Early Voting in Cook County

Do you have concerns about voting in person? Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough urges everyone to vote early or by mail. Make a plan and plan your vote. It’s easy peasy!

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough sits down with Lee Neubecker, President of Enigma Forensics to discuss the do’s and don’ts of early voting in the Cook County election and how to receive your mail-in ballot.

Early voting begins on October 19.

Early Voting in Cook County

Lee Neubecker (LN): Hi, so I’m here again today with Karen Yarbrough, the Cook County Clerk, and we’re talking about the election that’s coming up. And today’s topic is specifically about early voting. Karen, thanks for being here.

Clerk Yarbrough (CY): It’s always a pleasure, Lee.

LN: We’re actually seated roughly 12 feet apart from each other, practicing social distancing.

CY: Yes we are.

LN: And we can actually look at each other while we talk, which is nice.

CY: Yes we can.

LN: So tell us a little bit more about why people should consider early voting this election.

CY: You know Lee, I used to always pride myself in voting on election day. There’s something exciting about voting on election day. The camaraderie, seeing people you don’t see, you know, particularly every day. However, I got used to voting by mail because it’s convenient. And so people should, with this particular election, they need to make a plan and then plan their vote. I’ve already made that plan. And I plan to, I’ve already requested my ballot. I expect it in the mail any day now. And I plan to review my choices and I plan to drop it in a dropbox.

LN: Great. So when can you vote early in Cook County and the city of Chicago?

CY: So in Cook County, you can early vote on the 19th of October. There are some dates, October 7th, I believe for somebody who’s not registered to vote, they can actually register and vote on the 7th of October. In the city of Chicago, they will be starting that process on October first.

LN: So is there a website that people can go to if they want to get a–

Where to find more voting information

CY: I’m glad you asked Lee. All the information that you’ll ever want to know is at cookcountyclerk.com. Everything is there. Go to that website, click on elections, and you’ll see an array of information there that can answer each and every question that you ever have for elections for this particular election.

LN: And I know that the last election cycle that you told me about that, I actually did it. It only took less than, it was about a minute time–

CY: If it takes that long.

LN: And the ballot came and it was easy. What was nice is I had time to look up the different races. I could use my computer, I could do my research and be thoughtful with access to more than my smartphone. So I could actually read things while I was voting. So it was a nice experience.

CY: Easy peasy, that’s what I say. And, you know, you can give some time to actually looking at your selections. You can go online and research the candidates and make good solid choices.

LN: Yeah, and just so you know, my daughter voted for the first time in this election and we took her to early voting in person. And I asked could I early vote instead because I was there and he said I could but it would be a provisional ballot that wouldn’t get counted until later. So I thought that it seemed, at least, there was a check and balance. Your team knew that I had already requested a mail-in ballot and they had that checkup. But if I wanted to vote in person, I could have, you know, so like, if I lost my ballot, I could still vote. It’s just the provisional ballots don’t get counted until later.

CY: Yeah, and We want people to understand that process too because I’m suggesting to people to go ahead and order a ballot, go ahead, fill out the application. Like you said, it only takes a minute or so to do that. When your ballot comes, make a determination at that point do I plan to, you know, fill this out and mail it in or do I plan to drop it in our dropbox? Or do I plan to maybe do like some others who have suggested to me that they planned the, planned doing that would be their backup plan, just in case they can’t get to the polling place on election day. So I’m encouraging anybody and everybody to please, you know, order your ballot, get your ballot, do your research and obviously vote.

LN: So you can actually take your mail-in ballot and if you’re concerned that it’s going to be held up at the post office, you can drop by any polling place?

CY: We have, right now, over 60 early voting sites. And so if you’ve gotten your ballot and you want to drop it off at a dropbox, you can do that. You do not have to stand in line and we’ll have one of our election workers standing right there.

LN: So outside there’s actually–

Drop Boxes for Mail-In Ballots

CY: Inside, inside there will be a box that you can put your ballot in and there’ll be somebody right in front of that. You will not have to stand in line.

LN: Okay, so what if someone lives outside of Cook County?

CY: Somebody who lives outside of Cook County, you mean that maybe somebody in the military. That’s what absentee voting is all about. And you know, we’ve been doing that since the Civil War. Complete your ballot, send in for your ballot, complete your ballot and mail it in.

LN: Do you have any concerns about people voting more than the once?

CY: We do not because we put a number of things in place to make sure that kind of thing does not happen. One thing, we have election judges that, you know, they’re sworn in and they review every single signature. You know, you have to sign, so they will do that. Each person has a identification number, okay, that’s only germane to you. So that way we know it’s you. So if Mickey Mouse shows up, Mickey Mouse is not going to be able to vote because Mickey Mouse does not have this voter code that we have. Finally, you know, we have a, we’ve just gone through every idea and had people to kind of test, to make sure that we are ready for the November election to make sure that people, you know, do the right thing. And that’s what we’re telling them to do. Do the right thing. At the end of the day, too, we also do, we check out 5% of the ballots to make sure, you know, after the election, that they’re right on target.

