Advances & Applications
Where do the good ideas come from?
In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about—
and benefit from—some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented
by law enforcement colleagues around the world.
Cellebrite Research Reveals Top Trends Shaping Mobile Forensics: Multi-Device, Field Analysis, Social Evidence, Big Data, and Malware
Cellebrite surveyed its customer base and conducted interviews with leading mobile forensic experts and analysts spanning the industry. According to the research, the following trends will directly shape mobile forensics in the months to come:
- Consumers increasingly rely on multiple devices: Investigators are likely to find themselves analyzing data from more than one cellular phone, tablet, GPS device, and other mobile media, not just per case, but also per person. As a result, mobile forensic investigations have outpaced computer forensics, with the ratio increasing by as much as threefold over the past three years. “This trend shows that as mobile devices become more powerful and easier to use, more people depend on them to manage different aspects of their work and personal lives,” said Cindy Murphy, a detective with the Madison, Wisconsin, Police Department. “That means that investigators need ways to manage multiple sources of data to obtain a full picture of each person’s life, in the time frame that they need the information most.”
- Extraction and analysis go local, shifting from the lab to the field: Due to the rapid increase in mobile device evidence, law enforcement agencies can no longer rely solely on forensic labs at the state and federal levels. Whether as part of a search incident to arrest, the forensic preview of digital media during execution of a search warrant, or a consent to search while evaluating a complaint, almost 44 percent of survey respondents now extract mobile data in the field. “Digital forensics is becoming democratized,” said Detective Sergeant Peter Salter of the Police Service of Northern Ireland eCrime Unit. “Specialized expertise will always be an important strategic element within overall capability to produce robust evidence for court. However, specialists and case investigators alike both benefit from having the capability to examine exhibits locally and on the front line. Within agreed procedures, this approach enables investigators to determine which exhibits require more in-depth investigation, as well as provide frontline investigators with rapid, controlled access to digital evidence in order to inform their critical decision making.”
- Mobile evidence gets social, data sources diversify: There are approximately 1.19 billion active users on Facebook, 300 billion tweets sent on Twitter monthly, and 16 billion photos shared on Instagram monthly. Additionally, 2013 saw more than 100 billion downloads of mobile applications. The result? Data living in social applications has become critically important as the number of criminal investigations involving data collected from these applications rose significantly. Cellebrite’s survey revealed that 77 percent of respondents believed that mobile apps were the most critical data source, followed by the cloud at 71 percent. “Documenting different communication channels that are part of a crime [e.g., Facebook and YouTube], as well as those that can lead to new witnesses, victims, suspects, and alternate perpetrators is becoming more important,” said John Carney, Chief Technology Officer at Carney Forensics. “It is necessary to contextualize mobile device data with social data from people’s online personas.”
- Big data and focused analytics: With the amount of digital evidence growing from gigabytes to terabytes in many cases, data analytics becomes even more crucial in understanding mobile evidence. Investigators need to be able to separate relevant data from the inconsequential, and then easily understand and explain the differences to themselves, colleagues, barristers or attorneys and jurors. “The ability to visualize timelines, geographical locations, and content can make all the difference in how jurors, barristers and attorneys, and others perceive the relevance of data we extract,” said Simon Lang, Digital Forensic Manager with SYTECH.
- Mobile malware impacts civil and criminal investigations: In 2013, Cellebrite’s panel of industry experts predicted a rise in mobile malware and the resulting need for forensics examiners to understand how to recognize and analyze it together with other evidence. “Malware as a factor in fraud, intimate partner abuse, theft of intellectual property and trade secrets, and other crimes is something that all investigators will need to consider with every mobile device they encounter,” said Carlos Cajigas, Training Director and Senior Forensic Examiner with EPYX Forensics. “Training and practical experience are necessary to develop the level of proficiency investigators need to make these assessments.”
For more information, visit www.cellebrite.com/mobile-forensics.
Architects Design Group Completes Design for Sarasota County Public Safety, EOC and 9-1-1 Communications Facility
Architects Design Group (ADG), in association with Fleischman Garcia Architects, completed the construction documents for the new 40,000 sq. ft. Sarasota County Public Safety, Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and 9-1-1 Communications facility.
County officials, communications and emergency management staff, and community representatives gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new facility on Monday, December 9, 2013, and the project is now under construction.
“This is truly a joyous occasion, especially for the many of us here who have been involved in the planning, designing, and, now, construction of this facility,” said Commissioner Carolyn J. Mason, chair of the Board of County Commissioners.
The project has been something the county has been planning for a number of years once it learned that the Sarasota County Administration Center on Ringling Boulevard, where an EOC had been constructed on the sixth floor, could not withstand a hurricane stronger than a Category 3. The new facility will be built to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds with fully duplicated utilities and communications networks to ensure that government services can continue during significant events.
Adjacent to the facility will be the communications tower, enabling the EOC staff to communicate with bordering counties and local partners before, during, and following a major disaster that impacts the community.
The new facility will provide the county with a state-of-the-art building, including 40,000 square feet to house the EOC, 9-1-1 Emergency Communications, 3-1-1 Call Center, and sheriff’s and fire administration training areas. The facility is programmed to provide for current space needs, with provisions for future expansion to meet the 2030 needs. In addition, the facility has been designed to withstand winds of up to 253 mph, allowing county staff to remain operational during and 72 hours after an emergency event.
Consistent with the county’s goals for sustainable design and LEED Silver certification, ADG’s design includes automated building systems controls for lighting and HVAC and water-conserving and low-flow metered fixtures. Proposed energy-efficient construction is to include thermally efficient glazing assemblies and envelope design. In addition, stormwater management systems utilize bioswales, and native plant species are used in landscape areas.
The success of the project was due in part to the inclusive process of gathering the needs and perspectives of all stakeholders, including user groups, management staff, elected officials, and other Florida agencies who have built similar facilities.
The facility is scheduled to open prior to the 2015 hurricane season.
For more information, visit www.adgusa.org.
Fort Worth PD Now Leads the Nation with a Total of 615 AXON Flex Cameras
EVIDENCE.com, a business unit of TASER, announced the order of 400 of AXON flex body-worn video cameras (including 20 free spares) with five years of EVIDENCE.com service by Fort Worth, Texas, Police Department. This order was received and expected to ship in the first half of 2014.
“The Fort Worth Police Department has added another 400 AXON flex cameras to their inventory of 195 previously purchased AXON cameras,” said Fort Worth Chief Jeffrey W. Halstead. “With more than 600 cameras to be deployed in the near future, we realize this technology is a game changer for all of law enforcement. We have built a stronger foundation of public trust while making our profession more transparent for our citizens. This technology has proven to be invaluable for our officers. Utilizing EVIDENCE.com as the cloud storage solution provides safety and security of the evidence that is unmatched.”
AXON camera systems have seen a reduction in use of force and a reduction in complaints. A Cambridge University study on AXON flex cameras has proven the benefits of on-officer video. Law enforcement partners have also deployed TASER’s cloud-based EVIDENCE.com system, which offers the most cost-effective method of implementing their program. ♦
For more information, visit www.TASER.com and www.EVIDENCE.com.