The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

The World of Iniquus - Action Adventure Romance

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lt. Josh Moulin, Cyber Crimes

Character Designation: Hero

Character Description: Josh has the perfect name. It’s familiar, accessible; it’s musically close to jovial but without the foolish quality. More, it's the kind of jovial that feels warm. If Josh was a season, I would make him summer. He seems the kind of guy who would be best at home at a cookout in his kaki shorts and polo shirt, soda in one hand, spatula in another - flipping burgers with friends and family.

Josh’s smile is a little hesitant, like he wants to share that jovial spirit, but isn’t sure how it will be received. It’s not timidity; it’s more about boundaries. Josh respects boundaries. His eyes though are merry and belie his mouth.

I keep imagining him in social groups, familial groups. Like a younger (okay much much younger) brother or maybe a grown nephew. I can see him at a family birthday party, bringing the perfect “boy” gift, loud and obnoxious, and see him sitting on the ground to play - not from childishness or even from being child-like but just from being nice.

Average height, average build, light brown hair cut respectably close. Josh’s eyes are set to take in the surroundings. I bet he always thinks he can fit that one more thing in before he has to go. I would have expected his eyes to be set closer together, like an engineer, given his expertise for fine detail. If I had read a description of Josh’s jobs as a firefighter and EMT, which he did for many years, I could have guessed he’d have that altruistic nose. The one with a slight scoop. I’m not sure that I’ve ever researched the default facial feature for someone who saves children’s lives as a Cyber Crime Task Force Officer. I think that deserves a special feature like a gold star on the forehead. But that would make undercover difficult. Okay nix the gold star idea.

I think that his familiar, familial vibe helps Josh’s success rate. He told us that most of the suspects are meek and almost 100% confess on the spot. I would suggest that this success rate would be much lower if a personality and physicality other than Josh’s was banging at the door.

Character changes: More than change Josh’s character description, what I think I would do is add family components and make sure that they are always described in the forefront of his mind set. His kids are paramount. He loves his wife. There’s meatloaf on the kitchen table. That and spilled milk.

What I learned from Josh: I’m techno-moronic. But I already knew that.

The Role of Digital Evidence

Lt. Josh Moulin is a nationally recognized expert in
cyber crime and digital forensics. He also works as a Special Deputy US Marshal. This means he can fight cyber crime on the state and federal levels. Right now, he is assigned full time to the FBI.

A group accredits digital forensics labs. It's called the ASLAD (American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors) again, yeah acronyms! This means that if a piece of evidence goes to trial the defense attorney can’t poke holes in the integrity of the lab work. It has followed known criteria.

The kinds of crimes that they would be investigating include such things as: computer intrusion (hacking), terrorism, child porn/exploitation, extortion, identity theft, human trafficking, narcotics etc. So if you are writing about any of these crime areas the hero might be a cyber detective. Which, if you can wrap your head around all of it, would be a pretty cool plot line. They have amazing tools and capabilities. The problem is that the criminals are becoming ever better equipped and informed about foiling the good guys.

Example. I opened up the
Popular Science magazine and in the section “The Goods: a dozen great ideas in gear” there is a Victorinox Swiss Army knife. “Victorinox’s flash drive protects your data with its own life. If it detects a hacker closing in on its password, it will draw enough power from the computer’s USB port to fry itself.” What if that data that’s being fried is the piece of the puzzle that would put the bad guy away? (as an aside every time I type "bad guy" my computer prompts me to say bad person. I guess here in the south "guy" is masculine, and I sound gender biased. But I’m from Canada where guy is neutral and my computer just needs to get over itself.)

Right now this is thwartable (though not a real word - it should be). In the post mortem exam,that’s when they look at computer that has been brought into their lab, they would use a Forensic Fire Wire Bridge that extracts and copies the data. That way they are never clueing the Victorinox in to the fact that its data is going to be processed. The password would be searched on the copied data not the original flash drive.

Writers - what if the police officer has a warrant and obtains a cell phone that they think contains vital information? I Phones can be remotely wiped. Police Officers should be trained not to just throw the darn thing onto their front seat. This is where a Police Officer can mess up in your book. Instead, he should put it on airplane mode, or remove the battery, or put it in a
Faraday Box where radio frequency is enclosed. Radio waves can neither enter the box nor exit. Pretty cool. Huh?

What exactly is Computer Forensics?
It is the collection, preservation, analysis, and presentation of high tech related evidence. The priorities are to protect the digital evidence; discover all files on the evidence including deleted, hidden, password-protected, and encrypted files. Analyze all of it for evidence. Present findings, and consult.

Writers - If you have an Alpha character written into the foreground. Maybe one who is used to the spotlight and saving the day like a super hero, it might be interesting to create a beta male character, sitting day after day weeding through the cyber debris and finding the one piece of evidence that solves the crime saves the day and wins the girl right out of alpha’s arms. Wouldn’t that be a fun twist?

Also, when an officer has a search warrant he can only look for the thing on that warrant. He can come upon other things. So rather than having the warrant read computer systems - which are large and couldn’t be hidden in a bread box - have the warrant read that they are also looking for flashcards. Flashcards could be anywhere. They are tiny so the officer now has pretty much carte-blanche within the designated area to look through everything and anything. Hope that helps.

If you have any questions, I’d be glad to try to answer them. Just leave a note below.

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