Meet The Team: Hayley Marron
The IntaForensics Digital Investigation Unit (DIU) recently welcomed Hayley Marron to the team as a Digital Investigator. We caught up with Hayley to discuss her career, how she got into forensics and digital investigations and how she sees the development of women in the field.
What was it about IntaForensics that made you want to join the company?
“Last year, when I was part of the police, we came to IntaForensics and met Carl Osborne. I was really impressed with the whole atmosphere of the office, the ladies who greeted me when I came into reception were so friendly, with smiles on their faces and it provided a feel-good atmosphere.
“Carl showed us around the labs downstairs and it opened my eyes to a different world that I’ve not been in before, and I liked what I saw.”
How did you develop an interest in digital forensics and digital investigations?
“I just sort of fell into it really. I did a BTEC at college for two years in IT and dabbled in working with digital devices as a teenager. Though, during my seven and a half years at Thames Valley Police, I worked in Intel and then worked in duties, before moving to disclosures. I then saw a job as a Digital Media Investigator (DMI) with Warwickshire Police and went for an interview on a whim. I didn’t expect to get it and was shocked when I did.
“I joined in November 2019, and then a few months later, COVID hit, meaning that in the first year as a Digital Media Investigator, I didn’t really do any DMI work. This meant that I had to teach myself a lot and in my own time, I would watch videos to train myself. For the last year and a half of my job there, I really started to enjoy it, in particular the open-source work, which drew me to this job with IntaForensics. I feel like I’ve picked back up where I left off when I was 16.”
What else can you tell us about your experience in digital investigations?
“During my time at Warwickshire Police, I would say most of my work was jobs which involved indecent images. So I would go out as a DMI mainly to triage devices, which is similar to the lab work at IntaForensics. It wasn’t what I expected of the role, but it gave me a bit of experience working in digital forensics.
“I used to conduct router downloads and analyse the logs when the results returned, something I enjoyed. I also did some work as a Communications Data Single Point of Contact (SPoC), helping officers with obtaining communications data from Internet and phone providers. In addition, I also did a little bit of open-source, but not as much as I would have liked. I enjoyed the open-source tasks and I felt that this was the path I wanted to go down.”
Can you tell us what is involved in Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT)?
Open–source intelligence (OSINT) is the collection and analysis of data gathered from open sources to produce actionable intelligence.
“In my job, I conduct open-source research on the internet, finding information which is publicly available and using it for intelligence purposes. People normally just go onto a search engine like Google and do a standard search, and if they can’t find something, they will leave it there. In my job, it’s about knowing how to go further than that, understanding the techniques and knowing where to look, how to capture data and how to find all available information.”
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
“I would say the most rewarding part of my job is succeeding in giving people the information they need to make an informed decision. Whether it’s a HR department needing information on a potential employee, or a company seeking data on another company which they are looking to acquire, it’s rewarding to provide them with what they need.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s good news or bad news, our main aim is to provide relevant information. If I’ve given them an answer that enables them to make a decision, that’s what I find the most rewarding and that I’ve been able to meet the criteria that they set us.”
How to do you see digital investigations developing in the future?
“I can only see it growing. In a world where we live with things like social media, smartphones and the way criminal activity are developing too, they all invariably contain a digital element to them. We know that Police forces are stretched and not equipped and resourced to deal with the ever-increasing digital elements to investigations and so I think they will become more reliant on us.
“The workload of the digital investigation team is certain to grow because chances are, every criminal has at some point used technology to discuss or commit a crime. Equally, open-source research becomes a better source of information as we lose traditional sources such as newspapers, magazines and physical documentation.
What advice would you give to someone who is new to the industry?
“My advice to anyone looking to get into digital investigations is to take the time to self-learn. Websites are constantly updating, privacy settings and tools are changing, new apps are being developed and for these reasons, it is vitally important to keep on top of this ever-changing industry.
“You’re very limited on the training courses you can take, and to work in the industry, you need to be self-motivated, so you need to take some of the learning into your own hands and spend your own time developing your understanding of the tools and techniques used”
Would you like to be a pioneer for women in digital investigations?
“Absolutely, 100%. Women are most definitely underrepresented in digital and I’m proud that women like myself and Steph Curwen work at IntaForensics and prove that it’s not just the men who can do this type of work.
“If I can inspire more women to join the world of digital, then I’ll be delighted.”
Hayley Marron, Digital Investigator
Thank you to Hayley Marron for her time and insight. Learn more about IntaForensics and the team.
For more information about our Digital Investigation Unit or the services that are available, please contact us.