The Digital Diary of Samuel Geekys

July 1, 2010

Read all about it! First in a new series – industry gossip like you’ve never heard it before…

The world of 18th century geekdom as seen through the eyes of the famous diarist, Samuel Geekys.

Tuesday 30 June, 1667

Up, and without my customary shave, I straight to my workstation to see what news may lie in my inboxe. I see that Amazon do despatch ‘Forensicks for Dummies’ with all haste, which pleases me, for I have a presentation in the offing and am glad of material to rip off for the slides which should accompany it. Thence to Twitter, where little changed since last evening, links of no interest and pointless photographs of glasses of beer. It amazeth me that people do bother to post such stuffe and nonsense. Then also their eventide wishes. ‘Goodnight all,‘ and such like. How people fancy that others take a minute interest in their sad little lives! I have, of late, witnessed some even giving a blow-by-blow account of events in ye Worlde cuppe whilst most may easily watch the same for themselves upon wide-screen televisions in their local hostelries or in the comfort of their own homes. Such is the self regard of this age of ours.

No time for Facebook this morrow. Dressed and on with my Periwig and I to the office where I find my colleague, Widget, in poor spirits. He says he hears that our rivals Kraptech have got contracts with certain agents of Lawe Enforcement by doing phone exams at 30l each! Much astounded, I ask him how they do manage it. He tells me they use students part time and they not even having any learning in Forensicks. I say it is the fault of the general attitude, for the Courts do not seem to care how evidence be gained from phones, accepting always the Prosecution report at face value. Yet privily I am troubled that standards are debased in such a fashion. Also that prices are driven down by these unscrupulous knaves. Presently, it will not be worthe a man’s while rising for work in a morning.

Pepys with iPad

Geekys with his iPad

Thence away to clients in the City but I staid vexed by the conversation. Next bleeps my iPhone with news from Transport for London saying ye Circle Line be again up the creek and I standing betimes at Ludgate Circus. I resolve to hail a black carriage, despite the cost. The journey doth not improve my temper for the traffic is jammed solid. Why does my Lord Boris the Mayor not get the blessed lighting system sorted? The worlde knows that his predecessor Livingstone, loving bicycles almost as well as newts, did get the timings altered such that only one or two carriages may pass before all must stop again. Then when the cry went up that the city did move at a crawl, he made it an excuse to bring in ye Congestion Charge. Now have we both the Charge and the traffic problems. Thus do we benefit from the ‘improvements’ of politicians.

Home and again on to Twitter, thinking to post some witty snippet before bed. There I am affronted by the great brags made by others in my profession about how much work they do get. It causes me to laugh, for all do know that the year has been very bad for everyone. These boasters do have a right nerve, for they are the same who phone colleagues to ask prices for covering certain jobs, barter as low as possible then never call back. They surely think us all thicke that we do not know their game, which be only to discover our costs so that they can undercut us.

Pron Crackers

May 6, 2010

There are many questions which trouble computer examiners as they settle down, with a world-weary sigh, for another long day at the  forensic interface.  Simple worries like, ‘What determines species diversity?’ and ‘Are we alone in the Universe?’ jostle with larger concerns such as, ‘Will there be any chocolate hobnobs left by elevenses?’ and What exactly was that crap I was drinking last night?’

Amongst such nagging imponderables nestle other unanswerable queries, generally associated with the job itself. Since most of us spend inordinate amounts of time trawling through thousands of sexual images, some of these inevitably relate to the astonishing diversity of distaste which is out there.

Here, then, is one such question.  All answers on an e-card…

If there’s MILF why is there not the male equivalent: FILF?  Like the female version, this rather appropriately named new genre would feature the more mature person, with or without posing pouch, in a variety of situations.

Instead of letting it all hang out in the kitchen or over the living room couch (complete with tacky, fake fur throw) your average FILF would be found in his own environment – the garage or perhaps the garden shed.  It’s amazing what you can do with some WD40 and a couple of spark plugs. Or a terracotta plant pot and a bottle of Baby Bio.  There would be no end of erotic symbolism to be found in the greenhouse, too, where easy access to a length of hose and a couple of ripe tomatoes would help redefine the dubious art of the single-entendre.