LN: And so finally, when is the last time, the last date that you can request, that you can actually go in and vote early?

CY: The last time that you can go in and vote early actually is November 3rd which is election day, okay, They can vote that day, but the day before. So that would be November 2nd. Don’t wait and do it then. Do it early.

LN: Well, thanks a bunch for being on the show. I look forward to talking to you again soon.

CY: Thank you.

LN: And vote.

CY: Oh, absolutely, vote.

For more information go to cookcountyclerk.com

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How Safe is the Divvy Bike Share System Security?

Why doesn’t Divvy Bike Share System use the same GPS technology as Lyft? Isn’t Divvy managed by Lyft? We have more solutions for Divvy Bike Share Security. Check this out!

We were wondering how safe is the Divvy bike-share system security? Enigma Forensics has been following the Divvy bike story. We love the idea of the ease and accessibility to rent a bike but don’t want the criminals to ruin this city-wide opportunity.

Divvy Bike Share System

The Divvy Bike Share System is a great resource that has been open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. All different shapes and sizes of people are able to use bike share to commute to work or school, explore the city, attend appointments, meet up with friends, and everything else in between. The beauty of the Divvy bike-share system is that it offers affordable transportation and features bikes that can be unlocked from one station and returned to any other station throughout the city. This all sounds like a great program for the city but the recent looting in Chicago has led to occasional lockdowns on Divvy Bike usage. We thought we would take a deeper dive and discover how safe is the Divvy Bike security.

Divvy Bike Issues

Divvy has been plagued with several issues that not only include difficulty in docking at stations that allow bikes to be obtained when legitimate riders fail to fully dock and lock their bikes. It has also been reported these docking issues lead to a significant amount of stolen bikes used in crimes. To make matters worse, additional ways to obtain access to a Divvy bike can be easily accomplished by using a stolen credit card to unlock a bike. How? There isn’t a two-factor authentication required to unlock a bike and the credit card system doesn’t require the entry of the billing card member’s zipcode. The lack of security allows the ability to use anyone’s credit card which makes it easier for the thief to steal a bike. By adding these two simple changes; a two -factor authentification and zip code requirement Divvy could dramatically improve the situation.

The latest crime that has Divvy in the hot seat with local Chicago Aldermen, happened on the morning of July 27, 2020, when an 82-year-old man was carjacked in Streeterville by a group of Divvy bike riders. After they stole his car they left the Divvy bikes at the scene. We assume these bikes were stolen and if so it makes criminal activity in otherwise safe neighborhoods a lot easier. Additionally, you may have noticed abandoned Divvy bikes while traveling through the city of Chicago. If you see an abandoned Divvy bike, do the last paying rider a favor and dock the bike to prevent racking up hourly charges. These issues have bubbled up to a few Chicago Alderman who has informed Divvy of the complaints brought forth by their constituents.

Stolen Bikes

During our research about current docking station flaws, we found this article from The Chicago Reader. The article’s title, “FOIA’d emails reveal an ongoing citywide epidemic of Divvy thefts.” Chicago Reader wrote the culprit is the hasty decision by Divvy to remove a critical piece of security hardware from Chicago’s docking stations. They reported the security device that was removed had been making it difficult for users to dock bikes at the end of their rides. By removing the device it also made stealing docked bikes easier. https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/divvy-bike-thefts-chicago-security-hardware-removed/Content?oid=58659144

Enigma Forensics agrees with a solution to integrate GPS locating technology so that stolen bikes can be disabled remotely. Once the thieves know that are being tracked and the bike will be disabled, it will curtail the problem. Another solution we found that could help improve the situation is alerting users via a phone alarm if they fail to lock their bike properly.

Use GPS Technology

Divvy doesn’t utilize GPS technology to track the bikes down and release the last rider from the costs. Since Divvy Bike Share is supported by Lyft, why can’t they adopt the bikes to include GPS technology and install digital cameras at each station to help record criminal behavior? After all the Lyft drivers use GPS! We urge Divvy to install a better credit card payment system using two-factor authentication and requiring the billing zip code associated with the credit card to be entered. GPS technology will allow remote locating of lost or stolen bikes with remote brake locking technology that would curtail illicit use of bikes and theft. These are potential solutions that we hope our Alderman will be able to move forward to help keep Divvy bikes a program for all Chicagoans.

Top Five Cyber Attacks

Phishing, Ransomware, Endpoint Security, IoT Devices and Cloud Jacking. What do they have in common? Top Five Cyber Attacks we are concerned about and you should be too!

The frequency of cyberattacks is growing. The following is Enigma Forensics’ top five cyber attacks that you should be made aware of.

