Lee, you're COO at Oxygen Forensics. Tell us a bit about your work; what does your day-to-day role entail?
As the Chief Operations Officer of Oxygen Forensics Inc., I wear many hats. Primarily, I assist the company with day to day operations out of Alexandria Virginia, which have grown over 300% in the last 8 months. To keep the team focused with this new growth, I assist support and sales staff by continually educating them on current features, mobile forensic trends, and customer needs. Our support and sales staff constantly receive positive feedback from our customers which is a testament to their hard work and dedication to our products and training. Speaking of training. As you know, training has always been my passion and I wanted to build on our already solid product with a new training curriculum, staff, and certified training partners.In doing so, we launched our Oxygen Forensic Complete course earlier this year and will be adding a new online learning management system (LMS) later this fall. Now our customers and prospective customers will learn of the many benefits of the Oxygen mobile forensic solution from recognized mobile forensic experts around the world. Lastly, forming new partnerships and relationships while fostering existing relationships is a big part of my current station at Oxygen Forensics Inc.
What was it that first prompted your interest in digital forensics as a field?
As a computer geek, I created my first application using a C64 and never looked back. With my fascination in how computer programs and operating systems worked, along with my father’s work as a police officer in Los Angeles, I thought becoming a police officer would be perfect – as long as computers were a part of it. So I began investigating a role in digital forensics as a police officer. Once I was hired on as a police officer my first goal was always to become a computer forensic examiner, but I quickly fell into mobile forensics. After 3 years, I was moved into a Detective position and shortly thereafter moved into the computer forensic examiner role when the existing examiner retired. It was after only a short time doing computers, that mobile devices started to come into the lab. I found mobile devices to be extremely fascinating and continued my study. The rest is history.
Tell us about some of the software solutions Oxygen provides.
First and foremost, we have Oxygen Forensic Detective – all-in-one forensic software to extract data from mobile devices and cloud storages. It has a number of built-in powerful tools: Social Graph to determine social links, Offline Maps to visualize users’ movements, Timeline to view all device events, Call Data Expert to analyze CDR files, SQLite Viewer to manually recover deleted records and many more. We also have a hardware solution for the experts who work in the field – Oxygen Forensic Kit. It consists of a rugged table PC that is fully configured and ready to extract data, cable set, rugged case and USB dongle license for a lab computer. And finally we offer our Oxygen Forensic Extractor to all OEM system builders who wish to integrate our time-proven forensic acquisition system to their hardware-based solution without spending years developing in-house software.
In your opinion, what are the main challenges facing forensic investigators, and how does Oxygen help to address these?
Application overload is a big problem in today’s smart devices. With over 70% of our day-to-day communication occurring over a smart device using third party applications an investigator must be able to obtain critical information from today’s most popular apps. Apps like Whatsapp, Telegram, Voxer, and Skype are used around the world and are often critical to the investigation. Both Oxygen Forensic Analyst and Detective support more unique apps, allowing the investigator to formulate and respond to today’s threats more quickly and efficiently than any solution available. Also, the Oxygen Forensic tools contain built-in analytical tools to include timeline, geo-data, social graph, and links and stats which can help to formulate relationships, locations, and events to quickly identify commonalities within the digital evidence. With this type of data represented within the software solution, an investigation can be focused and targeted without having to use multiple tools which often complicates case matters for the investigator. Oxygen’s tools are all built-in allowing the investigator to stay within the same tool to conduct the entire investigation from beginning to end.
Encryption of mobile devices has been a hot topic in the news recently – how much of a problem is this for forensic investigators, and how can it be addressed?
We have been dealing with encryption for many years. Many in the community a few years ago believed that encryption of the iOS device would complicate mobile forensic examinations, but we are still gathering a tremendous amount of data from them both live and via iCloud. Data on the device has to be accessible to the user in an uncomplicated manner, and also have some mechanism for either offline storage or recovery. When there are always these types of imposed caveats, there will always be a way to gather the data. Look at Windows. They introduced BitLocker and the forensic community thought all was lost for forensics. This is not the case, and computer forensics continues. Will encryption of a mobile device hamper investigations and tools alike? Yes, I believe it will, but I cannot think of a time in digital forensics that the cat-and-mouse game has not been a part of the development cycle.
What does the future hold for Oxygen? What can we expect to see in the next year or so?
One of the main points that brought me to Oxygen was the simple fact of innovation. I used Oxygen back in the early 2000s as a free Nokia Phone Manager tool in our Mobile Forensic Inc. courses. The tools have
never stopped growing as one of the must haves in mobile forensics. Subsequently, the growth and path to innovate is steered by our customers and solving their problems. Oxygen is all about listening and
responding to our customers, to give them a solution that will help to “make the world a better place”. A fitting motto of our company. In the coming year, prepare to be enlightened by the rich features in both our supported devices and also our supported applications.
Finally, when you're not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Since writing my first book, Mobile Forensic Investigations: A Guide to Evidence Collection, Analysis and Preservation, I seem to have a writing bug. I have been writing and researching constantly to add updates to the edition as well as creating content for a follow up. When I am not writing I simply like to hang out with my beautiful family.
Lee Reiber is Chief Operations Officer at Oxygen Forensics, a company which specialises in the forensic examination of mobile devices. You can find out more on their website, www.oxygen-forensic.com