Understanding the Basics of Digital Forensics

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December 22, 2020


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  • In today’s competitive economy, some evil people may try to get ahead using fraudulent means such as identity theft or hacking to get ahead. These methods are considered crimes and people who do these crimes should be caught and brought to justice. One to do this is through digital forensics. 

    What is Digital Forensics? 

    Digital Forensics is a branch of forensic science which focuses on materials found in digital devices that are relevant for an ongoing cybercrime investigation. Digital forensics involves the retrieval of digital pieces of evidence from devices such as computers, mobile phones, or a network. Digital forensics also provides the best techniques and procedures for evidence retrieval to be presented in the court of law. 

    Why is Digital Forensics Needed? 

    The use of digital forensics in an ongoing cybercrime investigation will ensure the following:

    • Effective recovery and analysis of digital media that will help the investigation team in their efforts to present their case in court. 
    • Give hypotheses on the motive behind the crime and create a profile of the culprit. 
    • Design the proper procedures to conduct at a crime scene to ensure that the digital evidence retrieved were not corrupted. 
    • Recover files and partitions found in hard drives that were erased on purpose to cover up the cybercrime. 
    • Identify the fraudulent digital data and estimate the impact that the fraud will have on the victim. 
    • Create a complete report on the digital aspects of the ongoing investigation. 
    • Preserve the integrity of the evidence as it moves up the chain of custody. 

    Where is Digital Forensics Used?

    Companies or individuals may become a victim of a cybercrime. Digital forensics can help cybercrime victims to identify the culprit and to take back what is theirs. Digital forensics is used for cases such as these:

    • Intellectual Property Theft. This crime involves the stealing of ideas, creative expressions, trade secrets, and proprietary products. 
    • Industrial EspionageThis crime involves the illegal acquisition of company trade secrets to be used by a competitor company to get ahead in the industry. 
    • Employment Disputes. You can settle disputes between employees in a company with the use of digital forensics. Digital correspondences such as emails, SMS, and chats via digital devices may be retrieved and presented as pieces of evidence to settle disputes. 
    • Bankruptcy Investigations. Digital forensics can also find the money trail involved in any investigations involving companies or persons filing for bankruptcies. 
    • Inappropriate Internet Use in the Office. Employees who are using office computers for personal purposes may be traced. Likewise, using company networks for inappropriate messages can also be exposed. 

    Digital forensics main purpose is to retrieve and gather evidence to support or dismiss a hypothesis in court. There are two types of cases which may need the help of digital forensics. 

    • Criminal Cases. Cyber Crimes involve the breaking of laws such as hacking, malversation of funds through digital means, and industrial espionage.
    • Civil Cases. Civil cases are mostly about protecting the rights of individuals to their intellectual properties and their rights when they enter into contracts with commercial or business entities.

    When presenting evidence in court, the forensics team must be aware of the different protocols for retrieving and handling evidence. Any changes in the authenticity and integrity of the evidence will cause it to be inadmissible in court. It is therefore important to hire a reputable digital forensics company when you have a case to prove in court. 

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