Social Media Investigations and Website Captures

Smartphone apps

Social media has proven itself to be extremely useful in all types of administrative, civil, and criminal investigations. Natsar has the technology to search for and capture social media posts and files uploaded to the Internet while ensuring they are an accurate representation of the original so they can be offered in court and other legal proceedings.

Evidence from social media can be found on both the platform itself (think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), or on the devices used to make the post (such as smartphones and computers).

HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IS USED IN INVESTIGATIONS

We have found videos of individuals committing crimes that were posted to their YouTube account and pictures on a social media site that helped place an individual at a location. Sometimes people who claim they are disabled and seeking disability coverage post videos of themselves doing things that contradict their medical claims, or a person who denies having a relationship with another person is found to be communicating over social media with them or in a picture with the person. Types of investigations that commonly involve social media include:

  • Child custody cases
  • Criminal investigations
  • Cyberbullying
  • Cyberstalking
  • Discrimination cases
  • Divorce cases
  • Employment matters
  • Insider threats
  • Insurance claims
  • Intelligence / Counterintelligence investigations
  • Lawsuits

SOCIAL MEDIA FORENSICS

Social media posts can have major impacts on society as we have seen the stock market go up and down based on a single Tweet from an influential person. There are also examples of inappropriate or incendiary posts on an account that gain negative attention. At times, individuals claim that their account or actual device was hacked and the posts were the results of hackers taking over the account or device. Natsar can help find the source of a post to determine what device it came from. If the suspect post came from the account holder’s device, Natsar can then conduct forensics on that device to ascertain if the device itself was hacked.

By working with attorneys and social media platforms, Natsar understands how to obtain legal process to follow the digital breadcrumbs of social media activity.

OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE (OSINT) INVESTIGATIONS

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) investigations are commonly conducted by Natsar in support of investigations. OSINT relies on overt publicly available information such as public social media posts, publicly shared comments, files uploaded to the cloud, and other data that can be found. Natsar has specialized software and training that allows us to find this information efficiently and consolidate it into a meaningful and presentable format.

Although the data in OSINT is all public, there are a number of areas on the Internet that are not easy to navigate or intuitive for an untrained user to search and retrieve information. Understanding how search engines work, how to find artifacts that may lead to other public information, and how to even find data on the dark web are all reasons why you should consider using someone trained in OSINT like Natsar. Additionally, if the information recovered via OSINT techniques is going to be used in a legal proceeding or to support an investigation, it is important that all evidence was collected legally and by trained professionals that can testify as to how it was obtained.

WEBSITE CAPTURES

There are situations that necessitate the complete capture of a website to preserve it as evidence. While screenshots or other preservation may work for a single comment or post, entire social media pages or websites may need to be downloaded and preserved offline to reproduce animations, links, or to show a jury how someone would have navigated the site. Natsar has the capability to capture entire websites for clients, if you need this type of service, please contact us for assistance.

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