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Deleting May Be Easy, but Your Hard Drive Still Tells All
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 07:17:31 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Monty Solomon <monty () roscom com>
Date: April 10, 2006 9:55:00 AM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipient:;
Subject: Deleting May Be Easy, but Your Hard Drive Still Tells All

Deleting May Be Easy, but Your Hard Drive Still Tells All

The New York Times
April 5, 2006

IT was only a single digit in a 20-page Microsoft Word contract
between two partners, but Scott Cooper earned his fee several years
ago when he found it.

Mr. Cooper, a computer forensics expert, learned that the numeral "1"
had been scrubbed in some later versions of this digital document.
This gave his client, a partner in a software firm that had recently
been sold, just a 5 percent rather than a 15 percent share in the
company. If the change had gone undetected, the partner would have
received $32 million rather than his rightful $96 million payout.

What the partner did not realize was that digital data rarely goes
away, even when erased. "It is extremely difficult to completely
delete all evidence from a hard drive," said John Colbert, the chief
executive of Guidance Software, which makes a widely used program
that helps retrieve digital evidence.

Using various techniques, Mr. Cooper, the managing director of the
Insync Consulting Group's electronic discovery and forensics
practice, based in Los Angeles, figured out when the document had
been changed and by whom. His client got his money.

Digital storage of information has become ubiquitous. In 2003, the
School of Information Management and Systems at the University of
California, Berkeley, estimated that 92 percent of new information
was being stored on some form of magnetic media. As a result, digital
forensics - the acquisition and analysis of digital information - has
become an important legal tool.


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/05/technology/ techspecial4/05forensic.html

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