Digital Forensics: Its Role in Digital Criminal Investigations

Just like in the physical world, people leave traces of themselves. These digital traces include file fragments, timestamps, activity logs, metadata, and others that may be of value for many reasons. They can be useful pieces of evidence when trying to establish the origins of a document or software. For legal purposes, they can help determine the activities of parties involved in a criminal case. Also, they can be a resource for cybercriminals who want to rebuild information or identify victim credentials. Regardless of the motivation, examining, interpreting, or reconstructing traces of evidence in the digital environment are what compromise digital forensics. 

What Exactly is Digital Forensics?

Digital forensics involves collecting, analyzing, and reporting information found on computers and networks in a way that is deemed admissible in court. It can be applied in law enforcement and investigations, private, commercial, or institutional applications, as well as in the context of cybersecurity. 

Evidence obtained through Elijah digital forensics is subject to the same legal guidelines as all other criminal evidence. Countries differ in their guidelines for the use of digital forensic evidence and this has been used in some major criminal court for many years in the United States.

Forensic Digital Evidence

Activities carried out on individual computer systems and networks leave some type of digital fingerprint. This could range from web browser history caches and cookies, document metadata, deleted file fragments, email headers, backup files, and others. 

For security professionals protecting a company or the investigators trying to trace the origins of a breach, such aspects of forensic digital evidence might be key in documenting an incident, establishing a response, or creating a strategy for future operations. When it comes to business security, the evidence uncovered from digital forensic analysis helps in incident response and remediation activities when a cyberattack or data breach has been detected. Digital forensics experts may obtain data on attack vectors, Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), or specialized forms of malware.

Digital Forensic Collection

Forensic collection of data should include exercising care to make sure the data being collected is pure and undisturbed. Experts remember that computer files are modified in some way even if a user opens them in their related application without saving them. If a forensic expert suspects a system holds forensic evidence that can be relevant to a case, they will ensure it remains untouched until this information can be extracted in a non-disruptive way. 

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