Drew, you're VP of Product Development at BlackBag Tech. Tell us a bit about your work. What does your day-to-day role entail?
I manage a team of developers who work incredibly hard creating the outstanding products our customers have come to expect from us. With my team working from several different locations (Austin, San Jose, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., to name a few), that’s no easy task!
My team and I are focused on feedback from customers regarding their needs, and the user experience is the determining factor in what features and functionality you see brought to life in every one of our releases. In order to accomplish that, we work closely with our QA, Support, and Analyst groups to fully understand any concerns from our customers, as well as new feature and functionality requests that would make an examiner’s job a little easier.Once I have that information, I analyze every one of those items in our project management database, and ensure that users’ voices are heard as I outline our agenda for future releases.
Can you tell us a little bit about BlackBag’s background and mission?
BlackBag was founded in 2003, and we’ve been growing ever since. Our informal motto at BlackBag has always been, “Data doesn’t lie, people do”; however, revealing the truth in data is more challenging than ever before due to advancements in technology. BlackBag exists to find solutions for these challenges, empowering our customers to seek, reveal, and preserve the truth.
In summary, our goal is simple: Reveal the truth in data in order to create a safer world.
Tell us more about the software BlackBag creates. What specific challenges faced by digital forensic examiners are you trying to address?
Our goal with all of our products is to make forensics easier for the user without having to deal with the complexity of the data. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information being presented during an investigation, so we strive to bring examiners the critical data they need and want to the forefront in a quick and intuitive fashion, with minimal effort on their part. They have enough things to worry about, and understanding how to navigate their software shouldn’t be one of them.
We’re proud to offer four main products, designed to cover the majority of any examiner’s forensic needs. Our flagship product, BlackLight®, is a full-featured forensic analysis platform. Able to be run on either a Windows or Mac system, and capable of analyzing data from Windows, Android, iPhone/iPad and Mac, we’ve truly grown this once-simple piece of software into a full primary analysis tool.
MacQuisition(™) is a powerful, 3-in-1 solution for live data acquisition, targeted data collection, and forensic imaging. Used by experienced examiners for over a decade, MacQuisition runs on the Mac OS X operating system and safely boots and acquires data from over 185 different Macintosh computer models in their native environment – even Fusion Drives! It’s a must-have to eliminate the frustration of tearing apart (and hopefully re-assembling?) a Mac system.
Our newest tool, Mobilyze, is our mobile device triage tool designed to give users in the field immediate access to data from Android and iPhone/iPad devices. In the past, backlogs of smartphones would pile up as agencies had to rely solely on their investigators with specialized training. With mobile devices continuing to become an even more critical “piece to the puzzle” during most investigations, we were happy to provide an intuitive solution that could help stop that caseload bottleneck many agencies were experiencing.
And last but not least, rounding out our software suite is SoftBlock(™), our software-based write-blocker for Mac, keeping evidence forensically sound and court-ready.
You’re preparing for BlackLight’s second release for 2016. Can you tell us what exciting features examiners can currently find in BlackLight, and what they can expect to see with this upcoming release?
BlackLight has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years, and you can definitely expect more to come. Arguably the most exciting of our advancements, examiners can now use BlackLight as their “tier one” tool. For a long time, BlackBag has been known as “The Mac Guys,” and for good reason since our company was started by The Father of Mac Forensics, Derrick Donnelly. But as examiners’ needs changed, so did we as we evolved into “The Forensic Guys.” BlackLight is now able to analyze Windows, Android, iPhone/iPad and Mac data, on either a Windows or Mac forensic machine.
Regarding our newest release, you’ll see 2016 R2 has some rather robust email capabilities. Support for Windows Outlook files was one of our main concerns, so we’ve revamped our email analysis and are happy to provide the ability to parse Outlook .pst/.ost files, native viewing of attachments within BlackLight itself, and many other email-related enhancements.
In addition, we’ve also made sure to add and fine-tune some other areas as well:
– Improved Offline Maps – vastly improved offline maps, based on OpenStreetMap
– New Data Ingestion User Interface – easier and more intuitive to add evidence to a case
– Tear-Off ‘File Content Viewer’ – simultaneously view multiple copies of the ‘File Content Viewer’
– Secondary Column Sorting – add a secondary sort by Shift-clicking a second column header
– Column Reordering – easily customize which columns are displayed, and in what order
It sounds like BlackBag has a lot of new things coming that we can look forward to this year. Where can people go to find the latest and greatest information on what you guys have going on?
Make sure that you’re following us on social media for sure. Twitter is our main outlet, but we’re always posting on Facebook and LinkedIn as well. (You can find links to our accounts on our website.) And speaking of the website, our homepage and blogs are a great way to ensure you’re up to date with the latest forensic news and general happenings at BlackBag.
Outside of that, one of the best things you can do is sign up for one of our free training and certification courses to learn how to use our products in real world cases.
What does the future hold for BlackBag? What can we expect to see in the next year or so?
We are working on some really great things that will help out the forensic community. Some of that is behind-the-scenes improvements, and others will be much more noticeable. Stay tuned for some great enhancements. It is going to be a wild ride!
BlackBag Technologies is a developer of innovative forensic acquisition, triage, and analysis software for Windows, Android, iPhone/iPad, and Mac OS X devices. To learn more about BlackBag’s products and training, please contact us at 855-844-8890, or visit us at www.blackbagtech.com. Folow BlackBag Technologies on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and take a look at their blog.