ECMP 455 · Networked Professional Learning

Cybersleuthing

A Cybersleuth is;

(1) “A person who searches the Internet for information about a company, both positive and negative, to keep abreast of public opinion. All Internet facilities are used, including the Web, newsgroups and chat rooms. “

(2)“A person who does any kind of detective work using the Internet.”

Cybersleuthing is a very serious problem is today’s world of electronics. It is very easy for a person to initiate cybersleuthing, because it is easy and it can be completed anonymously. When a person is anonymous they are more likely to say whatever they want, because they do not have to own up to their actions.

When a person thinks about a cybersleuth, do you think that the word is affiliated with a positive, or negative light? There are multiple horror stories of people being victims of cybersleuthing. Before I get into these, how do you think that a person become efficient at cybersleuthing? Do you think that you have to be born a computer genius, or Mark Zuckerberg? No! In fact, Bruce Anderson wrote an article called, “Cyber-Sleuthing: Using the Internet for Investigative Purposes, and Investigating Sources of False or Defamatory Internet Information” that gives information about how to develop cybersleuthing skills.

Different Methods of Cybersleuthing Include:

  • Google Search
  • Meta Search
  • Craigslist, Amazon, Ebay
  • Email Research
  • Etc.

Bruce Anderson included in his article, “Cyber-Sleuthing: Using the Internet for Investigative Purposes, and Investigating Sources of False or Defamatory Internet Information” stories of victims who were cybersleuthed.

“In 2011, a major Korean Christian church located in the Northeast fell prey to this. A new pastor was assigned to this church and a very vocal segment of the congregation didn’t like him. Emails containing ridiculous false claims were sent not only to the church congregation, but also to the top 300 Korean-American churches in the country. The claims were so vicious that they resulted in about a 40% drop in attendance in the new pastor’s church, almost overnight – putting the church in severe financial peril.”

“A disgruntled former employee of a company in the medical industry obtained access to a company’s records. The former employee sent out a mass text to all of his former company’s business associates asserting that the business owner was a drug user, that she used unfair labor practices, and that she was in general a very unethical person with whom to do business. False information like this coming from a “concerned employee” substantially derailed this company, at least temporarily.”

“One of the top-ranking executives was female. Somebody unknown to the executive body had obtained some compromising pictures of the female executive. The photos had been taken many years previously, but that did not matter. The perpetrator here emailed our “victim” and threatened to expose her by providing the pictures to her fellow executives and her husband, a prominent accountant in a large company in the area. The incident finally escalated to the point where the “attacker” began to make serious demands, culminating in a correspondence in which he said that the only way he would stop his attacks was if the female executive, and her husband would meet him in a downtown hotel where he planned to extort the couple further. With cooperation from local authorities, and the expertise of cyber investigators, the perpetrator was apprehended in a sting operation.”

Have you been a victim of cybersleuthing? If so, what was your story?

 

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