Monthly Archives: July 2012

Cell Phone Records Plus Cellular Forensics Equals Power

Often we get inquiries about cellular forensics and the person calling doesn’t know what they are really looking to get. Some callers think all cellular forensics entails is getting records from the cell phone service providers. Let’s clear up some of this confusion. There is a big difference between cell phone service carrier records and what a cell phone forensics expert does. The carrier just provides date, time, the length of call or number of text messages. There is a very specific legal process for cell records. One of the most immediate steps we take as investigators is to secure a preservation letter requesting that the carrier preserve the cell records because a court order is coming. With the amount of information accumulated by cell [...]

Missing Person Investigation Solved Under a Bridge

When you think of private detectives like , you probably don’t think of missing heirs, do you? No you’ve got your head wrapped up in crimes and great mysteries and cheating spouses. In actuality, because we have such great access to restricted databases, we are often called upon to locate a missing person. Often, the case has to do with estranged family members and inheritances. We got a call from an attorney who was handling a large estate. The estate couldn’t be closed because one of the beneficiaries was missing. He was one of two siblings and his sister hadn’t talked to him for years. She had no idea where he was, so we were asked to embark on a missing person investigation. There are [...]

Cell Phone Spyware Gives Away Information Without Your Knowing

There was a recent article in the Indianapolis Star newspaper about a “computer virus” that can hear what is said. The article was actually an Associated Press piece written by Raphael Satter and Amy Teibel out of London. And the “virus” was more than likely spyware. It has been dubbed the “Flame Virus” and it actually attacked computers in the Middle East, specifically Iran. Russian Internet Security firm, Kaspersky Lab ZAO says it can be used to spy on everything that a user is doing. It is believed to have been crafted at the behest of a national government (inferred to be Israel) that sees Iran as a threat. The reason we say the virus was more than likely spyware was because of the way [...]

Computer Forensics Discovery Reveals the Truth

When Brad called , he was pretty distraught. The conversation with him was peppered with one phrase. He kept saying he just wanted the truth. The truth he was seeking was about Lynn, his wife. Lynn was a freelance graphic artist. She worked from home and spent hours in front of the computer. She had turned one of the bedrooms into a home office and after a year or two made a conscious decision to close the door to the office at 5 p.m. to indicate she was done working for the day. Lately, she’d started returning after dinner to the office and pushed the door so it was only slightly ajar. Brad was concerned that she was working too much and he missed her [...]

Cell Phone Forensics – No Judgment, Just Facts

We worked with a woman who called from Seattle. We know she contacted us because we are one of only a few investigative labs who can potentially identify the bad guy when we uncover a cell phone spy. What we didn’t know, was that she was concerned about being embarrassed because some of the details we would discover in the cell phone forensics process. She was afraid we might find something that would put her in what she felt might be a disparaging light. First, the case: The woman was an accounting assistant and she suspected one of the partners in the accounting firm she had formerly worked was stalking her. She suspected it while she was employed there and felt very uncomfortable. She ended [...]

In Computer Forensic Analysis, the Broader the Scope the Better

Have you ever heard about the form of marketing called drip marketing? It’s where a little bit of information is “dripped out” a little bit at a time over an extended period. It reminds me of the form of torture where it is set up that a drip of water is dropped on the victim continuously for hours. Sometimes we see that kind of dripping out of information on cases we get. Let me illustrate with a case we handled for an international firm. The chairman of the board of the firm contacted us because of our computer forensic services. The vice president of operations had been terminated primarily because of he was suspected of breeching corporate confidentiality and engaging in activities that resulted in [...]

Bug Detection has Evolved, Just Like Planting Bugs Has Changed

Technology has changed just about everything about life, hasn’t it? Well, that pertains to the investigative world, too. In the early 1970s, when did Technical Surveillance and Countermeasures (TSCM) sweeps, we were basically looking for radio room bugs and telephone line taps. Bad guys would generally need to have access to the location to plant eavesdropping devices. Bugs could be planted by a “fake” service technician who comes to handle a service call (that you didn’t make). He would access phone lines and install some sort of surveillance equipment. There were also those who would pick a lock and sneak in to bug a phone or climb a gutter to plant a bug. The equipment we needed to do a bug sweep could be contained [...]

Hidden Asset Research Reveals One Lead That Unravels the Entire Scheme

An attorney representing a bank recently contacted to conduct some hidden asset research. He was representing a lending firm. The organization was holding paper on a property that had gone into foreclosure. The lender believed the customer had assets to offset the debt on the property but had hidden them. What was really interesting was that the customer was letting the property be foreclosed upon, but was not filing bankruptcy. The case has been pending for quite some time. Two years ago when the problems started, there was a search undertaken to identify and locate hidden assets. However, nothing was found. But now, two years later, they have asked us to re-investigate to see if we could locate hidden money somewhere. They still suspected there [...]

Professional Investigators are Attorneys’ Information Resource

Byron (not his real name) was sitting in his attorney's waiting room waiting to deliver some documentation relevant to a suit he was bringing against a former employee that required some computer forensics. As he waited he overheard a couple talk about the reason they were there regarding a problem about real estate assets and how those assets had been shifted from one owner to another and they suspected cell phone eavesdropping. Less interested in the details of their private business, than how the two cases were so very different, Byron wondered how could one attorney adequately represent the interests of clients in such different areas and situations?  Who could be expert enough in both areas as well as things like finding hidden assets in [...]

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