DGForensiks’ Cindy Vasquez on Developing Digital Forensics Capacity in Mexico

Christa: This week on the Forensic Focus Podcast, our coverage of digital forensics issues across the world’s regions continues with Cindy Vazquez, owner of DGForensiks, a consultancy based just outside of Mexico City. We interviewed Cindy in late 2020, and we’re following up at long last on some of the points she raised in that interview. I’m your podcast host, Christa Miller. Welcome, Cindy.

Cindy: Hi, Christa. Thank you very much for having me. It is such an honor for you to consider me as an important part of this industry, because it is a really important, but very, I should say, picky industry. So it was hard to get in, but I really, really appreciate it.

Christa: I mean, I’ve seen you in conferences, I think it’s going back 10 years now. So yeah, no, I’m happy to have you on the podcast. Looking forward to hearing more of what you have to say.

Cindy: Thank you, Christa. Yes, a lot. Now, you say 10 years, it sounds like a lot of time and that’s true. Yeah. That’s so true.

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Christa: Yeah. I know. It’s been speeding by, I feel, so fast since I got started in the industry. So , it feels like a short period of time and yet it’s kind of not, so…

Cindy: A lot, yes, but thank you. Thank you very much.

Christa: Of course, of course. So, when we talked, and this is going back towards the end of 2020, I wanted to key in, and we’ll link to that interview in the transcript for this podcast, but I wanted to key in, you had mentioned how every crime in Mexico is related to more than one device and cases can be very complex. So I wanted to start off from a technical standpoint, what is the most complex case you ever worked, and why was it so challenging?

Cindy: You know what, Christa? Thinking of that, I think there is no specific case. Every case is a challenge for us because we have several obstacles to go through.

First, well, yes, I mean, technology is amazing, however, of course, in the case of the phones of course the brands are always trying to provide the user with the best technology and security. So of course it is a challenge for every brand and they have to keep developing, you know,  for these security patches and stuff.

So that is a major problem. And here I’m quoting Javier Garcia, who is our forensic expert, and we work together and when we do services or any install of a lab, we talk a lot about how it went and what was the biggest challenge of the project.

And mainly is that, you know, new, new phones, which is, I think around the world will be the same challenge, but also in Mexico, we have different challenges such as, “Oh, the crew didn’t have enough resources to get the best computers for them to run the software,” for example.

And then, of course they were, “Oh, the software didn’t work properly.” And I was, “No, it is not that, it is because you didn’t have the proper hardware or the training or the expertise.” So it is not just one challenge or one specific case. Every case has its own things.

If you have a Mac, for example, it is complicated, even though we have tools specifically for that, it’s always a thing to work or to get an extraction of a Mac computer, and those things that are usually complicated.

And obviously, with these challenges and with these experiences we get more knowledgeable about how to go with certain devices or what to do, and you learn from that. And then, you know, it won’t happen again, or you can prevent some things.

But I believe that the more expertise you have, the better, even if that means to screw up something, you know, to screw up a phone that you didn’t have to, that had happened before to us or something like that, it’s embarrassing, you know? It’s like, “Oh, maybe we shouldn’t have done this.”

And we all know as a community that with technology, it can happen and it’s totally kind of normal, but you don’t like that to happen. So all those challenges are our everyday doing services or doing an install and well, that’s the way it is, but you just have to deal with it.

But I believe right now it’ll be that new technology, new phones, and of course you have to try to get the information, right? Like, the more you can.

Christa: So that kind of provides a landscape for the next couple questions that I have, cause in your interview, you focused on some very specific challenges to Mexico, in particular, in terms of narcotrafficking, kidnapping, child exploitation, and there’s another trend that I think you didn’t mention, but I see in the news that it’s become more and more prevalent just I think since we last talked.

So I wanted to start out with a brief mention that you made of how narcotraffickers have their own basically ‘tech support’ people that specialize in anti-forensic techniques. And the thing that is interesting, you know, as you’re talking about the labs that you see and the installs that you’re doing with people that are having challenges with their hardware and they don’t have the training and so on is, on the flip side of the coin, it sounds like these very well-resourced narcotraffickers do have the resources to send people to learn and to specialize in anti-forensic techniques.

