OCTOBER IS CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS MONTH!  A month dedicated to working together to raise the importance of cybersecurity. 

Digital Forensics: Videos & Enhancements Representative Matters

The following descriptions highlight a variety of matters for which Vestige has been retained. Each of these cases are real matters that we have worked, but for privacy and confidentiality purposes the identifiable information has been sanitized. These cases are not the entire population of cases matching such criteria, but instead represent a wide sample of the cases we have worked that are specific to Video and Audio work. Should you need additional information, please contact us.

Insurance | Fradulent Claim Analysis

The insurer contacted Vestige because they suspected a fradulent insurance claim based on the fact that the policy had been put in place three days before the claim was made. The claimant was the owner of an apartment building that had flooded due to frozen water pipes, causing considerable damage.

As evidence of it being a ‘good faith’ claim, the claimant provided the insurance company with a photo and a video that had been taken on the cell phone of one of the tenants. While the dates and times of the photo and video appeared to be postdated after the policy inforce date, the insurer had a strong suspicion it wasn’t. Vestige analyzed the photo and the video and discovered evidence that the dates had been manipulated and that the photo had been opened in Adobe Photoshop and the video in Apple Final Cut. We promptly requested the computer that had been used to open the files. The claimant initially refused to turn it over on the basis that the computer had ‘crashed’.

Upon a court order compelling the claimant to turn the device over to Vestige, our analysis of the hard drive revealed that it had been disassembled and maliciously destroyed, then re-assembled to make it appear that the damage was happenstance. The data recovery team at Vestige proved that it was intentional and recovered 98% of the data. Analysis of the data proved the files had in fact pre-dated the policy’s inforce.

State v Individual | Video Analysis of Traffic Stop

The defense counsel for an individual involved in an alleged improper traffic stop resulting in an Operating a Vehicle under the Influence (OVI), engaged Vestige to review the dashboard camera footage from the traffic stop. During defense counsel’s initial review of the video they became concerned because they observed anomalies within the video and quality degradation that made it appear that the video may have been altered. Similar to many of the video enhancement and video alteration matters that Vestige is involved with, we examined both the content of the video as well as the artifacts
and other markers that are present within recorded video. In the end Vestige was able to provide undisputed proof that the video was accurate and that the quality degradation and anomalies observed by the defense counsel was a pattern and indicative of failing hardware as opposed to an attempt by law enforcement to alter the evidence. By conducting this work prior to accusing the Prosecution, the defendant was able to graciously accept a plea bargain without making public the allegations, likely resulting in a drawn out legal battle and less favorable plea bargain terms.

Insurance | Arson Investigation

An insurance company investigating a business fire claim determined that it was not an accident, as evidence of the use of an accellerant was found. The insurer found a damaged digital surveillance system at the business and engaged Vestige to recover and analyze the surveillance system.

Vestige was able to successfully recover video footage. It revealed three individuals entering the business several minutes before the fire broke out. They were in disguise and carrying weed sprayer pumps.

Under Vestige’s advice, the insurance company proceeded to contact several local big box building supply stores in the area and compiled all of the transactions that had been conducted involving weed sprayers. Then the insurance company obtained video footage from the store and discovered that it was the business owners who had purchased the sprayers using cash so as not to be traced. However, the business owners failed to take into account they were being recorded on the store surveillance cameras at the cash register.

It was Vestige’s ability to recover digital evidence from the original video footage from a no-longer-working surveillance system, analyze, piece together and confirm it was was the owners who had committed arson at their own business. The insurance company was very pleased with the evidence Vestige was able to produce to help solve the case.

Individual v Individual | Will Contest

Vestige was engaged in a probate dispute surrounding the authenticity of a digital tape recording made during a series of advisory/consulting meetings that our client and the opposing side and their counsel attended surrounding a bitter will contest. Through sophisticated analysis of both the analog and digital evidence stored upon the digital media, Vestige was able to show that not only had the original media been altered after the meetings were held, but that the recordings provided to our client during the discovery phase did not include relevant and damaging (to opposing side) evidence.
Vestige was able to recover the “missing” information and expose the fraud committed by opposing side.

Student v School District | Digital Forensics

Vestige represented a high school student who was confronted by the Assistant Principal about his alleged “selling of drugs”. As proof of the activity the school system provided a picture of the student holding what appeared to be pills (they turned out to be Jujubes). The student recognized the pose and activity as being something conducted on social media sitting in front of his school issued laptop while in the privacy of his room late at night. When the family confronted the school administrators it was learned that the school district had installed software on the device that allowed them to turn on the built-in camera and see what was occurring with the device. It was subsequently learned that the school district’s IT department would surreptitiously enable the software while students were in the privacy of their homes. Vestige’s analysis focused around proving how extensive the surreptitious behavior was, who all was involved, how long it had been going on, who the victims were, existence of any extremely private and sensitive activity and what occurred with the photo and video footage that was captured when the software was enabled.