A man, recently separated from his wife, kept receiving text messages that stated his exact whereabouts and made reference to text messages and emails he was sending. The text messages he received concerned pictures he had taken and details about where he had gone during a vacation. He also found out that after he would call certain people from his phone, they would immediately receive harassing phone calls from anonymous numbers. He believed that he was being watched, and did not know how this person knew so much about him and his activities. To further confuse matters, the harassing text messages he received were sent in broken English. He had no idea who could be sending these hateful, bullying messages to him, however he suspected his soon to be ex-wife. Wanting to know for certain, the man decided to contact ICS and received a free consultation about the harassment problem. He was provided with a positive direction and worked with investigators to create an action plan on the case to find the identity of this person. The client decided to hire ICS, and our investigators began a forensic investigation immediately.
ICS forensic investigators created a forensic image of the client’s smart phone and laptop and began a reverse lookup on the phone number from which the texts originated. The first priority in the investigation was to determine how this person was tracking our client and had knowledge of his activities. Based on the information provided by the client and a forensic inquiry, it was quickly determined that the smart phone, rather than the laptop, was most likely the leak of information. Although the laptop may have been compromised as well, there are more than 30 different cellular spyware programs available, designed to be invisible and operate on a stealth premise, that can provide this kind of information to the would be stalker.
The ICS computer forensics team began a thorough exam of the cellular device utilizing The Virgin Method. This method is designed to trace the installation path of the product in question, identifying the download cache and discrepancies in the mobile device system files where the programs are hidden. The method was developed at ICS under the tutelage of Michael Rabern, the President of ICS, Inc. Using this method, ICS forensic investigators discovered the spyware program Spectorsoft on the smart phone. ICS determined that the client’s estranged wife was receiving email updates from the phone at multiple email addresses that were unknown to the client. It was also discovered that the estranged wife of the client had previously worked for a company that focused on computer forensics, and would have been exposed to the capabilities of programs like Spectorsoft.
The phone number sending harassing text messages to the client was registered in the name of an ex-girlfriend of the client, with a fake address. The ex-girlfriend’s name was easily identifiable as an Asian name, which would seem to correspond to the broken English on the harassing text messages. ICS investigators believed that this was all a decoy, using a throw away phone as a rouse to make it seem like everything was being done by this ex-girlfriend. However, the phone was registered in the same town as the estranged wife, the program used was one she would have seen at her job, and she was the only one with direct access to the phone in order to install the Spectorsoft spyware. These facts, along with the results of the forensic investigation, were used in the divorce proceedings and to attain a restraining order that stopped the harassment.
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