And so I can imagine that you can’t talk too much about the techniques or the solutions themselves, but I wanted to find out more in general terms about what kinds of problems you end up having to solve and how you go about that process?

Cindy: That is correct and that is so accurate. And that is a problem that we have especially with government. I mean, government is usually always trying to find a way to get the best outcome out of their investigations and I’m pretty sure of that.

And I would like to tell you that now that I have the opportunity to talk to you, and I know it’s a very important form to say that the users that we deal with, you know, all the people that work in these investigations are really well-prepared people, and they are very committed to what they’re doing.

It’s because in general I was like, “Oh, they don’t do anything to solve a crime.” But they do and they actually care, you know, the thing is that if it’s higher or lower levels, that’s where everything gets all messed up.

But the thing is that an investigator it’s always a really prepared one. So I know that they are dealing with these types of things in government. Yes, I cannot give too much detail about that, but yes, that’s correct. We have found very well-trained and very well-equipped groups.

And I’m talking about solutions that are more into, yeah, anti-forensic or counterintelligence. And those are solutions that I’m super amazed by because they’re super expensive. I mean, I understand that because of course the government is not giving resources for their investigators, but the other guys, or the criminals, or the organized crime, does have the resources and a lot of resources. And we can say that because we have seen the technology, or we have found technology that they have been using.

And I’m amazed. I’m like, wow, it’s unbelievable. Even technology that the government has no access to. Because there are certain technologies that are not available for us. And the forensic thing, for example, especially, we are not able to sell or to distribute any of the GrayKey.

So they are not allowing us to buy their GrayKey product, I believe because of the reputation that we have. And I totally get it because they don’t want their solution to be in the wrong hands. I totally get it. But, you know, the bad thing is government can use it neither, so they have these types of problems, too.

And usually we do a small investigation, not to get so intrusive with potential customers, but we try to know who we are talking to? Who do you belong to? If you have a company, what do you do? You know, try to research a little because of the risks that we have to get in touch with people that we don’t want to get in touch with.

So it’s a dangerous thing. Sometimes, I think, well, I used to be super scared sometimes of being in this type of business, because it’s complicated sometimes to be known, you know, for the technology or the services that you do, because you have no idea who’s watching.

But, you know what? Anyway, we have to deal with it and we have been good so far and we will. But yes, it is always a challenge to work with this kind of technology. So yes, of course they are very well-trained and we have seen people that can handle the technology way better than government sometimes, and well, it’s a chain, you know, because it shouldn’t be like that. But that’s the way it is here, at least.

Christa: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I want to turn kind of on that note to kidnapping. I think that was something else that you had raised. I know it’s another major problem area with some 80,000 disappearances reported since 2006.

And so, I mean, just in the amount of technological advancement that’s gone on in that time, just in the last, what, two decades or so, I imagine that digital evidence on the one hand might have been improving and in other words, might still be very limited on those types of cases.

And then also, have you found that technological advancement has helped more and more in finding people? Or are you running into similar problems as with the narcotraffickers that you were just talking about?

Cindy: No, yes, totally, Christa. The technology has been very helpful right now with those cases, however, they are related, but it depends. Kidnapping and narcotraffic, they are related in a way, because they are a lot of organized crime that get resources from the kidnapping.

But also we have other different groups that are kidnapping people, but they are not data-specialist groups. So with those specifically, it’s easier because with the phone, you have the GPS, so you can, you know, locate the phone or, you know, you have access to the cloud and to see if they have been chatting with someone.

So it depends because if it’s part of organized crime, it’s harder because they are more prepared, but they are more into high-end profiles.

Christa: Okay.

Cindy: But on a daily basis, we are scared of going out because of these other groups that are in the need, you know, and I don’t want to say the need because we all have needs, right? So we just work harder and we just find the way and they are, I guess they’re finding the way, but the easiest way.

So it has been a problem for us, but I guess yes, technology has been really helpful. I remember, I think 15 years ago my brother was kidnapped back in the day. And it was hard. It was so hard because I kind of knew something about technology back then. And I was like, “Don’t you have something to locate with the GPS of the phone?” and back then they were like, “Oh no, we don’t have that.”

