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An Interview with Brian Dykstra



Atlantic Data Forensics, Inc. | Elkridge, MD

Connect with Bryan on LinkedIn

1. What are the goods/services offered by your primary business?

Atlantic Data Forensics provides computer forensics, E-Discovery, incident response and expert witness testimony for clients nation-wide as part of civil litigation, criminal defense, fraud and hacking investigations.

2. What did you launch in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

After learning from a number of Atlantic Data Forensics' healthcare clients that they were under increased hacking and phishing attacks, we announced on May 4, 2020 that we would provide completely free Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) service to US-based healthcare organizations and first responders whose COVID-19 related patient care and other front-line systems have been compromised by cybercriminal activity.

3. What steps did you take to develop and promote your new initiative?

We've contacted over 100 healthcare organizations directly and through partners about our free DFIR services. We've issued two press releases and pushed the information out through our extensive LinkedIn network. We've also provided the information through our weekly "AtlanticDF COVID Chronicles" broadcast with Cybrary on YouTube, Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Google Play.

4. What or who inspired you to undertake this effort?

I read a post from a Facebook friend who's residential real estate business was negatively impacted by the pandemic and he immediately put his management and promotional skills to work raising money for the United Way of Central Maryland to help people who'd lost their jobs recently. No thought of himself or his personal business problems, he just automatically reached out to help others. I spent several weeks trying to figure out how my company could use what we do to help doctors and nurses involved in the daily battle against COVID-19. After hearing from several of our healthcare providers about the huge increase in hacking activity directed at them the question answered itself.

5. What results have you seen so far from this initiative?

We've been working really hard to get the word out through every channel and partner organization we can. On an almost daily basis I read about some hospital that has experienced a ransomware or other hacking event, I want to help as many of them as possible. We've had a couple inquiries but so far no healthcare organization has asked for our help.

6. How do you define success for your project?

If we can stop or shorten the downtime experienced by any healthcare provider due to a hacker attack so that they can remain focused on saving people's lives, I call that a win.

7. What are the biggest challenges for you to meet your goal?

Atlantic Data Forensics participates in the CTI League a group of cybersecurity professionals working to neutralize all cyber threats looking to exploit the current pandemic. The biggest problem for all of us is getting the word out to the healthcare organizations in need that we are here to help and that Free, means free.

8. How long do you anticipate continuing this effort?

I currently plan to run our free incident response service for COVID-19 healthcare providers until that future sunny day when most of us are vaccinated against the virus.

9. What have you learned by undertaking this project?

It has been eye-opening just how difficult it is to get information about free assistance out through the healthcare community. I believe it is just a sign of how completely overwhelmed they are right now.

10. How can others learn more about your COVID-19 response efforts?

They can call us Monday-Friday from 9AM-6PM EDT at (410) 540-9000 or email