Digital Investigations

Discover the Truth

Social Media applications and platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tinder, LinkedIn, etc.) have become the defacto method of communication with our friends, family and business associates. These platforms have made it possible to easily meet others, join groups, distribute photos, announcements and other personal information, and share in the activities that interest us. For many users of these platforms, it has become a comprehensive time-line of their daily lives, thoughts, likes, activities and an inventory of their friends, family, associates and like-minded others. We have the capability to search and aggregate this vast amount of information, from public and private sources, to find the truth. We can determine the links between individuals and groups to learn what associations and what activities are important to your suspect. Marital infidelity, children’s activities, cyber stalking and business activities can be revealed to determine the truth.

Social Groups / Sports Teams & Other Activities

Do you know the groups that your child associates with? The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that 20% of children will have an inappropriate encounter before age 18 and only 1-in-3 will tell a trusted adult when it happens. Often, a predator will conduct a “selection” by covertly “grooming” their target, their friends and even family. If you suspect that your child may be involved in an inappropriate relationship or may be the target of a predator, the evidence of this relationship may be hidden deep in their private, electronic communications. A forensic examination can uncover the evidence of inappropriate activity, chats, texts, images and even the volume of communications activity with specific individuals.

Social groups, sports teams, clubs and other social networks can be an important part of a child’s personal growth. However, peers, officials, coaches and others with trust and power may not have the same intentions as you and your child. If you believe or suspect that your child is “hanging with the wrong crowd,” may be a victim of harassment, intimidation or bullying outside of the school’s purview, or that an adult may be involved, an investigation may be warranted.

Family & Matrimonial Matters

Whether it’s a divorce proceeding or a spousal or child abuse case, a digital forensics examination of your digital devices can unlock the evidence needed to prove or disprove stated claims. The ease, speed and uninhibited nature of text based communications can reveal the true nature and motives of the involved parties. Text based messages and photographic images can often tell the true and complete story in support of your case or to refute opposition. Unlike other communication channels, wireless carriers and Internet Service Providers have a short retention period (if any) for text based messages, so the only evidence available may need to be recovered from the smart/cell phone or tablet/computer.  Today’s high capacity, sophisticated devices may contain years of available information even if it has been previously deleted or destroyed.

Harassment & Stalking

Electronic harassment and e-stalking are relatively new but growing crimes. In most cases, the evidence of an electronic stalker can be captured from the victim’s digital devices, even if it has been deleted from online applications and Social Media platforms. Also, in cases where an aggressor has physical access to a victim’s smartphones and computers, it is possible that “monitoring” or “spyware” applications may be present and in use.  We can determine if such applications are present, and document unauthorized access as well as possible criminal activities.

HIB Policies (Harassment / Intimidation / Bullying)

Many schools and other organizations, especially organizations for minors, have recently adopted Harassment/Intimidation/Bullying (HIB) policies to protect those under their charge. Legislation has also made it mandatory that organizations take immediate action if a violation is reported or witnessed by a responsible adult. That action includes an investigation of the facts. With the prevalence of electronic mobile communication devices and the ever changing landscape of installed “social networking” applications, it may be difficult for Administrators to conduct a truly comprehensive investigation. An investigation performed by a digital forensics expert can identify various communication channels between the parties and can often recover data that has been deleted. Text messages, e-mails, photographs and chats can be recovered from most of the latest smart devices and presented to the appropriate Administrator or school investigator. In addition, utilizing an independent investigator insulates Administrators and the organization’s personnel from claims of bias, favoritism and liability should the matter become a legal issue. Further, it protects the organization from inadvertently disclosing personal information or exposure to contraband (child pornography).

For parents and guardians, while school investigative personnel (HIB Coordinators) may have your child’s best interest at heart, there may be reasons that you deem appropriate to conduct an independent investigation of your child’s mobile or communication device. An independent investigation protects the personal information located on your child’s devices and eliminates the inadvertent disclosure of private/personal data to school officials. In addition, an independent forensic investigator will only disclose his/her findings to you, as the parent of the child.

Employment Matters

Digital Forensics can help resolve employment matters such as substantiating or disputing discrimination, harassment or wrongful dismissal claims. Confidentiality, loyalty, and trade secret agreements are being breached at an alarming rate and we can help discover the evidence to prove these breaches have occurred, in addition to determining who was responsible. We can also uncover evidence of non-compliance with computer/mobile “Acceptable Use Policies,” privacy policies, regulatory compliance and the possession of offensive, obscene or indecent images and video. Additionally, as computers and mobile devices are “repurposed” in an organization, a forensic acquisition of the former employee’s devices is a cost effective safeguard against claims made by, or against, the former employee as well as the subsequent user of the device.

Commercial/Business Matters

Digital Forensics can help resolve contract disputes by identifying altered documents as well as locating lost or deleted versions of files. Utilizing forensic techniques, the establishment of timelines for various communications between parties can also help unravel the mystery of “what did they know, and when did they know it”? Insider theft of Intellectual Property has become a critical issue for many organizations. While some of these losses are due to poor security controls, unknown actors or malware, often the culprit is an existing employee or group of employees. With recent advances in “cloud storage” and the ever decreasing size of portable storage devices, do you really know where your corporate information is?  We can help uncover the unauthorized “leakage” of data.

Internal Investigations

Perhaps the single most important aspect of a digital forensic investigation in the corporate or business realm is the independence of an external examiner. In addition to the special skills and tools utilized by a forensic investigator, weeks or even months of evidence gathering could quickly become a liability if the investigation is conducted by internal personnel. An employee will certainly be labeled as “inherently biased” and having a “conflict of interest” by the target of your investigation and could create a legal challenge that is more costly than the original loss. An independent data acquisition, chain of custody and analysis of the evidence helps to ensure a successful investigation and any resulting legal action while mitigating your risk. In addition, the business risk of exposing internal personnel to sensitive information, privacy violations, obscene or contraband images (child pornography), or cross examination by opposing counsel may create a legal quagmire that becomes even more convoluted and expensive at each step in the legal proceeding.

Loss Prevention

Thefts of commercial goods and resources are increasing at an alarming rate. In addition, the wrongdoers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods of attack as well as covering their tracks. A digital forensics investigator can help find the needle in the haystack, or even demonstrate the digital relationship between the known and unknown actors. Many wrongdoers also like to “memorialize” their activities through the use of video, photographs and text messages. All of these bits of information can be used to provide the necessary evidence for both internal investigations as well as criminal prosecution. Many smart phones also collect “geo-location” data as the owner moves from one location to another, often without their knowledge. All of this information can be used to put your suspect in the right location, at the right time, doing the miss-deeds for which (s)he is being investigated. A digital investigator can also locate the existence of unauthorized corporate information such as files, e-mails, documents and other materials on computers, laptops, tablets and storage media.