A prime candidate for FILF

The more adventurous FILF might choose a mixture of masculine metaphors for added piquancy.  Spread-eagled on a Gro Bag, lardy, white flesh glistening with a liberal smear of Swarfega and a monkey wrench held in a meaningful grip, he would drive onlookers wild with unrequited passion.  They would have to have more.  Broadband links would go into melt down as millions of sad, unfulfilled singletons hit the download button, then set up their Limewire to go in search of further titillation from 2 ‘til 5 am.

FILF would burgeon into a multi-million dollar industry and pron masters would compete to produce, new, ever-more vile versions of the style.  Tamer vids, such as ‘Kinky Kev’s Gardening Tips’ and ‘Sexy Simon’s Big End’ would be followed by ‘Mulch Madness’ and ‘Crankshaft Crazy’.  Then, in an attempt to stimulate the jaded consumer palate, would come the nasty hard core.  Home spun, beer-bellied beefcake would rule no more.  The professionals would move in and the whole thing would spiral out of control.

Soon, in Police stations up and down the country, raw shrieks of horror would be heard emanating from the Hi-Tech Crime Unit as the full effect of FILF was felt.  Case-hardened coppers would cringe at the thought of carving out images of smug, balding blokes with impossibly small appendages committing deviant acts at their Black-and-Decker work benches.  Officers would be issued with sick bags as standard and the day-to-day risk of exposure to FILF materials would become a serious health and safety issue.

Yes, then they would cry out for a return to normal abnormality.  For the cosy world of MILF, the comparative safe haven of the degradation of the female.

But the revolting realm of Pron would have changed.  Forever.

Forensic Limericks II

January 18, 2010

Hey, I’m getting in the swing with this!

Here’s some more Limericks…

****************************

‘Anonymous’ got very cross
And sent threatening notes to his boss
But his metadata
Was found six months later
And now he is facing job loss.

*  *  *

One quite depraved babysitter
Would boast of her exploits on Twitter,
But her photo stash
Was lurking in cache
She’s in jail, with no reason to titter.

*  *  *

And my favourite for today…

Some chancer known as Smug Sam
Used hushmail to work his big scam
Quite unaware stacks
Of nice artifacts
Were floating around in live RAM.

Forensic Limericks

January 18, 2010

Being New Year, and all that, I thought I’d introduce a new genre – Forensic Limericks !

Here’s three to get the ball rolling:

*******************************

A person who shall remain nameless
Though what he did, frankly, was shameless,
Downloaded CP
But his Registry
Proved he was the oppo of blameless.

*  *  *

A Geordie who thought he was bright
Would blat his bad surfing at night
But it left a trace
Right there in Slack Space
Now porridge is Geordie’s delight.

*  *  *

An elderly worker called Maud
Who spent years perfecting a fraud
Was struck with paralysis
When clever analysis
Showed just what her PC had stored.

*  *  *

Hug a Hi-Tech Crime man/woman/person (see where this thing gets us?!)

January 17, 2010

Word reaches me that the lads who staff Hi-Tech Crime Units up and down the UK are feeling about as blue as their uniforms.

They feel UNAPPRECIATED and UNLOVED !

Appalled at this situation – and also to amuse my Blogmate Monkey – I wrote them a belated Christmas jingle.

(This is for the nation’s Hi-Tech gals, too, BTW.  All five of them.)

OK. Here we go.  Tune: “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

All together now…

Darren the Hi-Tech Crime man
Had a very shiny nose
But how he came to get it
Isn’t quite what folks suppose.

All of the other Coppers
Used to laugh and treat him mean
They didn’t care that Darren
Spent long hours nose-pressed-to-screen.

Then with mobiles and PCs
Came the CID,
Spoiling things for the Defence
Darren found the evidence.

Then all the Coppers loved him
And his whizzy gadgetry,
Darren the Hi-Tech Crime man
You’ll go down in history !

The Owl Hunting

December 18, 2009

More exciting gems are appearing from a secret stash of lost literary works.

Oriental scholars have been astonished by the latest find – a haiku from the hand of the famous poet and painter, Yosa Buson.

An acknowledged master of the ‘one-breath poem’, which is structured in the set form of 17 syllables arranged in a 5-7-5 pattern, Buson wrote at least 20,000 in his lifetime.  Until recently, his subject matter was always thought to have revolved around scenes from nature.