And they went to our house with this small recording machine to record the call, but it was for a fixed phone, you know, a home phone. And I was like, “Well, they’re talking to my dad’s phone, my cell phone.” and they’re like, “Oh, then we can do nothing.”

And I was like, “What? Oh my God.” No, it was horrible. Thanks, God, my brother came out safe and sound, good, well safe. We had to pay of course for the rescue and everything, but it was a good outcome at least, which it’s the difference right now. The people are getting more violent.

But there is more technology that they you can use such as the GPS or to try to get into the computers and the phones to see who was talking to her or to him and to do something about it.

The not so good part, back in 2016, we changed the panel system and we didn’t work, or we didn’t function in the US before. Now, well, since 2016, we try to function as the US, because back then the phones or any detailed evidence wasn’t treated properly with any chain of chain of custody. It was just for intelligence purposes.

But, since 2016, then now if you find digital evidence, then you have to process it properly. So in 2016, it was a mess. Everyone was worried because nobody knew how to process a phone or computer. They didn’t know what to do about this. So what happened then in general, the people were like, “Oh, it doesn’t matter if they catch them because they’re going to set them free in two days.”

And that happened because they didn’t follow the correct process. So it was just a matter of time until they got trained, they got, you know, more comfortable with it. A lot of police resigned back then. They were like, “No, we’re not able to handle these things.” It was crazy.

But I was supporting the cause and we had to train a lot of people, for free actually, for them to buy the tools and then it doesn’t matter, I’ll train you for free, but the thing is that I want you to use a tool and to know how to use it for you to process something correctly.

So it’s not only to know how to use a tool, but also how to process the evidence correctly, how to put it in a forensic report, to put your signature on. You have to be certified now. And there is a lot more control right now, because we are trying to, of course, as usual, to copy the US in every single way.

So of course that’s the goal, however, the thing that’s different is that in our case we don’t have an investigator assigned to a case, for example. So they don’t get this passion to capture a serial killer, for example. They don’t have that passion because one agency is doing extractions, they don’t care about which case, they just get the phones and they process the extractions.

And then they pass those extractions to another agency. And that other agency is doing the intelligence of the case. But then there’s no one responsible person for that case as in the US.

So I believe that because I’m usually talking to the federal and state agencies and I was like, “Oh, I would love to be an investigator, but from the US.” where you can actually, you know, see all the evidence that’s that you found on the phone and stuff, so you can actually follow up on a case.

You know, I think that’s possibly because people that are passionate, then you will want to catch that guy. In this case, if I didn’t find anything on a phone with just one tool, then I don’t care. I was like, they report like, “I didn’t find anything.” So I’m like, “Why don’t you try one with another tool?”

And they’re like, “Oh, I don’t have time. I just have a specific time, 15 minutes or, you know, to change to another phone.” So I, those things, we still have to fix and I know there are people that are trying to fix those things, but it’s hard because we have been functioning this way for a long time, since forever.

So of course the technology has been very helpful and has been important to solve the cases. But in our case, the most important challenge that we have to, you know, deal with, I think it’s, you know, the processes and the people.

And I’m not talking about them in a mean way about any agency. I love them all. I just have a really, really good connection with them and we have a lot of interaction and I usually help them a lot, but I think it’s important to point it out because that’s the way it is sometimes or as a regular or as public, it’s just like, “Oh, police, you know, they don’t work at all, they don’t do anything.”

And that’s the image, but I know them, I know that they care. It’s just, the system is not helping yet. So you’re trying to go there and hopefully….

So now we have two types of kidnapping groups: the small groups that are not very specialized that are easy to catch, and the other ones that are connected with other things, you know, it’s not only kidnapping, it’s kidnapping to traffic the organs, it’s kidnapping to sell people. How do you say that?

Christa: Oh, human trafficking.

Cindy: Exactly. So that’s a bigger scale of kidnapping that we have, and we have the others that they just want to steal because, you know, they need money for living. And that’s it. So yeah, it’s complicated.

Not everything’s bad, of course, because specifically, the states have been creating this new communication through chat groups where they communicate through different states altogether to share new technology that is working, to share protocols that they’re using, that it’s working for them to keep these criminals inside of jail.

So I think this is really, really good because before they didn’t communicate at all, so everyone in the state is like, “Okay, this is my state and I’m doing this, but don’t share that information with the other state because we are not supposed to share anything.”

