Lab tackles cyber criminals (and infamous Jeremy Clarkson video)

David Lidington MP visits Cyfor. From the left, Michelle Bowman, senior forensic investigator, Adrian Wood, head of investigations and David Lidington
David Lidington MP visits Cyfor. From the left, Michelle Bowman, senior forensic investigator, Adrian Wood, head of investigations and David Lidington

A digital forensics firm with a branch in Aylesbury is at the heart of bringing cyber criminals to justice.

Cyfor works internationally with police, law enforcement firms and top tier law firms and has been based in Aylesbury for 10 years, but the exact location cannot be revealed due to security reasons.

The firm provides digital forensics, eDisclosure and cyber security expertise to the legal, corporate, law enforcement and private sectors and it employs around 30 investigators – all of which have either military or police backgrounds.

It battles against terrorism, fraud, intellectual property theft and industrial espionage as well as working with police to help prosecute murderers.

Head of communications Muhammed Shaikh said: “It involves hundreds of terrabytes of data, and we process it, analyse it and present it using graphs and dashboards.

“We also extract the meta data, so for example we would be able to find out when and where a video was made – something you would not normally know just by watching it.

David Lidington with director Keith Cottenden

David Lidington with director Keith Cottenden

“We can also determine when the files have been saved, and when they were last opened or altered.”

Cyfor investigators are often employed by national media outlets to prove whether mediums such as video footage is genuine, and they were recently involved in the storm surrounding Jeremy Clarkson’s alleged use of the N word.

Mr Shaikh said: “We were instructed by the Daily Mirror, who sent us the audio and we were able to prove that yes, he did say it.”

The pace at which criminals operate can be mind-blowing, but the company ensures the investigators are always on their tail by investing in the lastest multi-million pound equipment.

We were instructed by the Daily Mirror, who sent us the audio and we were able to prove that yes, he did say it.

Head of communications Muhammed Shaikh

Mr Shaikh said: “Not only does the nature of the crimes change, but the nature of the evidence is always changing, progressing and evolving, so we have to use the most up to date software and hardware.”

Aylesbury MP David Lidington visited Cyfor to meet director Keith Cottenden and head of investigations Adrian Wood.

Mr Lidington said: “This sort of company would not have existed a decade ago, and it’s great to see such a high tech employer in Aylesbury.

“These criminals are very professionally organised, so to have these investigators digging out evidence is very important in bringing these people to justice.”

From the left, Michelle Bowman, senior forensic investigator, Adrian Wood, head of investigations, Keith Cottenden, director, David Lidington MP and Mohammed Shaikh, marketing and communications.

From the left, Michelle Bowman, senior forensic investigator, Adrian Wood, head of investigations, Keith Cottenden, director, David Lidington MP and Mohammed Shaikh, marketing and communications.