Archive for the ‘Company News’ Category

Where’s the WebCase 30-day demo?

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

3In recent weeks, we’ve gotten a number of questions about why our 30-day demo is no longer available for download, and how investigators can get to know WebCase without it.

To answer the second part first: we found that our customers had a much better experience with WebCase when they used it after a walk-through. That’s why we take you through a one-hour webinar — you can either register for one of our monthly demos, or contact us to set up a time that is convenient for you and your team.

As for the software demo itself, we’ve recently made changes to WebCase that necessitated our retooling the demo. We don’t have a firm launch date, but we’ll let you know when we do.

Meanwhile, please do register for a webinar demo (be sure it’s a WebCase demo, though we’d love to see you for our Online Investigation Series too), and be sure to ask us if you have any further questions for us!

How the bad guys use social media: An interview with Todd Shipley

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Hardly a day goes by when the news isn’t reporting criminal use of social media to find and groom victims, start and fuel gang wars, or exploit other weaknesses. Todd Shipley joined Spark CBC host Nora Young last week to talk about some of these issues, along with how police can use social media to find the activity.

Listen to the 20-minute interview now to find out:

  • How criminals exploit their victims’ weaknesses, along with their own need for social connections
  • The importance of looking beyond the physical crime scene to its virtual extension
  • The social and technical skills police need to document online and other digital evidence before it gets to detectives
  • How online or cloud investigation is similar to network forensics (and unlike computer forensics)
  • What legal requirements police need to abide by when they go online

Got questions about Todd’s interview? Leave us a comment!

Our Online Investigations Basics webinar series is back!

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

We’re excited to announce the return of our popular, free “Online Investigations Basics” webinar series! Designed to help investigators maximize their online evidence collection skills, the monthly webinars will feature investigative techniques and issues such as:

  • Tracing IP Addresses
  • Online Sources of Information
  • Online Identity Theft Investigations
  • Internet Relay Chat (IRC) Investigations
  • Investigating Social Media

The webinar series builds on the original series, offered in the fall of 2009, by offering both new courses and updated content from some returning instructors as well as new voices. Established experts in their fields, the Online Investigation Basics instructors will take questions from, and interact with, webinar attendees during a structured Q&A period within each 60-minute presentation. The webinars are meant for investigators from all sectors — law enforcement, corporate and independent.

In addition, we’ll continue to provide our monthly WebCase webinars, which allow investigators to get to know our software when they can’t attend our on-site training.

The first Online Investigation Basics webinar is Thursday, February 17. Dr. Gary Kessler of Gary Kessler & Associates will present “Tracing IP Addresses,” in which he will introduce concepts about the TCP/IP suite, the Internet, IP addressing and domain names, and the administration of Internet names and numbers. He will also demonstrate tools to support IP tracing.

Want to know more? Sign up today!

Data retention vs. criminal anonymizer use

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

This week, German authorities released data suggesting that Internet Service Provider (ISP) data retention policies – which the United States hopes to implement – could actually have a negative impact on online crime fighting.

Why? As the article puts it:

This is because users began to employ avoidance techniques, says AK Vorrat. A plethora of options are available to those who do not want their data recorded, including Internet cafés, wireless Internet access points, anonymization services, public telephones and unregistered mobile telephone cards.

The European Union is looking at policy changes that protect both privacy and public safety. In the meantime, however, we know that “hard core” criminals will continue to use anonymization technology, and it will take more than policy to address this.

That’s why we’re pleased to announce that the National Institute of Justice has awarded us funding under its Electronic Crime and Digital Evidence Recovery grant. The funding is for the development of forensic and investigative tools and techniques to investigate criminal use of Internet anonymizers – tools that law enforcement doesn’t currently have.

We’ll be working in conjunction with researchers at the University of Nevada’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering on the development, while investigators from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department will test the software and offer their feedback. Meanwhile, we’d love to hear from you. What has your experience been trying to investigate online crime despite anonymizers?

Now available: 3 free model policies for social networking support

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Our 2-day on-site training devotes a fair amount of time to policy issues: investigative ethics applied online, undercover work, deconfliction, and employee stress management. However, while we talked about the need for policy, we didn’t have a model to offer.

Well, now we do! In the “White Papers” section of our Web site, you’ll now find three separate model policies: social networking investigations, official agency communication, and employee off-duty use.

Why 3 policies?

Law enforcement presence online isn’t just about gathering evidence. It’s also about ensuring that employees represent themselves and their agencies as professionals at all times (including not conducting investigations via their personal accounts). Also, just as agencies simultaneously conduct investigations and community relations in their communities, they should at least consider doing the same online.

