Hi-tech crime unit installs anti-threat protection

Dorset Police’s hi-tech crime unit, which is instrumental in the investigation of computer related crime in the area, is using specialist anti-virus software to protect its network.

May 21, 2008
By Paul Jacques
West Mercia PCC John Campion

Dorset Police’s hi-tech crime unit, which is instrumental in the investigation of computer related crime in the area, is using specialist anti-virus software to protect its network.

Unlike most other organisations, the hi-tech crime unit was looking for an anti-virus product that would allow it to infect its systems as well as provide protection.

“The trouble is when you`re working in hi-tech crime you have two opposing sets of needs,” said DC Tristan Oliver. “On one hand you require that your machines do not become infected, either from ‘normal’ sources or from something that may be lurking in the data of the machine being investigated.

“At the same time, if you’re studying data from a suspect’s computer and there is a virus, you may actually want to run it just to prove its exact intentions.”

ESET’s NOD32, which offers integrated real-time protection, was installed. The anti-threat system protects against a broad range of malware. Its centralised management console also allows the hi-tech crime unit to set parameters such as scheduling updates, which operate in the background in online networks. For the unit’s secure network, which is not connected to the Internet, updates are downloaded onto a CD or memory stick and then copied over to the offline network to be centrally distributed.

“Analysing copies of other people’s data poses a high risk to the machines used in our forensic analysis,” said DC Oliver. “But this helps us to mitigate that risk and stop accidental infections, whilst providing the flexibility to deliberately compromise machines when required.”

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