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News Article | October 29, 2016
Site: www.techrepublic.com

Birmingham, Alabama has a certain appeal for those of us living in the northern part of the country, especially this time of year when one day we could be looking at tornadoes, and the next thirty plus inches of snow. I learned something else during my trip to Birmingham. The city has a propensity for digital crime fighting. Facebook learned this firsthand when staff and students in the university's computer-forensic program played a significant role in determining the key players behind Koobface, a computer worm that stole millions of dollars from Facebook members. Digital crime-fighting efforts in Birmingham do not stop there; drive south from downtown Birmingham on Highway 65 to the sprawling suburb of Hoover. Exit on Valleydale Road, and before long, a well-kept modern-looking building appears on the right. Once inside, the reason we stopped at this particular location became apparent—The National Computer Forensics Institute ( NCFI )—another Birmingham organization that's making life difficult for computer savvy criminals. Barry Page, NCFI Deputy Director, met our group at the institute's imposing double doors and acted as our tour guide for the facility. "The purpose of NCFI is simple; get state and local officials from across the country up to speed on the proper handling of digital evidence, cybercrime investigations, and judicial procedures related to digital crime." In addition to Page's explanation, the official NCFI mandate states: "[T]o provide state and local law enforcement, legal, and judicial professionals a free, comprehensive education on current cybercrime trends, investigative methods, and prosecutorial and judicial challenges." Page then pointed out that the United States Secret Service's Criminal Investigative Division and the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services jointly run NCFI—the only training facility of its kind in the United States, which has been in operation since 2008. 2600 students from more than 500 agencies have taken classes there already. NCFI has three multipurpose classrooms, two network investigation classrooms, a mock courtroom, and an operational forensics lab dedicated to the Birmingham Electronics Crimes Task Force. NCFI offers thirteen classes under the following categories: A member of the tour asked about equipment. Page said NCFI considers it important for agencies to standardize on equipment and methodology as a way to enhance cross communications and eliminate mistakes. To that end, each student receives a Forensic Recovery Device and notebook. Software is dependent upon the student's class—for example, students enrolled in Deadbox Forensics would receive Encase and WriteBlocker. Next, we moved past three packed classrooms on our way to the mock courtroom. As we entered, Page said besides being Deputy Director of NCFI, he is an Alabama state prosecutor. So, he works closely with the instructors teaching the Computer Forensics in Court classes. The following points are addressed during the judge's class: Page also pointed out the mock courtroom, which is designed to accommodate digital discovery so as not to break the chain of custody, yet still guarantee a fair and impartial hearing. For that reason alone, the courtroom itself receives significant attention from people wanting to incorporate similar features into their courtrooms. As we left the mock courtroom, I asked what defense attorneys do to stay current. Page explained that defense lawyers most often specialize. And since people accused of a crime get to pick their defense attorney, they will more than likely retain an attorney experienced in litigating cases involving digital evidence. But, unfortunately, assigning cases involving digital evidence and or digital crime to prosecutors or judges with experience is not always an option. So, the logical approach is to provide a way similar to NCFI for prosecutors and judges to become familiar with court procedures involving digital crime and digital evidence. The university's computer forensics team includes an archeologist and psychologist. The team has an enviable string of successes including eliminating Koobface. The NCFI promotes a similar ideology to normally non-cooperating legal entities. They also are showing positive results from their effort. I see a common thread—that of getting normally disparate groups talking and working together to solve big issues. If I may, I would like to take a moment to thank all of you who have emailed your kind condolences on the passing of my father. The messages are much appreciated. [All images courtesy of the NCFI.]


Houlgrave S.,Sparks Inc. | Ramotowski R.,United States Secret Service
Journal of Forensic Identification | Year: 2011

Physical developer (PD) is a widely used chemical processing technique for the development of latent prints on dry or wetted porous surfaces. Part I of this research compared fresh and aged batches of PD working solutions using two nonionic surfactants, Synperonic N and Tween 20, and determined that PD working solutions incorporating Synperonic N had a shelf life ranging from 10 to 15 days, whereas PD working solutions incorporating Tween 20 had a shelf life of approximately 2 1/2 months. The objective of Part II of this research was to discuss the importance of reliability testing to determine the stability of a reagent and comparisons conducted between two different test solutions, gold chloride (AuCl 3) and EDTA tetra sodium salt. This study determined that gold chloride test solutions degrade on Whatman #2 filter paper as well as in solution, whereas EDTA tetra sodium salt test solutions degrade much slower on Whatman #2 filter paper and appear to remain stable in solution.


