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SBI's Computer Forensic Unit Tracks Internet Usage

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Since criminals are using computers for everything from terrorism to child pornography, the

State Bureau of Investigation

has shifted some resources to its new Computer Forensics Unit.

Most of the unit's work is done for local law enforcement agencies.

"Generally what we do is to disassemble the computer and remove the hard drive," SBI special agent John Dilday said. "We make what's called an image of the hard drive, which is an exact bit-for-bit copy of everything that's on the hard drive."

Using special software, agents can read e-mail and check every Web site or chat room that has been visited.

"I can sort by date access that will give me chronological charting of how the computer has been used, what's been changed at what time," Dilday said.

In addition to the Raleigh group, eight more agents across the state work on computer crime because according to state attorney general Roy Cooper, "You may have a murder, a drug deal, a terrorist threat where a computer is involved."

The unit recently helped to trace a

young girl

from Pinehurst to New Orleans by following her computer's Internet activity.

SBI agents urge parents to keep close track of their children's Internet use and habits. They said the worst place for an Internet-connected computer is in your child's room.


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