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News

Shadow II enables immediate access to forensic data without compromising evidence

Voom Technologies : 16 December, 2008  (New Product)
Forensic examination of computer data can now take place without waiting for data transfer procedures thanks to the Shadow, a tool which doesn't compromise the chain of evidence
It seems that no matter what illegal activity is pursued, whether it is pornography, kidnapping, murder, or even terrorism, the so-called criminal masterminds leave a winding but traceable trail of related computer data linking these perpetrators to their crimes. In the current era of escalating crimes involving computer usage, it has become essential that law enforcement has immediate access to potentially critical computer data.

Crime waits for no man. Right now, computer crime labs across the nation are backed up from as much as several months to a year for forensically processing and obtaining vital information from suspect computers. Local investigative teams are hampered by computer forensic tools that require hours to forensically copy and transfer data for viewing, in order to maintain forensic soundness. However, there is no need to wait for processing according to David Biessener, CEO of Voom Technologies. Using a unique device called the Shadow, patented by Mr Biessener in 2002, a suspect computer can be booted and run on the spot, allowing immediate examination of its contents, without forensic compromise (ie, the chain of evidence remains intact and the contents of the computer remain in an unaltered state, fit for use at trial).

'What a competent [computer forensics] examiner can do in a day with the Shadow, would surely take weeks or months using alternative forensic procedures,' notes Will Docken, former US Customs Special Agent and founder of Will Docken Investigations. 'The ability to [immediately] boot, run, and thus investigate any computer with any operating system is not possible with any other forensic procedure or device of which I am aware.'

'Immediacy of access to digital data is essential,' states Detective Bobby Benton of the Wilmington Police Department in North Carolina. After having the Shadow demonstrated to him, Detective Benton lamented not having access to this technology sooner. Benton explains, 'Recently, there was a shooting in a local store. The homicide was caught on security cameras located on the premises and stored digitally. These images, however, were not able to be viewed immediately in order to maintain the forensic integrity of this digitally stored data. Identification of the perpetrator was, therefore, delayed by seven or eight hours.' In the meantime, the perpetrator eluded authorities and made his way hundreds of miles and several states away where, fortunately, he was eventually apprehended. 'The suspect may not have made it out of North Carolina,' Benton says, 'if the Shadow had been available to us at that time.' Due to the initiative and commitment to the city of Wilmington by Chief Evangelous, the Wilmington Police Department now utilizes the advanced technology of Voom's Shadow II, overlooked by many larger law enforcement agencies, to facilitate their cybercrime investigations.

Take the case of Mark Jensen, convicted in February, 2008, of murdering his wife. Initially, Rhonda Mitchell was called by the prosecution to testify in the capacity of computer forensic expert. Upon cross-examination, however, she was unable to effectively explain the manner in which the forensic soundness of the computer evidence was maintained, due to the complicated and technical nature of the process. Because of this, Martin Koch was then called to testify in this capacity. Mr. Koch used the Shadow to effectively present and explain the computer evidence to the judge, jury, defence and other court attendees. In fact, one of the three key pieces of evidence quoted by the jury as essential in reaching their guilty verdict, was evidence presented by expert Martin Koch, using the Shadow. During the trial, the Jensen home computer was brought into the courtroom, the Shadow was connected, and that which would have been displayed on the monitor was projected onto a screen for the court to view. Part of the evidence accessed and shown via the Shadow included links to poisons and their effects. It was ultimately demonstrated that links to antifreeze poisoning were followed (the decedent was found to have antifreeze in her blood at the time of death), a link to the symptoms of antifreeze poisoning was followed, however, no link to remedies or antidotes to poisons had been followed. Defence tactics aimed at suggesting suicide were thwarted due to the fact that by the defendant's own words, his wife was completely bedridden for three days prior to her death, and the Shadow showed clearly that the sites in question (including their contents) had been accessed during that time period. Mark Jensen was sentenced to life in prison without parole in Walworth County, Wisconsin, in connection with the murder of his wife 10 years previously (ie, 6 years prior to the invention of the Shadow right across the state line in Lakeland, Minnesota).

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