Feeds

CSI in computer forensics gaffe

Hey Greg, don't turn on the PC

Seven Steps to Software Security

A team of computer forensic investigators has pointed out that a character in a recent episode of hit TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation failed to follow a basic rule of looking for evidence: don't switch on the computer. Experts at CY4OR, based in Bury, England, praised CSI for bringing computer forensics to the forefront of public awareness; but they say it does little to reflect the correct and essential procedures that must be put in place when there is suspicion of criminal activity.

In the offending episode, chemistry boffin Greg Sanders (played by Eric Szmanda) walks on to a crime scene, turns on a nearby computer and begins accessing email. Bad move, says Joel Tobias, Managing Director of CY4OR. This is exactly what budding investigators must not do, he warns.

"Not only could this potentially damage evidence, any incriminating data that was uncovered would undoubtedly be thrown out of a court of law as the proper evidential procedures would not have been put in place," he said. "The evidential continuity would have been compromised and a criminal case could collapse."

The temptation for IT departments to become digital detectives and deal with a breach of security in house is understandable, says Tobias, as companies worry about investor confidence, company reputation and business in general. It can also be fun. However, there are a few basic steps to follow, to minimise exposure and resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

CY4OR's guide to crime scene investigations

  • Treat the matter seriously. Tell your legal team not your colleagues about your suspicions.
  • Do not inform your IT department. Instead, hire computer forensic experts.

Professional analysts from reputable companies adhere to ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officer) guidelines, can identify digital evidence quickly and ensure that it will stand up in court by following the correct procedures. They can even image your computers at night, to avoid inevitable discussions by the water cooler.

The principle of forensics which says that "every contact leaves a trace" cannot be emphasised enough, says Tobias. "There is a time and a place to leave it to the experts, and this is it," he warned

Copyright © 2005, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.