Internet defense showcased at event
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 16:03
With advancements in technology, people are now more vulnerable as they expose their personal information online and can potentially be victimized in cybercrime.
To understand how data can bring fairness to any offenses made, the Center of Science Excellence hosted the “Cybercrime and Data Forensics” seminar in the Planetarium on Friday.
Presented by A.J. Fardella, a certified data forensics examiner for Black Diamond Data LLC, the meeting highlighted general crimes committed on the Internet, the characteristics of forensics and actual cases Fardella worked on.
“When technology was first being put out to use, it was like this big and beautiful castle. We (creators and individuals) were astonished by its magnificence that we forgot about the security,” Fardella said. “Now, we have bulldozers running through the castle because there’s no moat.”
During the seminar, Fardella described the characteristics of forensics — targeting evidence, identifying the obvious, verifying obtained details through tests and leaving no traces of investigation.
By performing data forensic procedures, justice can be provided for victims who faced manipulation, deception and unauthorized access.
Fardella used classical opera singer Leandra Ramm for a case scenario, as she was a victim of cyberstalking.
A man posing as the director of the Singapore Music Festival contacted Ramm to book her for a performance. After she gave out her information, the man was exposed as a fraud and tormented her for six years.
“He posted blogs about her as a prostitute, creating all kinds of fabricated stories. He’d send over 5,000 emails of death threats and do-as-I-say commands,” Fardella said. “To put things at bay, she would occasionally have an online chat with him once a while. But, the content was just sickening.”
Dr. Setiati Sidharta, the CSE director, said she deleted some of her websites after the workshop, to lessen the risk of becoming a potential victim of cybercrime.
“Nowadays, people don’t think about how leaving comments can link others to your Facebook or Twitter accounts,” Dr. Sidharta said. “The information you put online can be easily taken away. Websites can be made to bring you down and destroy your image.”
Computer science major Fred Catalan said motives made by any online perpetrator were interesting because they can be triggered from selfish or demented reasons.
“People would even sell themselves for money. They’ll do anything for it, even if it means taking advantage of someone else,” Catalan said. “(But I like) how he (Fardella) explains good people using technology to track down criminals and hackers. There are still people trying to make a better community.”
By having Fardella give a seminar at Contra Costa College, Sidharta said students who are science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) majors, may become interested in a career as a data forensics examiner.
“Most students know these mainstream majors like chemistry, biology and math, but they don’t fully understand that they can branch out,” she said. “By having a meeting (like Fardella’s) students can connect with careers that categorize with their majors. You don’t have to be married to your major.”