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Inside an FBI Computer Forensics Lab

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Old 05-23-2008
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Inside an FBI Computer Forensics Lab
: Photo: Matt Mallams/Wired.comThe experts at the FBI's newly accredited Regional Computer Forensics Lab in San Diegohave already helped solve murders, child **** cases and robberies.They're among the best in the nation at pulling evidence from harddrives, cellphones and memory cards.
There are now 14 such labs in the United States, with two more coming onlinethis year. Last year, the FBI labs collectively performed more than 13,000forensics examinations. The San Diego lab alone handled more than 1,000requests from 40 law enforcement agencies in 2007, including 171 child****ography cases and 160 murder investigations.
Wired.com got a rare look at the inner workings of the San Diego labthis week, and we snapped some photos of the toys inside.
Left: Darrell Foxworth greets members of the media in the entrance of the San Diego Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory.
: Photo: Matt Mallams/Wired.comJeff Cable, assistant director of RCFL, opens the door in to the lab to start the tour. Cable notes that it is very rare that they ever allow anyone but FBI agents through this door.
: Photo: Matt Mallams/Wired.comThis device copies the data off the hard drives and makes sure it can't be overwritten.
: Photo: Matt Mallams/Wired.comFBI agent Dan Dandridge plugs a hard drive into a "lunch box," which clones the data off the drive as the first step of a noninvasive examination.
: Photo: Matt Mallams/Wired.comCellphones can be a treasure-trove of forensic evidence. In one case, a man was robbing a store when his cellphone rang. Captured by a security camera, and studied by the lab, the robber's unique ringtone eventually led to his conviction.
: Photo: Matt Mallams/Wired.comThis set of equipment is the AVID video processing system at the San Diego Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory.
: Photo: Matt Mallams/Wired.comForensic examiner Tim Hamon shows off the inside of the RCFL mobile unit.
: Photo: Matt Mallams/Wired.comLacking in subtlety, the rolling lab is not used in covert surveillance missions.

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