Now it seems clear that he knew and practiced the ancient art of ‘Susido’ – the 18th century Japanese version of digital forensics – spending hours at his bamboo portable, reflecting on the meaning of various artefacts.

This new example of Buson’s extraordinary talent bears his customary hallmark – the description of only one peaceful scene…


The Owl Hunting

Digital secrets,

Hex, ASCII, Metadata,

Lovely by moonlight.

The artist with his bamboo portable

Hidden Hymn

December 17, 2009

There is something quintessentially British about the unique blend of gusto and gibberish which makes up a Gilbert and Sullivan operettaWhat is less well known, perhaps, is that Arthur Sullivan also wrote the music to the world-famous hymn ‘Onward Christian Solidiers’. 

It seems he also tried his hand at a lyric to the tune, which was later discarded.  Now, though, the sole surviving copy of that lyric has emerged – yet another extraordinary treasure recently found amongst a cache of forgotten manuscripts.

We are delighted to reproduce the full lyric here.

Tune:  St Gertrude by A. Sullivan

Hymn for the Unsung Heros

Onward First Responders, marching as to war,
With the ACPO Guidelines going on before.
Tableaus at the ready, armed against the foe,
Forward into battle see those White Hats* go!
(*LE singers may substitute “Blue lights” here. – AS.)

Refrain

Onward First Responders, marching as to war,
With the ACPO Guidelines going on before.

Dawn of retribution! Watch the suspects stare;
They and their Redeemer know what you’ll find there!
All their nasty surfing, docs and pix and more;
See, they fear the advent of the long arm of the Law.

Refrain

Image every hard drive, every USB,
Make a very detailed chain of custody,
There will be no tiny evidential fault
Bag and tag and walk the lot then slap it in the vault.

Refrain

Run it up in EnCase, data carve ‘til dawn
Bookmark hot and gmails, all the dodgy porn,
Short and sweet the statement witnessing the crime
Which gets them off the premises or even doing time.

Refrain

Like Olympic medalists going at full steam
Onward First Responders!  Ply that data stream!
Vanquish all the villains, work with all your might
Show the unbelievers just how ev’ry bit can byte

Arthur Sullivan plus computer

Arthur Sullivan at his other keyboard

All together now…

Onward First Responders, marching as to war,
With the ACPO Guidelines going on before.

The Book of Exifodus

December 9, 2009

Biblical scholars have hailed the most recent find amongst a cache of  lost literary works as nothing short of miraculous.  Now read on…

Exifodus, Chapter III

1. And there was, at that time, in the Land of Geek-i-on two nations.

2. And their names were the El-ee-ites and the Pri-vat-ites.

Moses with his netbook

3. Now the nations and the tribes thereof did live in that place as neighbours, yet they would not dwell together.

4. Worshipped they also at the the same temple, sharing the practices and rituals of their creed, Day-Tar-An-al-ysis.  Yet was there no love lost between them.

5. Thus went they about their business, ignoring each other for the most part.

6. But it came to pass that the Pri-vat-ites were fruitful and increased abundantly and multiplied and the land was filled with them.

7. Moreover, they grew rich off the fat of the land.

8. Then said the El-ee-ites to one another, the Pri-vat-ites getteth themselves a stack of shekels whilst we must labour hard and long to make a fraction thereof.

9. And they waxed wroth.

10. And there were those among them who rose up saying: Is not this land ours alone?  Did not the Lord give it to our forefathers forever, even unto the end of time?

11. For we are the peace-keepers in His house and the watchmen at His gate. And none may leave our courts unless we sign off countless reams of paperwork.

12. And there were others who said, this is right-wise galling.  Locketh we not away the evil-doers and the runners of red lights?  Where is our just reward?

13. But the Lord gave them no respite.

14. So it came to pass that many El-ee-ites took up their golden handshake and went out from their own lands and into the lands of the Pri-vat-ites.

15. And in the process of time, their numbers increased manyfold. For they perceived that their bretheren also grew rich in that place.

16. Thus it was that the throng increased until it became a multitude and there was an exodus of epic proportions.

17. Yea, even in every sense of that word.

18. Now many El-ee-ites found work for their hands.  Yet also did many fall by the wayside.

19. For though they set up on their own or with others of their kind, they found the game was in no wise as cushy as it first appearèd.

