Seize the data

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You can dust for fingerprints after a robbery, but you wouldn't dust a hard drive after a cybercrime.

That's where computer forensics comes in. It helps law enforcement agents copy and analyze information stored on hard drives and devices such as cell phones and BlackBerrys.

One of the newest computer forensics systems on the market is the portable RoadMASSter II from Intelligent Computer Solutions. It looks like a thick metal briefcase on wheels and opens to reveal a keyboard, 15-inch thin-film transistor color LCD display and data-copying devices.

The device's portability allows investigators to seize evidence on the road and examine suspects' hard drives on location. The system can also copy the hard drive directly under Microsoft Windows XP to Linux-DD, EnCase, Safe Back, ICS or image copy file formats.

The RoadMASSter II allows high-speed data transfers between the following interfaces: FireWire, USB, UDMA IDE 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch, Serial Advanced Technology Attachment, floppy drive, CDR/DVD drive, Gigabit network, USB Memory Stick or Ultra SCSI.

The system maintains the integrity of the copied data using advanced hashing such as CRC32, SHA1, SHA2 and MD5.

Investigators can save audit trail reports to memory or print them for use as evidence in court. They can also wipe out hard drives to Defense Department specifications.

The RoadMASSter II runs on a 3.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor with 2G of memory and a 60G 7200 RPM internal hard drive. The list price is $9,850.

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