Computer Forensics is the process of investigating electronic devices or computer media for the purpose of discovering and analyzing available, deleted, or "hidden" information that may serve as useful evidence in supporting both claims and defenses of a legal matter as well as it can helpful when data have been accidentally deleted or lost due to hardware failure.
However, this is a very old technique but now it has been changed a lot because of technological advances, modern tools and software’s which makes Computer Forensics much easier for Computer Forensic Experts to find & restore more evidence/data faster and with more accuracy.
Computer forensics has change the way digital evidence is gathered & used as evidence of a crime & it is done using advanced techniques and technologies. A computer forensic expert uses these techniques to discover evidence from an electronic storage device for a possible crime. The data can be from any kind of electronic device like Pen drives, discs, tapes, handhelds, PDAs, memory stick, Emails, logs, hidden or deleted files etc.
Most of us think that deleting a file or history will remove it completely from the hard disk drive. In realty, it only removes the file from the location but the actual file still remains on your computer. It is easier to track what has been done on your computer but difficult to say by whom though it is possible to alter or delete the data completely from your storage device. It depends on computer forensic expert’s skills how well he can find and restore the data without any loss or change.
Computer forensics got widespread attention during the Enron scandal widely believed to be the biggest computer forensics investigation ever. Nowadays Computer Forensics & Electronic discovery is becoming a standard part of litigation of all types, especially large litigations involving corporate matters in which there are large amounts of data.
Computer forensics can be used to uncover a fraud, unauthorized use of a computer, violation of company policies, inadequate record keeping etc… by tracking e-mails, chat-history, files, tapes, sites people browse or any other form of electronic communications.
Data security is one of the biggest issues that the corporate world is facing now by publishing company’s internet/policies & consequences for violations, signing of compliance documents by employees. Businesses can initiate monitoring their own computer systems to avoid legal consequences in future. Making employees aware that monitoring software and Computer forensics personnel are available could prevent workers from wrong doing.
With the use of computers in everyday life and increasing amount of hi-tech crimes, Computer forensics is a growing niche in the litigation support sector. Unlike many jobs in information technology sector, chances are that computer forensics services will not be outsourced to other country because of the confidentiality of the data business which will not allow it to travel just to save a little cash.
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Kevin Cohen is an international computer forensics consultant. He is president of Data Triage Technologies, LLC.(www.datatriage.com), a Computer forensics and Electronic discovery firm based in Los Angeles, California .
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