Phishing Attacks are specific forms of email or text messages that are targeting victims to gain access to their personal information. Phishing messages often try to induce the receiver to click a link to a package shipment delivery message or other seemingly legitimate hyperlinks. It acts like a harmless or subtle email designed to get victims to supply login credentials that often become harvested by the attacker for later use in efforts to compromise their target. Sometimes phishing emails spoof the sender to be someone who has already been compromised. Once compromised, often times the compromised user’s mailbox is used to relay other outbound messages to known individuals in their saved contacts. This form of attack earned its name because it masquerades as an email of someone you may know and because you know the sender, you are more likely to nonchalantly open the email and click on the attachment to learn more about the content. With a click of a mouse, BOOM you can be compromised. This is a very easy and effective scam for cybercriminals. Warning: Do not open attachments or forward chain emails!

Ransomware is often spread through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or through drive-by downloading. Drive-by downloading occurs when a user unknowingly visits an infected website and then malware is downloaded and installed without the user’s knowledge. The cybercriminal then holds the stolen information for ransom, thus the name! They may ask for a ransom payment in the form of digital currency such as bitcoin. Whether or not the victim pays the ransom depends on what information they have stolen or what criminals have threatened to do with the stolen information. Warning: Do not visit unsecured sites!

Remote Worker Endpoint Cyber attacks are currently the most popular because of the number of employees working from home caused by the Coronavirus. In the month of March, many workers were sent scurrying to their homes without companies placing proper cyber protection protocols. Employees are using their personal devices to conduct work and often are not fully patched, updated, and using encryption to protect their home devices against cybercriminals. Many company executives have been targeted at their homes, where they are much less likely to have commercial-grade firewalls designed to protect endpoints and company trade secrets.

IoT Devices attacks are a popular vehicle used by cybercriminals to establish a beachhead for launching lateral attacks across a home or work network. IoT devices involve extending internet connectivity beyond standard devices, such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, to any range of traditionally dumb or non-internet-enabled physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with technology, these devices can communicate and interact over the internet. They can also be remotely monitored and controlled. IoT Devices should be segmented and on a different network than corporate work from home devices. IoT devices pose a great threat because many of these devices lack automatic update processes and can become a beachhead for cybercriminal attacks in your home.

Cloud Jacking will increase with an estimated growth of cloud computing to be a $266.4 billion dollar industry in 2020. The idea of cloud storage makes one believe it is an improved option rather than the traditional on-premise computing storage. This will and has become a major security concern and has created a strong urgency to increase the creation of cloud security measures. Cybercriminals will up their game and cloud jack data information whenever possible. The race in on to see who does it cloud security better; the good guys or the bad guys. To protect against Cloud Jacking cyber attacks, organizations should enable two-factor authentication options, such as Google authenticator.

Two-factor authentication requires two of the three following means of authentication:

  • Something you know (A password)
  • Something you have (A key fob or cell phone authenticator)
  • Something you are (Retina Scan, Facial recognition, fingerprint)

Chinese Suspects: Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi charged with trade secret theft

FBI deputy director David Bowdich said “The sale and scope of the hacking activities sponsored by [Chinese] intelligence services against the US and our international partners is unlike any other threat we’re facing today.”

On July 7th, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a criminal indictment against Chinese cyber-criminals who acted as both self-employed criminals and employees of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS).

Their names are Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi both are former classmates and chums. They attended an electrical engineering college in Chengdu, China. Li and Dong worked as a tag team to combine their technical training to hack the computer networks of a wide variety of victims. They included companies engaged in high tech manufacturing; civil, industrial, and medical device engineering. The theft didn’t stop there! They stole and replicated intellectual property and important trade secrets from businesses in the educational, and gaming software development; solar energy; and pharmaceutical sectors. Their stolen booty included information about military satellites and ship to helicopter integration systems, wireless networks, communications systems, high powered microwave systems, laser system technology, counter chemical intelligence, and finally, COVID-19 vaccine bio-development information. They left no stone unturned and literally left their criminal digital fingerprints everywhere.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) indictment includes 27 pages of a long laundry list of cyber-criminal attacks starting from 2015. Li and Dong were elevated to the top of the list when they were recently discovered looking for vulnerabilities of certain biotech and pharmaceutical companies who are researching and developing Coronavirus / COVID-19 vaccines.

Basically, China is using their students as cybercriminals to steal, and copy their way to technological advancement instead of developing their own. How did they gain such vital and important information?

Li and Dong used web shells, particularly one called “China Chopper.” This widely available and easy to use hacking tool provided the attackers with remote access to targeted business networks. They would also run credential-stealing software to grab user names and passwords. By creating easy access into a victim’s systems, they would copy the data they wanted to steal into an encrypted Roshal Archive Compressed file (RAR). Like other archives, the RAR file is a data container storing one or several files in compressed form. Windows Operating Systems has a default setting that allows a folder to be created and stored where the “Recycle Bin” is located, making it almost invisible to system administrators. Li and Dong operated within the “Recycle Bin” and create extensions such as “.jpg” to make those files appear as images. Thus, disguising the stolen data. The Ministry of State Security (MSS) allegedly provided the two with Zero Day hacking tools that could be used to penetrate corporate networks.

