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April 20, 2010
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Guidance Software releases new version of EnCase Portable

USB device now offers ability to triage data while searching for digital evidence

By Scott M. Bruner
PoliceOne Product Editor

EnCase Portable is a USB drive that is able to search target computers for a wide range of forensic data and then transfer that information to any other machine. EnCase a portable option that allows any investigator or detective to get the most information from a target computer without having to be an expert on digital data collection. Recently, Guidance Software has released an update to the data collection device, adding a list of new features.

"We only have a few officers in a department, and only a couple that have the collection training," said Andy Spruill, the Senior Director for Risk at Guidance as well as an investigator for the High Tech Crime Unit of the Westminster Police Department in Southern California. "We can't go on all the raids and searches. It's nice to have a tool that allows the detective to bring back the data for my partner and to be able to do the analysis of the evidence…It's a force multiplier."

There are a number of new features in this second generation of EnCase Portable. The first is the new triage ability which allows the user to look at data and get immediate feedback, whether that's instantly viewing target images in a gallery or reading through e-mails.

The second new feature is the ability to do keyword searches. While EnCase Portable comes loaded with a number of preset search engines, you can also have the device look for particular keywords in files on the target computer.

Finally, the device now includes licensing for the EnCase software and includes the software itself. If a computer is not running, the drive is able function as a boot drive. The unit itself comes in a case that is not much larger than a CD case.

Guidance Software highlights EnCase Portable's ability to provide an effective and simple method of collecting critical information on scene without having to bring in the entire target computer for analysis. There are a number of applications that EnCase Portable can be used for, from criminal investigations to probation parole interviews.

"This allows the parole officer to go in, do analysis, plug the unit in and do triage to look for images, internet history, e-mails, keywords, or specific files and have immediate feedback on the machine without changing any data. In just a few minutes you can see if they're looking at sites they shouldn't be," Steve Salinas, product marketing manager for Guidance Software's Forensic Solutions said.

EnCase has been vetted numerous times in court, and data collected with the software is considered the industry standard for providing secure, reliable, admissible data. EnCase does not change, or even install drivers on, the target computer in any way. It merely copies suspicious files to its own drive, leaving original files intact. There are more than 30,000 licensed users of EnCase worldwide.

The EnCase Portable unit can store up to 4 gigabytes of information, and has no limit to the times it can be used. For law enforcement, the current price of the EnCase Portable unit is $898.50.

For more information about Guidance Software, and EnCase Portable visit www.guidancesoftware.com.

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