A high-tech Milton Keynes company is on the front line in assisting its clients’ officers and security staff around the world to fight cyber crime. Evidence Talks, an independently owned global leader in digital forensics, has recently moved across the new city to striking new premises overlooking Willen Lake.
Since it was founded in 1993, the company has built a team of security cleared forensic analysts, trainers, digital artists and software developers to create a suite of innovative forensic technologies, training and tools, together with output of CGI movies and associated graphics.
While small in size, the company is well established as a global innovator, not just in the UK, but in the cross-border fight against people trafficking, child abuse, cyber crime and cyber fraud. What’s more, its unique SPEKTOR technology is a leader in digital forensics used by police forces, government, security services and corporates all over the world.
CEO Elizabeth Sheldon and CTO Andrew Sheldon hosted an official opening event recently to mark the formal opening of their new offices where a mix of clients, suppliers and staff enjoyed networking along with champagne and buffet refreshments.
Elizabeth said: “The key reason for us choosing to be based in Milton Keynes is its ideal location. There are great road and rail links and we have a choice of airports at Heathrow, Luton, Stansted and Birmingham. As an international company, this is very important, however the support we receive from the local business community is also vital to our operations. Just a decade ago I didn’t appreciate the full value of local networking but I learned my lesson. Now we’re often talked about in these groups and we have developed relationships with a number of highly skilled, professional individuals and organisations.”
Elizabeth went on to stress the importance of contributing to local business events, especially within the SEMLEP area.
“For example we attended the Biztech Christmas Dinner last year – it turned out to be an exceptional event which produced some excellent contacts and business leads.”
We have been involved with this organisation since co-founding it in 2009 and it’s a great catalyst for bringing small and large companies in the Milton Keynes area together, particularly those involved in the technology sectors.”
She pointed out that among the international client portfolio, locally based organisations such as Thames Valley Police (TVP) were a major customer of Evidence Talks.
TVP introduced Evidence Talks’ SPEKTOR digital triage technology in its Forensic Investigation Unit a year ago and it’s already yielding some impressive process improvements.
SPEKTOR collects targeted data or conducts full forensic images from removable media such as hard disk drives, USB sticks and memory cards. Delivering a flexible digital triage solution for in-the-field activities, the system uses standard removable USB devices as ‘collectors’, allowing many targets to be processed at once.
Principal CSI Clare Heron said: “For us, the key objective to ensure public confidence and victim satisfaction remain high has to be based on adopting new and innovative approaches to transforming our service. A key part of the Delivery Plan, facilitated by SPEKTOR, is developing the role of our Crime Scene Investigators (CSI) to further support the activities of our High Tech Crime Unit (HTCU), create higher efficiencies in case management and ultimately reduce the impact around high tech crime.”
Designed for use by non-technical investigators, SPEKTOR allows front-line police and other enforcement officers to rapidly preserve and automatically examine data stored on computers, servers and mass storage devices. Using standard, accepted forensic techniques it preserves and protects original data while creating full forensic images or collecting targeted files.
Using a combination of SPEKTOR desktop devices, the team of trained officers from Thames Valley Police’s Forensic Investigation Unit now play an active role in rapidly identifying and retrieving evidence from devices at the scene of a crime involving child sexual exploitation, illicit drug supply and other fraudulent crimes requiring the capture of illicit imagery.
Three SPEKTOR systems have been deployed in DWP cases across the UK, ranging from high value individual claims to large scale group fraud and the prosecution of ‘providers’ such as those involved in producing fake documentation, passports and doctors’ notes.
The technology offers very rapid data collection and uses standard, accepted international protocols which are accepted forensically and evidentially. For DWP operational investigations teams its availability looks likely to return control of cases to front-line staff, who with minimal bespoke equipment training can learn how to capture, analyse and process evidence without recourse to specialist units or outside agencies.
With a declared ambition to continue leading the world in innovation, Evidence Talks’ support of the local business community also remains high on its agenda. Amongst other areas of activity, the company is planning to participate in Milton Keynes’ marathon events and Elizabeth is involved in a STEM initiative to celebrate the city’s 50th birthday.
For more information on Evidence Talks, visit www.evidencetalks.com