Once they stole the data they would bring it back to China and either sell it to the highest bidder or as directed and allegedly provide it to the MSS. After they breached a company they would go back and re-victimize the same company or organization they attacked in the first place. In addition to hacking and extorting U.S. technology companies, the two allegedly attacked messaging platform tools favored by Hong Kong protestors. The attackers appear to have motivations other than pure financial extortion strengthening the DOJ’s position that the attackers are connected to the MSS.

Check out Related Blogs

Click here to view FBI Press Conference

https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-deputy-director-david-bowdichs-remarks-at-press-conference-announcing-charges-against-chinese-hackers

Click here to view the Indictment

https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1295981/download

Contact Tracing APPs are they ethical?

Are Contact Tracing APPs ethical? Are you willing to give up your private data to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus? Check out what these experts have to say!

Contact Tracing is it Ethical?

Apple and Google have the capability that allows cell phones to communicate with each other. Contact Tracing Apps use this capability and have been developed to find and alert the contacts of people infected with the Coronavirus / COVID-19. As soon as someone gets sick with Coronavirus, the APP could alert you if this is someone you have been in contact with. Alleviating the length of time it takes for a real live Contact Tracer who is doing the tracing. Basically, this is widespread human GPS tracking, that presents many privacy issues involving potential data breach, information storage, and sharing sensitive personal data. Should sensitive medical information and individual locations be available on an APP? Do you believe this type of electronic contact tracing is ethical?

Check out this video to listen in on experts as they consider the amount of data that is being collected and what it means for your data when you download a Contact Tracing APP.

Video Transcripts Follow

Lee Neubecker (LN): Hi this is Lee Neubecker from Enigma Forensics and I have Debbie Reynolds back on the show, thanks for coming back Debbie.

Debbie Reynolds (DR): Thank you for having me, very nice to be here.

LN: So I’m very interested to hear more of what your research is regarding contact tracing apps, and what you think that means for individuals that might put these apps in their phone. Tell me a little bit about what’s happening right now with the industry and how contact tracing apps are working.

DR: Yeah, so Apple and Google created a capability so that phones can communicate with each-other via beacon. So that they can store information on phones, or have phones bounce off of one another, so that if someone downloads a contact tracing app or registers there, if anyone who also has the app, it will be able to trace back, y’know, how long they spent with certain people and tell them whether they feel like they may have been exposed in some way, and tell them either to quarantine or go seek treatment in some way, or get tested. So it’s pretty controversial, the contact tracing app, for a couple of different reasons. One is, people are very concerned about privacy, like giving their potential medical information to a company that’s not a medical provider, meaning that they’re not protecting the data the same way. Also, as you know, Bluetooth technology isn’t exactly super accurate in terms of the distance that you are from someone, so the delta, in terms of how accurate it can be, may be way off. It may be several meters off, the phone can’t tell if you’re six feet apart or whatever, so I think that they’ve tried to tune that up with this new API that they created, but still, based on the science, we don’t know that it’s actually accurate or not.

LN: So you could still have a situation where, if you put one of these apps on and you’re outside biking, and you bike within 8 to 10 feet of someone who later does have it that you’re getting notified that you have to quarantine on a false basis. That’s a potential outcome of using an app like that, correct?

DR: Yeah, but I think that the way they having it now is that it’s supposed to register you spent more than 15 minutes near that person, so, y’know.

LN: Okay, that’s good to know.

DR: But let’s say you’re parked in your car and someone’s parked next to your car, so you aren’t physically near, y’know, you aren’t in any danger from that person but you wouldn’t know, just because your phone says you’re close to them. They don’t understand the circumstance that you’re in, to be able to tell that, so. I think people are concerned about, a lot about privacy, them taking the data or how the app is actually going to work, and it’s going to work differently in different countries. So what they’ve done is create this API, this capability that’s put on everyone’s phone, and then if you download the app, the app which you use will use that API to actually do this beacon exchange on people’s phones. So, that’s kind of what’s happening right now, is different countries and different places are implementing it in different ways, and some are really pushing back on them because they don’t have really any good guarantees about privacy, or data breach, data breach is a huge issue.

LN: Yeah, I mean, our Government’s never had data in their custody compromised ever, right? wink..wink

DR: Right, that never happened, exactly, so-

LN: You’re having your maps of where you’re walking, your GPS records-

DR: Yeah.

LN:time of day, your movement and that is going to Google and Apple, and under certain conditions they’re passing that data on to the CDC or other entities, law enforcement, enforcement groups.

DR: Well their concern is that data, because it’s at a private company, will get merged with other things, like let’s say your insurance carrier, or your medical, y’know, you get dropped from your insurance because you have this app-

LN: You drive too fast.