And right now everything is about sharing about this network, this community, because it has been very helpful for them. So that’s a good thing that came out with this increase of the violence or all the situations, because they have been attacked too.

So they had to, you know, get more prepared and to get certified. And if they don’t have money to certify the entire crew, then one or two get the certification just to sign the forensic reports, but they are organizing training for the rest of the crew.

So they all get to understand and use the tool, even though they are not certified. So I think that’s a good thing. They have very good professionals with excellent credentials. And I have a lot of appreciation for the states that we work with because of that, because I appreciate and I recognize their determination, you know, to be seen as a security and trust agency.

So I think that’s the positive thing of all this, that it is not only violence or, you know, crime in our country. We have such a beautiful country about, you know, the beaches and even the city, it’s really beautiful. But it is really, really unsafe right now. But they have been trying and they have been, you know, finding the way to do it.

Christa: It was striking me, going back to, you know, a little bit ago you were talking about sort of the assembly line model of examining phones and collecting intelligence and I was starting to think about how that sort of model could protect against cognitive bias, right?

If an investigator isn’t going into looking at a device with any particular, you know, ideas in mind about the data, how it got there or whatever, then they might be more inclined to look objectively at the evidence, but by the same token, if they’re literally treating it like an assembly line and it’s, you know, 15 minutes, and then they’re on to the next device, you know, that’s not the thoroughness, either.

And I guess my question is that as you’re watching the flow of communication between the investigators in the different states, are you seeing that there is more sort of that vested interest in really exploring the data and trying to get to the right questions, I guess?

Cindy: It is so interesting because we used to see federal agencies as a model for the state agencies. But right now, the state agencies took the stand and they developed this new way of working on sharing things or sharing technology or protocols and stuff.

So they’re working in more of a collaborative way. And they are actually in touch with federal agencies, but between federal agencies, they are still having their system as if it was like a fabric in a product, right? You have this time to process this and you have this time to process this.

So I don’t think that it’s working. I know that there’s people working on changing that and I know they haven’t been successful because of the same people that is used to working like that.

And they work on a shift timer, right? I just have to do three phones during the day, even though they know tomorrow, they will have six phones. So they don’t care about those six phones, they just do three. And if they have time left, they won’t do anything, because they get paid.

So that’s the bad side of, you know, the way the system works right now in federal agencies. And I’m not saying nothing about nobody in the federal agencies, I love them, but I’m sure that this is part of the system. That’s the way the system works, so, I mean, I’m not going to change the system, right? That’s what they think. So they don’t care. Well, well that, and of —

Christa: No, I was going to say, I mean, most organizations, there’s even a little bit of fear of backlash, right? Of trying to change the system and, you know, so often you hear something like, “It works perfectly fine the way it is. Why are you trying to rock the boat?” kind of thing. So I don’t know.

Cindy: Exactly. Or, “Who do you think you are?”

Christa: Yeah.

Cindy: Exactly, yeah. So they get adjusted to it. Because I usually ask them like, “Did you find something?” “No.” And I’m like, “If you don’t have this tool that I know can help you, I can share it with you. Like, I can give you a demo license.”

I try to help because I get so caught up in these cases and they’re like, “No, don’t get stressed. I’m just going to say that I didn’t find anything.” And I’m like, “Yes, but, I mean, do you realize that the victim is waiting for you to find something, you know?”

And they kind of think of it, but I think they’re not sensitive already. Like, they have thousands of phones, thousands of cases, that they just lose that passion of trying to solve things since they don’t have anything following up or stuff.

So I believe that right now, the states are putting the example to everyone because they are working really, really hard developing their own teams, their labs, they’re asking all the time and “Cindy, what do you think we can do to improve?” or, “What are the new tools or the new features in the tool?”

They’re always asking, and they’re always trying to get better. And I know that federals, they have a lot of work too, so probably they get caught up in the daily things. But I believe that in the states, we didn’t have so much faith in them before. And right now they’re surprising us with this type of work that they’re doing with all these collabs that they’re doing.

And actually it’s not official because that’s not the way it works. So they’re trying, and they’re doing just to make sure that they’re doing a proper job, so I really appreciate that as a citizen, because they’re doing what others should be doing. So that’s a positive thing about that.

