Tell us a bit about your role: what does a day in your life look like?
I am Kim Hyun-soo, a founder of HancomGMD. Over the years, my daily routine has been very focused on the sole purpose of making a perfect solution to empower digital investigations and adding more value to the mobile forensics market.
I start my day by jumping right to my phone and checking to see how things are going with the business. It’s always exciting to wake up and check on the progress of evidence commissioned by clients from overseas.From the moment I get into the office, I spend the majority of my time traveling for meetings with clients and chief executive officers in the HANCOM group, as well as attending conferences and other business-related gatherings each year.
HANCOM group is formed of fourteen companies, so if we have an active project going on, my schedule gets busier than it would normally.
Like many other CEOs, I wake up to emails and go bed to emails and being at home never means that I am off. It has never been easy to lead a company, but I love to take these responsibilities to grow a company and help society with empowering many investigators.
Tell us a little more about HancomGMD. How was your company founded, and what is your mission for your customers and the tools you're building for them?
It was at a time when the mobile era was beginning to be set in motion when I jumped into the mobile forensic market. I was a former computer technology developer specialized in programming and had a desire to run a company that could create added value with software technology.
We know there’s a variety of software applications and I think the value of software depends on where it’s applied. I’ve been looking for a new field where I can be more creative and create added value.
Since mobile was a hot topic at that moment, I took a turn toward mobile forensic technology research and development. At that time, scientific research and technology development in mobile forensics were barely being done in South Korea.
Thus, I visited the National Police, National Intelligence Service, and all the law enforcement agencies in person and explained the platform I was planning, and conducted a demand survey. Confident of its potential from the positive response returned, I saw it as an excellent opportunity, and HancomGMD, the mobile forensic research and development company, was established in 1997. After joining forces with HANCOM Group, we have a better solution for stable business management and synergy to expand fast in the global market.
I’m proud that HancomGMD is the only mobile forensic company listed on KOSDAQ, which opened a new market for mobile forensics in South Korea. As a result of the business with the national investigative agency from the beginning, the state agency now controls more than 80% of its major sales outlets.
We are confronting increasing intelligently-evolving security threats, and many more challenges. HancomGMD as a leading mobile forensic research group provides the solutions when the national issue arises.
We also take part in digital forensic investigation for audits and law firms. As such, the number of areas where the mobile forensic solution is applied is increasing in South Korea.
Also, on some rare occasions, we are asked to investigate smartphones from individuals to find digital evidence for their family or friends who got into accidents, committed suicide, or other cases. By discovering meaningful digital evidence for them, we realize once again that HancomGMD is doing a beneficial and valuable job for our society.
HancomGMD has a sole mission, which is: “We provide the best solution to empower investigation.” Hence, our teams comply with two principles.
First, we take full responsibility for developing ‘creative technology.’ Our research team comes up with many creative and innovative ideas to provide solutions for our clients. Since the digital landscape is evolving rapidly and so too is digital forensics, our research teams are encouraged to apply new technologies and research on the latest digital forensic technology to empower investigation.
Second, all of our products and services are customer oriented. HancomGMD should satisfy customers’ demands and expectations. Our sales and technical support team regularly visit clients and receive their feedback and inquiries. I think keeping good relationships and communications with customers, and prompt response to their needs, are the key elements to improve HancomGMD.
Your company announced last month that it had been awarded the Outstanding International Collaboration in a Complex Digital Investigation. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little about the award and your role in the case that caught the award committee's attention?
The award is a special award for successfully solving a mobile forensic case commissioned by British police. It was a case where we had to get the evidence data from the suspect’s smartphone.
It was the latest smartphone model with secure boot setup, and the suspect was insisting that it was his child who set up the password while using it. Our research team was able to unlock secure boot successfully and helped to find evidence for the case with our tools MD-NEXT and MD-RED.
Your press release noted that this was the first time a Korean firm has been recognized at these awards. What does this recognition mean to you?
This event has an extraordinary meaning: our technology is highly recognized in the UK, a leading place for digital forensics. Moreover, it was only HancomGMD who successfully provided a solution to this case within a week, while none of the mobile forensic companies were able to provide a solution for months.
Moreover, HancomGMD was the first Asian company to be awarded in ICDDF for successful cooperation with law enforcement in Europe, and it’s a massive help for us to carry out our business in a global market.
How did working with your customer on this case help you to improve your products?
I think the conductivity level in digital forensic technology in the UK is one of the best in the world. It was also the UK where we, the founders and CTO and I, had the first experience in mobile forensics.
By working closely with customers in the UK and receiving many inquiries and much feedback from the frontline investigators, we believe our MD-Series products can be improved thoroughly and satisfy many investigators around the world.
Also, furthermore, we are applying new features and solutions rapidly to our products as we receive various inquiries from the UK concerning the latest technology such as drones, self-driving cars, smart TVs and many more.
You've also secured contracts with the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and Leicestershire Police for your MD-NEXT and MD-RED products. How do you anticipate that this experience will help you partner with other customer agencies?
The success story of the UK police was made after our product got through their product qualification process, which took about six months of comparing data analysis from a few other mobile forensic tools on real evidence from phones. Our products have especially shown superior results in Asian smartphone extraction and diverse app analysis when compared to our competitors. This means our product can play an essential role as a complementary tool to verify the results from existing mobile forensic tools. This success story spread by word of mouth, and we are receiving product demonstration inquiries from other UK police forces since then. Now we are expecting to have more of a role to play in the UK, and in other European countries as well.
Can you give us any hints as to what else we might expect to see from HancomGMD this year?
This year we are highly focused on the mobile forensic market in the European region, as well as the UK and India. We have more business opportunities in these two regions.
We will support clients from these regions and develop our products. Furthermore, we are looking forward to presenting our new product lines, which perform data acquisition and analysis on cloud services; and our data recovery tool for universal CCTV/DVR/vehicle media and video analytics based on AI technology.
When you're not working, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I think staying highly innovative and focused on the market is essential.
Even though I no longer work as a software developer, I am still fascinated with learning and developing skills that are related to new technology.
Whenever I am outside of work, I love browsing tech savvy’s blog, and I subscribe to the YouTube channel. It’s a highly recommended way to learn new things for those with minimal time.
In recent years, I have been spending most of my spare time thinking of a strategy to grow our new business in VR, drone, IoT, and AI technology. It’s a big challenge and a fresh experience to put myself in a new field.
Lastly, our global business team and I spend much time and effort finding cooperative partners or visionary investors overseas. We kicked off 2019 with intensive global business strategies.
We are always welcoming anybody who would like to work with us in the mobile forensic market; somebody like you, who dreams high and has a strong passion!
Find out more about HancomGMD's suite of products on their website.