1.30.2012

The Futuristic Criminalist – Digital Crime

DS Touch Screen
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            Touch screens, wireless internet, blue-tooth technology, small is better and more powerful all these ideas seem to evolve faster than we can purchase them and walk out a door.  In our electronic era, age or whatever the “techies” are calling it, with every new invention or release, comes many new problems and unforeseen vulnerabilities.  Not just the vulnerabilities of theft of those devices, but new ones such as your phone is so smart it can catch a virus or because you didn’t secure your wireless home network signal, some hacker is using your signal to break into bank accounts and as farfetched as things such as this may seem, it is in fact a reality to a multitude of persons.  We as citizens use our vast internet to look up recipe’s, phone numbers, auto dealers or shops and may even conduct banking business. If we are not careful, the sites and people we encounter may be a sheep in wolves clothing.
            In our digital worlds, we enjoy the freedoms of being able to watch clips from our favorite programs, social networking with our friends, gaming and a host of other things, all from the comfort of our homes.  In our “other” world, the television is left wanting, our radio’s are nearly silent and yet we still live in a relative peace thanks in part to law enforcement and others working hard to secure peace, without these first responders, our lives would certainly be different.  In our digital world, we choose to accept the faceless person, or picture with some reverence to its legitimacy unless we have an epiphany as to the total falseness of that person.  In our “other” world, most of what we see we accept openly, a library is a library, the lawyers firms and general commerce are genuine places of business with people with a level of ethics to follow.  Both “worlds” are monitored by those who enforce the law and are ruled by those who legislate to provide the law based on what the majority of citizens desire to see accomplished.
National Institute of Justice logo
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            Electronic Crime Scene Unit sounds snazzy and it makes one wonder what this organization could represent.  Most citizens tend to think that after the collapse of the twin towers in New York on September 11, 2001 the United States lost its mind by inflicting laws upon the common people to strip them of their rights and pry into their digital world in the hopes of “eminent domain” and ruling us with an iron fist, instead of allowing us our freedoms.  What we need is a guide of some sort to help us (ncjrs.gov). These electronic platforms give criminals the ability to steal our identities, invade our private lives, overtake our most private email thoughts, tempt us with emails that need us to update our account information and worst of all, hide their faces and backgrounds behind our screens.  In July of 2001 (yes, before 9-11) the National Institute of Justice put together a guide.  This guide includes topics such as: Examining Digital Evidence, Investigative uses of Technology and a Digital Forensics Unit (very cool idea).
            Where would we be without our telephone, we can drive and talk to our family miles away or tell our mates to pick up that gallon of milk.  This is dangerous in that it provides a distraction to the driver who should be worrying about the road, not the price of milk.  Home phones can provide good evidence in criminal cases with such items as stored phone numbers and caller ID.  Our “Smart” style phones, text, surf, call, record, take a picture and do all sorts of tasks, a smorgasbord of evidence if it is properly handled and analyzed by qualified people.  Thoughts of this nature going on in July of 2001 are astounding, considering the major platform on those levels was the ability to maybe text or has built in two way radio in the phone.  The guide includes the thought of the cordless or wireless battery losing its life and the device losing its memory, a problematic scenario prevalent in today’s devices and this doesn’t include the vulnerabilities of “Blue Tooth” technology and the sync up of its devices as that technology wasn’t as vast as it is now, however the revisions are listed as the updates evolve. 
English: Casio watch Italiano: Orologio Casio
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            Page 38 of the guide mentions items such as scanners, credit card readers, cell phones, facsimile machines, pagers and most devices with a storage capability including digital watches.  In conclusion while we sit around and complain about the new laws being passed such as SOPA or PIPA we need to remember our brilliant minds were at least attempting to guess at and help to ease the woes of the security problems that came with them.  When we don’t understand fully why we do the things we do, organizations such as “Anonymous” make a grand stand in the name of “fairness” or “justice”, when in fact each time they carry out a digital attack, there is a good chance someone has already considered its possibilities and is working to hammer out a fair deal for the citizens who use those same platforms.  Video game systems might train our youth into thinking that the thug life or automatic weapon is cool to consider, what they don’t see is our Forensic Digital Evidence Units are working to make sure that each time an investigation is done, those criminals are caught and the rest of us can go on, uninterrupted and free from some worry.
Author’s Note:  Any person, committing crime on the digital main streams should be treated and prosecuted the same as the ones in the “other” world.  No one would tolerate “hacking” if we could only realize it as “snooping” in our footlockers and safes and certainly not tolerate the lies and deceit that is so rampant in a faceless digital world, if it were done face to face, especially when we all demand “secure borders” and not realize the internet is borderless.  Let’s stop and think once in a while before we complain about the laws being written for us, not against us, we are after all, only human.
References for the curious:


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