Tag Archives: BlackBerry Forensics

Encrypted BlackBerry Lock Screen

Private Sector – Digital Forensics Industry First – Encrypted BlackBerry Examinations

Due to ongoing expert Research and Development, SYTECH are proud to announce the “UK Private Sector – Digital Forensics Industry First” regarding the Digital Forensic examination of Encrypted BlackBerry Devices (including PGP encryption).


With the rise of Digital Security aware Organised Crime Groups and IT literate persons, this type of complex examination can lead to the convictions otherwise missed due to previously inaccessible data held within these information gold mines.


If you have a device with a padlock in the top left of the screen (open or closed) or suspect PGP based encryption then:

Contact us directly to discuss this invaluable service on  01782 286300 or email enquiries@sytech-consultants.com and ask for Simon Lang.


We are so confident that we will gladly offer a “no win, no fee” service.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Encrypted BlackBerry Lock Screen
Encrypted BlackBerry Lock Screen
Detailed View of a Memory Chip

SYTECH Assisted Case – Password Protected BlackBerry Chip-Off – “31-member drug gang that controlled illegal supplies across the north east are jailed following three-year investigation”

OCG (Organised Crime Group) Investigation

James Kelly and Paul Gill were 2 of the a 31 member drug gang. Police Operation Cobweb saw that all 31 members of the OCG “drug gang” were jailed in total to 231 years.

The Court case for Operation Cobweb started in 2012 and finished in 2015. Kelly is now currently serving a 10 year sentence and Gill serving a four year sentence.

SYTECH were asked to carry out an advanced digital forensic examination of a PIN / Password Locked BlackBerry Mobile Phone Handset which is attributed to this on-going investigation.


“31-member drug gang that controlled illegal supplies across the north east are jailed following three-year investigation”


The final two defendants of a 31-member drug gang that supplied class A drugs across the north east have been jailed following one of the biggest drug operations ever.

Craig Ferguson, 38, and Dawn Gorman, 43, were jailed at Teesside Crown Court for their part in the cross-country drug dealing network.

They were the final two members of the 31-strong gang to be sentenced, after a three-year police investigation – dubbed ‘Operation Cobweb’ – brought the drugs ring to an end.

The investigation, the biggest drugs operation ever to be run by Cleveland Police, has now seen a total of 31 people put behind bars for a total of 231 years.

The final defendants were linked to a conspiracy to deal Class A drugs on an industrial scale, which allowed its kingpins to lead the high life.

Ferguson was jailed for five years and three months at the court hearing on Monday after the judges heard how he collected drugs for a local dealer on four occasions from January 2012 to August 2012.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, said Ferguson transported large quantities of drugs from the north west to Teesside.

He said: ‘It was, as you know, a professional and skilled conspiracy.

‘You are towards the very bottom of this conspiracy.’

Also in the dock yesterday was Gorman, the wife of one of the conspiracy’s top bosses, who was jailed for 18 months.

The former air hostess’s husband Jeffrey Hanks, 52, is currently serving a 22-year jail term – the longest sentence given to any of the conspirators.

The couple, from Bury, splashed out on motorbikes, holidays, private education, a lavishly-furnished home, Jimmy Choo shoes and a Porsche Cayenne, the court heard previously.

Gorman was not involved in the drugs plot itself, but a jury convicted her of money laundering.

She had denied offences of concealing and converting criminal property.

The judge said she knew her husband Hanks – branded ‘a thoroughly manipulative, dishonest individual’ – was a drug dealer.

He told her: ‘It beggars’ belief that you did not know what was going on.

‘You were happily spending money that was part of a considerable and sizeable drug conspiracy.

‘You were willingly and enthusiastically spending the money on what, on any view, could be deemed an extravagant lifestyle.

‘Without that money from the drug dealing, you could not have in any way dreamt of leading such a life.’

He said the amount of money involved was ‘well in excess of £100,000’.

Barristers for the pair, who had few previous convictions, asked the judge to consider passing suspended sentences.