Houlgrave S.,Sparks Inc. | Andress M.,Sparks Inc. | Ramotowski R.,United States Secret Service
Journal of Forensic Identification | Year: 2011

Physical developer (PD) is a widely used chemical processing technique for the development of latent prints on dry or wetted porous surfaces. The objective of Part I of this research was to verify that the United States Secret Service (USSS) formulation for PD will outlast the 7- to 10-day shelf life that is mentioned by some practitioners. The USSS recently changed the nonionic surfactant from Synperonic N to Tween 20, which appears to have improved the longevity of the working solution. This research compared fresh and aged batches of working solutions using both nonionic surfactants and determined that PD working solutions incorporating Synperonic N had a shelf-life ranging from 10 to 15 days, whereas PD working solutions incorporating Tween 20 had a shelf life of approximately 2 1/2 months. In addition, Part II of this research will discuss the importance of reliability testing to determine the stability of the reagent and comparisons conducted between two different reliability test solutions, gold chloride (AuCl3) and EDTA tetra sodium salt.


News Article | December 24, 2016
Site: marketersmedia.com

James A. Green has been working as a Forensic Document Examiner for over a quarter century. He is an expert in handwriting and signature analysis, and he examines wills, contracts and other documents. He does handwriting comparisons on anonymous notes, wills and forms. He utilizes specialized laboratory instruments such as the Video Spectral Comparator 4Plus that compares inks and verifies security paperwork, among other functions. He uses the Indented Writing Materializer to recover indented writing and provide vital evidence in cases of questioned signatures and handwriting. He also examines obliterations. For further details, please visit http://www.documentexaminer.info/. Mr. Green has been well-trained in his field. He is certified by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners and now holds the position of Treasurer for the organization. In the past, he has served as President, Vice President and Secretary for this distinguished group of professionals. He also served as a Director of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences-Questioned Document Section Southwest Association of Forensic Document Examiners. Each year, Mr. Green attends conferences and workshops to hone his document examination skills and to retain his standing as certified with the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners. He is an active member of three well-known document examiner groups and regularly takes part in training seminars. In addition, he trained at the United States Secret Service-Questioned Document Course in 1989 and the United States Postal Inspection Crime Laboratory in 1991. Mr. Green also has extensive practical experience. Since the year 2000, he has worked in private practice on both civil and criminal matters. He served as an apprentice in the Eugene, Oregon Police Department for two and a half years, and was a Forensic Document Examiner for them from 1988 to 2000. He assisted them in various positions from 1976 until 1988. Mr. Green has much experience in both State and Federal Court, giving expert witness testimony in Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. He has provided his expertise in a foreign court as well. He has spoken as an expert witness in over 110 court cases. In choosing Mr. Green, one receives high-quality Forensic Document Examiner service at an affordable price. Fees are calculated after he has viewed the documents and assessed the issue or issues involved. Most contested document cases are analyzed and have a report completed within a week of him receiving the papers. He provides service across the United States. He quickly responds to calls and emails, so issue or issues will be resolved in a timely manner. Please contact him toll free at (888) 485-0832 or in Oregon at (541) 485-0832 to have an analysis done right away. For more information, please visit http://www.documentexaminer.info/


Houlgrave S.,National Institute of Justice for research | Laporte G.M.,United States Secret Service | Stephens J.C.,National Institute of Justice for research | Wilson J.L.,National Institute of Justice for research
Journal of Forensic Sciences | Year: 2013

A novel approach for the analysis of inkjet inks is being reported. A time-of-flight mass spectrometer, coupled with a Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART™) ion source (AccuTOF™ DART™), was used to determine if inkjet inks from various manufacturers and models of printers could be reliably differentiated, characterized, and identified. A total of 217 ink standards were analyzed. As inkjet printing often involves the use of multiple colors (e.g., cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to form an image or text, two different approaches to creating a library of standards and sampling methods were evaluated for implementation in a standard operating procedure. This research will show that a microscopic examination of the region of interest is requisite to identify what colors were utilized during the printing process, prior to comparing with known standards. Finally, blind testing was administered with 10 unknown samples to assess the validity and accuracy of the methodology. © 2013.


Houlgrave S.,United States Secret Service | Laporte G.M.,National Institute of Justice for research | Stephens J.C.,United States Secret Service
Journal of Forensic Sciences | Year: 2011

Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is a scientific methodology that can be used to compare and characterize ink formulations. Occasionally, when evaluating chromatographic profiles on a TLC plate with ambient light, different ink formulations, or the same inks from different batches, may appear indistinguishable. The use of filtered light can be very effective to illuminate characteristics that are not readily apparent with ambient light. There are a diverse number of components commonly found in writing inks, and it may be that some of them respond to particular wavelengths of energy that are not visible to the unaided eye (i.e., colorless). There has been very little information published that addresses the use of filtered light for evaluating TLC plates. Twenty-nine ballpoint writing ink samples were selected for TLC analysis. Further evaluation using an alternate light source, coupled with the appropriate filter, proved to be an effective means for definitive discrimination in some cases. © 2011 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.


