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Every CSI needs a good crime scene kit. Take the time to build your own kit. Yes, it will involve more effort on your part, but you’ll save a lot of money and end up with only the things you really need.

Backlogs, Budgets, and Bureaucracy

December 15, 2014 5:32 am | by Rebecca Waters | Comments

Another year has passed and yet the financial and political climate has not changed much when it comes to dealing with the tremendous shortfall of resources our readers consistently report.  We can hope for greater support for our organizations in the future, but in the meantime, let’s work together to make the most of what we have in the year to come. 

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It Is That Absurd

December 15, 2014 5:28 am | by Chris Asplen | Comments

The DNA database was legislated in every state and nationally for the singular purpose of solving crime. To suggest that investigative leads as important and reliable as a familial relationship cannot be used is absurd. DNA is significantly more reliable than any other kind of evidence available to law enforcement. And consider this fact: a familial match is also, by its very nature an exoneration.

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Despite some laboratories moving away from GSR testing and others imposing limits, law enforcement personnel should collect GSR samples when probative.

Good Idea to Collect GSR

December 12, 2014 3:26 pm | Comments

Despite some laboratories moving away from GSR testing and others imposing limits, law enforcement personnel should collect GSR samples when probative.                            

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More Bits about Areal Density

December 12, 2014 11:55 am | Comments

At first glance, it would seem that the most logical and obvious way to increase storage capacity would be to add more platters to a hard drive. However, this raises a number of inherent problems, such as having to increase the size beyond the current form factors (3.5”, 2.5”, etc.), escalating the cost per hard drive, having to have more read/write heads per hard drive, and so forth.

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The Damage and the Malware at Sony

December 12, 2014 10:30 am | by Ernie Austin, Newsletter Editor | SANS Institute | Comments

In an attempt to understand what has happened during the breach of Sony Picture's computers, DFI News has contacted SANS Institute's DFIR team. In an email interview, Jake Williams, an Instructor at SANS, provides his insights into the complex digital forensic story unfolding at Sony.

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5 Key Challenges for Keeping Up with Advancements in Mobile

December 10, 2014 10:24 am | by Lee Reiber | Comments

Not long ago, mobile device forensics was a relatively straightforward process. Contact lists, SMS messages, and call logs were obtained and examined for evidence using specialized forensic technology. But with the blistering rate of advances in mobile technology, the explosion of mobile data and devices, times have drastically changed. 

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The Dirty World of Body Farm Microbes

December 10, 2014 8:32 am | by Dr. Gulnaz Javan | Comments

Dirt is full of life, microbial life. Although dirt seems to be an inert, lifeless material, one gram of soil may contain up to eight billion living bacterial cells. Grave soil found next to dead and decomposing human bodies is teeming with many microbial secrets that have yet to be uncovered.

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The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Code for Flammable and Combustible Liquids, NFPA 30, is an excellent resource and introduction to the hazards of these materials. Without getting too bogged down in technical details, there are a few conce

Physical Concepts of Flammable, Combustible Substances

December 9, 2014 9:22 am | Comments

The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Code for Flammable and Combustible Liquids, NFPA 30, is an excellent resource and introduction to the hazards of these materials. Without getting too bogged down in technical details, there are a few concepts that need mentioning and understanding at the outset.

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Hard Drives 'Spin' into the Future

December 5, 2014 9:14 am | Comments

To increase hard drive storage capacity, manufacturers have been able to decrease the size of magnetic grains which comprise data bits. This allows for a greater number of bits of data to be recorded. However, the grains are so small that they can potentially interfere with each other. This diminishes their ability to maintain assigned magnetic orientations and data would become corrupted, leading to an unreliable and unusable hard drive.

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Organize Your Crime Scene to Avoid Contamination

December 5, 2014 6:59 am | Comments

When you arrive at the scene, establish secure, central areas for clean equipment, items to be disposed of, and items to be decontaminated. For the first area, I used to take a clean biohazard bag, open it up, and spread it on the ground.   

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Autoclaves are such a common and familiar piece of lab equipment that it is easy to overlook the associated hazards. If we do not think about what might go wrong, sooner or later we will get burned. By following our simple three step program of training;

Document Your Autoclave Safety Program

December 2, 2014 10:32 am | by Vince McLeod, CIH | Comments

A good autoclave safety program must include documentation. Principal investigators and supervisors are responsible for ensuring proper records are kept up to date. Autoclave users should be responsible for recording autoclave run information.

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Typically, managers dread having to perform employee assessments and experience high anxiety anticipating them. For the employee, too, who is about to undergo a formal performance assessment, the procedure is a high-anxiety producer. So what typically hap

How to Ace Your Performance Review

December 2, 2014 8:47 am | Comments

Typically, managers dread having to perform employee assessments and experience high anxiety anticipating them. For the employee, too, who is about to undergo a formal performance assessment, the procedure is a high-anxiety producer. So what typically happens is that two very nervous people get together, try to act calm, and just “get through it.” It doesn’t have to be that way.

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Ethical Decision Making

November 26, 2014 8:13 am | by Sean Harrington | Comments

Effective training in professional ethics doesn’t primarily consist of rote memorization of rules, but instead must prepare the examiner in the art of ethical issue spotting. Similarly, an effective code of ethics consists not only of certain static core principles, but also may consist of components that can be adapted over time to keep pace with the law and with professional norms.

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Evidence: Know What to Look For

November 26, 2014 4:49 am | by Dick Warrington | Comments

As I've mentioned before, understanding what is possible—not just by you, but by others—is crucial. Prints are a good example. In the past, we couldn’t lift prints from certain surfaces. Now, experts can lift latents from documents, papers, and adhesive tape.

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The Importance of Forensic Analysis Training

November 25, 2014 7:00 am | by Heather Mahalik | SANS Institute | Comments

The mobile device industry is evolving very quickly. To stay current on the latest devices and the proper techniques for acquiring and analyzing data, smartphone and mobile device forensic analysis training courses are becoming more and more necessary. 

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