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Bargain Basement Digital Forensics Examiners - Too Good to be True

NEW YORK, Feb. 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Kessler International, the premier global digital forensics, forensic accounting and investigative consulting firm, released results of a computer forensics examiner licensing survey over a year in the making.  This anonymous survey of over 100 computer forensics examiners/engineers globally involved gathering data regarding their experience, licenses, insurance and backgrounds.  

Of those surveyed, several were found to be private investigators with no credentials in digital forensics, moonlighting police officers or members of other law enforcement agencies providing computer forensics services on the side and after-hours.  This practice is problematic for several reasons, firstly these law enforcement agents will only work on criminal prosecution cases or select civil matters thus not being able to testify with rounded experience.  Secondly, as moonlighting law enforcement sometimes use the software programs of the agencies they are affiliated with and do not maintain or purchase their own copies, possibly causing the findings not to be admissible in court proceedings.  Thirdly, they sometimes do not have the necessary licenses or maintain insurance appropriate to the work being done.  

Those who are commissioning digital forensics services should be conscious of the fact that often the bargain basement examiners are able to charge exceptionally low rates as a result of their lack of industry standard forensic software and equipment, insurances and licenses.  Furthermore, the best practice of expert digital forensic examiners is to use multiple vendor software to conduct the same task to validate the results.  Also, since the findings of the examiner might wind up in litigation, an expert examiner must be schooled in testimony and trial preparation.

In fact, members of the High Technology Crime Investigation Association are prohibited from conducting defense work as part of their membership unless it is pro-bono and approved by the chapter which appears to go against HTCIA's "Core Values", including this one:

"The HTCIA values the Truth uncovered within digital information and the effective techniques used to uncover that Truth, so that no one is wrongfully convicted!"

Clients can expect that a well-rounded digital forensics expert can provide services including computer forensics, mobile phone forensics, video, photo and audio enhancements.  Computer forensics can involve things such as the recovery of deleted data, the retrieval of hidden files or passwords and deleted internet browser history. Mobile phone forensics can involve the recovery of deleted text messages, calendar items and call logs.  Video, photo and audio enhancements can provide clarification necessary for court. 

Kessler International offers the following recommendations when commissioning a digital forensics expert:  

  • Know your provider.  Question their background and experience and confirm that the company you are commissioning is the primary place of employment of the examiner assigned to your matter and that the job is not being "farmed out".  
  • Question what licenses are held by your provider.  A digital forensics expert who is not a licensed private investigator, as required in states requiring licensing, will have a hard time holding up as an expert witness in court because they are breaking the law.  
  • Your digital forensics expert should carry appropriate insurance, and be able to readily provide you with certificates and other proof of insurance. 
  • Know what software your digital forensics expert will be using and discuss it with them that they are using the latest version and that it is properly licensed to them or their firm.
  • Confirm that your expert is familiar with appropriate chain of custody and evidentiary protocols and testimony and that any media you provide to them will be handled suitably.

About Kessler International

Kessler provides digital forensics, forensic accounting, private investigation services and business intelligence to corporations and individuals worldwide from its offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington DC, Chicago, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong, London and affiliates throughout the world.

Established in 1988, Kessler's satisfied clients are comprised of an extensive and distinguished list of Fortune 500 companies, prestigious law firms and individuals worldwide. Its diverse staff includes attorneys, certified forensic digital engineers, forensic accountants, licensed investigators and researchers. More information about Kessler's full range of digital forensics services can be found at www.investigation.com

Media contact:

Kelly Mattmuller
Kessler International
45 Rockefeller Plaza – 20th Floor
New York, NY 10111-2000
Phone: 212-286-9100
Email: 146539@email4pr.com 
www.investigation.com 

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