That's right! We are almost there everyone! Just get through these 2 more days left in the week and get through all of next week and break will be within reach! It's important that as we wind down for the Fall Quarter, that you pay special attention to when your final exams will be and where you need to be on that day. The worst thing you could do is forget you have a final or show up on the wrong day! As we prepare for finals week, make sure you are mentally preparing yourselves by taking the extra time to catch up on some material you missed and take the time to study, study, study! Final exams count for a lot in some classes, so make sure you are ready to go!
As I am winding down in my Forensic science class, we have been with the fingerprinting process and it's been extremely cool! We just got done completing an assignment where we had to visit a website and actually conduct the fingerprinting process ourselves and then determine who the culprit was. Below I posted my answers to the questions on the discussion board this week. The objective of my discussion board this week was the read about computer forensics and the importance of the internet. We also were asked to find a crime that was planned, solved, or prevented online, which you guys should really check out because it is quite interesting (the link is listed below). Lastly, we were asked to reflect on identity theft. I figured this is something we are all at risk for so I wanted to share some information about that as well! Happy Reading!
Chapter 19 focused on computer forensics and the importance it plays in today's society. As we all have noticed, technology continues to advance, so there are more and more devices that allow us to access the internet. It has become a part of our everyday lives and more and more people are logging onto computers or the internet every day! "Consequently, computers have become increasingly important as sources of evidence in an ever-widening spectrum or criminal activities." (pg.472)
The internet has become pretty handy for investigators in the following areas. As for homicides, investigators can see if a method of murder was researched online, they could see if emails or instant messages occurred. They may also find a motive for spouse killing or murder for hire, as well as the ability to see if threats were communicated to the victim before a murder occurred. Another use is for arson investigators, who can view financial records on the computer to see if it may provide a motive in an arson-for-profit fire, which is a common occurrence. People choose not to think twice about the fact that it could be investigated and they could lose EVERYTHING all because they thought they could make money off of it. Another area is burglary, where investigators can actually determine if proceeds taken from the home are being sold online or through eBay and other online auction sites. Sexual predators can also be tracked online if they are caught messaging children or coming in contact with children for sexual reasons.
Computer forensics involves preservation, acquisition, extraction, analysis, and interpretation of computer data. Therefore, technology and the internet in particular, is a forensic scientist's FRIEND, not foe!
The pros of the internet as a tool in the forensic scientist's toolbox include the following:
-Able to see which websites were visited/browsed and the frequency of how many times they were viewed
-There are many devices out there capable of internet connection, so there are many options to view when looking at internet activity (cell phones, iPads, etc.)
-Investigators can use the internet to access fugitive files as well as fingerprints/DNA samples and alias's that people are known by
-Able to view email conversations and instant messaging conversations
-Access to IP addresses which route to where the contact came from (location) and can lead to the identifying of a person
-Investigators can access log files, volatile memory, and network traffic
-Investigators can track what software has been installed or downloaded
-Can search and analyze data quickly and efficiently
The cons of the internet as a tool in the forensic scientist's toolbox include the following:
-Criminal could make up an alias or a different name that is hard to track or link to that specific individual
-Legal standards- because data can easily be modified an analyst much be able to prove that the data is as is when it was found-needs to be fully documented and accounted for when presenting
-The cost to retrieve and analyze the data gathered from the internet could be expensive since those analyzing it may need a significant amount of time
-Lack of knowledge about technology and computer forensics can affect the way an analyst views the collection of data-need to be able to communicate it effectively.
Crime Planned Via Internet:
I wasn't too sure about a crime that had been solved, prevented or planned using the internet so I logged on and did a search. I came across an article from May 2004 about a boy who used the internet to plot his own murder. The article says that the final chat room exchange was "U want me 2 take him 2 Trafford centre and kill him in the middle of Trafford centre??" The response to that message was yes. It then goes on to say that less than 24 hours later, the 14 year old boy was in the hospital with serious stab wounds. What had actually happened was this boy persuaded one of his friends to stab him in order to pass a fictitious initiation test for the British secret services. The boy had made his friend believe that he was working with the secret service and was promising all these things. When detectives began investigating more, they came across just about 58,000 lines of text between the two boys. Detectives soon revealed that everything was planned out the day before to have this boy try to kill him.
If you are interested in the full story here is the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2004/may/29/crime.uknews
Reflect on Identity Theft Response:
Identity theft incidents are on the rise because people aren't careful with the information they carry around with them. Information such as your social security card is a huge no-no, because once someone has access to that, it's almost like you should have just handed them your whole wallet because you social security card has access to your identity as a whole. After listening to Gail Cunningham, she stated that identity theft is a crime that simply won't go away. It's like as soon as we tackle or outsmart these identity stealers, they find another way around it and get us another way. It's a very vicious cycle we need to beat! She did offer some advice and that is to carry as little information as possible that could lead to stealing your identity. It can happen to anyone to carrying as little as possible is your best bet. Once someone has access to your credit card, they will make a small purchase before making larger purchases to make sure that your card # is accurate and that the card is still activated. Gail brought up another important point and that is that one should always mail from the post office such as bills, checks, etc., because crooks can actually steal these things from your mailbox and even watch or follow the mailman so that they can make the move on your mail that could contain personal information. Another thing is to never leave receipts in your car either because those could contain account or credit card #'s as well. It's important that you keep an eye on all your belongings that you carry and make sure you are never carrying too much information in which someone could turn around and use as their own.
I spent a lot of time going through all the information and chapters this week and I felt that the identity theft topic was great to present on my blog this week as well. Especially during the holidays, you have to be careful of who you are handing that credit card to. They could disappear with your card only to be scanning it for future fraudulent charges! The point is, BE CAREFUL with your information!
As we wind down on Week 11, I want to wish you all the best of luck on your final exams or projects! Also, stay warm because it's starting to get super cold!!