Computers are an integral part of our daily lives, and as technology continues to advance, so does the increase in cybercrimes such as hacking, data breaches, and cyberstalking. In today’s world, it’s essential for organizations and individuals to have the necessary skills to investigate and prevent these crimes. This is where forensic computing comes in. In this comprehensive guide, we will look at what forensic computing is, the different types of forensic computers, what it involves, the tools used, and how it helps in detecting and dealing with cybercrimes.
What is forensic computing?
Forensic computing, also known as computer forensics, is a method of using scientific techniques and tools to collect, analyze, and preserve electronic data in a way that can be used as evidence in legal proceedings. Forensic computing can be applied in various fields, including law enforcement, digital forensics, information security, and investigations. Forensic computing investigates whether a device (computer, phone, or other similar electronic device) has been used to commit a crime and establishes who committed the crime.
Types of forensic computing
Forensic computing can be classified into four primary categories, and they are computer forensics, network forensics, mobile device forensics, and incident response.
Computer forensics involves the investigation of data stored on computers, laptops, and servers, including deleted files, temporary files, and emails.
Network forensics involves investigating network traffic logs, router logs, and firewall logs to establish the chain of events preceding an incident.
Mobile device forensics involves the investigation of data stored on mobile devices such as phones, tablets, and iPods.
Incident response involves responding to cyber attacks in real-time. This may involve identifying the scope of the breach, stopping the breach, and restoring data in its original form.
What does forensic computing involve?
Forensic computing involves a systematic procedure to ensure that the data collected can be presented in a court of law as admissible evidence. It involves the following steps:
Data Acquisition: This step involves the collection of electronic data from devices that are relevant to an investigation. It is essential that this collection is done without altering the data in any way.
Analysis: This is where the data collected is analyzed for relevance, meaning, and content. Forensic examiners may use various tools and techniques, including search tools, hashing, and data carving, among others.
Interpretation: Once the data has been analyzed, meaning and content are attributed to the data and examined. This is the stage where forensic investigators create a timeline of events and establish a pattern of activity.
Presentation: Once analysis and interpretation are complete, the findings are presented in the form of a report. This may include photographic evidence, screenshots, and copies of relevant data. The report, then, will be used in legal proceedings such as disciplinary hearings or criminal cases.
What tools are used in forensic computing?
Forensic computing requires the use of specialized tools to collect and analyze electronic data. Some of the common tools used for forensic computing include hardware tools like forensic workstations, codified devices, and write blockers. Software tools, on the other hand, include search tools, recovery tools, network mapping software, data carving, amongst others.
How can forensic computing help in detecting and dealing with cybercrimes?
Forensic computing plays a crucial role in preventing, detecting and dealing with cybercrimes. It can help in:
Identifying security breaches that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Creating reports that are admissible in court as evidence in legal proceedings.
Establishing the origin and type of cybercrime committed.
Tracing the source of the crime and apprehending the perpetrator.
Recovering deleted data and emails.
Preventing future cyber threats by improving security protocols.
In conclusion, forensic computing is an essential tool in detecting, investigating and preventing cybercrimes. It involves the use of scientific techniques and tools to collect, analyze, and preserve electronic data in a way that can be used as evidence in legal proceedings. Identifying the different types of forensic computing, what it involves, the tools used and how it helps in detecting and dealing with cybercrimes can be helpful for organizations and individuals who want to safeguard their data and stay safe in the digital age.