Are you trying to track down deleted text messages or emails for use in a criminal case or a divorce proceedings? Are you the owner of a business looking to keep tabs on what your employees might be doing on your company’s computers during business hours? What you need is digital forensics.
What Is Digital Forensics?
Digital forensics is a brand of forensic science that deals with the discovery and investigation of data found on digital devices, and these days, it can come in handy when it comes to many different situations. Regardless of whether you are building a case or a boss looking to keep your employees honest, you can use digital forensics to your advantage. At RKJ Investigations, we can help you as you seek to use this type of forensics. Before you call on us for assistance, you should get a better grasp of digital forensics and what it is all about.
When to Use Digital Forensics
Digital forensics investigators specialize in locating data and metadata on electronic devices. Therefore, they should be utilized whenever an individual or organization is attempting to gain access to data that might prove to be beneficial during a legal proceeding. For example, digital forensics can be used to prove crimes like intellectual property theft, forgery, fraud, espionage and even inappropriate internet use in the workplace.
Digital forensics experts are able to take a piece of electronic equipment and locate emails, text messages, photos and more that are contained in the device’s memory. They can then use this information to help build a case against an individual or organization that can withstand vetting in a court of law. Digital forensics investigators know where to locate data and how to handle it to prevent damaging sensitive information.
They also know how to locate metadata, which is often more important than the data itself. This metadata can tell investigators when a piece of information was created, how it was edited after its creation and more. Metadata allows investigators to paint a clearer picture of how data was used and what crimes or misdeeds may have been committed.
How a Digital Forensics Investigation Is Conducted
A proper investigation involving digital forensics should take place in a laboratory and should be done by a qualified investigator, says the National Forensic Science Technology Center. The expert should work to prevent the data on an electronic device from becoming contaminated during analysis by copying it to a new storage device that doesn’t contain any previous information. This duplicates the data in a sort of “sandbox” environment where it can be manipulated and accessed without risking any data loss from the original device. The expert should also isolate wireless devices that are being investigated to prevent any open networks from interfering with it. Write-blocking software should also be used to prevent changes to the data on a device.
Once these steps have been taken, an investigator can start parsing through the data to look for whatever he or she is trying to find. A good investigator will be able to find everything from basic files on a device to interactions that the owner of the device had with others in chat rooms and through instant messaging. Nearly every action or activity performed on a PC, tablet, cellphone or other computing device can leave a record, and a skilled digital forensics investigator can find the evidence of these actions.
Challenges of Digital Forensics Investigations
While most qualified digital forensics investigators can find the data they’re looking for on electronic devices, there are some obstacles that they may encounter from time to time. Data that is encrypted will be impossible to view without a password, so investigators are often required to try and track down that password in a different part of the device before proceeding forward. Many of today’s electronic devices offer more storage space than ever before, which also presents a problem since investigators have a lot more data to sift through before they find what they’re looking for. Think of it as the difference of searching for clues and information within a house versus within a warehouse.
With technology always changing, investigators are also faced with the challenge of keeping up with the latest technologies and techniques. Investigators often need to adapt and learn about new kinds of hardware and software on the fly. It can present problems when trying to carry about a digital forensics investigation, but it’s a challenge that digital forensics experts are used to – after all, it comes with the job!
If you think you or your business could benefit from the use of digital forensics, you should work with a trusted company that has the experience and knowledge you need to carry out a thorough investigation. RKJ Investigations has been helping those in Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri with our investigation services since 2001 and our knowledge of digital forensics can help you get the evidence and information you need to build your case. To learn more about our services, call us at 405-562-6479 today.