Private, federal, and state investigators are increasing their online presence because more of their work is going online. For the most part, investigators are not trained in cybersecurity practices. So, when they are online looking for criminals, there is a high chance that those same criminals are looking back at them. This puts their organization, investigation, friends, and family at risk. Most investigators try to separate their work life from their personal life, but the internet blurs the line between personal and work.
For example, in 2018, investigators were researching sex traffickers, specifically massage parlors in Manhattan, using VPNs; however, real estate agents were still able to track down their information and call those investigators on their personal cellphones. These investigators suddenly became aware that their online presence was able to be tied to their personal lives even with cybersecurity practices.
The separation of work and personal is key, but investigators still need to access the tools and data needed for their job. The undercover tradecraft needs to be applied to this field to protect legal and legitimate investigations. So how do we protect investigators?
1st: Investigators need the tradecraft and training in cybersecurity to ensure they can protect themselves. They also need to understand what will expose them to the digital world.
2nd: They need comprehensive tools to ensure they are not exposed at the seams. Investigators are currently using multiple tools that are not designed to work cohesively together (VPNs, burner phones, anonymous browsers). These individual products have a marginal benefit that leaves open cracks which criminals can exploit. There needs to be a comprehensive solution/product that can combine these disparate tools in a seamless manner and seal the current gaps.
To work towards eliminating these gaps, check out opaque.ai for more information.