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February 28, 2005 -- Juju Jiang was sentenced to 27 months in prison for installing key loggers on computers at various Kinko's locations throughout Manhattan. He collected confidential information that gave him access to individuals' bank accounts.

July 14, 2005 -- Allan Eric Carlson was convicted of 79 counts of computer and identity fraud and sentenced to 48 months in jail. An unhappy baseball fan, he spoofed e-mails complaining about the poor performance of the Philadelphia Phillies from writers at area newspapers, Fox Sports, ESPN and other media.

August 12, 2005 -- Scott Levine was found guilty of 120 counts of unauthorized access of a protected computer, two counts of access device fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. He and some of his coworkers at e-mail distributor Snipermail stole more than one billion records containing personal information from business partner and data management firm Acxiom.

Headline-grabbing crimes like these are helping make computer forensics one of information security's fastest-growing markets. While forensics tools are used to help track down perpetrators in high-profiles cases, they are also being used in everyday civil and criminal cases to prepare for potential lawsuits over intellectual property theft, enforcement of non-compete clauses and regulatory compliance issues.

One of the requirements in SOX, SB 1386, GLBA and HIPAA is the ability to detect fraudulent activity, which

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is where forensics usually comes into the picture. Coupled with increased cybercrime, regulatory compliance is yet another business driver that is making more organizations bring forensics capabilities in-house and look to tools to help them.

But before you make your IT staff detectives, forensics requirements must be truly understood.

This was first published in December 2005

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