The three policies complement each other, and as Todd is quoted in our press release, they’re meant to minimize the risk and maximize the reward of an online presence. They also fill a gap: while many policies are available from private companies, few are published by law enforcement agencies.

What the policies cover

The “Investigative Use of Social Networking” policy provides for:

  • Professional online conduct
  • Investigation preparation
  • Undercover work
  • Legal issues
  • Employee stress management

The “Agency Official Use of Social Networking” policy discusses:

  • Social media tools
  • Strategy for use
  • Communicating on the agency’s behalf
  • Restrictions on use
  • Handling requests from media and general public

The “Employee Off-Duty Use of Social Networking” policy includes:

  • Employee self-identification as a police officer
  • Confidential and sensitive information
  • Legal requirements
  • Disciplinary action

Because these are model policies, be sure to run them through administrators and department or other legal staff before you implement them, as state or jurisdictional laws may need to be specifically addressed.

Who will benefit?

We timed these policies’ release during the week of the ICAC Conference in Jacksonville, FL, where Todd is exhibiting. Now, we know ICAC investigators are well-versed in online investigation and thus policy – but we also know that their investigations can take them into jurisdictions where other detectives are not familiar with online work, undercover or otherwise.

So whether you’re an investigator whose agency needs social networking policies, or you know of investigators who do, please feel free to pass these along. You can refer others to the policy page using this address:

http://tinyurl.com/verepolicies

And if you have any questions, please let us know at info (at) veresoftware (dot) com !

Social Media, Travel, Speeches and FourSquare

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

As much as I try to avoid business travel anymore, the more I seem to do.  Although travel is not bad it can get overwhelming at times and seems to just put me further behind. I did recently in my travels have the opportunity to speak, on an as of late favorite topic, and that is the use of Social Media by law enforcement. Specifically I was speaking on the lack of policy by agencies starting to use Social Media, not only as a community policing tool, but as an investigative tool.

Recently I was asked to present at the first annual SMILE conference or Social Media in Law Enforcement conference in Washington DC. This was a great gathering of various law enforcement professionals interested in Social media and its implementation within law enforcement. My specific piece was on the policy decision behind using social media as a law enforcement tool.  I spoke about the need to have policy to protect the law enforcement officer as much as the agency. I was able to speak with some great talent in the field that are adapting social media for investigative and communicative reasons.

I also had the opportunity to speak at the Massachusetts Attorney Generals Cyber crime Initiative quarterly meeting. The Mass AG sponsors a meeting quarterly on various cybercrime topics. She brings in investigators from all over the state to discuss cybercrime. I was lucky enough to speak on the investigation of social media, and of course hit the topic of policy for law enforcement.  The crowd of over 200 Massachusetts law enforcement investigators was eager to understand more about investigating social media especially as it applied to Cyber bullying cases.

During the two weeks I was gone, connecting to so many investigators in person, I wanted to be sure not to lose touch with my online contacts — not just customers and prospects who email me, but also Twitter and Facebook followers. So, as a smartphone user, I downloaded a new app and signed up for a new program called “Foursquare”. The use of FourSquare allowed me to stay connected on the road from my phone.  I could and did update my Facebook page and my twitter account from my phone with a few clicks of the keyboard.

I found this to be a simple and easy use of the media and received numerous comments back regarding my updates. Many were interested in my travels and found the topics I was speaking on of interest.

Why am I mentioning this? When I talk to groups like these, I want to be sure they understand the value of social networking in their professional lives — not just from an investigative standpoint, but also from the standpoint of being able to network and share ideas with one another. Our increasingly interconnected world makes this an absolute necessity.

Are you on Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? Please feel free to connect with me.

By popular demand: WebCase adds new features

Friday, March 26th, 2010

WebCase users have been asking us for three things:

  • Full page capture
  • HTML, or “source,” code capture
  • 64-bit compatibility

We’re very pleased to have just released these features in WebCase 1.9, which is available now. Current WebCase users will find their efficiency improved via full page and HTML capture functions. Meanwhile, investigators who work exclusively on 64-bit systems can now take advantage of WebCase.

Full page and HTML capture

Full page capture improves efficiency, in part, with automatic scrolling. In previous WebCase versions, investigators had to scroll manually to areas of a page that were not immediately visible on the screen. Lengthy pages such as those seen on MySpace could result in numerous screenshots. Now with one click, WebCase captures an entire web page in a single JPEG graphic file.

WebCase 1.9 also introduces the ability to copy only the web page’s HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), or underlying “source” code, to an evidence file. Some web pages are difficult to archive properly because of the embedded code, and previous versions of WebCase required several steps to archive the code. The HTML copy function allows just one step to document the source code for later review.

