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Advertorial: How Cellebrite Pathfinder is helping agencies to solve cases faster

By Sean Millwaters, VP EMEA, Cellebrite.

Advertorial: How Cellebrite Pathfinder is helping agencies to solve cases faster

Date - 17th June 2021
By - Sean Millawaters

There is a great scene in A Beautiful Mind, when Russell Crowe’s wife stumbles into the garden shed hidden in the woods behind their home. Opening the door, she is greeted by walls covered in notes and newspaper clippings connected by lines and threads of yarn—a frightening display of her husband’s frantic attempt to connect the dots between disparate bits of information to solve what he imagines to be a massive conspiracy.

Before powerful analytics solutions, like Cellebrite Pathfinder were available, officers in the UK followed a similar process of literally “drawing the connections” between people, places, and times on chalkboards or pinning notes and photos on bulletin boards to determine how disparate bits of information in their cases might connect.

While such methods worked back then, they are totally impractical today when Digital Intelligence, lawfully collected from cell phones, computers, and other digital devices, has become primary sources of evidence. (Digital Intelligence is the data collected and preserved from digital sources and data types [smartphones, computers, and the Cloud] and the process by which agencies collect, review, analyze, manage, and obtain insights from this data to run their investigations more efficiently.)

Even in the simplest cases, a few digital devices can generate terabytes of information that must be combed through to find actionable intelligence. Agencies simply don’t have the time or the human resources to cope, which is why so many managers are adding analytics solutions like Cellebrite Pathfinder to their digital toolboxes to open the bottlenecks and ease workflow.

Source: Cellebrite Pathfinder quickly assembles all of the connections between the suspect and those they have been in contact with to begin building valuable timelines in cases.

The Power of Pathfinder

Powered by AI, Cellebrite Pathfinder drastically reduces time to evidence by automating processing (decoding) and analysis of digital data to sift through massive quantities of data quickly. Pathfinder is part of Cellebrite’s full suite of products that provide a total end-to-end solution that empowers agencies to collect, review, analyze, manage, and obtain insights from data to run their investigations more efficiently.

Other benefits of Cellebrite Pathfinder include:

  • Automation of the decoding process. This makes the data accessible in simple form directly for investigators, which frees up lab experts to perform review-only to escalate workflow in complex cases while reducing backlogs at labs.
  • Uncovering evidence that would have been missed (or impossible to find) through manual examination of data.
  • Connecting disparate bits of evidence to tell the “whole story” of the investigation.
  • Enriching technical metadata with human readable insight, turning Internet paths into simple topics and resolving endless identifiers to real-life persons.
  • Providing a complete visualization of the investigation to drive command decisions.
  • Simplify data reporting by providing easy-to-use templates that are graphically-driven to make evidence easy to understand by prosecutors, juries, and judges.

The true test of how a digital solution works, however, is measured by its impact on solving more crimes faster. The following case study from the UK illustrates how Cellebrite Pathfinder is making a profound difference in bringing cases to a speedy resolution.

Pathfinder Helps Break Car Theft Ring in UK

From November 2016 - June 2017, Edward Barrington, Luke Heron, Kelvin Harding, Michael Fear and Stephen Goode executed a ‘chop shop’ operation which led to many high value vehicles being stolen across the United Kingdom. The majority of vehicles were 4X4’s produced by Jaguar Land Rover including the models, Range Rovers, Range Rover Sports, Discovery and Defenders.

It was reported that the gang used a keyless fob method to hack into the car’s electronics system and steal the cars. They then drove them to Edward Barrington’s garage, in Sling, Forest of Dean. Once there, the cars were either re-plated, or dismantled and their individual parts sold to overseas buyers.

Gloucestershire police stated in court that they were first alerted to the operation after ‘a stolen motorhome was tracked down by its owner to Mr. Barrington's breakers yard, where they later noticed two Land Rovers with the same number plates.’

The “Operation Range” investigation was soon initiated, and a month’s worth of CCTV recordings were seized from the premises which showed the suspects taking the vehicles into the yard and taking them apart. Several mobile devices belonging to the suspects were seized and submitted to digital forensics. “Investigators had painstakingly processed and analyzed all the extract digital evidence needed for court to assist with the prosecution,” said Detective Sergeant Harry Limer, who led the Gloucestershire Police investigation.

All the lawfully collected data extractions had been loaded into Cellebrite Physical Analyzer first. “The chat view in Cellebrite Physical Analyzer really helped us,” said DS Limer. He also added that the geotags on the photographs were helpful when passing the data to their analyst as they could overlay the data from other information in the investigation to produce a comprehensive picture of the crimes being committed.

“To do the procedures manually, it would have taken months. An officer spent quite a long time with just one problematic mobile phone that experiencing data download and upload challenges. Just overcoming those two issues took several hours until we could even look at the data,” said DS Limer. He further stated that, “the objectives we were aiming for in court were just unachievable without the Cellebrite Pathfinder solution.”

DS Limer told Gloucestershire Live – Online News: “It is a sophisticated operation which, with the right tools, can be simple.”

At this point, DS Harry Limer reached out to Cellebrite for a solution that could help review all the data that was retrieved during the investigation.

Cellebrite came and set up the Analytics solution. Within a few days, Cellebrite Pathfinder was able to surface the evidence needed by the court to convict the suspects.

“Within a short period of time, while using Cellebrite Pathfinder, we were able to achieve an entire review of the data that we obtained from the download. Now, instead of police officers working long hours for months, while having to increase our budgets for overtime, we were able to leave the software running over night to get results the following morning. A full database was created and ready to be analyzed, which helped to turn around what looked to be about 6 months of work into a matter of a few days”.

Investigative Analytics’ Impact on Workflows

While Cellebrite Pathfinder is one of an integrated suite of tools agencies are adopting to expedite investigations, analytics is almost single-handedly transforming the way today’s agencies are dealing with data to move cases forward faster.

Source: Cellebrite’s end-to-end solution allows law enforcement agencies to collect, review, analyze, manage, and obtain insights from Digital Intelligence to run investigations more efficiently. 

Policing 2025: Envisioning A New Framework for Investigations focuses on the way agencies are transforming and utilizing advanced analytics solutions like Cellebrite Pathfinder as a force multiplier to streamline workflows and more efficiently utilize investigation teams to solve more cases faster.

To learn more about how Cellebrite’s digital solutions can help your team, click here to request a conference with one of our experts.

About the Author:  Sean Millwaters is a Digital Intelligence expert with more than 13 years of combined military and police experience in which he was a member of various squads involved with drugs, surveillance, and armed response.

Mr. Millwaters has more than 20 years of sales experience working with law enforcement, government, and military agencies. For the past seven years he has served as Sales Director/Senior Sales Director, VP Sales UKI, and VP Sales EMEA for Cellebrite.

Mr. Millwaters holds a degree in sports psychology and has played rugby at both the amateur and professional levels in the UK.

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