Congratulations on your new position at AccessData! Prior to joining the company, you worked as a Forensic ICT Specialist at Fiscale inlichtingen-en opsporingsdienst (FIOD)—the Dutch agency responsible for investigating potential economic, fiscal and financial fraud nationwide. That must have been fascinating work! Can you describe your focus with the agency and the type of investigations you were managing?
Yes, it was very interesting work. I was with the FIOD for eight and a half years, specializing in supporting the investigations team with their digital investigations. Because of the diversity of the type of investigations, I often helped the teams with more complex digital forensics and assisted with searches at larger companies.I participated in investigations involving large VAT carousel fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, boiler rooms, fiscal fraud, and drugs. My job consisted of determining what we could offer to the investigators or investigations teams to make their job easier and managing the constantly increasing amount of digital data available to each investigator or team. During the last couple of years at the FIOD, I was a Senior Staff Member and Product Owner of the Digital Investigations Network.
Can you share an example of a typical investigation you managed while at FIOD?
I was involved in an investigation where multiple large retail market stores were accused of committing tax evasion. During the investigation, we did several searches including business and home addresses. We seized the data of their POS systems and their backend servers. We ran the POS software on a virtualized environment so that the investigators could see how the software worked and also to see all receipts with their date and time on it. We also seized the content of the security cameras so the investigators could confirm what happened in the store at a specific date and time. We then linked the surveillance information to POS receipts. With this information and the data from the suspects’ computers and phones, we found proof of fraud and where the illegal money was being invested and spent.
With large-scale investigations such as the example you just provided, what were some of the challenges you faced in managing the data?
The amount of data seized in the above investigation was more than a couple of terabytes. The investigation team had to collaborate because everyone had a specialization and was looking for different evidence. Some investigators had the task to find where the money was taken to and others were busy analyzing who committed the crime and what their role was. Because there were millions of documents involved in this investigation, it was very difficult to find the relevant documents related to the crimes committed.
How did forensic software play a role in helping you effectively manage these large financial fraud investigations?
While at FIOD, I tested AD Lab from AccessData and ultimately selected it as one of our software choices to help manage large, complex investigations. We chose AD Lab for a few important reasons. First, it was extremely important that we could get the data to the investigators as quickly as possible, and AD Lab helped us rapidly process multiple cases with large data sets simultaneously, saving crucial time. In some cases and depending on the crime, we could only hold suspects for 48 hours. If the investigators can find more evidence quickly, then we are able to hold the suspects longer while developing the case against them.
Second, AD Lab facilitated collaboration between investigators. Having multiple investigators on a large case, we needed a way for them to stay informed of new evidence, request specialized help, etc. Having the data in a single platform and the ability to assign role-based credentials for investigators helped improve collaboration, again improving our investigative speeds and workflow.
And finally, scalability was crucial as well. Complex fraud cases have huge volumes of data. To help process that data quickly, we relied on the distributed processing capabilities in AD Lab that enabled us to scale up by adding hardware to increase processing speeds when needed.
So what made you decide to leave the exciting area of financial fraud investigations to join AccessData?
I have been working with AccesData products for more than 12 years. During this time, I met various people from the company and I saw their drive to make their products better in helping law enforcement and corporate communities with investigations in a more digital world. I was also impressed with the innovations they are developing such as their new solutions like Quin-C. The team is passionate about what they do! When the position became available, I decided to go for it.
What will be your focus and responsibilities as the new Director of Business Development for AccessData?
In my role as Director of Business Development, I am going to support our sales team with the bigger forensic projects. I am also working closely with the development team of Quin-C.
What do you feel your experiences in managing large investigations at FIOD can help bring to your new position?
Since I’ve been working in law enforcement for quite some years, I know the challenges that are faced during an investigation. I am very familiar with which workflows should be used during a particular investigation. Not every reviewer/investigator is a digital forensic expert, so the software that is being used during the investigation should work for several types of levels of users. I also have experience in the transition from an agency to a more digital-focused agency, where all investigators have the capability to search through the available data within their investigation, such as the various users like Reviewers, Investigators, Forensic IT, EDP-Audit and Analysts, which allows them to collaborate within digital investigations. I will try to make sure that the challenges I encountered in my previous job are considered and I look forward to contributing on how to optimize the AccessData current and future products.
You mentioned Quin-C, the newest solution from AccessData. Can you explain a little bit more about what Quin-C is and the vision for the future of that solution?
Quin-C is a totally new way of managing digital investigations, different than what the forensics world is used to today. It offers unmatched speed for processing and analysis, and a unique customizable widget-based UI to make it easy to use for virtually any investigator. And it’s an HTML5 interface, so it can be accessed through any device. The various configurations available mean that teams can truly customize the tool to best suite their specific needs.
Most impressively, Quin-C is innovation that’s built on FTK technology and is meant to run in tandem with the core AccessData products. So when you run an AD product along with Quin-C technology, you get seamless integration plus new features like cross-case analysis and powerful new visualizations. Using AccessData’s unique Distributed Processing Engines, the combination of technologies delivers the fastest, most scalable solution on the market today. I haven’t seen anything else out there that comes close.
Thank you for your time today, Alex! Anything further to add for our readers?
I would just like to thank everyone fighting against crime—much respect to you all.
AccessData offers forensic solutions for investigation, litigation and compliance. Find out more on their website.