Marketing Computer Forensics at the Kids

Posted on March 16, 2010


In an earlier post I suggested some books aimed at getting children into computer forensics. This time I’d like to suggest some ways in which vendors in the computer forensics field can market themselves at the juvenile demographic, to get their pitch in early. I’m not saying they should be selling kit to kids – the only being that can break or lose equipment quicker than a police officer is a child – but the children of today are the consumers of tomorrow, and some of them are going to be consumers of CF products.

The task at hand then is to build some brand awareness among the little angels, like those soul-sucking dead-eyed whores at McDonalds or the toy companies do. We need to imprint certain logos, names and brands on their impressionable minds, so that its ingrained on them before they reach an age where they question the influences they’re fed.

Our first job is to make an iconic, child-friendly character to represent the product. How about Archie the Accessdata Dongle? Archie could be a friendly figure in the shape of a Codemeter dongle, with a cheery smile and a happy wave. The light on the top of his head glows green when he’s happy, but flashes red when his nemesis Ernie Encase is in the area.

Archie could be shown in a series of adverts depicting the endless battle between the two characters – for example one in which Archie is helping a forensics examiner (played perhaps by Robin Williams or Morgan Freeman) to perform some task like recovering a formula for a cure for cancer from a damaged hard drive, using FTK. At a crucial moment, Ernie sneaks into the lab (using classic comedy cartoon sneaking) and attempts to perform some mischief like writing to the drive or swapping the formula for one that will give everyone in the world ebola. Or something like that, you get the general idea. I’d do a sample illustration, but my drawing skills are so imbued with purest fail that you really wouldn’t thank me for it.

Naturally once one manufacturer starts marketing at the kids, the rest will have to follow suit. Within a year we’ll see Encase lunchboxes in playgrounds throughout the country, McDonalds giving out flimsy toy Tableau writeblockers with their Happy Meals and Paraben product placement in the next Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. Harlan Carvey will have his own spot in Lazytown, trying to convince the kids to test their tools more rigorously.

Harlen, I swear I'd use RegRipper more if this crystal meth wasn't so damn tasty!

Marketing, like urine on a bus floor, only spreads. I envisage lucrative synergies across the CF and youth markets. Instead of clamouring for the latest Hannah Montana or High School Musical school bag, kids will be gambolling gaily down the road swinging their satchels in the shape of a shell (you got it – ShellBags! I’ve got prior art on that idea, so don’t even *think* about bringing it to market before me).

There would be TV programmes with movie tie-ins set in ‘Forensic High’, following the trials and tribulations of a school of precocious little darlings learning the trade and desperately trying to get a work placement. Sample storyline: Jodie uses Norton DiskEdit to write ‘I lve u’ in the MBR of the image file being used for hunky Marlon’s end-of-term exam. Little does she know that the manipulative Chelsea-Jo, who also fancies Marlon, saw her doing it and has swapped the image so that geeky Brett gets it instead. Meanwhile Marlon, who has been wondering if he might be gay, is making cow-eyes at Brett across the lab bench. Brett, who is only in Forensic High because he was excluded from all the other local schools, is recruiting all the computers in the school to use in a botnet-borne DoS attack against Jodie’s billionaire phialnthropist father, as revenge for him firing Brett’s father for trying to implement a Pantless Workplace rule when he was CTO of Jodie’s Dad Industries, Inc. In the end Russell May makes a surprise visit to the school to give a motivational address on fair play, decency and How To Get Along.

Note: I’ve now got a Facebook page (link on top right). No, I don’t know what I’m going to do with it either.