Claude Sarrazin and Arianne Laberge.  Photos: Sirco website and LinkedIn

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Claude Sarrazin and Arianne Laberge. Photos: Sirco website and LinkedIn

Data or identity theft, cyberstalking, breach of confidentiality, intellectual property theft, or the good old fraud, these are just a few of the thefts that can be committed by computer criminals.

For more than 25 years, Sirco has been documenting these situations for both SMEs and multinationals, including public and parapublic organizations. Small organizations with less than 100 employees represent 42% of fraud and theft victims, data reported by Sirco shows that the median amount of fraud-related losses is $ 150,000.

“Today, you can easily find hacking software on the Internet, with tutorials and everything”, relates Claude Sarrazin, president and founder of Sirco, a firm specializing in the investigation, protection and prevention of risk and loss.

The offense

Much of the work of the firm’s 150 or so investigators is, however, occupied by computer crimes. And in this game, Sirco knows the rules well. Its investigation department exposes data theft, information leaks, takeover attempts, fraud, scams, industrial espionage, counterfeiting, collusion in the awarding of public contracts. , and even corporate drug trafficking.

“A computer is like a crime scene”, explains the investigator Arianne Laberge, criminologist with specialized training in police security. The one who joined Sirco after a stint at the RCMP explains that the computer investigation is used in particular to document the chain of events which establishes that an offense has indeed been committed.

The proof

“Because the evidence we document must be admissible in court, we must follow the strictest and most rigorous protocols. It is the rule of best evidence that applies, ”continues the investigator, who says he follows the same approaches, methods and use the same data collection tools as the police. Moreover, the majority of Sirco investigators are ex-police officers.

A computer crime is made up of several events which, when analyzed as a whole, make it possible to establish how the crime was committed. And identify the culprit.

On their face, cookies or geolocation data retrieved from a mobile device or computer are not enough. It takes the help of several other variables, such as numeric identifiers, IP addresses, and other indicators of electronic behavior, to establish proof. “As we often intervene in civil cases, it is the preponderance of evidence that matters,” explains Arianne Laberge.

To achieve this, it is necessary to sort through the mass of information collected to extract the most relevant, to finally analyze and group them into admissible evidence, the integrity of which will not have been compromised. Sirco was the first Canadian organization whose investigation resulted in a criminal conviction.

A global approach

“We adopt a multidisciplinary approach, with specialists from several fields such as police investigation, security or computer fraud, finances, etc.”, continues Claude Sarrazin.

To support the work of a client, Sirco can intervene in particular in obtaining Anton Piller-type orders, to prevent a defendant from removing or destroying the evidence necessary for a litigation, or Norwich, useful in cases of financial fraud.

Fraud

While corporate investigations are rife, fraud of all kinds remains a major issue for IT investigators.

The ubiquity of IT and digital technology has thus allowed the emergence of a multitude of fraudulent schemes, observes Claude Sarrazin, who founded Sirco in 1992.

“The basics of fraud, like trusting and knowing people, are digitally transferable, and stay the same. We have therefore seen an explosion and globalization of various types of fraud ”over the years.

And from financial institutions to public bodies, including professional firms, such as lawyers or accountants, “no one is immune,” adds Claude Sarrazin, who says he observes that too often the victims of ‘petty theft takes too long to involve the experts.

“The common mistake is to think that you can fix the problem yourself. “I have an in-house guy who can take care” of documenting a computer crime, we often hear it. and that’s a shame. “

Because there is a big difference between knowing that an offense has been committed — which internal resources can establish — and demonstrating it to the satisfaction of a court.

And that’s what Sirco exists for.