Digital Forensics

In the past, a “document” simply referred to information written in ink on a piece of paper. There would be one original and might be a small number of copies. You either had the document in your hand or you didn’t. Documentary evidence was largely black and white and all record of a document could be erased with both speed and ease.

Documents today need not have a physical form and information are contained in many different places and in a range of media formats. There can be multiple originals while at the same time remaining difficult to verify authenticity. Documents and information have become almost impossible to erase, even if one may think they have been.

This is a weird and wonderful landscape where all the rules have been re-written and where new risks and fresh opportunities abound. In this landscape, it is no longer sufficient for a forensic accountant to simply request financial records for analysis. We need to be more proactive in supporting clients’ efforts to obtain and manage the information, whether in hard or soft form, and help organise, prioritise and identify important information.

It is equally crucial for a modern firm to master the digital domain, as whole cases can now stand or fall on how digital information is handled.

Honeycomb enters this largely digital landscape with the resources and technology to unlock information and data from virtually any device, including computers, tablets, and smartphones. We are then able to analyse and review electronic information in emails, Microsoft files, accounting packages, and even text or instant messages.

We are also able, where possible, to revive “deleted material” and rebuild it from fragments. We download, image and store data in a forensically pristine way in order to preserve the integrity of the original while being careful to maintain an audit trail. This is crucial in civil and criminal cases to demonstrate that documents and information have not been tampered with.

Case Studies in Digital Forensics

Global Natural Resources Company Data Retrival

Honeycomb was instructed by the receivers over a global natural resources business to attend a number of locations internationally to capture, retrieve and image huge volumes of data held on servers, PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The data included documents, spreadsheets, images, texts, WhatsApps and emails. We were then tasked with reviewing and organising the information so that the flow of communications and digital conversations could be mapped and followed. This work enabled the receivers to comply with their statutory duties and to manage an investigation into the circumstances by which the business came to fail. The business was also involved in litigation and our work assisted lawyers deal with evidence and disclosure.

Bribery and Corruption Investigation Data Caption

Honeycomb was instructed to capture all data relevant to a bribery and corruption investigation. This meant retrieving archive material from old servers where the software was no longer supported, and capturing data on the PCs and other devices of past and current employees. The enquiry collected more than 1.5 million emails together with many thousands of other digital records.

For further reading:

   E-disclosure Platforms    Data Analytics  •  Asset Tracing    Information and Intelligence Gathering