Removing the Burden of Finding Digital "Proof"

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Criminal District Attorney’s Office, McLennan County, TX, US

Removing the Burden of Finding Digital "Proof"

How Cellebrite’s New UFED Analytics Platform is Redefining the McLennan County District Attorney’s Investigative Process

 

On May 17, 2015, a biker gang shootout erupted at the Twin Peaks Restaurant near Waco, Texas, killing nine and injuring dozens. More than a hundred mobile
phones were recovered from the incident, setting the wheels in motion for one of the state’s largest and most challenging investigations to date. A long-standing partnership with Cellebrite brought a game-changing pilot of the new UFED Analytics Enterprise solution in late January, immediately streamlining their digital forensics capabilities and investigative processes.

 

A New Digital Forensics Reality

The events that unfolded at the Twin Peaks restaurant thrust McLennan County law enforcement into a new urgent reality. With more than one hundred phones to process,
the operational constraints of their current forensics human resources required an increased ability to process and identify valuable information in such a complex case.

“We knew right out of the gate that dealing with the sheer number of phones recovered was going to be an extremely challenging task,” said an assistant district attorney with the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office. “Our local law enforcement agency gave us a dedicated officer to review and analyze the contents of each and every extracted device, but even he could only get through 15 devices in three to four months’ time.”

 

Game-Changing Intelligence On Demand

Cellebrite’s ongoing relationship with the county provided a unique opportunity for the District Attorney’s office and local law enforcement. In January, after meetings to discuss the available forensics tools they had at their disposal to address the enormity of the case, they decided to pilot Cellebrite’s new UFED Analytics Enterprise platform. Within days of the decision to deploy, it allowed both investigators and prosecutors to import and decode all extracted mobile digital forensics data from one centralized location for fast and efficient analysis. Call records, text messages, photos, videos and social media posts could be filtered by keywords and tagged for other members of the investigative team to view instantly.

“Cellebrite totally changed the paradigm of the case by providing us access to the new UFED Analytics Enterprise solution,” said the McLennan County prosecutor.

“Initial arrests had already been made, so it allowed us to go back and more quickly comb through the data to find the bigger picture details we needed to confirm the motives, plans and goals of these motorcycle organizations. The solution delivered everything Cellebrite said it would – and more -- and was very easy to use.”

 

An Agency-Wide Investigative Platform

UFED Analytics Enterprise supports a complete, end-to-end, digital forensics workflow that eliminates manual analytical processes that drive time and cost into investigations. Powerful, advanced analytic engines layered within a server-based centralized forensics data repository quickly correlate, decode and index all forensics data sources to reveal critical insights. The scalable platform enables tens or even hundreds of users – forensic specialists, detectives, investigators, analysts, agency management, attorneys, outside experts – to collaborate on a case or perform cross-case analysis simultaneously. UFED Analytics Enterprise simplifies the complexity associated with managing and correlating forensic digital data.

  • Powerful analytics rapidly and automatically correlate, filter and mine large sets of digital evidence from disparate data sources and cases to produce actionable insights
  • Robust permission management and secure, role-based web clients support simultaneous, collaborative workflows to maximize resources, speed decision making and share case data efficiently
  • Cross-case investigative workflows enable multiple users to easily and simultaneously search case data by subject, crime type or time period
  • Seamless integration with existing agency IT ecosystems and programs maximize current technology investments

“In just two months, this solution has not only served as a valuable virtual partner in the Twin Peaks case, but is also providing critical information for the entire state,” said the prosecutor.

The District Attorney’s office credits the platform for identifying additional offenses related to the Twin Peaks shoot-out that resulted in arrests. Without this new capability, it would have been months or years before these offenses were discovered.

 

Empowering Two Investigative Perspectives In Parallel

“The real power of this solution lies in the actionable intelligence it provides to every user, as the goals can be different,” said the McLennan County prosecutor. “I see it like an hour glass. When an investigator or forensics practitioner analyzes mobile digital data, they are looking at it from a pre-arrest perspective; they need to narrow down critical details to link to one person, one action, etc. As a prosecutor, I’m looking at it from a post-arrest perspective, so I want to view all the information to paint a broader picture – why did a suspect commit the crime? Who was involved? What was the motive? I’m searching to find punishment evidence, looking into the details of a subject’s life. Both perspectives are equally important, as they tell the whole story, but are fundamentally different.

” The McLennan County prosecutor said use of the UFED Analytics Enterprise solution has truly transformed what was described as a previously burdensome analysis process that prosecutors and others in law enforcement dreaded. Now, once phones are dumped by forensics, the data is instantly available for easy and thorough analysis throughout the investigation. 

“Our case preparation?” the prosecutor said, “now reduced immensely due to the use of this innovative platform. It’s truly transforming how we are approaching digital case evidence; an unbelievably valuable capability.”

 

Access. Unify. Defend.

Visit our UFED Analytics page to learn more.