Computer Forensics now aid in solving crimes
We now live in a digital age where the computer permeates almost every aspect of our lives. Almost all transactions and records of our activities are now recorded electronically. Unfortunately, the digital era has also ushered in an age of digital crime.
Computer forensics involves searching computers for evidence of crime and also for evidence in traditional crimes. Some examples of cybercrime include hacking, releasing viruses and various internet scams such as phishing or spoofing of real web sites.
The specialists who uncover digital evidence of criminal activity and assists in presenting evidence are called Computer Forensics specialists or Computer Forensic examiners. The Forensic Specialist is an expert on retrieving lost hidden or deleted information on any electronic device. These specialists may be employed by the government, in law enforcement or in private practice.
This type of forensics is basically a multiform process that includes many complex steps. The first part in the process includes investigation of computer data to uncover evidence of criminal activities. The second part involves analyzing and using the evidence found in the computer, either in or out of court.
Computer Forensics examiners are usually well qualified.
Both civil and criminal proceedings often make use of evidence, provided by computer forensic examiners who may be hired in diverse areas.
Law enforcement: Assistance is usually provided in the handling of seized computer equipment
Criminal Prosecution: Computer evidence is used in a variety of cases where incriminating documents can be found such child pornography,homicides, financial fraud and embezzlement.
Insurance companies: Forensic Specialists may be used to uncover evidence of false accident, workman`s compensation claims and arson.
Corporations: Forensics specialists are hired to search employee computers for records of sexual harassment,embezzlement or theft of trade secrets.
Employees may also hire forensic examiners to support claims of wrongful dismissal or age discrimination.
Computer Forensics is quite different from other forensics disciplines, and knowledge of other fields are often required. In addition to being impartial, a computer forensic examiner will typically have a wide range of experience with various types of hardware and software. The specialist should also have the required skill to search a computer thoroughly enough to access deleted, encrypted and password protected files and other forms of hidden evidence. Additionally, the forensic examiner should be familiar with hardware architecture to know where on the computer to look for the most relevant data. In addition, since most computers are networked in industrial environments, the specialist should also have knowledge of network architecture.
Forensic examiners can perform either on-site inspections of the computer or laboratory inspections of seized equipment. The most crucial step is making sure that all files are copied. Searching computer files may sometimes alter or even destroy data, and integrity of all data should be preserved to allow for admissibility in courts.
Special training for computer forensics is available
It is essential for forensic technicians to have extensive knowledge of computer operating systems, including models and systems no longer in use. Whether your interest lies in capturing criminals or in the technical challenges of computer searches, a career in computer forensics can be very fulfilling and very rewarding.