Computer Crime Research Center


WCTC offers cutting-edge cyber class; Course looks at investigating computer crimes

Date: August 12, 2008

Technology is becoming an ever-increasing factor in committing crimes and in helping solve crimes. Uncovering digital fingerprints is a complicated task and specialized profession, as few in law enforcement have such expertise.

But a new course at Waukesha County Technical College is opening the world of investigating cyber crime and cyber forensics to a new generation of officers and veteran officers.

“Cyber crime is the future,” said Brian Dorow, associate dean of the criminal justice program taught at the Village of Pewaukee campus.

It is the first such class taught within the curriculum of a criminal justice program at a two-year school in the state.

“This is our future,” said Dorow. “We have to make sure law enforcement has the necessary skill set.”

The importance of knowing and understanding technology plays out frequently in law enforcement from routine cases to high-profile investigations.

Records from cell phones played a key role in the recent arrest of 27 people involved in suspected heroin ring. The records of those phones, along with text messages on the phones, allowed authorities to bring federal drug trafficking conspiracy charges. The records provided a link between the members of the suspected ring, of which half had links to the Pewaukee, Delafield and Hartland area.

In 2007, a Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department detective testified at the trial of Mark D. Totzke, about how the man spent his hours before killing his mother, Gloria Jean Totzke, in her Oconomowoc home in August 2006.

The detective examined Totzke’s laptop computer and through the retrieval of data was able to give a snapshot of what Web sites Totzke visited, including one that featured videos of people dying in horrible fashion.

Totzke, 30, entered an insanity plea, but was found sane and convicted of first-degree intentional homicide.

Accessing Totzke’s computer was a simpler task compared with another high-profile trial a year earlier.

Former City of Pewaukee Alderman Anthony Balistreri was charged with the sexual assault of a boy and girl and possession of child pornography. To prove the latter charge was a difficult case for prosecutors, as someone had used a program called “Evidence Eliminator” just hours before police executed a search warrant at his residence.

“Just about every crime comes back to computers,” Ruff said.

“This is our future,” said Dorow.

The class was offered for the first time last spring and was well received. The feedback he heard was it is a “difficult class” and “very challenging.”

But the class is necessary in this age as police must be aware of what to look for, how to collect information without destroying it and how to navigate through the technology, whether it be a hard drive, cell phone or BlackBerry, to gather evidence, he said.

The class is not lecture-based but hands-on with a lab where students can get a firsthand look at how to recognize and collect evidence, he said. And the class looks at recovering deleted information.
Original article

Add comment  Email to a Friend

Copyright © 2001-2013 Computer Crime Research Center
CCRC logo