To see these two new features in action, watch our video here!

64-bit compatibility

64-bit systems have the performance to process more demanding applications, such as audio and video encoding, so 64-bit compatibility is important as WebCase users move to the latest in desktop computing technology.

Finally, WebCase 1.9 now also supports Windows 7 along with Vista and XP, and adds Internet Explorer 8 to its list of supported browser versions.

We’re still working on getting the demo version available, but meanwhile, please view the video (and the others we have available) — and please sign up for our next WebCase webinar on April 1st. (No April Fool’s!)

Cloud computing: Not just for geeks or feds

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Think online investigation is just for the high-tech crimes types, the computer forensics geeks or the feds? Not so, says Todd in his interview with Cyber Speak’s Podcast (hosted, ironically, by two former federal agents). The more people are online, the more they’re likely to use cloud services, the more important it is for local law enforcement to be there too.

Todd’s appearance on Cyber Speak came about because of his two-part article on cloud computing, which had appeared in December in DFI News. He and Ovie Carroll discuss:

Impact of cloud computing on first responders

Detectives performing searches can’t simply pull the plug on a running computer anymore (a fact which prosecutors are having to get used to). They need to be able to perform data triage and possibly even volatile data collection.

Why? Because knowing whether a suspect has an online presence is critical to whether an arrest is made—and what happens afterward. Whether users are actively storing files “in the cloud” or simply members of social networking sites, law enforcement officers who don’t find evidence and therefore, do not make an arrest risk that suspect going online and deleting all incriminating information.

Why is this a problem? Because the very nature of cloud storage means investigators may not be able to access a logical hard drive somewhere to recover the evidence. First, the sheer amounts of data stored on servers make this close to impossible. Second, there are jurisdictional issues.

Are you exceeding your authority?

Not only may information be stored outside your jurisdiction, but it may also be stored in another country altogether—one with different criminal and privacy laws. Accessing evidence of a crime in the United States may actually mean committing a crime in another country (Todd relates the story of two FBI agents for whom arrest warrants were issued in Russia).

This is a problem for local law enforcement, which Todd notes has been left largely to its own devices when it comes to online crime. Only Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces have clear direction from the federal government on how to proceed.

Hence it’s easy for local police to kick Internet crimes up to regional, state or federal task forces. But as Todd points out, more people coming online means more crimes being committed against people in local jurisdictions both large and small. Law enforcement at every level needs to be able to respond.

Please listen to Todd and Ovie, and then come back and tell us what you think!

Christa M. Miller is Vere Software’s marketing/public relations consultant. She specializes in law enforcement and public safety and can be reached at christa at christammiller dot com.

Todd on CyberCrime 101: Episode 7

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Last month while Todd was training in New York City, he had a chance to meet Joe Garcia, a computer crimes detective we connected with on Twitter. Joe has a podcast, CyberCrime 101, about all things computer forensics and information security. After reviewing the WebCase demo, he kindly invited Todd on the show to talk.

Their focus: Todd’s background, WebCase, and being president of the International High Tech Crimes Investigators’ Association (HTCIA). Joe voiced his approval for our tutorial screencasts, as well as our webinars and 2-day training; Todd told us that WebCase now offers 64-bit support, and will soon be released in a new version that has more features.

Thanks for having Todd on the show, Joe!

Christa M. Miller is Vere Software’s marketing/public relations consultant. She specializes in law enforcement and public safety and can be reached at christa at christammiller dot com.

A DFI News double feature

Friday, February 5th, 2010

We were pleased and honored in December when Digital Forensics Investigator (DFI) News opted to give two of Todd’s articles top billing on its site.

The articles, a two-part series, addressed whether collection of electronic evidence from the Internet is feasible. Some say no; obviously, we say yes!

In Part I, Todd drew from his 2007 white paper, “Collecting Legally Defensible Online Evidence,” to discuss the need for and development of a standard methodology for Internet evidence collection. In Part II, he addressed the application of that methodology specifically to “cloud” computing.

The cloud does present different challenges to evidence collection than do conventional Internet sources. But that doesn’t mean evidence collection from the cloud is impossible.

Read Part I here and Part II here. And please be sure to come back and tell us what you think. Do you agree? Disagree? Have you encountered the need for Internet evidence collection methodology… or investigative issues specific to the cloud? Comments are open!

Christa M. Miller is Vere Software’s marketing/public relations consultant. She specializes in law enforcement and public safety and can be reached at christa at christammiller dot com.