The increase in computers and Internet usage in criminal justice has given rise to digital evidence. An increase in digital evidence means that the rules revolving around the collection of evidence are changing. The previous norms regarding analyzing and processing digital evidence are becoming redundant quickly. And so are the rules of evidence security and privacy! New doctrines are being designed to regulate digital evidence collection.
The security challenges of working with digital evidence are increasing, especially as each challenge is relatively new and requires a different solution. However, every problem has a solution. The blog discusses how criminal justice systems can ensure digital evidence security and privacy are never their main concerns by deploying VIDIZMO.
Security challenges faced by Law Enforcement Agencies
The implementation of the Internet of Things has resulted in tens of billions of wireless devices to the Internet. This has led to a higher interconnectedness, making the collection of digital evidence easier. However, it also gives rise to several cybersecurity challenges, such as data breaches and unauthorized access to systems. The frequency of data breaches is increasing with the increase in digital evidence. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, the average total cost of a data breach in a company is estimated to be $3.86 million. Hackers tend to exploit system vulnerabilities and weak passwords that might result in data breaches.
For cloud computing, data confidentiality is an important aspect that needs to be taken into consideration. A secure cloud service is required to ensure evidence does not get tampered with. Additionally, commercial entities generate large amounts of video surveillance footage that could serve as potential evidence which needs to be stored on the cloud. Therefore, features such as encryption become essential to utilize the data storage in a cloud environment.
Law enforcement and government agencies have petabytes worth of data, including digital evidence. The information that law enforcement agencies get can be categorized as follows:
- Gathering and analyzing evidence to decide if a law has been violated
- Gathering and analyzing evidence to identify the people involved in violating the law
- Gathering and analyzing evidence from court rooms to identify if the people involved were guilty of the crime
Evidence categorized in the first category is used to decide if a law has been broken. Then evidence is analyzed to determine the suspect(s) and lastly, it is used to see if there is a connection between the first two. In addition to handling piles of evidence and other administrative tasks, law enforcement agencies need to ensure compliance with laws, posing an additional burden. Law enforcement agencies need to adhere to privacy restrictions and laws related to the privacy of individuals.
There have been concerns raised by the public related to general privacy. In the study, 12 percent of adult Americans believed that law enforcement agencies are involved in the invasion of their privacy. Law enforcement agencies find the need to have a transparent and compliant system in order to address the concerns.
Why is evidence security important?
It is essential to ensure the authenticity and integrity of digital evidence. For that to happen, the focus needs to be on the chain of custody, as it is the most critical aspect of evidence security. A chain of custody is the documentation of paper trails that records the sequence of custody, transfer, control, analysis and disposition of materials. For evidence to be admissible in court, an unbroken chain of custody is required. In addition to the evidence being the same as it was at the time of the crime, there is a need to document every transmission of the evidence from one person to another. Tampering of evidence is a serious concern that needs to be addressed to avoid any roadblocks in solving a case, such as the evidence getting dismissed during a trial.
End-to-end digital evidence security with VIDIZMO
VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management (DEMS) is designed specifically keeping in mind the importance of evidence security. Evidence integrity and maintaining an unbroken chain of custody is the most essential step to ensure evidence security. Tampering of evidence is a criminal offense. VIDIZMO is programmed in a way to verify evidence and to send a notification whenever evidence is tampered. Keeping the importance of secure evidence in mind, VIDIZMO has categorized its security in the following domains:
- Audit Logs: Gives information about each event on the entire platform. A complete security audit log is maintained with IP addresses, date stamps associated with user accounts accessing platform.
- Trusted Domains: Trusted domains allow secure connections with other IT systems on the network.
- Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): RBAC is used to provide a different level of access to each person depending on their hierarchy. VIDIZMO allows the roles to be configured for each portal and assigned to all users who require access to the content being uploaded or published via VIDIZMO.
- Content Segregation: VIDIZMO's multi-tenancy allows complete segregation of content among portals. This can be inherited/ shared among a group of portals or can be completely customized for each portal.
- SSO/Identity Federation: VIDIZMO provides identity federation and single sign-on integration with industry-standard protocols such as OpenID Connect, strong password, multi-factor authentication, ensuring no personal data. Content security is offered through token-based authentication; granular content access rights management provides ultimate control over who has access to content.
Database/Storage Level Security:
Data Encryption: All data including passwords, user profiles, and sensitive content, need to be encrypted to secure evidence, especially for high-profile cases. VIDIZMO utilizes AES256 encryption and FIPS 140-2 compliance to allow the highest level of security.
Content Encryption: At the Storage level (at-rest), content can be encrypted using AES128 and/or PlayReady or Widevine DRM with TLS for in-transit encryption.
Datacenter Level Security:
- Security Center: VIDIZMO uses a central view of the security state of its deployments to verify that the appropriate security controls are in place and configured correctly.
- 3rd Party Security Solutions: VIDIZMO can rapidly enable a range of security solutions from 3rd party providers, including industry-leading firewalls and antimalware.
- Security Policies: VIDIZMO can define security policies for specific customer deployments according to their security needs.
- Global Threat Intelligence: VIDIZMO leverages Microsoft's global threat intelligence and expertise with insights into security-related events across customer deployments. Security Center helps VIDIZMO detect actual threats early and reduces false positives. Security alerts offer insights into the attack campaign, including related events and impacted resources, and suggest ways to solve the issues and recover quickly.
In addition to the aforementioned security challenges, VIDIZMO also provides security for each portals inside DEMS. The viewing access can be customized for each of the portals, and portal access can be defined to ensure digital evidence is kept secure. In short, VIDIZMO DEMS caters to most of the privacy and security challenges faced by law enforcement agencies and serves as the optimal platform to solve crimes efficiently in today’s digital world.