In today’s world, businesses face many challenges with decisions that place the company’s financial well-being and integrity at odds. Systematix has seen a decline in revenue and been forced to reduce their workforce. One of the consequences of less people trying to complete the same amount of work is that quality of work declines, adherence to procedure wanes, and the opportunity mistakes increases. Systematix’s recruiting website has been defaced and no one seems to know how it happened. As the incident analyst, I am responsible for discovering how and why this occurred.
My goal is to conduct a thorough investigation, discover who is responsible, and take action to prevent any occurrences in the future. As a Computer Incident Response Analyst, certain skills are vital to performing my job effectively and ethically. The CIRT position requires that I handle sensitive information in the course of any investigation. As a recent college graduate, I understand the procedures for securing data while maintaining its validity and integrity. This data must be protected to prevent any tampering or corruption. An important aspect of this process is keeping all information regarding the investigation confidential.
By being trustworthy and discrete, I can maintain the integrity of the company, the investigation, and myself. Effective communication, whether oral or written, is another skill that is critical in my position. I am responsible for providing necessary and accurate information to other staff members regarding procedures, creating guidelines and incident documentation that is clear and accurate, and conducting the interviews with different parties. The ability to communicate well and professionally reduces misunderstandings, rumor, and inaccurate information.
As a new employee, objectivity is the most important trait that I bring to the company. My job is separated from oversight by other department managers and I haven’t had much interaction with most of the individuals involved. As a result, I can confidently base my findings and decisions on fact without the cloud of personal feelings, conflicts, or bias. My job as an incident responsible analyst requires a background in computer forensics. Forensic personnel must take great care when it comes to procedures regarding evidence collection, documentation and interpretation. Failure to follow these procedures would represent unethical action.
Any evidence that is mishandled runs the risk of corruption or contamination and could be thrown out (Quigly, 2008, p. 65). The consequences could result in someone who is innocent being convicted or the acquittal of a guilty party. This injustice impacts the lives the accused, the victim, and their families. In addition, the reputation and integrity of the prosecution, police department, and crime lab would be severely and perhaps irrevocably damaged. All professionals working in criminal justice, such as prosecutors and police officers, are held to a high standard for behavior and any unethical actions face serious repercussions.
Prosecutors are responsible what charges to bring against an individual, what sentence to seek, what plea bargain to offer, and what evidence to present to a jury during trial (Reyes, 2008, p. 98). Any action of manipulation to secure convictions on the part of the prosecution or the police department can result in fines, suspensions, or job loss. In addition, the planting, tampering, or destruction of evidence are crimes and the carry sentence that range from six months to five years (Reyes, 2008, pp. 233-34).
Criminal forensic professionals are part of the justice system and often face pressure from other parties to act unethically when handling evidence, which risks a miscarriage of justice. Issues outside the incident create problems that can influence my actions as the investigator. First and foremost is the prospect of job cuts being made in the company and more specifically in my department. Systematix has continued to try to reduce costs due to the economy, which means my job could be at risk. From the scenario presented, this is a job that I like and would want to keep.
The lack of job security provides incentive to keep my boss and the other managers in the company happy and avoid being fired. Pleasing all parties involved is next to impossible since everyone wants something different to come out of this situation. In particular, the company CEO wants this entire investigation swept under the rug so the company’s image is not damaged. The defacement of the website calls into question the security of our system and networks. In addition, the Web Development Manager has threatened to inform our clients of the breach of contract by our company.
This breach could lead to a loss in business and even litigation against Systematix. Defying the CEO’s wishes, damage to the company’s image, and loss of business are all developments that would put my employment in greater peril. In spite of the circumstances surrounding this situation, I plan to conduct a thorough investigation, confer with my manager about the findings to form recommended actions, and present those results to the executives of the company. This case requires extensive review of user activity logs, security logs, e-mail/memos, and interviews with the web developers involved in the update.
In addition, my objective is to show the heads of Systematix my skills as an analyst, the role that staffing problems played, and the risk of future incidents if changes are not made. While I like this job and would want to keep it, I believe that being asked to hide the truth is alarming and my employment is at risk for it then I am better off not working there. The future of the company is better served knowing the truth rather than covering it up to prevent someone from being reprimanded or fired.