The BlackBag story begins in 1997, three individuals, one very bright idea and the passion for helping law enforcement and corporations around the world with digital forensics.
Ben Charnota, a Reserve Police Officer for a Northern California Police Department with a full-time job working as a Technical Investigator for Adobe®, attended a High Technology Crime Investigation Association meeting. This is where Ben met Derrick Donnelly. Derrick, a former Federal Law Enforcement Officer from the Competition Bureau, Industry Canada in Ottawa, was working for Apple® at the time as their Head of IT Security Worldwide and was presenting at the meeting. Derrick impressed Ben with his forensic knowledge, technical aptitude and people skills. The two exchanged contact information. The following day Ben received a case involving 22 Macintosh computers. Fortunately, he knew just the person to call and reached out to Derrick for his expertise. The two spent the weekend on a “BlackBag” job imaging and analyzing these systems while taking occasional cat naps on the conference room floor. They completed their mission.
The two enjoyed working together, and Derrick hired Ben to work for him at Apple® (doubling the team’s size). They worked on internal forensic cases with the software and techniques Derrick had developed in Canada. Both enjoyed supporting Law Enforcement as part of their duties, securing Apple’s® Digital Infrastructure. However, as time went on, they were restricted to the amount of support they could provide outside of Apple®. This situation was difficult for Ben and Derrick to handle – they felt a personal responsibility to assist Law Enforcement, and the demand for Mac forensics was at its prime.
In the early 2000s, Derrick, Ben, and Paul Jordan, a childhood friend of Ben’s with interest in business went out to Dinner in Menlo Park, California, and unknowingly created the company’s first strategy plan, on a napkin, while mapping out their dinner discussions. In 2003, Ben and Derrick soon transitioned out of their roles at Apple®, and the team developed their first product: a FireWire Write-Blocking Device ‘FireBox’. The product was manufactured out of Ben’s garage in Cupertino, CA, the location of the first BlackBag office (Ben really misses that commute). Their very first purchase order was from the United States Secret Service.
Today, with brilliant minds, innovation, and the continued commitment to revealing the truth and making the world a safer place, BlackBag offers a suite of digital forensics software products. We are the leading provider of digital forensic solutions to both the public and private sectors. The company serves a diverse set of clients including Federal, State, and Local law enforcement agencies as well as leading Fortune 500 companies. We are committed to developing innovative solutions for the security community.