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Time for police to become tech-savvy

By | July 29th 2009

By Muhtoga Kioni

The Kenyan criminal has evolved and it is high time our law enforcement agencies woke up to this fact. The high number of unemployed graduates in our society has provided a skilled recruiting pool for various criminal gangs.

The anticipated increase in Internet connectivity will herald a proportional increase in cyber crime. We cannot stand aside and watch the current upsurge in crime translated into the digital realm. The establishment of a National Computer Forensic Laboratory is now a priority.

A computer lab can effectively investigate the following cyber crimes: Child pornography and sexual exploitation, computer hacking, network intrusion, copyright infringement, credit card fraud, SMS threats and kidnappings among many others. Its functions would include the ability to create an exact replica of laptops that belong to terrorists so that evidence can be evaluated and processed. This guarantees the preservation of best evidence and eliminates any possible guesswork by computer investigators.This lab will also assist the litigation process by documenting its findings and providing expert witness testimony to help clarify computer investigations.

Incident Handling

A lab will also provide an incident handling component. A crime can be solved within the first 48 hours of its occurrence. After that your rate of success dwindles substantially.

Incident handling involves three basic functions: Reporting, analysis and response. This framework increases the potential of solving any computer related crime because of the swift response it provides. The numerous reported break-ins where computers are stolen can easily be handled by an Incidence Response Team. This team would provide round the clock response services to any individual user, company or organisation.

The team would also provide a reliable and trusted single point of contact for reporting cyber-crime throughout the country. They would finally be able to disseminate incident-related information to computer users. There is a realisation by the Kenyan ICT sector that a prepared national plan and strategy is required to effectively investigate and respond to cyber crime. Disparate corporate systems and their administrators alone cannot protect national digital systems and assets. It is time law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders stepped up their efforts.

The writer is an ICT Security and Forensic Specialist. Email: [email protected]

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