Jeff Michael Fischbach
Jeff Michael Fischbach is founder and President of SecondWave Information Systems (SecondWave.com), a technology consulting firm specializing in Forensic Technology. Since 1994, he has served as a board member and technology adviser to numerous professional organizations and corporations. Mr. Fischbach has been engaged as a litigation consultant and Forensic Examiner, offering expert advice and oversight on matters involving intellectual property, computers, information systems, satellite, electronic tracking and wireless communications technologies. He has advised law enforcement, foreign government representatives, judges, lawyers and the press. In addition to his work at SecondWave, Mr. Fischbach currently serves on several professional boards in advisory positions.
Caught in a Net…
Fischbach was born and raised in Southern California. His experience has evolved from juvenile hacking to computer programing, to forensics — which came entirely by accident. He stumbled into forensics in 1996, when he was asked to assist a Los Angeles law firm that believed they were in the process of being hacked.
They weren’t. Instead, he discovered that the perpetrator exploited a flaw in the Internet (that still exists today) to concoct an elaborate hoax aimed at extorting the firm, and it’s name-brand global consumer electronics manufacturing client, out of $1,000,000. The evidence he found was turned over to the FBI, and subsequently gained national media attention. Since then, he has consulted with attorneys, judges, and law enforcement on matters as diverse as fraud, counterfeit, and intellectual property theft, to rape, murder, kidnapping, and espionage.
He examines just about anything capable of producing, receiving and/or storing binary data — especially when that data can be used to help reconstruct a series of events. That includes computers, cellphones, surveillance systems, entertainment devices, and even kitchen appliances.
He has been granted National Security access for the purposes of reviewing sensitive materials for trial. And has worked directly with judges in the capacity of a “special master”.
In the last 16 years he has not only examined cases for trials in nearly every state in the union, but also abroad. Fischbach has testified in state, federal and military courts.
Outside the courtroom, he appears frequently on National Public Radio, TV, and in print media, and speaks publicly to audiences by the hundreds, several times a year.
Most recently, one of his radio interviews was cited in a U.S. Supreme Court Decision. In contrast with the very serious cases that usually consume most of his time, Fischbach also consults regularly with best-selling authors and screen-writers. He even once helped a State Supreme Court judge, who was writing his own crime novel.
Frequently quoted in the media,
Fischbach’s cases have been featured on television, covered by live news, analyzed in the press, and scrutinized by talk radio. He’s become the go-to expert in the national press in the United States, and abroad. National Public Radio says he’s, “like those guys in The Matrix — when he puts on his shades and looks at the world, he sees data.”
Even Fischbach’s first case in 1997, an alleged $1.2 million extortion plot leveraged against a major electronics manufacturer, was written into Jayne A. Hitchcock’s, “Net Crimes & Misdemeanors”.
The book, written before many Americans had ever used the Internet, exposed readers to a new vocabulary. Words like “spam” and “spoof” described a surreal, but real-life, plot to avenge a sour business deal using the Internet.
“They’d recently had a conflict with a Southern California man who ran a religious Web site… who was behind in payments by $2,400. Company officials tried to collect, but the man told them that if they didn’t pay him $1.2 million, he was going to ruin their business.
One body. One suspect. Two theories. A laptop. A message. A birdcage. A bloody crime-scene. Two trials. Two hung juries. No convictions. One unsolved mystery. That’s just an ordinary Monday in Fischbach’s line of work. This real-life “stranger-than-fiction” case was the subject of Discovery Channel’s one-hour “Blood in the Birdcage”, which aired in 2009.
“When a beloved music professor discovers the dead body of his long-time partner, he claims he’s walked into the aftermath of a tragic suicide. But as investigators descend on the scene, they immediately realize that this reported suicide is clearly a homicide. Is it possible the professor is behind this vicious crime, or has he been falsely accused? The forensic experts on each side battle it out.” – Investigation Discovery
When the Canadian Parliament received by mail the severed limbs of a Chinese international student, scared and confused citizens looked to the media for answers. An international manhunt ensued. Along with dozens of modeling photos and videos, the suspect had posted online his own instructions for going “off-the-grid”, and hiding in plain sight. The Canadian media looked to Jeff Fischbach for understanding. A series of print and television interviews spanned from the beginning of the hunt, to the day of capture at an Internet cafe in Berlin.
“He craves attention. He’s not the type to drop off the map. There are thousands of pictures of him online. It will be nearly impossible for him to hide unless he pulls a Ted Kaczynski, and lives off grid in the woods,” Jeff Fischbach, a forensic technologist, told QMI from his office in California.
Truth is stranger than fiction. For some, however, the two collide. Take, for example, international best-selling author, Joseph Finder, who’s spy novels straddle a fine line that bisects factual means and fictional motives. In his 2011 book, “Buried Secrets”, Finder calls Fischbach a, “real-life character out of The Matrix who knows a scary amount about electronic evidence and cell-phone tracking”.
Cellphones, iPhones, iPads, Facebook, Netbooks, digital cameras, digital TV, digital surveillance, triangulation, global positioning, wi-fi, X-Box’s, automotive black-boxes, and tiny chips already hidden in things you use every day — very little happens in the 21st Century, without leaving a trail of digital evidence. Learn to follow these digital breadcrumbs — either to challenge, or to use them strategically. Once you have them, decipher fact from fantasy, and discover how use both to your advantage.