to a web wallet provider.
Software Wallets – Using a software wallet allows you to download and install the wallet to your computer or mobile devices. The advantage of a software wallet is that it gives you complete control of your private keys.
Hardware Wallets – hardware wallets are USB hardware devices that are used to generate public and private keys which are stored on the device itself. The hardware wallet is considered one of the most secure options for protecting your private keys. The device itself is protected by a password which you create and must enter in order to access the device. When you set up the device you will be provided with a recovery seed which as discussed before you must record and keep secure. The private keys for your web wallets and software wallets can be stored on the device. This means that when you wish to access your wallets the device must be plugged into your computer or connected via Bluetooth. A question commonly asked by people is “What happens if my hardware wallet breaks or is lost or stolen?” As long as you still retain possession of your recovery seed then there is no issue in regaining access to your crypto. It is simply a matter of obtaining a new hardware wallet and set it up using your recovery seed. You will then have full access to your cryptocurrency again.
The cryptocurrency market is highly volatile. Some crypto coins/tokens you currently own that are only worth a few cents each, may be worth thousands of dollars in a few years’ time. It is not uncommon to hear stories of people who forgot that they were storing cryptocurrency on their computer and as a result either reinstalled the operating system, sold the computer or simply forgot their password and as a result can no longer get access to their cryptocurrency that would have made them a millionaire.
The final point to remember is that no customer service agent from a legitimate crypto exchange or wallet provider will ask you to provide them with your wallet password or recovery seed. If someone asks you for this information, they are trying to scam you.
“If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having lost access to your cryptocurrency, either as a result of having forgotten your password or accidently deleting your wallet, then contact Orion to discuss how we may be able to assist.”
About the Author – Andrew has completed the CSITech Ltd Cryptocurrencies for Investigators course and is an active trader of various cryptocurrencies. He is not associated with any product brands mentioned in this article.Read More