If you ever watched an episode of CSI, you know that the investigators are thorough. Every piece of evidence is fed into the computer and within seconds the screens are full of phone records, credit card transactions, emails and images from Traffic Cams and ATM Machines.
Are these just Hollywood fiction of perhaps a glimpse into the future of forensic crime-busters?
One of the presenters at my World of Tomorrow event was the founder and principal forensic scientists at DFIRLABS Jason Jordan. Jason is the South African CSI real-life forensic scientist who specialises in the prevention and investigation of cybercrime.
“When you look into the future and see that the Internet of Things (IoT) means that every device on the planet can be connected to the network, this is a concern” says Jordan “therefore when it comes to crime you have to scenario-plan so that you can stay ahead of the criminals”
How to commit the following crimes in 2020
Fraud – To prevent direct and indirect attacks, banks have to invest heavily in technology such as smart tokens, RFID tags chip and pin. Banks currently detect fraud by understanding our current profile – where we shop, where we live, where we travel and therefore anything out of the ordinary is automatically flagged. In the future this profile will be much more comprehensive as our profile will be made up of more data from more sensors. Therefore to commit fraud, criminals cant just send a phishing email asking users to change their ATM PIN (as they do today). Criminals will have to emulate our profile exactly. So if you shop from your phone in your home at 7pm, criminals will have to hack your phone, ensure that you are physically at home by hacking your home network and then log onto your bank – anything outside of that will trigger an alert as an anomaly
Blackmail – previously blackmail had to be done by having physical access to the target eg photographing him/her in compromising positions. In future, criminals can spy and record your activity without being there by taking over your computer’s web cam or your smart TV’s camera. In the future sensors and camera will be everywhere and that leaves a trail of information which the criminal can use to blackmail their target.
Murder – Murder can be committed via the Internet and via Internet of things. Cars can be hacked to trick the sensors to disable the airbags and then send a command to the car’s sensors that an object just ran in front of the car which slams on the brakes and hand break. The result is the driver is flung into the steering wheel with no airbag protection.
The Digital Forensic Scientist of 2020
So with the above scenario, the future forensic scientist will fight these criminals on the digital-front.
Evidence – The problem of the future will not the lack of evidence but the sheer volume of it. Systems will be able to pull information from sensors from around the world to build criminal profiles and movements.
Real time intelligence – Currently you can’t simply track an individual – even with a cell phone requires network’s cooperation. In future, as cloths will save built in sensors these could be used to track criminals.
Augmented Reality – Police would wear smart glasses that will automatically scan faces and identify those with a criminal record or outstanding warrants of arrest.
Augmented Enforcement – As cars will be connected to the network, no more police car chases as vehicles will be remotely shut down.
Today’s issues are tomorrow’s issues
Today we have the lack of trained personal who can conduct these investigations. Today’s technology is complicated with mobile phone and laptops. In the future we will add to the complexity by having IoT devices such as micro-controller and sensors which will require even more specialised skills.
When it comes to the legal Jurisdiction, the problem is exponential. The Internet has no borders and this creates new legal issues for a border-bound system. There is also the question of who is responsible for a criminal attack and who does one sue. If a car’s breaks fail was it a criminal activity or a bug in the computer system?
So in Summary:
Criminals will not disappear but will continue their current path of going electronic. Today’s bank robber isn’t armed with a shotgun trying to rob the vault of a branch, but is someone online armed with maleware trying to convince someone to click on his links.
It would seem that the lawyers of the future who understand the technology and can deal with these cases, will make a fortune. Now that is a career path that today’s kids should be considering.
*headline image from Shutterstock.com