Computer Forensic Expert Analysis & Testimony – ACE Data Group

Computer Forensic Case Studies

Data Recovery Services, Inc. Cited as Expert in Residential Funding Corp. v. DeGeorge

ACE Data Group was recently cited in a US Appeals case concerning e-mail retrieval. The case states that while the Plaintiff used basic recovery and was only able to recover 158 emails in four and a half months claiming, "[i]f there were no responsive e-mails for 10/98-12/98 ... it was either because there were no responsive e-mails from that date or because they did not exist on the accessible back-up tapes." Using advanced data forensic recovery DRS was able to recover 950,000 emails within FOUR days.

"Within four days of obtaining the tapes, "working a normal eight hour day," DeGeorge's vendor [Data Recovery Services] had located 950,000 e-mails on the November and December 1998 tapes. Aff(idavit) of Don Wells. ... Because of time pressure, the parties agreed that RFC would produce all of the 4,000 e-mails that DeGeorge's vendor had been able to print out; RFC did so in court on September 14, 2001. " (US Court of Appeals, For the 2nd Circuit, August 2001, Docket 01-9282).

This strengthens the claim that off the shelf recovery and e-evidence discovery tools are not the most advanced way to recover data. In addition, the forensic investigator will most likely benefit from and be able to prepare a better case when employing advanced recovery services. The courts are beginning to recognize this and that better, more advanced technology exists. Furthermore, not using the available technology can lead to sanctions.

Computer Forensics Int. in Action

With help from ACE Data Group, Inkjet International, a high quality large format imaging firm, recently won its case against a former Inkjet general manager and an investment banker. Prior to leaving Inkjet to form his own digital imaging company with his co-defendant, the defendant emailed Inkjet's customer database to his home computer in an attempt to steal intellectual property from Inkjet. They firmly denied the allegations put forth by Inkjet believing that no one would find out since they had deleted the email and the attachment containing the customer database from their home computer. Larry Thomasson COO of Data Recovery Services explained, "Our forensic specialists were able to recover the email and the database for Inkjet and subsequently testified to the findings of our forensic analysis." The defendants lost their credibility and the case.

After a three-week trial, a Dallas jury rendered a $1.87 million verdict in favor of Inkjet International. The jury of seven women and five men heard the evidence in two phases. In the first phase, among other things, the jury found that Inkjet's former general manager breached his fiduciary duties, misappropriated trade secrets, and engaged in fraud. In the second phase, the jury found that the defendants acted with malice.

Mr. Thomasson explained that many lawyers, judges and even would-be criminals incorrectly assume that deleted or corrupted files are irretrievable. However, with the forensic technology we have available to us no computer crime can go unsolved.

Found Innocent

In the preliminary stages of an employment dispute case, Data Recovery Services was brought in by a large computer services corporation to perform a forensic recovery on an employee's desktop computer. Our client suspected the employee, who was also a foreign national, of hacking into other classified computer systems due to information generated by the client's external auditing software program. After performing forensic analysis, DRS could find no evidence of hacking on the employee's computer. Thus the employee was exonerated of any wrong-doing and other costly proceedings were averted.

Couldn't cover his tracks

After finding pornography downloaded on its network server and a number of individual office computers, our client began to build a case for employee dismissal. Data Recovery Services was hired to locate any deleted files and verify certain illicit and non-work related contents of the hard drives in question. Forensic technicians were able to locate spy software, illegal file-sharing software, pornography, and information pertaining to a personal side business. Both the CEO and the network administrator were dismissed as a result of the investigation.

Blind Software Scam

After being sued for negligence, our client was about to settle a multi-million dollar suit and re-write their entire software package because the plaintiff was charging: installation of the software in question had permanently damaged/erased existing files, the irreplaceable data not recoverable by any means, and could not access files in a specific software application critical to running his business.

DATA RECOVERY SERVICES was able to restructure and reformat all the files needed for the claimant's specific software application and reprogram data. Using electronic data discovery, forensic and analysis applications Data Recovery Services discovered that the software installation had not caused the data loss and determined the plaintiff had manually erased the alleged lost data! When shown the evidence the plaintiff dropped the suit and was promptly counter sued.