DR: No because you have this app, and they think that you may have been exposed, or you’re a higher risk, or a bank doesn’t want to give you a loan or something, because you have this app on your phone. I’ve been hearing a lot of different scenarios people are concerned about. But I’m curious, from your perspective, in terms of how certain things are stored on phones. I know beacons is a really big idea, but maybe you can explain a little bit about how Bluetooth actually works?

LN: Yeah, well Bluetooth is a near band wavelength that allows for peer-to-peer networking. Bluetooth has been exploited in the past to be able to take over devices, so it’s, a lot of people don’t like to have their Bluetooth on continuously because you’re opening your phone up to potential attacks, cyber attacks, via Bluetooth. You’re also broadcasting, when you have Bluetooth on you’re also broadcasting your MAC address identifier, your Bluetooth unique address and there have already been issues where retailers in London at one time, they had kiosks outside that would track the shoppers and they’d know how long they were at certain stores, and they’d use that information to serve custom video ads to people as they’re shopping and walking by.

DR: Right.

LN: So there’s privacy implications and security implications of having Bluetooth on all the time.

DR: Yeah, and that’s a big concern. So I know when I first heard this, about them doing this contact tracing, I was wondering like how exactly would they get the proximity right, and because we have no visibility to that we really don’t know, right?

LN: No.

DR: So we just have to sort of trust the black box and see what happens, to some extent, but I, for me I think my opinion is that contact tracing is a profession, it’s not an app. So, there are people who do this as a profession, only, let’s see, 55% of people in the world don’t even have smart phones, so you’re talking about a capability that’s only for 45% of the people, and not all those people are going to actually volunteer to get these apps.

LN: Yeah.

DR: So it doesn’t really help to contact, for people who do contact tracing, except it adds another layer that they have to work with because they still have to track people whether they have cell phones or not.

LN: It’s interesting stuff, thanks for bringing that to our viewers’ attention and thanks for being on the show again.

DR: All right, thank you so much, I really appreciate it.

LN: Okay.

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Security Risks When Working From Home

Working from home? Have you been transferring files between work and personal computers? Be aware of the security risks that are out there. Experts talk about how to protect your company’s private data. Where should you start to make sure your remote workforce is secure? Listen to these experts!

Using Your Personal Computer to Work From Home

What are implications when working from home?

Let’s face it, these are weird times! Never before have we had the bulk of the country’s work force sheltering-in-place and working from home. We’re going on four months battling the spread of COVID-19. Workers have resigned, been terminated and furloughed and many have sensitive trade secrets loaded on their personal computers. Experts Lee Neubecker and the Data Dive Debbie Reynolds discuss currents situations and different audits they have performed for companies to retrieve intellectual property and company data. Check out this blog with transcripts.

Video Transcripts Follows

Lee Neubecker(LN): Hi, this is Lee Neubecker from Enigma Forensics. And I have Debbie Reynolds, the data diva back on the show from Reynolds consulting. Thanks for being on. Thank you so much for having me Lee. So what are your thoughts about the shift and changes that have happened over the last couple of months with everyone being stuck at home with their computers?

Debbie Reynolds(DR): I think it’s a interesting issue now, because as you know, even before the pandemic, there were people working at home. But now since there’s so many more people at home, it’s bringing up other security risks, especially with devices. And I’m sure you know, you probably explain more of your experience about working especially a forensic with people who are remote. And some of the challenges with those machines, especially, you know, the same people. They’re either working from home, people are getting furloughed or people are losing jobs where they’re, they’re not in the office. But they still have equipment. So I’m curious to see what you think about all that in terms of the device, the equipment, and some of the risks that come with that.

(LN) We’ve had a number of projects happen during this period where workers either have resigned, they’ve been terminated, or they’ve been furloughed, and there’s a need to get the company data back. And sometimes that data is on their personal computers. Other times the data is on a company issued laptop, but there are companies are just starting to get back to work. And there’s a whole host of issues. If you have sensitive trade secrets, and confidential electronic data on an employee’s personal or work computer, and you don’t have physical custody of that, there’s a real risk of that data getting disseminated to a new employer, maybe leaked online to the web, or maybe even you know, someone’s kid at home installs a game that opens up malware that puts those trade secrets at risk.

(DR) You know, we know a lot of people working from home, and a lot of people are using, I think the statistics said, the majority of people, maybe a slight majority, are using their own computers to, you know, tunnel in via VPN or whatever. But we all know that people still, under a lot of circumstances, let’s say they’re printing, or they have a file they want to, you know, leave locally or something. What is your advice from a forensic perspective? ‘Cause we can, we always see a lot of data co mingle together, unfortunately, where the personal and people’s business stuff maybe, you know, together in some way, so what is kind of your advice for people working at home for stuff like that?

(LN) If an employee’s is being asked to work from home, they should ask for a work issued computer.

(DR) Right

(LN) Also you should be using a virtual desktop of sorts.

