Friday, December 16, 2011

privacy in workplace

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Romansoft Corp., a large international corporation has learned of several security breaches undergone by an unknown and unauthorized perpetrator. Someone has sold company email addresses to groups of spammers, diverted funds to unauthorized accounts and altered online blueprints of important company products. Evidence of outside hackers has been detected however there is no information to indicate whether they committed any of the above offences. This leaves open the possibility that someone from inside the company has committed the crimes. In attempt to locate the delinquents, a brief plan has been outlined.

To start things off, all logs regarding the email system, accounting system and the online server should be pieced together and analyzed. For every instance that the affected data was accessed, a record of when and by whom should be made. The location of where this change occurred should also be recorded. This will result in a very large list being compiled however techniques will be used to slowly narrow down the list until the persons who committed the crimes are found.

Now that an audit log has been formed, an attempt to locate the persons who sold the employee email list can be done quite easily. The log should be checked for members who have scanned the entire address base. If it was a joint effort between multiple employees, then this may be more difficult to track, maybe even impossible. To make this task simpler, software will most likely have to be purchased or created that can read and parse the logs. A similar technique may also be used to locate the perpetrators of the last two problems. Simply by looking only at persons who accessed the unauthorized accounts or the online blueprints, the list can be narrowed.

If there was only one perpetrator or if the same computer was used to commit all three crimes, then the logs can be cross-referenced. Persons (or computers) accessing all three resources have a better chance of leading to the guilty party then if the information was accessed from multiple locations and/or computer accounts. Care should be taken to ensure these activities were performed by the owner of the computer and not by someone who wanted it to look that way. For example, if Joe steps away from his computer and forgets it logged in then Margaret may use it to commit the crimes since there will be no link to her performing these actions.

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In the case of the employee email list, if the spammer companies can be determined then Romansoft Corp. may be able to contact the spammers and attempt to find out who sold the lists and when. If the criminal was not too intelligent, he/she may have actually used his or her own name. This may be considered a “shot in the dark” but it just may work.

If the company is fortunate enough to compile a list of probable perpetrators, they should keep an eye on these employees to ensure there are no repeat offences. Repeating the tasks explained in the first part of this documentation may give a better idea of who committed the crimes, especially since more information is likely to be available. In addition, the unauthorized accounts should be more closely monitored and as soon as one is accessed, it should be determined, at that moment, if the person accessing the account should be accessing it. If not, the security department must be dispatched right away. Catching the person committing the crime is the best evidence possible. The same should happen in the case of the online blueprints.

It should also be mentioned that if any persons are realized to have committed the crimes, then the security department should be notified immediately. It is the security department that has the right to seize the suspects’ computer and more closely interrogate them. Also, in the case that the evidence shows the perpetrator to be someone from outside of the company, the correct authorities should be contacted. This will ensure the experts diagnose the problems since Internet laws may be unclear or confusing to companies.

To help prevent further occurrences of either crime, restrictions for each resource should be set up to only allow certain users to access specific information. Also, users should be restricted to log in to specific computers in the building. This helps to prevent user accounts from being accessed by the wrong person (in event that somehow the password is found out). Lastly, hardware and software should be combined to ensure security of the network resources. This can prevent problems both inside and outside of the company.

In order for the above plan to succeed, Romansoft Corp. is required to keep detailed audit logs. These logs should contain information about what was accessed, when and by whom. Logs of who was in the building should also be kept. This way, if the perpetrator used someone else’s computer and that someone else was not in the building, then it will become obvious that they couldn’t have committed the crime. Also, employees should sign some type of policy stating that their actions and information can be tracked for security purposes. These should also outline the rules and regulations of the company and its IT department.

This plan is very simple to implement. Most, if not all, computer platforms allow some level of auditing. If a descent operating system is used (such as Windows NT or Unix) then the logs alone should help pinpoint the perpetrator.

The tasks outlined in this report are definitely legal and ethical, especially if each employee signs documentation stating that they allow their information to be tracked by the company. The results however may not hold up in court. The reasons for this are explained in the brochure. Basically, the data must be shown that it has not been tampered with. Unfortunately it is hard to prove that electronic copies of evidence are not changed.

If the company executes this plan as described above there are many benefits but also some costs. The key benefit is that the company becomes a safer environment for its employees and management. Also, crimes, like the ones inflicted on Romansoft Corp, have a much lower probability of being committed when people sign contracts. Unfortunately, forcing employees to sign policies may make them uncomfortable. Production may slow down since employees will be more worried that they will make a mistake rather then being worried about the quality of work they are producing. Lastly, getting things done may take more time. If a fifty-step procedure needs to be executed to turn on your office computer, then t

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