by Louise Thomson

At the start of August, Johnny Law and I attended the UNSW Australian Defence Force Academy campus in Canberra for a week to undertake their course in Digital Forensics.

I hear a series of Ho Hums and What??? and see the rolling of many sets of eyes, but not the question What is Digital Forensics?

Yes, I appreciate that was probably an apt response unless you have an interest in Forensic Accounting or Computer Science.

HOWEVER, we (i.e. you, me, all of us who are reading this article) now have access to some investigative tools that was previously available to law enforcement, intelligence agencies, private investigators and corporate security service providers. More importantly, Donald Trump wouldn’t have had to whine about ‘No Collusion, No Obstruction’ for the last two years as he would more than likely not have been thrust upon the naïve, innocent unaware world. Why? Because the Russians would not have made use of those skills to destroy Hillary Clinton and anyone else who was challenging him during 2015-2016.

Within every computerised device you use – laptop, desktop computer, iPad, iPhone, Galaxy phone, Huawei phone et al - is the capability of manipulating your ideas and thoughts, your lifestyle, your income, by anyone with the skills.

The damage is caused to the way we go about our daily lives, undertake our business and it is not just Trump but ISIS, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Wikileaks, Snowden, Nigerian emails/SMS, Caribbean voice messages, the uprisings in Egypt, Zimbabwe and Tunisia. You could lose all the money in your bank accounts, your house and other property, have your reputation (financial and personal) totally trashed or have your business computers locked out until you pay a ransom.

I know, too far-fetched? Not really. You have all heard about the fight between the Federal Government and Google/Twitter/Facebook etc regarding the access to metadata. Metadata is important, but basically non-invasive.

Metadata is how you find out what has happened within the computer. It is vaguely described as ‘data [information] that provides information about other data’.

Come on, keep up! I said it was vague. More simply, it is the information or footprint within a [file of any] computer and its type, when it occurred, where it was stored, where it originated. Imagine if you will, a highly skilled human tracker, following the escaped prisoner, looking for the tell-tale signs of someone who had passed by. Not the actual person, mind you - where they were born, what they ate for breakfast 10 years ago etc., but the trail they have left [inside your computer or phone or printer or scanner or your cloud].

Our lecturer was highly skilled and experienced. He spent quite a few years at the Australian Signals Directorate as part of CERT (computer emergency response team). The course we undertook was one part of the Master of Cyber Security degree.

Whilst we are still practising, we thought you might like to know what we have undertaken in order to provide a better and wider-range of forensic services to our clients. It allows us to play tracker in order to help you or your client, identify what happened, or assist in the development of prevention strategies. Please contact either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a confidential discussion.

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