An Introduction to Computer Forensics

Computers have been around for a while now, and we are all used to computers invading just about every aspect of our lives. Micro-computers tell us how well we slept last night or remind us to check our blood pressure. Smart home computers ensure our homes are comfortable, and many of us work on a computer all day long. They are an intrinsic part of everyday life. But what exactly is computer forensics and how does it help us?

Evidence Gathering for a Court Case

Computer forensics is a niche branch of forensics. Thanks to shows like CSI, you are probably aware that forensic medicine is related to crime scene analysis. Computer forensics is not dissimilar, but rather than analyzing corpses, computer forensics experts analyze computers or other digital devices. They do this to search for evidence of crimes or to figure out what happened for a court case.

Experts look for hidden or deleted files. They might examine the hard-drive or registry of a computer, read emails, and check the user’s internet usage. They might also use live analytical tools to monitor a suspect. Naturally, this type of analysis must take place within the parameters of the law and the unauthorized hacking of an individual’s tech equipment is a violation of their rights.

Tackling Cyber-Crime

Computer forensics is often used in the fight against cyber-crime.

Big businesses stand to lose millions from cyber-crime. When a business’s website or database is hacked, criminals often steal a user’s financial and personal data. This is catastrophic for a brand. Not only can they be prosecuted for the data breach, but their reputation also takes a huge hit.

Computer forensics services are sometimes called in to find out who organized the hack, what they were after, when it happened, and how they got in. These are all important questions that need answering if a brand is to protect their data from future attacks.

Forensics professionals go looking for ambient data, or latent data. This is information that isn’t readily available to ordinary tech professionals. Forensics experts have the skills to dig much deeper into a computer’s hidden depths. They can find information that has been hidden, such as swap files and the space between cached files and current files. They can get to the bottom of very sophisticated hacks.

Other Areas Where Computer Forensics Experts are Called In to Help

Computer forensics experts are also called in to help with cases of cyberstalking. If an individual receives threatening or upsetting emails or messages on social media, experts can trace the communications to find out who is behind them.

In addition, a computer forensics expert can investigate cyber forgery cases where someone has deliberately forged online documents, such as contracts or legal documents.

And then there is terrorism, which is a threat that is very much in the headlines right now. Forensics experts can help to remove material designed to spread hate and political rhetoric.

In today’s world, computer forensics experts are very much in demand, so if this is a career you are interested in, you could earn a lot of money.