Confronted with rising number of cases where financial data is encrypted electronically, the Income Tax department is hunting for high-end digital data extraction and investigation tools which can glean through erased information and recover internet passwords.
The department has floated a 'Request for Proposal' for procuring and installing about 50 'data extraction and analysis stations' at its various investigation units across the country like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kochi and Nagpur.
The I-T department, according to sources, has drafted the proposal after learning about the new trends of hiding financial and personal data during its recent raids across the country including searches on IPL franchises.
The I-T department is seeking latest investigation tools in the market including X-ways investigator-- used for forensic information on money laundering and child p*rnography-- and 'Mobi Tool Connect Q'-- an advanced platform to use internet applications like mobile telephony with compatibility of Blackberry phones and 2G, 3G and satellite based SIM cards.
"The Income Tax department is looking for various forensic software and hardware tools that will be able to identify, acquire and analyse digital evidence and as such help the departmental officers to add more teeth to search and survey operations," the RFP states.
"These digital platforms are the best and the cleverest present in the market today," a digital forensics expert said.
The department has also got the Finance Ministry's nod to connect the data stations across the country with its main forensic laboratories in Delhi and Mumbai which have been developed with the assistance of C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing).
The I-T department's shopping cart includes, X-ways investigator which can enable them to have "recursive view of all existing and deleted files in all subdirectories" of a
computer system, "skin colour detection" for face recognition, SIM card readers which can recover deleted text messages stored but not readable on phones, hardware cloning devices, recovery of internet chat logs, extraction of deleted e-mails, extraction of data from mobile phones including video, audio and pictures.
The department desires to recover English language passwords-- with the help of Paraben Password Recovery tools--with an accuracy of 90 per cent and more and also to implement the new platforms in a month's time after the contracts are awarded.
It hopes to use the tools for data extraction from computer hard drives, USB drives, flaash drives, optical media and cell phones produced by taxpayers, seized and impounded from them or found during the regular course of search...