Gallery: Tools for CSI cybercrime

The digital forensics unit (DFU) of the Australia Serious Fraud Office sniffs out incriminating evidence from crime scenes with ZDNet Australia on hand collecting clues.

Armed with laptops and suitcases containing specialist forensic tools the 21-strong team can swiftly capture information from nearly any device, from laptops to mobile phones and PCs to games consoles.

This Logicube CellDEK forensic tool can pull data from more than 1,100 of the most popular mobile phones and PDAs, capturing information using a plug-in connector, infrared or Bluetooth.

The team aims to capture nearly all the data it needs on scene during a police search, storing a complete image of each device on its 300TB of dedicated storage--where it will help solve anything from multi-billion pound corporate price fixing investigations to murders.

Picking apart the information is a painstaking process as the team first strips out the hundreds of thousands of duplicate, system or application files; most photos; attachments; and malware, to produce a clean set of data.

Cracking encryption is the second major hurdle, with the team employing the brute force of its 100 quad-core PCs to break low-grade encryption, such as password protected files.

The team does not attempt to crack high-grade encryption, relying instead on the threat of a prison sentence for individuals refusing to hand over passwords or decrypted files.

Photo credit: Nick Heath