Generally when employers find an ambitious employee who really wants to get ahead they jump to give him all the resources they need to do so. And employers know that other employees can get their feathers ruffled. When an employer contacted asking for help, that’s all he thought he had on his hands – ruffled employees.
The employer explained that he had hired a salesman who was really ambitious and now other sales personnel were complaining. They were saying he was swooping in and taking their clients and leads before they even had a chance to get an appointment or meet with them. All their sales activity was kept on their computer accounts, but each one was password protected.
We called in our computer forensics investigators and devised a plan for computer data forensics recovery and digital forensics. Professional computer forensic analysis requires following a very strict protocol, especially if evidence uncovered is to be used in a court of law. This protocol is always employed at because we know that what began as an inquiry can escalate into a lawsuit later and if the evidence is not obtained and handled properly, it may not be admissible.
The computer forensic investigation revealed that the sales staff had a reason to be ruffled. The forensic investigator found that keystroke loggers had been installed in several of the computers – those used by the top sales people. The computer forensic examination was able to determine when the software had been installed, but not by whom.
However, because the ambitious employee’s computer was part of the investigation, evidence of the information gathered by the keystroke loggers was on his computer. When confronted, he said there was nothing that said he was not able to gather information and leads in this way.
Several issues were brought to the attention of the employer:
- Although the computers were password protected, the sales staff was lax in maintaining tight security procedures like always shutting down their computers when not at their desks. This was how the new person was able to access their computers and install the spyware.
- Video surveillance cameras were not available to record the installation of the software on the computers. If there had been a recording on security videos, the person would have been caught in the act.
- The company policy and employee handbook nor the sales person’s employment contract included any provisions regarding proprietary and confidential information or sales lead generation.
The forensics consultants and computer forensic expert provided the information and don’t know what the outcome was in the company, which is not unusual. We do our job uncovering facts; provide the results report and go on to the next case.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations