Uncovering Computer Evidence To Prove Your Case…
Computer Forensics is a field that is rapidly growing in record numbers year after year. As computer technology, becomes ever-more omnipresent, the effectiveness and relevancy of this specialization becomes more essential in criminal cases. Common crimes that are investigated using computer forensics are: online fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, child pornography, and hacker activity. The amount of identity theft, unethical activity, and embezzlement going on in the white collar business world is becoming more sophisticated and complex, which makes this particular aspect of computer forensics more relevant in today’s world. Despite the increase in computer crimes and their evolution into more sophisticated techniques, computer forensics methods are also improving to cater to the needs of crime solving. For example: computer forensics analysis helps the experts gain a much more accurate analysis which provides an in-depth overview of crime cases and identifies other computers or devices that might contain evidence essential to proving the case. These other sources can then be subpoenaed and analyzed for further evidence.
Let’s back up a step and give you a basic definition of what computer forensics is all about. Computer evidence analysis gathers computer evidence that can be used in a court of law. The computer evidence gathered will then undergo computer forensic analysis before presentation to the court. A computer evidence analyst spends time gathering particular incriminating evidences from computers, and other devices such as PDA’s and mobile phones. Individuals in this career may also have different sub-specialties, but in the end the purpose is to gain evidence to support a case.
Typical Duties of Computer Forensic Analysts
On a usual day, you may spend time searching through available files, looking for keywords or dates of interest where activity related to the alleged crime may have occurred. You sometimes search through Internet history files to find something that can help back up the results of your computer forensic analysis. If you are looking for any evidence of the related to child pornography; you may also need to search through historical data about Internet usage. You may also include deleted pictures, files, or electronic mails that might involve incriminating evidence. If you discover the suspect has been visiting known sites that convey this type of material, then it can be, used in your official findings or downloaded to a disk for evidence in a court of law.
Child pornography is just one example of many uses of computer evidence analysis. Law enforcement agencies also need to have these tech savvy, specially trained individuals as a members on their staff in order to gain evidence of other cyber crimes as well. Another example would be investigating people who have suffered identity theft or fallen victim to phishing scams or other related attempts to acquire sensitive bank account information. Some of these illegal operations may have several people involved in huge identity theft rings. Tracing IP addresses, which provides information about the location of a computer or computers being used in the scam is a very common practice. This information can then be passed to law enforcement officers in the field to gain a warrant and confiscate the computers and shut down the business. Computer Forensics is also used greatly in violent crimes and homicide cases where electronic mails or files on a computer can be used to incriminate a suspect.