Full Access to Teagan Kavanagh

Episode 26

Full Access to Teagan Kavanaugh
Episode Summary

Digital Forensics is about finding the truth. Something that isn’t discussed often is how sometimes the evidence doesn’t add up, and people are exonerated. Data either exists or doesn’t exist. Or, data existed at one point and doesn’t exist now. Very rarely can something happen outside of those facts. What digital forensics can prove or disprove is crucial to the truth.

eDiscovery is a collaborative effort with multiple parties involved. Various stakeholders have a role to play in the whole process. People working in digital forensics need to be able to explain some of the technical terminologies in layperson’s terms so that everyone can understand why an artifact is presenting itself a certain way or why something exists or doesn’t exist on a device.

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Show Notes

[00:46] Profile of this episode’s Guest: Teagan Kavanagh – Digital Forensic Examiner for TransPerfect Legal Solutions

  • Teagan decided to pursue a career in criminal justice/law enforcement in college.
  • During his senior year at Colorado State University, he interned with the Longmont Police Department, which jumpstarted his law enforcement career.
  • Teagan had always been interested in tech, building his own PCs since he was a teenager. He didn’t realize how much that experience could apply to his law enforcement career until it was needed.
  • He utilized some of the many free resources available for law enforcement, such as a network investigations class where he learned to do router interrogations, break down IP addresses, and find hidden networks.


[06:26] Teagan’s role at TransPerfect Legal Solutions

  • As Digital Forensic Examiner, Teagan works in the forensic technology and consulting branch of the legal solutions side of the company.
  • The forensics division is a small part of the overarching e-discovery branch.
  • In e-discovery, Teagan’s job is primarily data preservation and collection from various digital data sources.


[07:42] Digital forensics in the private sector vs. law enforcement

  • Teagan’s first job outside law enforcement was with a smaller, forensics vendor, Defense Forensic, where he worked with other former law enforcement.
  • He then had an opportunity to work with TransPerfect Legal Solutions(TLS), and that seemed like the next logical move for his career.
  •  TLS has a good mix of both law enforcement and not. Some of the team is former law enforcement, while some went to school for digital forensics and went directly into a corporate job after school.
  • Digital forensics in the private sector works almost exclusively based on consent rather than seizing a phone and writing search warrants.
  • When dealing with hardware, both sectors use the same tools and analyze artifacts in the same way.


[13:48] Overcoming instances where someone isn’t willing to provide information

  • Trying to get a device away from somebody for longer than an hour is challenging, especially without knowing how long the process will take. 
  • Large-scale preservation or collection matters involve over 100 devices. Coordinating time windows for each person to come in to image their devices requires a lot of logistics.
  • Having forensics involved from the beginning of the process helps obtain the correct information to set accurate expectations later.
  • The project is set up for failure if expectations aren’t managed upfront. Managing expectations is vital to getting the job done efficiently.


[20:17] The biggest challenges facing technology-related investigations

  • With multiple parties involved, explaining some technical terminology in layperson’s terms is critical to understanding.
  • Many people have multiple phones nowadays. Sometimes those are old phones, and sometimes they are work or personal phones, and any of those could fall under the scope of the investigation.
  • When someone buys a new device, they often transfer data from their old phone to the new one. Repeatedly doing that means more and more data must be processed.


[33:20] Advice for those starting in digital forensics and those transitioning to the private sector

  • Many high schools and colleges now offer classes and degrees in digital forensics.
  • Free resources include podcasts, webinars, free training, and online information.

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