Cyber Forensics Protect the Innocent
It is always rewarding when cyber security and cyber forensics protect the innocent. Monique Vivien Macias of KPNX 12 News Phoenix discusses with Lazarus Alliance and Continuum GRC’s CEO Michael Peters how cyber forensics has become such a vital resource in law enforcement’s toolkit.
Christopher Thomas McKenna, the former Chaparral High School teacher and girls’ track coach facing charges for having an on-going sexual affair with a student from another school is facing more charges for allegedly continuing to contact and see the teen.
According to court documents, after his arrest last December, a judge ordered McKenna to wear an ankle bracelet to track his movements as part of his release.
It’s one piece of a cyber puzzle Scottsdale police reportedly used to obtain evidence McKenna and the now 17-year-old girl were meeting up, continuing to talk over the phone and also, possibly, contacting each other through social media.
“It’s just an extremely valuable tool,” said Michael Peters, a cyber security expert and CEO of Lazarus Alliance Inc. and Continuum GRC software.
Peters has previously used his training in computer forensics to help various law enforcement agencies including the FBI.
“For both solving crimes and preventing crimes,” Peters said, “there are numerous applications that are constantly locating individuals.”
Court papers show location data collected by online apps on the teen’s cellphone show she and McKenna were in the same spot, at the same time on several different occasions and that the teen had been near his house on multiple instances.
“Whatever kind of application you’re using, you start leaving bread crumbs,” Peters said. It can happen multiple ways but mostly, “through networks, through cell towers, Wi-Fi access points,” he continued.
Documents also allege McKenna bought the teen a new TracPhone, also known as a burner phone, to continue hiding their relationship.
However, the report says police used cyber forensics to trace the phone and were able to create a timeline of where and when the phone was purchased and also when McKenna allegedly met the teen and gave it to her.
It went on to say investigators linked McKenna’s debit card to the phone’s purchase.
McKenna is now facing charges for failing to comply with a court order, in addition to a list of other charges which including the sexual exploitation of a minor and luring a minor for sex.
Jail records say he has been released from jail.
Source: 12 News KPNX-TV