Hahn W.,West Virginia University | Ramotowski R.,United States Secret Service
Journal of Forensic Identification | Year: 2012

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of a one-step fluorescent cyanoacrylate fuming process to develop latent fingerprints in comparison with the conventional two-step processes that are currently utilized worldwide. Such two-step methods involve the use of dye stains that contain organic solvents, which have a potential to damage the developed cyanoacrylate polymer as well as an item's substrate. The method described here involves the use of a prototype modified Foster and Freeman MVC 1000 cyanoacrylate fuming cabinet and a special powder that co-fumes along with the cyanoacrylate monomer. Latent prints aged up to three weeks were placed on a number of different substrates (e.g., sandwich bags, trash bags, bubble wrap, sheet protectors, and textured plastic substrates). Preliminary results indicate that this one-step process was effective at producing quality fluorescent prints on a number of the nonporous substrates. Although there were some substrates that did not work well with this new process, for the most part, the overall quality of the development was comparable to that achieved using the current two-step fuming and dye stain procedure.


Bill Phillips has joined the World Protection Group, Inc., as a security consultant. http://worldprotectiongroup.com/. WPG is a full service international security firm that specializes in Executive Protection. Their philosophy and techniques are based on the United States Secret Service method of providing proactive and preventative protection. The World Protection Group has worked with some of the most high profile individuals in the world, and in the history of the firm has never experienced an incident that might have caused harm or embarrassment to their client. Their core client base is Political Dignitaries, Corporate CEOs and their staffs, High Net- Worth Individuals and their Families, Entertainment Organizations, Celebrities and Corporate Security. With over 40 years of corporate and consulting experience, Phillips has a unique background and experience providing him with expertise in all aspects of Risk/Threat Management, Continuity of Business/Contingency Planning, Security and Safety Management and Security Convergence. A thought leader and innovator in security and safety, Phillips has made presentations to professional, governmental and industry groups, serves on national standard committees, testified before Congressional committees and government agencies and lectures at universities and colleges. With the World Protection Group, Phillips provides clients with business and residence risk and threat evaluations, violence prevention and response training for client’s staff, develops plans for and oversees projects to improve security through security technology, develops emergency and contingency plans for business and events and advises clients on liability risk and steps to mitigate and/or control related risk. "I would like to welcome Bill who I have known for many years to WPG. Bill is an outstanding security professional and we are happy to have him on the WPG team as well as to service our high end clients security needs," says Kent Moyer, CEO of WPG.


Girod A.,University of Lausanne | Ramotowski R.,United States Secret Service | Weyermann C.,University of Lausanne
Forensic Science International | Year: 2012

This article describes the composition of fingermark residue as being a complex system with numerous compounds coming from different sources and evolving over time from the initial composition (corresponding to the composition right after deposition) to the aged composition (corresponding to the evolution of the initial composition over time). This complex system will additionally vary due to effects of numerous influence factors grouped in five different classes: the donor characteristics, the deposition conditions, the substrate nature, the environmental conditions and the applied enhancement techniques. The initial and aged compositions as well as the influence factors are thus considered in this article to provide a qualitative and quantitative review of all compounds identified in fingermark residue up to now. The analytical techniques used to obtain these data are also enumerated. This review highlights the fact that despite the numerous analytical processes that have already been proposed and tested to elucidate fingermark composition, advanced knowledge is still missing. Thus, there is a real need to conduct future research on the composition of fingermark residue, focusing particularly on quantitative measurements, aging kinetics and effects of influence factors. The results of future research are particularly important for advances in fingermark enhancement and dating technique developments. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Neumann C.,Pennsylvania State University | Ramotowski R.,United States Secret Service | Genessay T.,University of Lausanne
Journal of Chromatography A | Year: 2011

Forensic examinations of ink have been performed since the beginning of the 20th century. Since the 1960s, the International Ink Library, maintained by the United States Secret Service, has supported those analyses. Until 2009, the search and identification of inks were essentially performed manually. This paper describes the results of a project designed to improve ink samples' analytical and search processes. The project focused on the development of improved standardization procedures to ensure the best possible reproducibility between analyses run on different HPTLC plates. The successful implementation of this new calibration method enabled the development of mathematical algorithms and of a software package to complement the existing ink library. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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