They stressed the ‘devastating’ impact of a prison term on the defendants’ children.

The judge told Gorman that she and her husband bore the responsibility for their children’s suffering, as they carried on their criminal activity knowing the possible consequences if they got caught.

‘You did it essentially because you were driven by greed,’ the judge added.

Duncan McReddie, defending Ferguson, said he had responsibility for seven children and he was a good and caring father who had tried to lead a productive, law-abiding life since his arrest.

He said Ferguson got involved out of a desire to help his cousin, fellow runner David Cuthbert.

Cuthbert, 38, was jailed for five years in May last year, along with 22 other members of the gang who were locked up for a total 177 years.

David Toal, representing Gorman, said she might have ‘turned a blind eye’ to the money and played a lesser role.

He said her health had also been affected and she stood to lose her home and possessions.

It has taken almost three years for the catalogue of court cases linked to Operation Cobweb to reach their conclusion.

They began with two cases in 2012 – one following a high-speed police chase where 2kg of heroin worth £90,000 was hurled from a moving car.

They finished with jail terms given yesterday to Ferguson and Gorman, who enjoyed the fruits of the network which flooded Teesside with Class A drugs.

In between, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC jailed 22 people – from couriers to warehousemen, right-hand men, lieutenants and ringleaders – to a total of 177 years in May last year.

He said of the drugs conspiracy: ‘It was carried out in a determined and ruthless fashion. It was conceived and put into effect by professional and experienced criminals who were aiming to achieve a high financial reward.’

The second-longest sentence of 16 years was given to Robert Hickman, 29 – the leader of the Teesside operation.

He unsuccessfully appealed his prison term, and arranged for drugs to be smuggled into prison, for which he received a concurrent six-year sentence.

Then in December, one of the gang’s north west ‘controllers in chief’ Jeffrey Hanks was jailed for 22 years.

Operation Cobweb was Cleveland Police’s largest-ever drugs investigation and has now put 31 people behind bars for a total of 231 years.

The three-year investigation smashed a well-organised drugs ring, which was driven by dedicated criminals trafficking heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine using ‘dirty phones’.

The drugs were transported from the Greater Manchester area to Teesside regularly, with payment in tens of thousands of pounds heading the other way.

More than 100 trips were made between Teesside and Manchester transporting vast amounts of drugs and ‘dirty money’.

Officers seized almost 6.9kg in heroin, 2.26kg of cocaine, 437.5g of crack cocaine and more than 22kg in cutting agents.

The recovered drugs were worth £824,686, and £127,966 cash was seized, but prosecutors said this was the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Police and prosecutors pieced together evidence including telephone communications analysis, observations, drug and cash seizures, vehicle sightings and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera data.

Detective Sergeant Colin Helyer, from Cleveland Police’s organised crime unit, said Operation Cobweb was a protracted and complex covert investigation and one of the unit’s largest-ever inquiries.

Speaking after the final two defendants were sentenced yesterday, Detective Constable John Findlay, who also works with Cleveland Police’s organised crime unit, said: ‘This has been one of Cleveland Police’s longest-running, most complex and involved investigations.

‘I would like to pay tribute to all our officers who have worked tirelessly over several years to bring these people before the courts.

‘I would also like to thank those members of the public who provided vital information to help our inquiries.

‘I would reiterate that police will always act on information on drug dealing and other crime which is provided to us.

‘You may not see anything happen immediately but rest assured, there will be a good deal of work going on in the background.

‘With assistance from our colleagues at Greater Manchester Police, we have succeeded in bringing to justice a large group of people who were involved in drug dealing across the North and North-east, and who were often profiting handsomely from their involvement.

‘Those jailed will have time to reflect on their actions, and the sentences should act as a deterrent to anyone tempted to deal illegal drugs.’

SYTECH Case – Damaged BlackBerry Forensic Examination – Linzi Ashton: Michael Cope Admits Murder

SYTECH Case – Damaged BlackBerry Forensic Examination – Linzi Ashton: Michael Cope Admits Murder

A man has admitted murdering his ex-girlfriend in a “dreadful and violent attack” in Greater Manchester.

