A Playlist for the Forensic Workday

Posted on August 12, 2010


We often have music on in the office over at Monkeytown HTCU – it provides a soundtrack to the day, stimulates conversation and is great for getting in the zone when you need to. Often it’s dance or 80s hits, but we try to get a good mix of songs going.

None of the music we play is specifically targeted at the work we do and for a while now I’ve been thinking that it’d be good to get a playlist together that suits the various things you encounter during the day in the computer forensics biz. So here it is: the forensic day, told through the wonder of song:

0630hrs: You go out to the house of some craven pervert to help deliver the good news that the internet isn’t as anonymous as he may have once believed. You need an appropriate wakey-wakey ditty to hum while you’re bagging up the exhibits, and 80s bad-boys The Anti-Nowhere League are ready to oblige:

You get back to the office mid-morning (after one of those slap-up breakfasts that Nick Furneaux mentioned in his excellent Cyberspeak interview), lugging the desktop computer from the house. Like a kid at Christmas you whip out the hard drive, attach it to a writeblocker and start whupping the crap out of it in Encase. This is where the next song comes in – you’re running the C4P script to carve images, sniffing out chat logs, exporting the pagefile…the clock’s ticking! The owner is in the cells and due to be interviewed in a few hours! Gotta find out what he’s been doing, so you add a couple of keyword searches into the mix, maybe start working on the internet history…crap, better start mooching through the registry as well…it’s all getting too much for poor old Encase, and you end up with the White Screen of Wait. Is it going to come back? Luckily The Primitives have a song to listen to while you wait to find out:

(apologies for the ‘disabled embedding’ – blame Sony for being tossers)

As it turns out everything goes well with the preview, you get out loads of tasty nuggets and carry on with your other jobs.

Just as you’re getting back into the swing of the job you started last week, The Office Fluffer drops a fax on your desk. Joy of joys, it’s a defence statement from the guiltiest man to ever walk the earth! Never one to hedge his bets, it consists of several concentric rings of defence: the images aren’t indecent; if they are, then he didn’t put them there; if he did put them there then he didn’t do it on purpose; if he did do it on purpose then he was under the control of space aliens via his satnav – they live in the satellites, dontchaknow. There’s only one song for this occasion:

After you’ve scrawled ‘F- : Could do better” on it and faxed it back to CPS, you get your nose back into your work. This consists of sinking waist-deep into the cesspit of someone else’s mind, through the medium of their computer. After an hour or two you can almost smell the latex and ass-sweat, and you start to look out of the window, wondering if there’s a more pleasant and simple way to live. This is the time for The Kinks:

This cheers you up enough to start thinking about luncheon. While you’re munching away you read through weekly orders on the intranet, and see that a Chief’s Commendation has been given to the OiC of one of your jobs…one of the ones where all  they did was get a referral from outside, grab a few exhibits which you slaved over for weeks, doing Real Forensics to produce a watertight report that made the offender enter an early guilty plea, then put the file in. Luckily, there’s a song for this occasion too:

After lunch you’ve got back into your work and have entered the zone again, when you’re interrupted by a phone call. A local serial-pervert has been arrested for looking at badness in the local library again, and the bobby wants some advice on what to seize. You hold the phone up to your speakers and play Aqualung by Jethro Tull:


This takes you through to hometime and just as you’re about to go, you check the travel news and notice that one of your old jobs has just been convicted. Time for one last song before you call it a day:

There were a load of songs I could have included in this list (some horrendously inappropriate), and I’m sure that y’all will have some good suggestions – stick em in the comments.