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Investigation: How Critical Is It Post a Cyber Incident?

Investigation: How Critical Is It Post a Cyber Incident?

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Researcher
 Published on August 1st, 2023
This post was updated on November 25th, 2023

Investigation refers to a detailed examination or inquiry carried out to unearth facts or information. It’s a systematic, minute, and thorough attempt to learn the truth about something complex or hidden. Often carried out by experts or professionals, an investigation can involve various methods like research, interviews, surveys, or experiments, depending on the nature of the information or facts to be found.

Investigation Examples

#1. Data Leak Investigation in a Company

Imagine a scenario where a business detects a leak of its confidential data. The first step taken would likely be launching an investigation into the matter. The objective is to determine how the breach happened and who was responsible.

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The investigation may involve a thorough examination of server logs, which track all the activities that have happened on the company’s servers. Essential insights can be gathered from these logs, including who accessed the data, when it was accessed, and even from which location.

In addition, access logs could be scrutinized. These logs provide a list of all the requests made to the company’s servers, like who tried to access which sections of the company’s systems. Lastly, the company might consider watching surveillance footage to see if any physical breaches could have contributed to the data leak.

Once the investigation is complete, the company can implement measures to prevent such occurrences in the future and take appropriate actions based on the findings.

#2. Investigating a Suspicious Email

Consider a case where a user receives an email that looks suspicious. Instead of responding immediately, the user decides to investigate – a smart move in today’s world filled with numerous cyber threats.

The investigation is carried out by checking the details of the sender. It may involve analyzing the sender’s email address to see if it matches known contacts or reputable organizations. The user might also look for anomalies in the email structure, like spelling errors or suspicious links, as these are notorious signs of phishing attempts.

For added safety, the user could seek assistance from their corporate IT department. IT experts have extensive experience and tools to undertake such investigations more accurately. Investigations like these can help ensure the user’s personal information remains secure and their digital identity is not compromised.

#3. Unusual Activity in an Online Bank Account

Let’s say an individual notices some unusual activities or transactions in their online bank account. The first and most prudent step would be to alert the bank. In response, the bank would typically launch an immediate investigation.

This investigation would largely involve going through the details of all recent transactions. The bank’s investigations team would look at the sources of these transactions, the dates and times they were executed, and match these findings with the customer’s known user patterns.

Additionally, the team might review IP addresses that were used to access the account. By comparing these with known IP addresses of the customer, the bank can identify any potential access from unusual or suspicious locations. This is often a clear indication of a breach or fraudulent activity.

The investigation’s outcome will inform the next steps – remedial actions like reversing fraudulent transactions, strengthening security measures, or potentially involving law enforcement authorities for severe cases.


Investigation plays a crucial role in ensuring safety in the digital world. Whether it’s a company dealing with a data leak, a suspicious email to a user, or unusual transactions in an online bank account, conducting a diligent and systematic investigation can reveal crucial information, address the issue, and prevent future occurrences.

Key Takeaways

  • Investigation is a systematic inquiry or examination to uncover facts and information.
  • Its application in cybersecurity includes scenarios like data leaks, suspicious emails and unusual online banking activities.
  • An effective investigation looks at elements such as server logs, examining email sender details, or reviewing transaction and IP addresses in the case of online banking.
  • The outcome of such investigations provides valuable insights to tackle the problem at hand and possibly prevent similar future issues.

Related Questions

1. What is the role of server logs in an investigation?

Server logs record all activities on a server, making them invaluable in an investigation. They can reveal who accessed data, when it was accessed, and from which location, helping to identify potential breaches.

2. Why is it essential to scrutinize a suspicious email before responding?

With the rampant rise of phishing and other email-based scams, any email that seems suspicious should be investigated. Analyzing elements like the email address of the sender and the email’s structure can provide clues about potential threats.

3. How does a bank investigate unusual transactions?

A bank typically investigates unusual transactions by reviewing transaction details and matching these with the customer’s known user patterns. They might also examine the IP addresses used to access the account, to identify any suspicious or unusual access.

4. What measures can a company take post a data leak investigation?

Post a data leak investigation, a company can implement security measures based on the findings. These could include strengthening server security, restricting access to sensitive data, and conducting regular audits and security vulnerability assessments.

5. What role does an individual play in cyber security investigations?

Individuals play a significant role in cyber security investigations. By noticing and reporting suspicious activities, whether on their personal devices or in their work environment, they trigger the investigation process. Also, individuals can conduct basic investigations like scrutinizing suspicious emails or monitoring their online accounts for any unusual activities.

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional
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