Archive for January, 2009

Cybercrime under the microscope

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

This week in two separate parts of the world, Adelaide, Australia and Orlando, Florida, cybercrime is being discussed. In both conferences they are discussing the need to collect online evidence. In Orlando at the National Law Center’s Child Defenders Expo local, state and federal law enforcement officers are learning about the methods to prevent and investigate crimes against children on the Internet. In Adelaide, at the e-Forensics 2009 conference sponsored by the University of Adelaide, they are meeting to discussing the ways collecting of Internet evidence to aid in the prosecution of criminal.

Both conferences are addressing the growing need collect evidence from the internet for the purposes of successful prosecutions. In Adelaide, Dr. Sorrell says prosecuting internet criminals is very difficult because evidence may be hard to access: “We’re looking at the way in which that sort of evidence can be presented in court and what needs to be done with that evidence to ensure that it’s accepted by the court.”

Vere software is once again here to the rescue. Our flagship product “WebCase” is the solution that both of these groups need. In fact, Todd Shipley, President of Vere Software is presenting at the National Law Centers conference this week on that very topic. His presentation is entitled “Policing the Internet: Proper Collection of Digital Evidence from the Internet”. As an Internet Investigation tool, WebCase is able to record and collect Internet evidence for the investigator in any country. If the investigator can browse to the location on the Internet, no matter which country it resides in, WebCase can record as evidence the content of a website.

Task Force Study on Social Networking

Monday, January 19th, 2009

“New study shows social-networking sites safer than we think.” This was a typical headline following last month’s release of a new Harvard University report: “Enhancing Child Safety and Online Technologies.” As a result, much discussion and concern surfaced in the technology crime blogosphere and on various law enforcement listservs.

The law enforcement concern is that some will see the report as proof that social networking sites are only a minimal threat to children. The social networking sites, I am sure, will take it as vindication that they are doing nothing wrong.

However, the report—which comprised the findings of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, a group that included leaders from the social networking industry and child advocate groups—admitted that many online crimes are probably underreported. Its review of the current literature primarily concluded (typical of academia) that more studying needed to be done.

Toward this end, the new study recommended an “Expenditure of Resources”: “…greater resources should be allocated to law enforcement for the training and developing of technology tools to enhance law enforcement officers’ computer forensic skills; to develop online undercover operations; and to enhance community policing efforts to educate minors, parents, and communities about youth safety.”

In fact, WebCase is already available; Vere Software developed WebCase to aid in this very situation. As the ISTTF and other groups continue to research and devote resources to Internet safety, so too will Vere Software continue to provide its customers with the tools required to accomplish their jobs. It is our hope that more accurate information in greater quantity and quality will encourage the social networking sites to continue to work with the attorneys general to prevent online crime.

Overall, the fact that attention is focused on the issue is a good thing. As Boing Boing puts it: “But of course, now that we know that kids are more threatened by the (less-sexy, less-mediagenic) scourge of bullying than the (incredibly scary, totally mediagenic) risk of sexual predation, we’ll divert funds and resources to the real risk, right?” Continued emphasis on, and resources funneled toward, Internet child protection will ultimately keep this in front of the powers who need to continue to protect children online.