Q: What is Digital Forensics?
A: Digital Forensics is a branch of forensic science encompassing the acquisition and investigation of material stored in digital format, often in relation to electronic-based incident or other formal legal dispute. Digital Forensic Investigations have a variety of applications, the most common is to support or refute an investigative hypothesis before a legal proceeding. However, with modern-day technology entwining with our every day lives, along with the “Internet of Things”, the need for digital forensic analysis is ever-growing in areas ranging from domestic disputes (divorce and/or custody) to intellectual property theft to civil and criminal matters. The emphasis in Digital Forensic Analysis is on the integrity of the evidence and the forensic analysis methodology to ensure accurate reporting.
Digital forensic analysis most commonly falls into one of two categories: Computer Forensics and Mobile Forensics. Some practitioners also label cellular call detail record analysis and mapping within the digital forensic practices, which is a service that is also provided by Pro Digital Forensic Consulting.
Q: Who are your main clients?
A: Our main clients are attorneys who have been retained in legal matters ranging from intellectual property theft to employment disputes to domestic (i.e., divorce & custody) matters. Additionally, we cater our services to Investigative Professionals, both in private and governmental service. We also offer our public sector clients free consultation for law enforcement and prosecutor’s offices and greatly value our partners in government. Other areas where Pro Digital Consulting may add value are:
- Companies conducting internal audits/ forensic accounting investigations
- Internal, civil and/or administrative cases where disputed records are stored electronically,
- Individuals seeking to recover and document lost and/or questioned data from computers and/or mobile devices and (see disclaimer below)
- Corporations who wish to retain, preserve and secure their old data in a safe manner.
With our history of public service and dedication to helping young people make good decisions in their online activity in the digital age, we also offer services for concerned parents at greatly reduced rates. These services include data extraction and analysis of your child’s mobile device or computer usage and reporting back to you to make sure there are no issues you may need to address as a parent. Please visit this page for more information on these services.
While we recognize the need for individuals to obtain data in various forms, we generally do not accept clients who are not formally represented by an Attorney and/or who have not initiated a formal investigation with a third part (i.e., private investigator or law enforcement). The main exception to this is our services for concerned parents, detailed further on this page.If you are interested in a referral to an attorney or private investigator prior to Pro Digital taking your case, please contact us.
Q: What are your rates?
A: Due to varying degrees of complexity within cases, Pro Digital Forensic Consulting has adopted rate schedules to help serve clients universally, depending upon particular case need. Mobile (cell phone, smart phone, tablet, GPS, etc.) examinations are billed through an initial flat-rate retainer. Retainers for mobile forensic data extraction, analysis & reporting range from $1,000.00 – $2,000.00. If the case involves more complex analysis, hourly rates may apply and range from $150.00 – $200.00 per hour, with the rate determined by the type and complexity of each case. Please note that with mobile device platforms covering dozens of popular manufacturers and software platforms, estimation may be challenging. Please call us to discuss your case.
Computer forensic (PC/Mac) cases are billed at a rate of $175.00 – $250.00 per hour, depending on the type and scope of the case and also require an initial retainer to be submitted. It is roughly estimated that computer forensic examinations take about 12-16 hours per device/piece of media/hard drive. However, with ever-growing access of big data technologies for end users, those time estimates may increase. Unlike many of our competitors, Pro Digital does not bill for the entirety of processing time or travel time in most cases. Processing time is billed at a fraction of actual time and travel in-state within a reasonable distance is billed per-mile.
Cases and media examined in bulk may be negotiated at a different rate. Feel free to contact us for an independent case needs assessment.
Case assessments vary in scope and complexity and are therefore billed on a case-by-case basis, but rates generally start at $1,000.00 and increase depending on need.
Our Specialized Investigative Service cases are taken after a consultation with the Client and/or Attorney and are billed either by flat-rate or hourly, depending on the requested investigation in each case. This may include cellular provider call detail record analysis and mapping.
The Pro Digital staff serves clients locally in Central Virginia and is available to travel almost anywhere in the U.S. and worldwide to facilitate forensic data acquisition, investigation and case consultation. Certain travel expense rates may apply, depending on location. Additionally, because of the portability of many digital devices, it is always possible to ship an item(s) to us while still preserving the chain-of-custody and for added convenience to our clients.
Expert Witness Testimony in court, depositions or administrative hearings are billed on a per-diem basis with routine expenses charged for cases taking place in other states. Please contact us for a case-specific assessment so we may tailor a rate for your needs.
Q: What forensic tools do you use?
A: We strive to offer the best and most state-of-the-art forensic tools available on the market. Many hours of training and research go into our decision to invest in a particular tool which we feel may be of utmost benefit to our clients. Among the tools we are proud to offer are Cellebrite Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED) , Sanderson SQLite Forensic Browser and Internet Evidence Finder by Magnet Forensics for mobile forensic cases. For stand-alone computer forensic cases, we primarily incorporate Xways Forensics and Internet Evidence Finder as well as selected open-source tools, which can be used for auxiliary analysis and validation. Incorporating Best Practices into our business model, we also utilize RECON for Mac OSx for all Mac-based data acquisitions, analysis and reporting. As case need increases, so will our offering of specialized forensic analysis tools. All tools are independently tested, validated and updated regularly to meet industry standards.
Q: What is Cellular Record Analysis & How is it Used?
Pro Digital Consulting offers Cellular Call Detail Record Analysis & Mapping services in support of litigation and investigations. This process involves obtaining detailed call, text & data usage records along with cellular tower locations from the cellular provider and performing detailed analysis on the records to help locate the geographic area of a cell phone within a specified time frame that is of interest to the investigation. Typically, law enforcement uses this capability in major criminal investigations. These services can also be used to help locate missing persons and in other exigent circumstances. More recently, insurance companies have been obtaining this data to help prove or disprove a device location in major claims and fraud investigations.
Cellular detail and location records may be obtained from the cellular provider (i.e., Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) through a valid court order or search warrant. Please contact us if you need assistance with proper terminology and wording of this type of legal process.
Pro Digital analysts can assist by obtaining the original records from the provider and using state-of-the-art analysis and mapping tools to help pinpoint a device location during the relevant time(s). Coupled along with data from the device itself, this location data can be extremely helpful to prove or disprove the location of a device in any number of civil or criminal incidents.
Q: Do you offer any reduced rates and/or Pro Bono services?
A: Yes, on a strictly case-by-case basis. It is our philosophy at Pro Digital Forensic Consulting that everyone deserves a fair trial and access to high-quality expertise and competent representation. Toward that end, we offer reduced rates to clients who have previously qualified for indigent or court-appointed defense at our discretion. Above all, we believe in the methodology of digital forensics and that the facts reside within the data. Our role in every case is that of analyst, not advocate.
Q: My data is very sensitive. How do you ensure confidentiality and security?
A: In the digital era, most people rely on their devices to hold the keys to the most valuable parts of their lives, such as banking information, passwords and/or client contact information. As part of our mission statement, we will keep any and all findings in our examinations in the strictest confidence and see this as a vital part of our service. As such, a standard non-disclosure clause accompanies all of our engagement agreements wherever appropriate. We go further by not only physically securing digital media evidence, but also by encrypting the acquired data to prevent any outside parties from unauthorized access.