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Computer Forensics Overview

Computer Forensics Overview

Have you ever pondered where the standard perception of cyber investigations comes from? You may be surprised to find out that the world of suits, ties, and data terminals is not what these investigations look like. Let's take a look at what computer forensics really looks like.

Computer Forensics Overview
Computer forensics is usually considered the application of special processes and techniques that can be utilized to analyze information on a computer or network. Forensics are also usually meant to protect evidence that could be used in a trial. Once the warrant required has been issued, a forensic technician will go on-site to isolate the device from the Internet or other attached networks that could impact its contents. They then copy over every file on the device and dig through them for anything of interest. It’s critical that the investigator makes a copy of each file so that the original evidence can be preserved. Even something as easy as accessing a file can lead to slight changes, making the evidence of little consequence in a court of law, civil or criminal case.

Computer forensics can be utilized for a variety of different cases. Depending on the nature of the crime, any device could be utilized to obtain evidence of what is, was, or will be happening. These types of investigation take an extremely close look at the data, including not just the files that are currently there, but at the metadata for just about any items on the device. This includes looking at when the file was first created, when it was edited and saved, and who might have been the one to carry out these actions.

This procedure can be utilized to solve any number of cases. Below are some examples:

  • Intellectual Property Theft and Industrial Espionage
  • Employment Disputes
  • Bankruptcy Investigations
  • Inappropriate Email and Internet Usage in the Workplace
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Forgeries and Fraud Investigations

Alternative Sources of Analysts
Law enforcement agencies are not the only agencies that place an emphasis on computer forensics; many others also have accredited laboratories. You might be shocked to hear about a couple of these, as they include Walmart, American Express, and Target. There are also numerous independent labs that, while lacking accreditation, can potentially outperform law enforcement agencies under the right conditions.

Independent labs are usually onboarded by law enforcement to help with crime solving. The perfect example of this is Target, whose labs have helped with “felony, homicide, and special-circumstances cases” in the past. These claims come from a spokesperson who, in 2008, stated that about a quarter of cases managed by Target’s forensic laboratory were external and had nothing to do with the company itself.

How Does Your Organization's Technology Compare?
If your business would like a team on your side to ensure that security is always a priority, reach out to Macro Systems at 703-359-9211. We aren’t a dedicated computer forensics agency, but we certainly know all about network security and compliance issues.

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