ESI Analyst's data investigation and analysis tools were called upon to understand the actions of an individual suspected to be involved with cyber-bullying using social media. The investigation began with the individual's smartphone, which was imaged to preserve and extract potentially relevant data and text-based communications. Analysis of the data extracted from the phone quickly revealed there was much more than just communications that solidified the suspected actions and motivations of this individual.
Indiscriminate text messages and communications with the individual’s contacts quickly revealed that once they learned of the pending investigation and potential litigation, they deleted all of their social media accounts and online activity in an attempt to cover their actions.
Cyber-bullying is becoming more and more pervasive in today’s technologically connected world. Perpetrators use social media, text messaging and other means to intimidate and bully individuals as well as target specific groups based on ethnicity or religious belief. In this matter, indiscriminate text messages and communications with the individual’s contacts quickly revealed that once they learned of the pending investigation and potential litigation, they deleted all of their social media accounts and online activity in an attempt to cover their actions.
Further to the discovery of these chat messages, geolocation data captured from the phone uncovered that the individual had traveled to multiple locations over the past eighteen months. The coordinate data, recorded in the phone’s geolocation history, placed the individual at specific locations on the exact dates where various extremist rallies had taken place in cities throughout the United States. Text messages further corroborated this location evidence, including pictures of the individual's food orders taken at local restaurants.
Coupled with the geolocation and text message artifacts were patterns of phone calls as well as preserved voice mails that solidified the individual’s intentions. Analysis revealed not only the targeted individual’s intent, but also uncovered other potential co-conspirators. Compiled into ESI Analyst’s Timeline of Events, a revealing story unfolded demonstrating a clear pattern of activity that provided a solid preponderance of evidence to move the matter forward.
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