So You Want to Get into DFIR? Social Media Edition

Posting 365 days straight is definitely a lot harder of a challenge than you would think! Even with scheduling, time just gets away from you. With this blog, I wanted to at least give my own opinion on something that could have some grave consequences against you as a DFIR specialist: Social Media. This was inspired by a post I saw on LinkedIn from a colleague who is a Senior Forensic Examiner within the public sector. I think many of us understand to not talk about cases that are ongoing. That is beaten into  everyone at a very early time. But what about your personal views and thoughts? That can get dicey and naturally it is completely up to you with what you do and say. I’m not there to judge or police it, as no one should be. While this is geared towards hopefully all my readers, there are differences between what is actually illegal for some to even post about. Public Sector readers, go read your Hatch Act. Private Sector readers, continue at your leisure!

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Standard Caveat, I’m not a lawyer (nor do I even remotely pretend to be one) and cannot give you any type of depiction of what you should or should not post. Additionally, as always mentioned when posting things that are of opinion based, these are my own thoughts and do not reflect those of my employers either now or in past and future.

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So if you’re in the United States, we are living in some interesting times right now. We have access to a swath of platforms to discuss openly on, and yet it is being squandered on cat memes and gimmicky sales techniques from our friends. Tie some questionable activity condoned by many of these platforms in the last year or so…and it just feels like we are not using it the best way possible. But here is what I want to say about all of this: Remember that someone, or something, has their fate potentially in your hands. I know this seems gimmicky and something that your legal team would say to you (and probably will be?), but you really need to take that seriously in your life. What you post anywhere (to include your text messages) can come back to haunt you harshly. As you can imagine, this is really coming to a headwind in my opinion based on the recent retirement of another Supreme Court judge here in the United States. Many within this field have been voicing concern and displeasure. I’m of the opinion that is not a good idea. If you don’t think your text messages can’t be used against you, then you haven’t dealt with good lawyers yet who know to pull all that information for their case. Yes, this is why I strongly advocate your employer get you your own phone as well…and do nothing with it but work.

Our how about the nuggets in this article?

“Cases in which judges were disciplined for biased social media posts
Supplement to “Social Media and Judicial Ethics: Part I”
Judicial Conduct Reporter (Spring 2017)”

Yes, judges are going to naturally be held to higher standards than what normal folks are going to get. But I am also of the opinion we should hold ourselves to the same level as the courts would themselves. So what does that mean? I understand this will be an unpopular opinion as well, but you need to just not engage in activity that could come back to haunt you 3-4 years from now. Don’t think it’ll happen?

Josh Allen takes responsibility for tweets sent as high schooler

Yeah, a recently drafted NFL player (who is 22 years old currently) had to take responsibility for tweets sent when he was 14-15 years old. You do not understand just how much time folks have on their hands until this type of stuff happens. One of the first things that was taught to us before going through moot court for certification was to Google your name, that way you could see what others would see if they were trying to figure out who you are. Do a little bit of OSINT work on your name and you can find those social media postings on Twitter, LinkedIn, or even Facebook relatively quickly.

Remember, the goal of an opposing counsel in court is to try and discredit you if they cannot get the evidence thrown out!!!!!

So how are they going to do that? Varying ways and depends on even their skill set as well. If your CV isn’t up to task, they’ll probably just hit you on that. But if you’re CV is intact they’ll do whatever they can to make you slip up. Yes, I have personally seen in court someone’s social media postings be called into question as a method of displaying investigative bias. And if you think this doesn’t effect you because you’re private sector and rarely see your legal team, let alone a deposition, take a gander at Craig Bloch’s Corporate Investigative Template. Once again, leaving any bias you may have to the side is crucial. And to be honest, private sector is where this is much more of a problem in my eyes. You may not think your Twitter rant about a social issue will ever come up, but it certainly can. Even if it has nothing to do with the investigation, you will lose credibility. There is no denying that and you must be aware of this.

Employment

This also doesn’t even get into the juicy fact that I would imagine a majority of companies who are looking to employ those within our field are going to do their own due diligence on you. That most likely means outside of just a background check, they are probably going to scour for every trace of your name. Once again OSINT comes back to bite you. Not to mention many companies out there openly promote software solutions that will do it all for them to find everything. So say you put something up about how the cops were corrupt in the Making a Murder program on Netflix from 3 years ago on Twitter and you are applying at local law enforcement office. Don’t think that may come back to get ya a little bit? Or that you think that women in the workplace are hazards to productivity…don’t think that might get your application thrown in the trash at a private sector company?

Naturally, 2 extreme examples. But I really hope it resonates with everyone that this is a serious endeavor. We are expected to conduct and uphold ourselves to the highest standards within our field. You’re not applying to be a Sales Rep or Marketing employee, you are applying to become a person who is going to be charged with making tough decisions that could have dire outcomes on a person’s life. Take it seriously is all I offer as my sage advice. Keep yourself out of the limelight and the social media mix by not getting involved with things that could be heavily controversial unless you TRULY believe that you can defend why you said it. Whether it be a lawyer or a hiring manager, you may have to defend whatever it may be.