Product Features

Evidence Management Software: How to Share Cases Remotely with Magnet REVIEW

Evidence management software has never played such a significant role in digital investigations as it does today.

The explosion of data means examiners have massive amounts of information to comb through from a variety of sources. Now they must also do so in a remote environment that can pose huge challenges to collaboration.

A recent study conducted by IDC found that 59ZB of new data was created in 2020 alone, and that in the shadow of the pandemic remote and hybrid work models are now an embedded part of accepted work practice.

A graphic showing the growth of the datasphere in 2020, and the need for evidence management software.

Evidence Management Software for Forensic Investigators

While the current worldwide situation is only making these problems worse, the issues themselves aren’t new.

Evidence management has always been difficult for digital forensic investigators. Large volumes of highly sensitive information are difficult to store and share, and traditionally practitioners have had to resort to physically shipping evidence on USB drives. This is an inefficient solution that can introduce major security risks.

Solid evidence management software is now a must-have for agencies that deal with sensitive digital evidence. This is why we created Magnet REVIEW: a tool that allows partners to securely access case evidence from anywhere, anytime.

Magnet REVIEW, a part of the Magnet Digital Investigation Suite, allows forensic examiners and agency-wide stakeholders to access a single source of data. By storing case information and evidence in one location, agencies can enable evidence review from anywhere using a purpose-built interface for investigators — while keeping all stakeholders informed on case status details.

A Case Study: The Case of Laramie Cline

(Content warning: violence) Take Doug Estes, a retired Senior Special Agent for the Arkansas State Police. He was an investigator on the murder case of Laramie Cline, a 23 year-old woman who was murdered by David Houston-Harvey in Colorado.

Harvey transported Cline’s body to Arkansas in a suitcase, and investigators were posed with the challenge of trying a case that fell across multiple jurisdictions and required intense collaboration between different police departments and DA’s offices. You can all about this case on our DFIRL podcast:

Though Magnet REVIEW wasn’t available at the time this case was investigated, Estes spoke about the how valuable the solution would have been in this complex investigation.

“If we had access to Magnet REVIEW in 2017, we could have greatly increased the amount of time to task in order to help us solve this crime,” Estes said. “We were scattered over multiple states. (Cline and Harvey) originated their journey in Alabama, traveling all that way up to Colorado and then ultimately back to Arkansas. So, we had all these different authorities along the way who are stakeholders, who have a vested interest in the case, because ultimately we didn’t know for sure who was going to be the investigating authority on the murder part of the case.”

“Back then it was cutting and pasting things that were reporting and emailing them back and forth. And we all know how our emails stack up, especially if we’re working on a homicide case. So, the ability to send a quick text saying ‘there’s something interesting in your state you might want to look at,’ then share the whole report through REVIEW, we could have decreased the amount of time we spent solving the case, and determined the jurisdiction of the murder more quickly.”

Estes’ investigation involved a large volume of digital evidence, including the killer’s iOS device, data from the cellphone tower it pinged, the victim’s laptop, the mother’s phone (who received messages from the killer on Laramie’s device), and more. Bringing all this evidence into a single, clear, sharable case on Magnet REVIEW would have been a major benefit.

“Back in those days we just didn’t have those capabilities. I would have been greatly appreciative of a tool like Magnet REVIEW back in 2017, for sure.”

Learn more about how Magnet REVIEW, and the rest of the Magnet Digital Investigation Suite, can help speed your investigations, smooth your remote collaboration, preserve the security and integrity of your digital evidence, and help you bring the truth to light.

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