(DR) Right. Yeah, exactly. But you’ve seen I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of situations where you’re asked to do forensic work. And there is a lot of personal stuff, even on a company.

(LN) Yeah, we’ve had situations where people have, despite having work issued computers, they’ve still connected their personal computer up to corporate resources, office 365. I’ve seen situations where there’s drives that are syncing to personal, former employees, personal computers, and even though the accounts are severed, so it can’t continue to sync, then all that data might still reside. So we’re doing audits right now for clients to look for, you know, what devices are synchronizing with corporate data stores, and some of those devices. You know, there really needs to be accounting and audit to match up those devices to ensure that only accounts of active employees are syncing and that those devices are company issued devices, not personal devices because it poses a real risk. It’s a problem that could be preempted by issuing, you know, work equipment, not co mingling work and home stuff.

(DR) Are you seeing problems where people are, let’s say they have a phone. And they have like, for example, let’s say they have an Apple phone and they have a iCloud account. And the phone belongs to the company, but their iCloud account is their own personal account where you have problems getting those passwords.

(LN) Yeah, for the most part, we’ve had compliance and I’ve worked to try to help solve the problem, you know, the employee might have stuff they need. And usually what we’re doing in most cases where we have co mingle data, where we’re giving the employee or former employee the opportunity to put all their personal stuff onto a drive that will then do a search against and then we’ll wipe, wipe, completely wipe, the original device. They’ll sign a certification of sorts, and then they’ll only copy the stuff that they, that they copied off that we verified, didn’t contain trade secrets, and they’ll pull that back down to the computer. But that relies on some level of trust that if the employee or former employee signs, a declaration or affidavit saying that they returned everything that they’re being honest.

(DR) Do you have people that are concerned, especially in the legal field about people doing remote document review, and having sensitive documents viewed on their computers at home?

(LN) Well, I think that’s a legitimate question. And you know, if, if companies are outsourcing document review, they should be asking the provider, provider questions about, you know, how, what steps are you taking to make sure that those endpoint reviewers aren’t using computers that are compromised? In many cases, companies are using independent contractors as their reviewers and they’re not issuing corporate equipment. So that that’s a real risk that the whole ediscovery industry really needs to grapple with, because someone’s going to get burned at some point in time, especially during this, this pandemic with, you know, resources taxed and people working from home.

(DR) I have one more burning question for you, actually. And this is about BYOD. What do you think? Because the pandemic, do you think more companies will start to do more or less, bring your own device things as a result? I think we’re going to see a lot of problems come out of BYOD devices where companies see the problem of losing control of their data. And, at least with the larger companies, I think you’re going to see probably more strict, more strict enforcement of using corporate resources. I mean, there were many companies right before Illinois shut down went into effect they were ordering laptops going running out to, you know, retail stores to quickly grab whatever they could, so they can issue laptops to their employees. And, and so I think you’re going to see, I think you’re going to see a movement away from BYOD in the future.

(LN) I agree with that. I think it’s been a long time coming. I don’t know if you remember when they were first doing this, you know, at first companies were giving people devices, then they decided well we’ll save money will be out BYOD Now it seems like a pain in the neck to deal with it. And it’s all these risk issues. So I really feel that they’re going to start to go back the other way.

(DR) Now, well there’s a cost associated with BYOD. And now people are furloughed and all your sensitive data is on former employees, personal computers. So then you’ve got to hire a forensic expert like me to try to work through to get the data back and to solve that problem, which, you know, it might have been much easier to issue a 500 dollar laptop to employee, then to have them synchronize that ’cause they’re going to pay more than $500 dollars to try to solve the problem of getting their data back. So after we get through this next bump in the business cycle where companies are paying out to have to retrieve their data, I think you’ll see that most CFOs will see it’s smart sense to issue corporate laptops and to block access to BYOD devices. But thanks for the question. It was a good one.

(LN) Thank you. Fascinating. Thank you for sharing.

(DR) Thanks

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Social Media and Cell Phone Forensics

Social media and cell phone forensics can play an important role in thwarting criminal activity. Check out this conversation between Cyber Forensic Expert Lee Neubecker and Data Diva, Debbie Reynolds. You will be so much smarter afterwards!

Snap Chat, Twitter, Facebook: Social Media and the Importance of Cell Phone Forensics

Lee Neubecker and Debbie Reynolds, the Data Diva, discuss the role of law enforcement in capturing social media posts when trying to thwart the bad guys coordinating a riot or the more recent looting incidents in Chicago. During this difficult time in our nation, what is the role that cell phone forensics should take? Did you know that Apple phones have the ability to automatically shut down when stolen and have a beacon that will detect the location of the phone making it easy for law enforcement to come knocking on the thief’s door? Check out this video to learn more about the role of social media and cell phone forensics.

Transcripts of Video Follows

Lee Neubecker (LN): Hi, it’s Lee Neubecker, and I have Debbie Reynolds back on the show, Debbie thanks for being on remotely.

