Feeds

Police grab DNA from server thieves

How to avoid leaving your sweat on a Sun server case

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The police have teamed up with forensic scientists to discover ways of grabbing DNA samples from serious IT hardware blaggers.

The cops are so concerned about the multi-million pound thefts of high-end server mobos, they're taking forensic experts back to the scenes of crimes to grab DNA samples - usually sweat and saliva - from computer casings left behind in a robbery.

Pioneering the work is the City of London force, which is working with two researchers from the Forensic Science Unit at South Bank University.

Sun servers are the most popular boxes for the hardware bandits, but Dell, Compaq and Cisco kit is also highly prized in the digital underworld.

The forensic science researchers have been taught how to get inside a computer case so they'll know the most likely places DNA would have been left by the thieves.

Salma Islam, one of the researchers, said that Sun cases need to be opened using two screwdrivers simultaneously. The case is then popped open by moving some clips. "The clips might be a bit rough so we swab them," said Islam. "We look for sharp areas."

Compaq cases need to be lifted up, while the thief reaches inside. "We swab the side and back of these cases," said Islam.

Detective Inspector Phil Carson, head of scientific support at the City of London Police, told the Independent that the thieves had to take off their gloves to remove some of the computer components and could leave DNA traces when this happened.

The City of London police believe the high price hardware is stolen to order by professional gangs of thieves. The genetic fingerprints they'll get from the DNA testing will allow the police to match these with a database of convicted criminals and with samples from other crime scenes.

The force is concerned about the high tech crime because the tech savvy thieves seem to have moved on to targeting City institutions after plaguing universities.

In November 2000 three people were charged with burglary following the arrest of eleven men suspected of stealing computer hardware from City banks. Some of the suspects in the crime were also questioned in relation to robberies of five major banks in the City and a host of Internet firms. During a string of raids since March computer equipment worth an estimated £15 million was stolen, much of it the form of processors and memory from Sun servers.

And Deutsche Bank is understood to have been broken into on 23 November where 49 pieces of equipment was stolen worth £1.6 million. The bank lost a further £25 million in business due to the disruption.

Salma Islam, and her collegue Shanee Samarasingher are both 3rd year students doing a combined honours degree, majoring in forensic science, combined with law at South Bank University. ®

Related Link

FORENSIC SCIENCE UNIT, South Bank University

Related Stories

Blueyonder in disarray as thieves nick 23 servers
Guess who Saddam's favourite server manufacturer is
Cops trial crime reporting over the Net
Police urge business to report hi-tech crimes
Three people charged with Sun server burglaries

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
DOUBLE BONK: Testy fanbois catch Apple Pay picking pockets
Users wail as tapcash transactions are duplicated
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.