Michael Cope, 28, pleaded guilty to the murder of Linzi Ashton and three counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, at the start of his trial at Manchester Crown Court.

Miss Ashton, 25, was found dead at her home in Winton, Salford, on June 29 last year.

A post-mortem examination concluded she died as a result of pressure to the neck and multiple injuries.

Cope had a brief “acrimonious” relationship with Miss Ashton, who had two daughters, Destiny, seven, and Daisy, two.

Michael Cope
A CCTV image of the fugitive in Wigan while he was on the run

Police said Miss Ashton had been the subject of a “vicious and sustained attack”.

Cope spent nearly a month on the run following the killing, sparking a police manhunt.

Officers described him as a dangerous individual, who had a “history of violent and aggressive behaviour”, and warned he should not be approached.

An allegation of rape, which he had denied, has been requested to lie on file.

The barmaid made complaints to Greater Manchester Police last April and May that Cope had raped and beaten her.

Police issued picture of Linzi Ashton
Miss Ashton was the victim of deliberate and sustained domestic abuse

A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said: “Having considered this case very carefully in line with CPS policy, we have asked the judge to order that the rape count lie on the court file.

“We have taken this step only after proper consideration of the views of Linzi Ashton’s family members on this matter.”

Ruth Mann, senior crown prosecutor for CPS North West, said: “Linzi Ashton was the victim of deliberate and sustained domestic abuse at the hands of Michael Cope.

“This abuse culminated in a dreadful and violent attack on Saturday June 29 which resulted in the tragic loss of her life.

“We have been determined to bring Michael Cope to justice for the horrific way in which he treated Linzi Ashton and we have worked tirelessly to build a strong case against him.

“Today he has admitted to her murder and he has been brought to account for his reprehensible actions.

“This is a very sad case and today’s outcome can in no way address the pain felt by the friends and family of Linzi Ashton.

“I would like to offer them my deepest condolences and my thoughts are very much with them at this time.”

In a statement issued shortly after Miss Ashton’s death, her family said: “She was the most beautiful, generous, caring person anyone could ever wish to meet.

“She would never harm anyone and was always there for her children and family.”

Cope is to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Linzi Ashton: Michael Cope Admits Murder.

SYTECH – BlackBerry Chip-Off Forensics Case – Loan shark who survived Dale Cregan pub shooting jailed for ‘preying on the vulnerable’

SYTECH – BlackBerry Chip-Off Forensics Case

Loan shark who survived Dale Cregan pub shooting jailed for ‘preying on the vulnerable’

Raymond Young collected cash for a loan sharking firm. A judge said the crime was so serious he had to be immediately sent to prison.


Dale Cregan
Dale Cregan

A loan shark who survived a pub shooting by killer Dale Cregan has been jailed after working as a debt collector for a rogue outfit.

Raymond Young, 30, collected cash for a loan sharking firm which ‘preyed on the vulnerable’ by charging exorbitant rates of interest.

His barrister pleaded for him not to be jailed because he had been so traumatised by witnessing his pal Mark Short get blasted to death by Cregan in Droylsden’s Cotton Tree pub in May last year.

But a judge said the crime was so serious he had to be immediately sent to prison.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard how Young worked for I+J Loans on and off from January 2012 to June this year.

During the investigation into the firm, Young, an electrician by trade, was found with text messages on his phone in which he was arranging the collection of repayments, Simon Mortimer, prosecuting, said.

Young sent messages using a Blackberry Messenger profile in the name of ‘Raymond *******’ which was accompanied by a photograph of a tray of cash with a gun it, the court was told.

The firm also used images which suggested people would be hospitalised or hit by a car if repayments weren’t made.

Loans were charged at 100 per cent interest, the court was told and charges were also added for late payment.

Young, of John Heywood Street, Clayton , pleaded guilty to two charges of being involved with an unlicensed consumer credit business and one of possessing criminal property at an earlier hearing.

Toby Wilbraham, defending, said Young, who has a long-term partner a five-year-old daughter, was paid just ‘£20 here and there’ for his work and only made a few hundred pounds in total for his role in the enterprise.

He said: “He did not make a large amount of money himself and did not lead a luxurious lifestyle. He has clearly expressed remorse.

“He worked full-time until 2010 and has worked on and off since then. Recently he has had problems after witnessing the murder of his friend and has suffered from anxiety and depression.

“He has seen a doctor about this who says he has shown signs of suffering from PTSD.”

Sentencing Young to a year in prison, Judge Timothy Mort said: “This is so serious that nothing other than immediate custodial sentence is appropriate.

“If you are not licensed you are preying on people who are very vulnerable to sharp practice.

“They unable to borrow from the normal, regulated, financial institutions. The result is that people are drawn deeper and deeper into debt.

“It is a scourge for people who are deeply in financial difficulties to be placed in even more more anxiety and distress.”

How they were caught

I+J Loans was rumbled during an operation by the England Illegal Money Lending Team, along with Manchester council and the police.

Three men have already been jailed for their role in the business.

It was run by Ian Parsons, 27 who pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal money lending and two counts of money laundering.

Parsons, of Lakeside Rise, Blackley , was sentenced to 32 months behind bars.

Christopher Weaver, 37 of Maybury Street, Gorton , Manchester, pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal money lending and two counts of money laundering. He was jailed for 18 months.

His brother Mark Weaver, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of illegal money lending and one count of money laundering and was sentenced to three months in prison.

Loan shark who survived Dale Cregan pub shooting jailed for ‘preying on the vulnerable’ – Manchester Evening News.

SYTECH Case – “Memogate” Pakistani probe concludes ex-US envoy Husain Haqqani drafted memo

Judges investigating whether a Pakistani diplomat asked for American help in removing two senior military commanders has concluded that the former ambassador to Washington drafted a controversial memo which sparked months of intrigue.

ISLAMABAD, May 18: The memo commission completed on Friday its formal proceedings during which it exhibited the electronic evidence produced by American businessman Mansoor Ijaz in support of his claim of drafting and delivering a memorandum to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen at the behest of former ambassador Husain Haqqani.

At its last hearing, the commission headed by Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa recorded the statement of its secretary District and Sessions Judge Islamabad East Raja Jawad Abbas Hassan who had submitted the forensic report of electronic evidence – BlackBerry messengers and email exchanges of Mr Ijaz and Mr Haqqani.

The secretary was crossexamined by Mr Ijaz`s counsel Akram Sheikh and the deputy attorney general.

Mr Haqqani`s lawyers did not attend the hearing because the former ambassador had boycotted the commission`s proceedings.

Advocate Akram said the forensic report proved that Mr Haqqani had engaged his client for drafting and delivering the memorandum to Admiral Mullen. He said expenses of forensic analysis should be recovered from Mr Haqqani because the commission had sent its secretary abroad after his denial to the electronic evidence.He accused Mr Haqqani of paying $30,000 per month to American lobbyists Harlen Ullman and David Frum from his $7 million discretionary fund for damage control after the memogate scandal came into limelight.

The commission`s secretary said he had asked the parties to submit their proposals for protocol for the forensic test of electronic evidence on March 19. Mr Haqqani and Mr Ijaz sent their proposals through emails the following day.

`I proceeded to London on May 5 for the forensic test of electronic evidence contained in laptop and BlackBerry handsets of Mr Ijaz and offered him and Mr Haqqani to send any suggestion or witness the forensic test at the Pakistan`s High Commission in England.

`I selected a British company, System Technology Consultants Limited (Sytech), for the forensic test because of its reputation, accreditation, cost-effectiveness and their promise for expeditious processing,` the secretary added.

He said the company had deputed two experts -Simon R Lang, a forensic analyst, and Mark Wilshaw, an internet crime specialist for the analysis of Mr Ijaz`s handsets and laptop. The experts started their work on May 11 and submitted reports, along with their affidavits, on May 14.

The deputy attorney gener-al asked the secretary under which criteria he had selected Sytech and how did he know that its experts were the best among others. The secretary said he had got information from the parties in the memo case and also checked through internet. Their selection was based on the cases they had solved in a certain period of time, he added.

Raja Jawad said he had informed Mr Ijaz and Mr Haqqani about the forensic test and also served notices on them prior to the forensic analysis.

The commission also took up an application of Barrister Zafarullah Khan who requested it to treat the evidence as completed and placed them before the Supreme Court for further proceedings.

He said Mr Haqqani had been found guilty after the forensic test and this was the reason he did not appear before the commission despite issuance of several summons.

The commission had summoned the foreign secretary, along with details of secret funds used by Mr Haqqani during his ambassadorship, but he did not appear because of his engagements abroad.

The commission decided to convene another in-camera meeting with the foreign secretary and announced the completion of formal proceedings of the memo investigation. 

In-camera session with foreign secretary soon Memo commission proceedings end | ePaper | DAWN.COM.


The memogate controversy (also Mullen memo controversy)[1] revolves around a memorandum (addressed to Admiral Mike Mullen) ostensibly seeking help of the Obama administration in the wake of the Osama bin Laden raid to avert a military takeover of the civilian government in Pakistan, as well as assisting in a Washington insider takeover of the government and military apparatus. The timeline of events indicate that the memo, delivered in May, was still being acted on behind the scenes in October 2011; when Mansoor Ijaz wrote a Financial Times article bringing initial public attention to the affair. The memo, which at first was questioned to even exist, was published in November, leading to the resignation of Ambassador Haqqani and the continuing Pakistani Supreme Court investigation.[2][3][4]

Central actors in the plot include Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who alleged that long-time friend and former Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani asked him to deliver a confidential memo[5] asking for US assistance. The memo is alleged to have been drafted by Haqqani at the behest of President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.[6] The memo was delivered to Mike Mullen by personal friend of Mansoor Ijaz and then National Security Advisor James L. Jones.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has opened a broader inquiry into the origins, credibility and purpose of the memo and as of March 30, 2012 has extended their inquiry at least another 6 weeks.[2][7] On April 19, 2012 a petition was submitted in the Supreme Court to arrest former Pakistan ambassador to US Husain Haqqani through Interpol for his refusal to return to Pakistan. On June 12 the supreme court commission released its findings and found that after testimony by all parties and verifying the forensic results of Ijaz’s BlackBerry conversations with Haqqani it was “incontrovertibly established” that Husain Haqqani had written the memo and was being called back to Pakistan to face likely charges of treason.



Husain Haqqani was forced to resign from the post in November after details of the unsigned letter came to light.

However, his supporters insist he is the victim of a smear campaign and a pawn in a three-way power struggle between the country’s judges, the military and the civilian government.

The idea that a Pakistani diplomat could enlist US help against a powerful military establishment is hugely sensitive at a time when American drones are pounding the country’s north-western fringes, and the controversy at one time threatened to bring down the government.

On Tuesday, a judicial commission concluded that Mr Haqqani had written a memo delivered to Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, in May 2011, days after the US raid to kill Osama bin Laden amid fears of a military coup in Pakistan.

Part of the report, read in court, said: “Mr Haqqani sought American Help; he also wanted to create a niche for himself making himself forever indispensable to the Americans.

“He lost sight of the fact that he is a Pakistani citizen and Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States of America, and therefore his loyalty could only be to Pakistan.”

The court adjourned for two weeks and ordered Mr Haqqani, along with a witness, Mansoor Ijaz, an American businessman who revealed the existence of the memo, to appear when the hearing resumes.

However, Mr Haqqani, who now lives in the US, dismissed the report as “political and one-sided”.

“In any case, the commission was created as a fact-finding body and not as a trial court so it has no right to pronounce anyone guilty or innocent of any crime,” he said in a statement.