Debbie Reynolds (DR): Thank you for having me.

LN: So I asked you to come on so that we could talk a little bit about some of the recent lootings that have happened in Chicago and other areas across the country. And what could be happening, as it relates to cell phone forensics and how law enforcement can be using that to get to the bottom of how these coordinated attacks are being planned and who might be involved.

DR: Most of what I know about this is basically what you told me so, why don’t you just sort of share what your experience has been so far in the current environment, and then we can talk from there?

LN: Sure. Well, right now, I know that some of the looters that were apprehended had cell phones on them. We don’t know exactly how the information is being used by law enforcement, but technically, an example of things that could happen could include, doing forensics on the cell phone, identifying Snapchat handles they have communicated with, looking at text messages, looking for Twitter accounts and postings. And potentially, what I saw happening during the last week, at least in one instance, there was a post made to Twitter by a user that made a reference to doing a gig at Urban Outfitters on the West Side, and roughly a few hours after, that post went out on Twitter, referencing Urban Outfitters, Nike’s, Liquor and other things. Around four hours after that, looting that went on at that store, so that handle that posted and anyone else that reacted to that post could certainly have been alerted to the potential for mass looting in a coordinated way via social media.

DR: Yeah, I think even though the police do have capabilities to do that type of tracking and tracing, they they do heat maps of certain things. The problem is that these incidents, if they are coordinated, they happen pretty quickly so it’s sort of hard for them to kind of preempt it. But as you said, always, they have capabilities, right? To do anything with like cell phones that they capture, but they also have capabilities to do things like geofencing about who was in the area at certain time. So, a lot of what they’re doing is not necessarily preemptive or pre-crime is more of, if something is happening or has happened, they can go back and try to backtrack or trace or… If there are people on the scene they can apprehend whoever is there that’s doing whatever and they sort of build it out from there, right?

LN: Yeah, but just the other day, someone was captured and apprehended in… They got caught because they were posting their raid via social media, and they had a live view of them going to bomb, they were threatening to bomb the place and looted, taking cash registers and the stuff was, this someone that was not from Chicago, I think from downstate, somewhere that came in and came in with a goal to create problems and had a past history of that, but the person had the audacity to post it to Facebook, and the FBI just busted them and they’re indicted now.

DR: I don’t know why people share such things on social media. Because yeah, they do track and trace that. But, a lot of the things especially as I saw, it seemed like a lot of stores that have things like mobile phones have been attacked. And as you know those things are pretty easy to trace back. So I don’t know how far people–

LN: Apple had LoJack, in all their phones at the retail store, and so people who took those phones likely those phones likely got located but-

DR: Oh yeah, definately.

LN: I don’t know that that’s happening at the the cheap cell phone stores, the burner phones.

DR: Well, yeah, those are… No, I mean, they probably… If anything, obviously may have serial numbers and stuff like that but, once you… Whether it’s broken, or people change sims or whatever, it’s harder to track that stuff down. But yeah, the Apple phones, yes. They wouldn’t have very much problem. I think as I heard, I read that what Apple had done is for all the phones that were stolen from them, they were able to lock those down. And then it had a screen on there so that you actually couldn’t use it. So, that’s what I heard was happening with Apple.

LN: Yeah, well, they also have the ability to beacon out and send GPS location so-

DR: Oh, absolutely.

LN: People who are buying stolen Apple phones might find someone knocking on their door, law enforcement.

DR: Yeah, it’s probably not a good idea to buy one off the street at this point. So yeah.

LN: Yeah. Well, any thoughts on your concerns if the privacy issues that might relate to mere surveillance on people and tracking social media posts and actually getting in and subpoenaing phone numbers that were taxed to help try to prevent looting from happening?

DR: Well, okay. I guess that’s a couple of different things rolled up into one. So, obviously I’m concerned with mass surveillance, especially if it is capturing information not accurately or targeting people who may not have even been involved. So for example, a cell phone can’t tell like let’s say for instance, you’re standing at a corner and I’m at the stoplight. It says we’re next each other, but we’re not together. So, a cell phone tracking can’t really tell that so eury people who aren’t involved, who are innocent, who are especially in this regard, peacefully protesting, having them be adjacent to other people doesn’t mean that they were involved so-

LN: Lets just say though, for instance, that they found that there was a string of businesses hit, the Foot Locker, then Denny’s Liquor, CVS and Walgreens.

DR: Yeah.

LN: There were a group of 20 people that all pinged off the four cell phone towers at the same times, and we’re in close proximity to that and a few other people were ID’d, would that be enough to justify surveillance on people where there were four cell phone towers in common across a range that put them all in the vicinity of where looting took place?

DR: I’m not sure if it would justify surveillance, so to speak, but I think that if they have other evidence, it may help them target those people more closely but, in terms of sweeping people up in surveillance exercise, I don’t think that’s going to happen unless they have additional information. So, let’s say they have information just like you said, like, okay, these people are in the vicinity and then they posted a picture on Facebook with some loot gear that they got, that would be enough, I think, to justify surveillance but just the fact, surrounding the vicinity, that’s probably not enough to go on, I don’t think.

