FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

DrugTest 5000 - Draeger Safety Diagnostics Inc
In the past, roadside drug screening has been difficult because it involved the...

Exclusive Webinar!

Originally aired: June 17, 2014  ‚óŹ 2PM EST

View Webinar Archive Here

Integrated Law Enforcement Complements and Completes Law Enforcement Capabilities

Discover how the combination of intelligence analysis, lead generation, agency collaboration, and communications integration can help you uncover issues faster and take action sooner. Learn how innovative IBM law enforcement solutions can extend the capabilities within your organization to deal with new and emerging threats, improve officer safety, reduce criminal activity, and protect the public. 

Join IBM industry expert Stephen Dalzell and members from the MDPD, IT and homeland security departments of the Miami Dade police department to hear more!

Click here to view archive

 

Features

Computer Forensics in the Digital Age

Investigators in small- to medium-size departments can process a good amount of digital evidence on their own with the right tools and training.

February 17, 2012  |  by Ronnie Garrett

Photo: iStockPhoto.com
Photo: iStockPhoto.com

"People don't know what they don't know until they don't know it," says Det. Michael Fazio of the Bloomington (Ill.) Police Department's cybercrime unit.

He speaks from experience. About eight years ago, the 150-man department found itself facing a homicide it couldn't solve because the evidence and the suspect's alibi resided on a computer.

"At that time we knew enough to go get the computer. However, we didn't know what to do with it," Fazio recalls.

Three regional labs in the state could analyze the evidence but estimated it would take two years. Investigators finally called the U.S. Attorney's Office for help and had the computer analyzed more quickly to disprove the suspect's alibi.

In an effort to prevent this situation from happening again, the city manager and Bloomington PD put money and time behind developing an internal digital forensics unit.

Fazio predicts there are many departments operating as the Bloomington PD did before 2004, and that worries him. "A lot of departments don't even realize they have an issue," he says. "About 80% of everything a person deals with touches something digital. And, if the individual is touching something digital, he or she is leaving evidence behind."

But as troubled economic conditions dramatically slash police budgets and reduce officer counts, it is difficult for many departments to justify putting financial muscle behind digital forensics.

There is some good news in all of this-a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. "A lot of digital crime scenes are turning into portable devices, aka cell phones. The tools needed to retrieve data from those devices are not as expensive as what's used in traditional computer forensics. And 70% of the time data can be retrieved from them by someone with minimal training," says Tom Eskridge, partner at High Tech Crime Institute Group, a Florida company devoted to providing cybercrime training to law enforcement.

Triage Is Where It's At

In 1999, the FBI proclaimed it would handle the entire country's digital forensics needs and set up regional computer forensics labs (RCFLs) across the country. These labs extract and analyze data from any kind of digital evidence, but the demand is high and the turnaround slow.

"The average turnaround time for a computer is 13 months," says Eskridge, who calls the current system, where agencies send out digital evidence for processing, broken. "It's like everyone with a paper cut going to see a trauma surgeon," he says. "We have to start triaging digital evidence if we are going to be successful."

Tags: Computer Forensics, Smartphones, Paraben, Dell, Guidance Software, AccessData, Susteen, Cellebrite, Micro Systemation, FLETC

Request more info about this product / service / company


Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

Sarah Ndulu @ 8/6/2013 12:31 PM

nice article

Join the Discussion





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.
Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine