Mobile forensic tools, like any other tool in a law enforcement officer’s arsenal, require training to use them effectively, proficiently and efficiently.
When lives are in the balance the correct training is vital. Successful prosecution and sentencing often rests on the examination and analysis of mobile devices. The results can often influence the decision to allow a guilty person to walk free only to recidivate, or an innocent person be convicted and sentenced to life in prison or even death.
Are you confident that you found all the available evidence needed in your case? Have you not missed any exculpatory evidence? And all in a timely manner? Are you prepared to defend your findings and explain your process? Do you have a desire to pursue other opportunities and careers in the field of mobile forensics?
Boost your confidence
Although many may be able to navigate their way around their mobile forensic software, there will always be methods, practices, intricacies and even functions that users are not aware of. These can only come to light through vendor training. Training ensures users know the ins and outs of their tools and how to use them to the best of their ability. Training also helps users be as efficient as possible in finding the data they need.
Like the many other skills and tools officers use, mobile device forensics is a perishable skill requiring continued training to maintain proficiency. Best practices and standards change over time. New laws arise over time. This is a rapidly advancing field where mobile device companies and carriers continue to develop their hardware and software, regularly introducing new challenges to mobile device examiners and analysts.
This is evident from the old best practice of shutting a device off or removing its battery upon seizure, or new case law resulting from actions that determine when a search warrant is required or what the scope of your analysis can entail. You need to know what your mobile forensic tools are capable of and what you can expect to obtain from them. Investigators also need to know how advanced extraction methods have evolved from JTAG to Chip-Off and ISP to even more advanced methods in Advanced Acquisition Labs.
Having a strong foundation in mobile forensics with a sound understanding of how your tools work leads to proficiency, allowing you to complete your tasks faster and build the confidence you need when it comes time to defend your work and state your case.
Prepare your case for the court
Training prepares you for when your work comes into question. The ultimate questioning will be in the courtroom, starting with the voir dire and continuing throughout trial during direct and cross examinations.
The courtroom can be an incredibly stressful situation where the officer’s skills, understanding, and competence in using mobile forensic tools are called into question. The adversarial nature of the trial will have the defense on the attack, requesting proof of competency by way of training in the area of mobile forensics and may demand presentation of certification proving so. As the trial commences, the defense will continue their barrage, asking difficult questions in attempts to embarrass and discredit the officer in front of the jury.
Are you prepared to answer those questions? Is the prosecution prepared for the direct examination? Are they prepared to object when necessary, staving off potential doubt in the jurors’ minds?
Case law is often made by those who failed to properly use their tools or could not adequately articulate their answers in court resulting in stricter rules, policies, and procedures.
Having formal training with certification demonstrates competence in the field. Having a full grasp of the subject allows you to better relay information to the judge and jury so that you are completely understood, leaving no question as to your expertise and helping establish credibility.
Secure your professional future
Training also opens avenues for advancement – making you a more desirable candidate when it comes to job opportunities. Proving your competency in the field of mobile forensics by having certification demonstrates to potential employers that their investment would pay off by selecting you as their candidate for the position.
Thousands of hours of training in digital forensics has given me the skills, knowledge and confidence needed in examining hundreds of cases leading to testimony and successful prosecution in high profile cases in both state and federal courts. It has also paved the path to where I am today. None of this would have been possible without training.
I encourage you to take full advantage of the training opportunities available to you to ensure you are getting the most from your tools and are the best examiner you can be.
We can help you excel at your job.
James Eichbaum is MSAB’s Global Training Manager and an instructor as well. He is a former peace officer, having served a combined total of 16 years with the Modesto Police Department and Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office in California. As a detective with both agencies, James was a digital forensics examiner assigned to the Sacramento Valley High Tech Crimes Task Force. James possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems Security and an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science.