Digital Forensics


Many people think of the Internet as separate from the physical world. This is simply not the case–crime on the Internet is closely tied to crime in the physical world. There are a couple of reasons for this cautionary note. A crime on the Internet usually reflects a crime in the physical world, with human perpetrators. and victims and should be treated with the same gravity. To neglect the very real and direct link between people and the online activities that involve them limits one’s ability to investigate and understand crimes with an online component.

Students think about the impact of auction and check fraud in this modern era of digital shopping. This about how a combination of evidence from the virtual and physical worlds is used to apprehend a criminal.

MSDF-630: Case Study

Case Example inspired by a case in (Casey, 2011)

A buyer on Amazon complained to police that he sent payment to a seller but received no merchandise. The seller requested that the buyer also send a cashier’s check for shipping and additional costs. Over a period of weeks, several dozen similar reports were made to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center against the same seller. To hide his identity, the seller used a Gmail account for online communications and several mail drops to receive checks. Logs obtained from Gmail revealed that the seller was accessing the Internet through a subsidiary of AT&T. When served with a subpoena, AT&T disclosed the suspect’s Google account and associated address, credit card, and telephone numbers. Investigators also obtained information from the suspect’s bank with a subpoena to determine that the cashier’s checks from the buyers had been deposited into the suspect’s bank account. A subpoena to Amazon for customer order history and complaints and supporting evidence from each of the buyers helped corroborate direct connections between the suspect and the fraudulent activities. Employees at each mail drop recognized a photograph of the suspect obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles. A subpoena to the credit card number and a search of real estate property indicated where he conducted most of his fraud. A 3rd company revealed the suspect’s Social Security the suspect’s name turned up an alternate residence the opportunity to uncover crimes in the physical Internet.

Question 1 – Following the Cybertrail

Comment on the interconnectedness of the digital world. To what extent does cyber-criminal have anonymity in their transactions? Be detailed in your response. 

Question 2 – Following the Cybertrail

By what means of your expertise in MSDF-630 provide a critical forensic investigation approach that will play a key role in protecting consumers in this scenario from digital fraud such as this?