LN: I appreciate your opinions and thoughts on this. It’s a difficult time right now and hopefully we’ll have stability and we’ll have people held accountable on all fronts, not just the leaders.

DR: Yep, I agree.

LN: Yeah, thanks Debbie.

DR: You’re welcome.

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Top Places in Illinois That Reported Accelerating COVID-19 Weekly Growth

Enigma Forensics has been busy tracking week to week COVID-19 cases in each Illinois county. We are thankful of our Medical Professionals. Thank you to everyone for all you’ve done to reduce the spread!

Illinois as a state has been trending in the right direction. Only 8 counties reported cases in excess of zero the week before last week and more than 20 cases the last week show weekly growth. These counties should continue to ramp up additional testing availability and contact tracing to keep the state on track as a whole. 9 counties showed a reduction in a week over week reported cases. Click through on the County Name to see the time series chart depicting the daily counts and 7 days trended average.

Download COVID-19 Daily Confirmed Positive Cases

The data depicted above was obtained from the John Hopkins GitHub Repository.

Growth of the outbreak can be seen where the daily blue COVID-19 confirmed cases count exceeds the 7 day trailing daily orange average trend line.

View Chart Full Screen Width

COVID-Confirmed Positive Cases Week over Week Comparison

Counties with zero cases the week before last week were excluded.

CountyWeek Before Last Week
Total Cases
Last Week
Total Cases
Week Over
Week Percentage Growth
Cass439875.00%
Stephenson1124118.18%
Rock Island414919.51%
Kane25429415.75%
Will21123712.32%
Lake2682939.33%
Madison90911.11%
Cook227322800.31%
Adams0220.00%
Kankakee6259-4.84%
Kendall3431-8.82%
St. Clair166151-9.04%
Winnebago149135-9.40%
Champaign5447-12.96%
DuPage291234-19.59%
DeKalb3928-28.21%
McHenry9665-32.29%
Peoria6342-33.33%
This chart is based on data obtained daily from the Illinois Department of Public Health Website. The source daily counts are available at: https://enigmaforensics.com/covid-19/us/state/Illinois_Cases_Delta_By_Date.csv

Top Zip Codes in Illinois Reporting Week over Week Growth
(COVID-19 Confirmed Cases)

Zip CodeCityWeek Before Last WeekLast WeekWeekly Growth RatePeople / Square MilePopulation
60088Great Lakes634467%6,78015,761
62691Virginia630400%222,426
60076Skokie725257%6,24133,415
60624Chicago – West Garfield Park620233%10,78038,105
60169Hoffman Estates825213%4,40633,847
60706Harwood Heights / Norridge1031210%7,82223,134
61265Moline721200%2,37945,099
60462Orland Park720186%2,46938,723
60089Buffalo Grove1233175%4,25941,533
60104Belwood922144%8,08819,038
Data captured from IDPH website daily. Data as of 6/24/20.

Great Lakes Naval Station is leading as the top Zip code in Illinois experiencing the highest week over week growth rate of new COVID-19 confirmed cases. Click the Zip Code to view the daily and weekly average trends of new cases. In the City of Chicago, West Garfield Park is the hot zone where cases shot up 233% over the previous week.

COVID-19 Cases in Cook County Are Abating

Wearing a Mask Could Save Your Life and Others

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker instituted that face masks be worn while inside facilities open to the public beginning on May 1st, 2020. Just a little over 2 weeks later, new cases of COVID-19 plummeted and began a downward descent. Proving that wearing masks helps stop the spread of the Coronavirus / COVID-19.

The other US States that have failed to require a mask to be worn when entering public facilities are experiencing consistent growth of the virus. The data proves that after instituting a mask requirement, roughly 14 days later, cases begin to abate or descent.

Daily Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Cases in Cook County Illinois

Daily Deaths from COVID-19 in Cook County Illinois

Daily Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Cases in Tulsa Oklahoma

Who’s Who Legal Investigations 2020

We are proud to announce Lee Neubecker was once again nominated by his peers as one of the world’s leading practitioners in the Digital Forensic Expert field. Congratulations Lee!

Congratulations Lee Neubecker!

Enigma Forensic’s President and CEO Lee Neubecker was nominated by his peers as one of the world’s leading practitioners in the field of Digital Forensic Experts and is listed in Who’s Who Legal Investigations 2020 publication as such.

Since 1996 Who’s Who Legal has identified the foremost legal practitioners and consulting experts in business law and investigations based upon comprehensive, independent research.

Who’s Who Legal Investigations publications said, Lee Neubecker, is a “great expert” who receives widespread plaudits from sources who note he is “one of the most visible people in the field”.

Nominees have been selected based on comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practitioners worldwide.