20. Verily, the days were many when the phone rangeth not at all.

21. For the followers of Day-Tar-An-al-ysis had become so great in number that the market-place was exceeding full.

22. Then was there a wailing and a gnashing of teeth, for a recession came also to the land of Geek-i-on.

23. And many that had jobs before now lost them, and those that were new to the field were left high and dry.

24. Then did the El-ee-ites mourn in their exile for their own lands, saying Was there not an over-abundance of stuff to be looked at every day? Even a Welsh mountain full of dodgy boxes?

25. And was there not also tea, cake, biscuits and canned drinks in abundance at all hours?

26. And they went unto their temples to call upon the Lord for guidance but there was no access day to day for any to come therein.

27. A great wilderness opened out before them and they became as strangers in a strange land.

28. Even the tribes of Re-cru-ter-ites who had once welcomed them now turned them from their doors saying Knowest thou not that For-en-sics is finishèd?  Therefore go we up into the pastures of e-discovery, for there the land runneth with milk and honey.

29. And they went on their way rejoicing.

Pish and Pen Testing

November 28, 2009

The recent find of hitherto unknown works on digital forensics from the hands of famous authors has caused a sensation in both computing and literary circles.  The lost draft of a book idea by Jane Austen, indicates that she knew more than was entirely proper for a lady of her day about the subject.  Now read on…

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a company in possession of a network must be in want of a pen test. However little is known about the company, the nature of its business, clients and employees, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of competitive geeks in neighbouring counties,  that the company is considered the rightful property of one or other of them.

“Here, Dave,” said his colleague Peter to him one day, “have you heard that Stupidly Rich Corp is going for ISO27001?”

Dave mumbled that he had not.

“But it has” returned he, “Martin in sales has just phoned and told me about it”

Dave made no answer. Half way through a baguette stuffed with bacon, egg, mushroom and beans, he was at that moment more concerned with the assured admonishment he would earn from his wife for spilling sauce upon his freshly laundered jabot.

“Do you not know what that means?” cried his colleague impatiently.

Austen plus computer

The author at her computer

Dave effected a blank expression, the better, he felt, to conceal the source of the distasteful smell which now insinuated from his side of the office.

“Why, you must know that this is a perfect opportunity!  You must devise a pretext to contact them immediately.”

“You are over-scrupulous, surely,” said Dave, at last, “A company that size will have their own IT people.”

“Indeed,” returned his colleague, “but they have not the expertise.”

Dave concealed the guffaw which rose in his throat with a well timed cough.  Slack Space Forensics’ expertise in the field was founded on a three day course in ‘Ethical’ hacking. And they’d snored their way through the post-lunch lectures.

That, Ncat, wireshark,  Metasploit Framework and other freebies, crammed on a couple of 16 Gig ruggedised thumb drives, was all that stood between them and a potentially fatal unmasking.

“My dear fellow,” his colleague continued, “We merely have to convince them we are the best.  The usual bull and one of our fabulously expensive glossy brochures should do it. For good measure, I’ll have Martin spread a rumour down the pub that they have suffered a data loss.

“If we offer them a free Health Check at the same time…  ‘  he mused. “Why, I am quite convinced we could terrify them into a full-scale op in no time.”

“What if they twig it’s all smoke and mirrors?” ventured Dave, uncomfortably.

“Nonesense!” Peter replied, “The beauty of this game, my friend, is that few understand it.  You may depend upon it, the clients have no idea whether they are getting a good job or a crap one.”

Digital forensics – an historical perspective

November 27, 2009

Digital forensics is frequently said to be a ‘new’ science.  In fact, rummaging around in other people’s bits and bytes looking for evidence of their nefarious actions is a time-honoured occupation. There are those who would scoff at this assertion.  But this week’s sensational discovery of a cache of previously unknown manuscripts from the hands of famous writers will give the doubters pause for thought.

These fragments of lost literature, found in the recess of an antique commode sent up to auction by an anonymous owner, have been hailed by experts as an important breakthrough and palpable proof that past generations knew at least as much about the theory and practice of digital forensics as we do today.

In the best, ground-breaking traditions, this blog makes its debut by bringing you exclusive excerpts from these extraordinary texts.