The Lieutenant stands on the docks, shades on, looking out to sea as the gang of drug dealers make their escape on a stolen luxury yacht, while their latest victim lies motionless on the ground at his feet. |
‘We missed them by a few minutes. They won’t get far…’
With the sun setting behind him, the Lieutenant - hands on hips, oozing effortless cool, looks down at the victim, who with his last breath manages to whisper an address in downtown Miami.
Within minutes a team of police cars screech to a halt outside the property in a flurry of smoke and sirens, and bash down the door. A number of computers have been left in the property. One of the crime scene investigators goes over and turns them on, then starts searching through email accounts and instant messages to see if there is any intelligence on the gang’s next move…
While this scenario has all the drama and excitement of a Hollywood blockbuster, the investigator is making a crucial mistake that, in the real world, could jeopardise the case before it has even begun.
The first mistake was switching the machine on – this in itself can alter the data that are stored on the device, including any data which may support the case, and so could ruin the chances of a potential conviction.
So what would CCL do Differently?
In order for any evidence found on the computers to stand up in court, the first step is to take a forensic image of each of the computer hard-drives. It is those images that are then examined, rather than the content of the machines themselves. This ensures that evidential continuity is maintained and any information or crucial evidence that may be on the computer is not altered or affected by the forensic examination, and so will stand up to court scrutiny.
Also, while emails are a useful source of intelligence and potentially incriminating data – there are a lot of other avenues for investigation on a computer that non digital forensics specialists may not consider. These include: Skype messages, internet history, social media activity and deleted content. We have worked on cases where all of these sources have provided evidence that supported a case.
While in some cases it may be easy to find incriminating data on a computer, the processes and methodology that define the way this evidence is obtained, and ensure its integrity, are crucial. Although less cool than the Hollywood depiction, these can mean the difference between a successful case and it being thrown out of court.
For more information about computer forensics or CCL’s other products and services please visit www.cclgroupltd.com or call 01789 261200.
Author is an expert writer in digital forensics . He suggests that hiring experts can immediately crack the case no matter it involves theft of data or computer forensics , for more information visit http://www.cclgroupltd.com
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