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Practical Forensic and Investigative Skills are Focus of SEARCH Training this Week

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Investigating and prosecuting technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation (TCSFE) requires practical forensic and investigative skills — skills that are being offered by SEARCH and other experts at the Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children Conference on Missing and Exploited Children this week in Appleton, WI.

Trainers with SEARCH’s Cybercrimes and Digital Forensics team are on site at the conference, which is sponsored by the Wisconsin Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and runs from April 16–18. The event is designed for all ICAC Task Force members and affiliate agencies, as well as multi-disciplinary team members and other child-serving professionals.

SEARCH Director of Digital Forensics Services John Trenary leads a training laboratory session April 16 at the 2024 Wisconsin ICAC Conference on Missing and Exploited Children in Appleton, WI.
Three dozen investigators attend an April 16 computer laboratory training session led by SEARCH at the Wisconsin ICAC Conference on Missing and Exploited Children in Appleton, WI. This session helped attendees learn the tips, tricks and tweaks of Microsoft Excel, an underrated forensic and investigative tool, to make their investigations more efficient and effective.

EXCELerate Your Investigations: Using Excel Effectively 

Microsoft Excel is perhaps one of the most underrated forensic and investigative tools. With Excel investigators can sort, organize, filter, simplify and format data. They can convert between time zones, or quickly find information that appears most frequently. Data can be conditionally formatted to highlight the most important information. This two-part hands-on computer lab teaches investigators specific tips, tricks and tweaks to make their investigations more efficient and more effective.

Practical Tools for Data Insights and Analysis 

This hands-on computer lab helps attendees acquire practical skills to navigate the evolving cybercrime landscape by working smarter, not harder. It explores practical features from free tools to easily use optical character recognition and advanced mouse functions for seamless insights extraction. Attendees are participating in live demos with precise zooming and annotations, and are able to effortlessly toggle between scientific and hexadecimal modes for data decoding. With these new skills, investigators will be able to enhance information navigation using a potent indexing and search tool across multiple volumes.

What to Expect when You’re Expert-ing: Demystifying Expert Witnessing

For investigators, the prospect of testifying as an expert witness in digital forensics can be intimidating. This lecture is designed for the new expert to feel more secure and comfortable testifying. Digital artifacts are filled with jargon or acronyms which may overwhelm a non-technical audience; in this session, SEARCH shares examples of how to present technical topics in terms that laymen can understand to effectively prepare and present technical evidence in court.

Become a Google Jedi: Build a Better Boolean String

Google is everyone’s go-to search engine, but most people are not using it to its full capability. By mastering the art of Google Boolean and advanced operators, investigators are learning how to filter search results and uncover relevant information, saving valuable time and effort. In this hands-on computer lab, attendees are learning how to leverage Google’s built-in search tools to extract precise information from social media sites and other sources. The practical skills and knowledge acquired will enhance their productivity in today’s digital world.

Scrolling with Purpose: Mastering the Art of Social Media Searching

Everyone understands the importance of leveraging social media searches in investigations, but oftentimes it can be intimidating to know where to start. Through this lecture, investigators gain confidence in leveraging social media searches and discover methods to search popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. Using the practical examples and tips provided, investigators can effectively navigate these platforms and uncover valuable information.

SEARCH’s Cybercrime and Digital Forensics trainers on site at the Wisconsin ICAC Conference

These SEARCH team members are supporting the range of regional and national cybercrime and digital forensics conferences this spring through lectures, presentations, and hands-on laboratories:

John Trenary

Director of Digital Forensics Services

John Trenary

Director of Digital Forensics Services

Lauren Wagner

Program Manager, Cybercrime and Digital Forensics

Lauren Wagner

Program Manager, Cybercrime and Digital Forensics

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