Christa: Absolutely, yeah. I feel like that kind of feeds into, there’s another trend that I noticed in the news is the very sharp rise in femicides that have been occurring in just the last couple of years. And I feel like it’s not just isolated to your country or my country or the United Kingdom is, I know, another place where I’ve heard that a lot of times victims look at the police, and as you said that, you know, they’re not doing enough or they’re not trying to change enough.

But at the same time, it seems like this kind of collaborative model is sort of turning the tide. And I guess what I’m wondering, because, you had mentioned in your interview a couple of years ago that you had experienced a fair amount of sexism when you got started in the industry.

And whether you see those two issues as linked with so many of the female homicide cases that are going unpunished and yet, this collaborative effort starting up is, do you see improvement happening on that level, as well?

Cindy: Well, actually, yes. I think it’s getting worse every time and yes, part of it comes from the culture. And we have two types of femicides: ones that are related totally about culture, and we have a lot of those where, you know,  your partner is, you know, beating you up until you die.

And then there are a lot of disappearances; and there’s the other one that is rising up a lot, you know, since I think two years ago, and that is a lot of women are disappearing and it has to deal to do with human trafficking more and more or organ sales and that’s what we have seen.

And of course, women, because it is way easier, you know, to deal with taking a woman than a man because of the weight, because of the skills, because of the strength, a lot of things, but yeah, part of it it’s because of the culture of, yeah, the machismo culture that is still going in our country.

Of course there has been a change, but there are still a lot of people that think that we belong to the kitchen and to have kids and, you know, to be just the things that a woman should do, you know, instead of working.

Christa: Exactly, yeah. Traditional.

Cindy: So if the woman leaves to get a job or to go to an interview or whatever, then when she gets back, then she loses her life, you know? And we have seen a lot of cases like that. A lot of cases, unfortunately, where young women, you know, out of college and they’re just looking for a job but the guy is not agreeing with it. So a lot of things, and that happened to me before.

Right now, I don’t see it right now because, now I have worked hard to get a name in the industry. So I still get it. If they don’t know me, it’s like, they see me as probably too young and then a female is like they don’t realize until I start talking to them and how can we help them, you know, to be more efficient, then they listen.

But it was harder back then to even knock on the doors and they didn’t open the doors for me at all back then. They were like, “Oh, no. I mean, like, what can she tell us?” right?  If we are the men in charge of, you know, that happened to me before.

And it was such a painful process that I had to go through. Because of course, when you’re starting a new company, even though they knew you, and I appreciate the people that helped me back then with my company when I opened it.

But it was really, really hard. Even in the U.S. I mean, I really, really appreciate the help that I had from my friends and I had two angel friends Ronen and Rene that without them, I mean, I didn’t know if I could have done it the same way, but people like that are helping you because they recognize or they see something in you. And they help you and I appreciate that a lot because that’s a lot of help. You know, because of the name that they have on the industry and stuff.

But then to back up that with the results and the work and the hard work and to build your own reputation, it takes a lot of time, it takes such a really hard work and a lot of losses. Because I have lost money sometimes, and a lot of things and just to build a reputation, and that’s hard.

So it has been complicated to get into this industry. But I’m super happy that I did it, you know? And of course, I appreciate it, but I am super proud that I did it. And actually, with my family where like, but, my dad, he’s always my biggest fan and the biggest supporter, but he was like, “I don’t get what you’re going to do. I don’t get what you do for a living, but I support you.”

And right now, he kind of understands more, but at the beginning he was like, “I have no idea what you do for a living, but I support you.” And I was like, “Okay, Papi, it’s fine.” And that’s awesome.

So I’m super proud because I’m the only woman, and I have two brothers, and I am super proud that I was able to do it and to work hard to achieve what I wanted. So it’s always part of dealing with these types of things.

And of course there are people or women that are not as lucky as I am to have this support system. So they have to do everything alone. To go to an interview walking and to walk in the city or to walk in Mexico as a woman alone is hell, totally. It’s totally hell. So you’re always scared, you’re always having all these comments about how you look, what do they want, you know, it’s horrible.

