Frequently Asked Questions
1. WHAT IS COMPUTER FORENSICS?
Computer forensics involves identifying, preserving, analyzing, and reporting on electronic evidence using methods acceptable in courts of law.
2. WHAT IS ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE?
Any electronic information used to establish facts can be considered electronic evidence. Arsenal works with our clients to understand their information systems so that we can identify where electronic evidence may exist and preserve it properly. While many of our clients realize electronic evidence exists on workstations, laptops, servers, backup tapes, and removable storage devices, they are less aware of sources such as logs, online services, and live network communications.
3. WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE?
Electronic evidence that has been crucial to our clients' cases includes operating system and application artifacts which corroborated claims of intellectual property theft, document forgery, evidence spoliation, date and time manipulation, computer intrusion, piracy, and extortion. For more specific examples of electronic evidence, please see the Arsenal case examples.
4. HOW DO YOU PRESERVE AND PROTECT ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE AND YOUR CLIENTS' DATA?
We use a combination of physical and logical security procedures to preserve and protect electronic evidence and our clients' data. In addition to chain-of-custody procedures that include forensic imaging, comprehensive paperwork, photographs, video surveillance, and a fire-resistant electronic safe, Arsenal Consulting employs strong encryption based on open standards to prevent electronic data from falling into the wrong hands.
5. DO I NEED COMPUTER FORENSICS IN ADDITION TO ELECTRONIC DISCOVERY?
While you may be able to answer some questions using traditional electronic discovery, oftentimes it simply scratches the surface of what is really happening with electronic data. Computer forensics provides a far more thorough understanding of where electronic evidence exists — and what it all means.
6. WHAT IS THE ARSENAL DIFFERENCE?
Arsenal President Mark Spencer coined the phrase "Don't settle for the easy way, strive for the right way" to describe the mentality required to successfully practice computer forensics. This phrase has become part of Arsenal's mission and guides everything we do. Our people, following our mission, are your greatest asset.
7. CAN'T MY IT STAFF DO WHAT YOU DO?
In a word, No! Electronic data is extremely volatile, subject to spoliation, and must be preserved by specially trained technicians. The most significant mistake that is typically made early in an investigation is to ask too much of IT personnel, a scenario which often results in permanent damage to electronic evidence and the strength of your case.
8. HOW DO I SELECT A COMPUTER FORENSICS VENDOR?
It is absolutely essential to review the backgrounds of a vendor's computer forensics personnel. Do they have both consulting and law-enforcement experience? Teach for professional organizations and institutions of higher learning? Posses relevant certifications? Have extensive case experience? If your computer forensics vendor seems predisposed to jumping to conclusions, or relying on junk science, your position could be compromised. Websites and other marketing materials from the vendors that you are considering should be transparent about the experience of their personnel. If not, you should proceed with caution.
9. SO, WHAT DO YOUR SERVICES COST?
No one likes an invoice that looks as though it came from a utility company or requires a cartographer to decipher. Arsenal Consulting stands out from our competition by providing a simple hourly pricing structure rather than a complicated fee schedule. While we are not the most expensive computer forensics vendor, nor the cheapest, we are confident that once you review our credentials you will agree that we are the best.
10. HOW MUCH LITIGATION EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE?
Arsenal professionals have extensive experience with both criminal and civil litigation. We have served as expert consultants and witnesses in state, federal and international courts from Massachusetts to California, England to Mexico. We also regularly review affidavits and attend depositions of opposing experts to distill technical testimony in a meaningful way for our clients.
11. DO YOU PERFORM DATA RECOVERY SERVICES?
Yes. We use the same tools and techniques applied to data recovery in high-stakes litigation to every data recovery project. If your electronic media is logically or physically damaged, Arsenal professionals will provide you with your best chance at successful data recovery.
12. HOW DO I HIRE YOU?
Arsenal Consulting is normally engaged by attorneys on behalf of their clients. Once we have the details on your case, we will check to see if we have any conflicts with the parties involved, and if none exist, we will draft an engagement letter for your review.
13. WHERE IS ARSENAL CONSULTING AND WHERE CAN YOU PROVIDE YOUR SERVICES?
We are able to provide our computer forensics and information security services anywhere in the world (and on short notice) by deploying with extremely powerful and self-sufficient fly-away kits from our offices in Boston and Hong Kong.
14. DO YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO BILL THE MASSACHUSETTS COMMITTEE FOR PUBLIC COUNSEL SERVICES (CPCS) DIRECTLY AS AN EXPERT?
Yes, Arsenal has submitted the required paperwork to CPCS to be added as an Expert Vendor and may assist both private counsel and public defenders in appointed cases.
15. DO YOU PROVIDE PRIVATE INVESTIGATION SERVICES?
Humans sit behind keyboards. We understand that no investigation is truly complete without addressing both the physical and digital worlds, so we have partnered with the Boston-based private investigators at American Investigative Services. AIS conducts unparalleled interviews, background checks, surveillance, asset searches, domestic investigations, and more.