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Computer Forensics

Information Security Analyst Erik Evans studies computer activity.

Spacer Information security team helps Ohio law enforcement agencies


Computer and software analysts are sometimes stereotyped as punching in 0’s and 1’s all day long. However, Matthew Haschak utilizes those 0’s and 1’s to catch the bad guys.

Haschak, BGSU’s director of information technology security and infrastructure, and the Information Security Office maintain the online campus security, including anti-virus programs, firewalls, password changes and basic security information. The team also uses these strategies to assist the campus and local police departments in their pursuit of online criminals.

The BGSU Police Department saw the need for a security office during an increase in fake identification creation nearly 20 years ago.

“It wasn’t like the person was hacking or sending death threats,” Haschak said, explaining that the first instances had to do with facilitating underage drinking.

Today, BGSU Police Capt. Timothy James works with the Information Security Office about once a month, depending on crime trends. The department looks to Haschak and his team for guidance through the “technological minefield.”

“The crime trend is really changing to be more technologically advanced,” James said. “Just about any crime has some kind of link to technology.”

Once the police department has collected evidence, the Information Security Office is able to analyze the information. The police department can then use that information as evidence.

“It’s great working with our own team,” James said. “What they do for us is amazing. We could probably get our job done in an effective manner, but with [Haschak] and his team, they make our job easy when it comes to technology. It’s amazing to have that resource.”

The most frequent crimes that occur through technology systems are identity theft, laptop theft and hacking crimes, James said.

Haschak has also worked with a sheriff’s office of another county in Ohio on a case. The sheriff’s office investigated a BGSU student who used his computer for criminal activity. After issuing a search warrant and collecting the student’s computer, the sheriff’s deputies said that they would utilize the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, which would take approximately nine months to sort through the evidence.

Haschak stepped in analyzed and copied the hard-drive of the suspect. Within three weeks, the Holmes Country Sheriff’s Office had enough evidence to prosecute the man.

The University Information Security Office primarily works with the BGSU Police Department and only assists with outside investigations on a case-by-case basis. The office includes Haschak, along with information security analysts Erik Evans, Jeff Burt, Dave Hayes and Josh Young.

In the future, Haschak foresees the computer services team possibly expanding its services beyond the University.

“I would love to; I think it would be a great service and a good way to generate revenue for the University,” Haschak said.

Time is the biggest obstacle holding back Haschak and his team from turning this resource into a full business, he said.

“I would really like to do this, but the team and I are really busy providing this service to the University community so that we haven’t had time to focus on expanding outside of BGSU,” he said. “It would be great; it is an aspiration that we have. We’re definitely ahead of most universities.”

September 27, 2011

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