So I am very proud to say that there are a lot of women out there that are daily going out and ticking the boxes and stuff. So of course we want to get a safer environment and right now, unfortunately, and I hope no one from this administration hears the podcast, but this administration has been horrible so far achieving this safer environment.

So we are struggling, but a lot of faith and working still with the agencies, they’re still working, even though it’s been hard for them to, they’re still working and trying, so I think that’s the best thing that we all can do to keep up.

Christa: So just as the states have put together sort of their own collaborations, do you see something similar happening among professional women in Mexico to be able to support each other in whether it’s finding a job or building a business?

Cindy: Yes and no. It is part of a culture too, because they have been raised like that. And for example, in my case, when I recognize talent, it doesn’t matter if it’s a woman or a man. I love to support them and I reach out and I love to empower these people. It doesn’t matter if it’s a woman or a man.

So I’m usually like, “Oh, that’s nice. You’re so smart. You can do this.” And I try to work with them, to do business with them, or, you know, to keep them close, because I believe in that.

But I have seen yes, an increase too of organizations of women in technology in Mexico specifically. And I think that’s amazing, but I still see some kind of characteristics that they were not made to empower at the end of the day. I don’t know. I mean, I just don’t want to talk bad about anybody. I don’t belong to any of the Mexican organizations about women.

And one: it’s because I believe that if you really, really want to help someone or empower someone, you just do it. I mean, you don’t have to be part of it, or, you know, or to pretend to be part of it when you’re doing something else.

And I’m not saying everyone’s like that, but there is a lot going on still, you know, “Oh, well, she’s younger than we don’t support you that much.” Or, you know, a lot of judgment still going on between women.

But I bet I have definitely known a lot of valuable and amazing women that are really more like me, trying to empower everyone, right? So that’s nice when you recognize that talent that’s amazing. And that type of, you know, they can actually do a really good collaboration.

And there are a lot of women, and I actually, the women that I know that I see they’re valuable and they’re super nice with people, they don’t belong to those organizations.

Christa: Oh, interesting.

Cindy: That’s interesting. So interesting. Because I have seen them help me help other women and, you know, they’re super smart, and when I see them, it’s like, wow, she’s so smart, you know, I like to see those kind of women and, you know, oh, she’s super nice and also super smart and also she’s pretty. And you recognize that. And no one is part of an organization. So I don’t know. That’s weird. I just thought of it, yeah.

But yeah. I mean, we have a lot of culture in us and maybe because I have been the weird one in the family since forever. You know, I have always been like this. Yeah. I guess, well, who knows, but I guess if we’re in this type of business, which is weird too then probably it’s because that’s because we are weird. But that’s how it was.

So it’s, I mean, I support people. I don’t need to be in an organization for people. But I still have a lot of backlash. And also, if you go to an agency it’s easier for me to deal with men than women, for example. Women it’s always like, “Oh, but no, it doesn’t work.” or, “Oh, you didn’t do this well.” or, oh my God.

So I try to be gentle or I try to make them feel that I’m not here like, you know, to be better than you, just to help you and support you. And I have been good so far, but it has been hard also with women in power mainly, well in government mainly, and there are not a lot of women, but the ones there sometimes are just like that, because the same color.

I mean, I’m pretty sure that they’re always defensive because they have to deal with a lot of things too, you know, being in charge of a male group, but the women I know, they’re very capable of doing that. So I’m pretty sure it is more that they’re more defensive because of what they have to go through, so you just have to deal with it, but it’s hard. I don’t know, in the US, do you see that in the US?

Christa: So it feels like — between what you’re describing [in terms of] sort of informal collaborations between states and the informal support networks of women — feels like it kind of ties back to a broader conversation around capacity building that we’ve seen in other regions of the world. Are there other efforts in universities and academia there that are also addressing these challenges along with governments and companies?

Cindy: Universities are very important. I think right now they’re in the transition to people. Because we have seen a lot of professionals, but not teaching forensics. Right now we do, but it has been increasing because of course the demand, and of course people are looking for these professionals, but it used to be only engineering and then you can learn forensics yourself, you know?

It is not like a career over here. But then we do have classes right now at universities and not everyone, not every university, but yes, you can find those classes right now, and people that are there teaching how to do things on forensics on their own expertise and stuff. But it is not the biggest influence, I think, or the biggest effort because there is a lack of knowledge, I think, still of these things.

