Sometimes we are asked to use our skills for honest good, and for me, this is one of those times.
I had a family member leave this world by their own hand a few years ago. Grief has its place in this process, but there are also things that we, as security researchers, can do to help in a situation like this.
We all have a digital footprint. From our browsing history to documents we create, to programs we use. Everything we do on a computer is usually logged somewhere. This includes sometimes the last moments of our life. With the skills we learn, we have the ability to break into these digital footprints, read the last moments. It is a part of digital forensics to be able to do this. Pulling apart what is important, from all that might not be, and doing this in an honorable manner. We must approach this task with respect to the dignity appropriate to the situation. It is a unique situation to be in when we are asked by grieving family members to see what might have been going through a person’s mind just before they left this world for the next.
Not all tasks we are asked to do are glorious. We will not always be asked to do flashy “hacks” or breach secure corporate infrastructure. Sometimes we are asked to reconstruct the thoughts of a family member, or friend, that made the decision to leave us behind. It is the greatest honor I have personally been asked, and honestly the most profound task I can personally complete. I wish it was only once that I have been asked, but it is not. I wish I would never have the opportunity to be asked it again, but that is wishful thinking.
Be kind to one another. Especially family. Keep each other close. If you need help, please reach out. You are not alone.