Introduction

The field of data recovery involves the process of extracting data from various storage devices such as mechanical hard drives, solid state drives, USB flash drives, CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/UHD and other discs, RAID servers, and magnetic tapes. The data can be on computers, tablets, or smartphones, and it can be password-protected, encrypted, corrupted, erased, hidden, overwritten or damaged.

Data recovery experts are usually brought in when computer files can no longer be accessed and a backup is not available. Common causes are a lost password, a user error such as accidental deletion, a software or hardware failure such as bad sectors or collapsed RAID partition, a malware, ransomware, or virus attack, or intentional locking or hiding of files by suspects in criminal cases.

The use of specialised industry disk-imaging procedures can harvest every last byte of data off the drive. Once the data is recovered, it might still be encrypted, and law-enforcement authorities have access to tools that can crack passwords, such as “brute-forcing” using trillions of rapid password attempts.

At the bottom of this profile are brief details of a number of the experts that Expert Experts represents. Call our office to discuss your requirements and to obtain a recommendation that suits your needs and budget.

Expertise in Action

The often conflicting and controversial issues of enforced data recovery and the right to privacy have been in the news recently where critical data pertinent to a criminal case is contained on a password-protected or encrypted computer or locked smartphone. Tech corporations such as Apple and Facebook are asked by law enforcement authorities for assistance to access and turn over data on a suspect’s device. This data may contact lists, call history, and messages linking the suspect to other suspects, browsing history revealing the planning of a criminal act, and location data that can dispute alibis and place suspects at the scene of a crime. In perhaps the most high-profile case to date, the United States Department of Justice requested that Apple assist the FBI in accessing the data on the Apple 5C phone owned by San Bernardino mass-shooter Rizwan Farook. Apple refused but the phone was eventually hacked by the FBI in 2016 with the assistance of data recovery experts.

A recovery data expert can give information of how data has been hidden, locked or encrypted and reveal ways it can be accessed by law-enforcement authorities undertaking investigations. Experts can assist in court during legal cases by explaining the forensic methods used to reveal critical evidence.

Sample Reports

For some fields of expertise we have some sample sections of de-identified reports. Please contact our office if you are interested in a sample.

Cost

The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:

  • The need for a view or inspection of a location
  • The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
  • Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
  • Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype
Relevant Articles ‘GrayKey’ promises Apple iPhone X unlocking tools

US intelligence agency contractors, security engineers and counter-espionage government manufacturers have developed tools that exploit vulnerabilities in smartphone encryption, allowing law enforcement agencies to hack into locked devices.

Australia drafts laws forcing Facebook and Google to reveal encrypted data

The Australian government has drafted legislation to be introduced in 2018 that will compel companies such as Google and Facebook to cooperate with security agencies seeking access to encrypted data contained in secure messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Signal and Silent Text.

Relevant Cases Prescience Communications Limited v Commissioner of Taxation Office [2006] FCA 1561

A company that had its computer seized by the ATO sought to prevent the Commissioner from making copies of the hard drives via disk-imaging.

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Profiles of Experts in Science - Digital media / data recovery

Below are short profiles of a few experts with expertise in this field. Please contact our office to discuss your specific requirements and to obtain a recommendation that suits your needs and budget. Expert Experts are experts in finding the right expert for your needs and you pay no more to use Expert Experts than if you searched and found the expert yourself.

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