Actually, if you do like, “Oh, I do digital forensics for a living.” They’re like, “What?” They relate forensics like, “You see dead people, right?” and it is like, “No, no, I don’t like to see those things. I just do forensics on the device.” and you have to explain it still.

So of course there is more and more knowledge and more interest. But it is not that big. I mean, no, I don’t think they’re building something important or doing collaborations. They should, I think, with the government, and usually, federal reaches them, but just to talk about cyber challenges, what to do, you know, all the crimes that are related to phishing and yeah, you know, it is more like an awareness, but as a professional in a professional aspect, I don’t think they have been making  a huge impact. I believe that it is more backwards.

We are trying to get their attention and it’s there and it’s increasing, but not that well yet. So of course Magnet or Oxygen, they have their academic programs, and we have been talking about that in universities and stuff, and we haven’t succeeded with them because of this.

You know, they’re not into it yet, but it’s on the way. I mean, it’s just a matter of time. It’s technology.  And I saw this coming, I think 11 years ago or so when I started or when I fell in love with digital forensics, I was like, “Wow, this is amazing!”

And I started to learn and to read and to know more about it. And right now, when I talk to people that knew me back then they were like, “You were super visionary, because in Mexico we didn’t talk about that before.”

And I used to be part of some kind of Chamber [of Commerce], an American Chamber. And when it was my turn to talk about any topic, I used to talk about digital forensics. And they were like, “the girl with the movie thing, that never is going to happen,” you know?

And then suddenly everyone was reaching out like, “Oh, I remember you talked about this before.” And, you know, and I was like, “Yeah.” So I’m pretty sure that everything’s going that way, because there’s no other way.

You know, everything’s remote now, of course the crimes are in, you don’t find just one phone, you find five phones, three computers, everything is in there. So it’s just a matter of time.

And a lot of people are moving more to the cyber side, which is also really, really good. And I actually had a crisis because I was like, I love forensics, you know, but that’s true. I mean, I think the system or the market doesn’t change that much. And I was like, “Am I going to be all alone, just with my forensics, you know?”

But I love forensics. I don’t like cyber. I mean, I do, but it’s not, I don’t know. I don’t like it that much. I love the impact of forensics and I believe it has its own charm, but  a lot of people were pushing me to go to the cyber side and I was like , refusing it. And I was like, I just don’t want to do it.

But then I was, “No, if I’m happy doing something and I’m good at doing something.” It’s going to be needed anyway. I mean, you can’t prevent everything. I mean, there are a lot of good ways to prevent, but there’s always something to investigate or, you know, to react to, and that’s what until as of today, that’s what we do.

And we like to focus on the forensic side and we are doing more services now than we used to, and I didn’t like services, because I was super scared of, “What if it doesn’t go well?” or “What am I supposed to say?”

And it is a rush because I’m usually in touch with the people that are actually on site. And I’m like, “Are you doing good? Are you okay? Are you freaking out?” And sometimes they’re like, “Just leave me alone. And when I’ve finished, I’ll let you know.” And I’ll be like, “Oh, okay. I won’t worry.”

But, you know, I just want the customer, you know, the client to feel good and to trust in our work. So of course, yes, I’m super stressy and I’m always stressed about everything and, you know, so, I was actually talking to Rene. I told him about the interview and I was, “Oh, I’m so nervous. I don’t know what am I going to say?” And he’s like, “Oh, you’re going to do good and don’t be so super stressed.” And I was like, “No, I am super stressed.” you know, so…

Christa: No same, totally the same, yeah.

Cindy: I think it’s part of us and probably that’s why we’re getting what we do, because we pay a lot of attention to what we should pay attention to, I think. The bad thing is that our body is not prepared for that. So sometimes, yeah, I get sick, but I try.

Christa: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I’m going to wrap it up there. Cindy, thank you again for joining us on the Forensic Focus Podcast. It’s been such a great conversation and I’ve really enjoyed it.

Cindy: Thank you, Christa. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Christa: Anytime. Thanks also to our listeners. You’ll be able to find this recording and transcript along with more articles, information and forums at www.forensicfocus.com. Stay safe and well.

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