A Consumer Guide to Selecting a Computer Forensic Service In Texas

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McCann Global Investigations releases a quide for consumers to use to help to select a computer forensic firm. This quide is a series of questions that the consumer can ask a possible provider of services.

How to choose a computer forensic service in Texas?

This is a guide to highlight the issues you face as a consumer when selecting the right computer forensic service.

1.Are the investigators licensed?
The State of Texas requires that investigators are licensed. The licensing agency is the Department of Public Safety or DPS (http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/psb/) . Operating without a license in the State of Texas is a felony. It is important that the investigator be able to produce the company and investigator license upon request.

If your case goes to court, either in civil or criminal cases, you can assume that the first question will be “who gathered the evidence.” If the answer is an unlicensed person operating outside the law and defector committing a felony, it is possible that it could hurt your case.

2.Are they local?
The process of imaging an electronic device can take time. Are the field investigators gathering the information after hours? Is the device a cell phone that must be returned to the target quickly. Different types of devices require unique equipment to extract the required information.

If your provider has to travel from out of town they may not have what they need to complete the project. They may also be in violation of Texas law by not operating with the required license in the State of Texas. Asking this question can save you time and money.

3.What type of services can they provide:
Can they:

  •     find out how a computer is being utilized?
  •     track internet and email usage?
  •     obtain discreet on-site data acquisition ?
  •     maintain real-time computer monitoring ?
  •     provide expert testimony and evidence in a clear and organized manner that is easily understood and accepted in court?
  •     provide a timeline generation including chronology generation of computer use, file history, emails, and other time sensitive information?
  •     provide reporting that is easy to read and simple to navigate?
  •     provide documentation of the evidence for the state of the hardware d the existence of data?
  •     provide consultation on opposing counsel's evidence and analyze and determine the veracity and impact of the opponent's digital evidence?
  •     recover data including searching for deleted files, password protected files, encrypted files, hidden data?
  •     examine emails and recover and sort and filter them as requested?

4.Do they have their own lab?
If possible, it is optimal that the forensic imaging is completed in a lab. It is important that the lab can handle evidence in a sound and forensically defensible manner. How is the information stored, what is the security at the lab, and can the lab show the proper documentation for forensic handling.

5.Are they accredited?
Are the forensic “experts” truly “experts” and do they have certifications by recognized organizations that prove their standing in the professional community. If the case goes to court, will their experience hold up under examination.

6.Are the experienced?
Have the investigators provided services in scores of cases? Can they provide references for cases in which their work was useful. Again, this experience will become critical in the case goes to court.

7.Can they work with different media and operating systems including the following?
Hardware:
Mobile Phones
Laptops
PDA's
Computers
Servers
Digital Cameras
Operating systems :
Windows 95/98/ME
Windows NT/2000/XP/Server 2003
Palm OS
Windows CE
PocketPC 2002/PocketPC 2003
Linux
MacOS
Media :
Hard drives
Floppy Disks
CD's
DVD's
Flash Memory Cards

8.Can they provide you with a copy of the data for your review?
It is often helpful, when looking for a particular document, to give the client a copy of the data retrieved so that they can asset in looking for critical information. While this copy is not usable in court, it helps the client and the investigator work together to find the relevant data.

9.Can they provide a forensically sound tool to upload the data?
The use of a proven tool that can be used in court during the discovery and trial phase of the case is critical. To perform all of the required forensic work only to have it disqualified because it has not been handled, uploaded, and stored properly is a waste of resources and risks the use of the evidence in the case.

For additional information contact us at
McCann Global Investigations
Local: 281-456-2474
Toll Free: 800-713-7670

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Daniel Weiss
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