Dumb Criminals Are No Match for Digital Forensics

Alex Helfand, ENCE, Computer Forensic Specialist

This has been a newsworthy week for computer forensics. Not only are high-profile individuals committing crimes on their computers, but they aren’t exactly being smart about it. Let’s start with the story about Christopher Lee, the New York congressman who decided to participate in some extracurricular activities at work.

Interestingly enough, this story did not involve any law enforcement, but still received huge press coverage . We’ve seen politicians having affairs in the past, but never has such a high profile affair had such a rapid closure. Congressman Lee thought it would be best to send a real picture of himself to his future paramour. Unfortunately, she had experience using Google and quickly discovered his true identity. This story took a turn for the worse for Lee when she went to Gawker with the emails. The hidden image data we talked about in our last post is exactly the kind of evidence that can be used to help uncover these sorts of scandals.

On the flip side, in the famous insider-trading case in New York, Donald Longueuil did whatever it took for him to cover up his digital data . From a forensic investigation standpoint, it would be very difficult to put four pieces of a hard drive back together and recover the data, but sadly for Mr. Longueuil, he unknowingly confessed to a confidential informant for the government and now faces several counts related to conspiracy to commit fraud.

These two cases are relevant examples of the importance of digital data in today’s fraud cases, and shows an interesting slice of the kind of information that may be found in computers.

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