The entire world has gone digital. There is hardly any area of life where digital does not play a role. Along with the rise in the use of computers and smartphones, there is a corresponding rise in cybercrime which means a whole new method of forensics. In cases where physical evidence is available, it is easy to collect traces and analyze them through forensic multimedia software and present findings that can be used by prosecution or defence.
In case of cybercrimes, the evidence is all digital and this has led to the rise in computer forensics investigations so indispensable in cases of intellectual property theft, computer misuse, commercial disputes and online frauds.
Cybercrimes revolve around digital data. In such instances, computer systems and mobile handsets are taken as evidence. A cursory examination done the usual way will reveal only data that is obvious. The real data that counts, either as evidence for prosecution or defence, may have been deleted or encrypted.
Accessing such data is not quite difficult for those with some computer savvy but the methods employed to uncover such fragmented, lost, encrypted or partial data may not be accepted as evidence by a court of law. This is where an expert computer forensics investigator proves his worth.
The need for a computer forensics expert becomes all the more important when one considers the fact that the only data that matters is in electronic form and that it may not be limited only to one computer system or a mobile device.
Data may have been stored in the cloud, in other servers or simply deleted. An expert computer forensic investigator has a tough task. He must look for data without knowing what it is. Along with some useful information he may uncover gigabytes of other information that has no relevance to the case.
It is for him to resurrect and reconstruct data and extract only the meaningful part, all done using a method that does not tamper or alter the original data in the system in any way. This calls for specialized techniques, the use of a well-equipped lab and knowledge.