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April 2002

How a computer forensics investigation put two behind bars

Lt. J.J. McLean sized up the computer that might hold the evidence to help convict the killer of two people. Look before you touch. Power's still on. Take a look at the back. Aha! -- looks like it's networked. A touch of the mouse clears the screen saver and a few clicks reveal a wide-open, unprotected network. That's a trail worth following. "If you see something in clear view, act on it," McLean says as a sort of axiom. "If you have lawful consent -- a search warrant -- you've got to act." What McLean found on that network was the e-mail evidence that helped put John J. Hinds in prison for murdering his half-brother and sister-in-law. McLean also discovered thousands of images -- "an incredibly diverse and extensive collection of child pornography" -- that put Hinds's nephew, Charles Hinds Jr., behind bars in a separate case. Picking Up the Cybertrail On Oct. 16, 1998, an ongoing family dispute over who would own the Cambridge, MA, home where John Hinds lived with his 87-year-old mother erupted into mayhem when Hinds gunned ...

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Features in this issue

  • Becky Bace: The IDS security den mother

    by  Richard Thieme

    Former NSA employee and "den mother of computer security" Becky Base built an impressive and successful career that has undeniably influenced the industry.

  • Four computer forensics books worth investigating

    by  Gary C. Kessler & Michael Schirling

    Check out four computer forensics books that can help you learn the ins and outs of computer forensics technology and laws in place to manage cybercrime.

  • Do's and don'ts of building a forensics workstation

    by  Elizabeth A. Genco

    Elizabeth Genco explains the pros and cons of building a forensics workstation from scratch. Read now to learn what forensic tools are beneficial and which ones aren't.

Columns in this issue

  • Secure reads: Wireless Security

    by  Randall K. Nichols & Panos C. Lekkas

    Wireless Security offers a detailed overview of wireless security topics and covers big-picture characteristics of today's wireless security technologies.