An Introduction to Computer Forensics

Computer forensics has been defined as a technological, systematic inspection of the computer system and its contents for evidence or supportive evidence of a crime or other computer use that is being inspected. However, computer forensics is also widely used in civil litigation matters.

The type of evidence sought varies and can include theft of trade secrets, theft of or destruction of intellectual property, and fraud. Computer forensics requires specialized expertise that goes beyond normal data collection and preservation techniques, and care should be taken and selecting a forensics expert.

A computer forensics specialist can use a variety of methods for discovering data that resides in a computer system, including recovering deleted, encrypted, or damaged file information.

Computer forensics specialists generally have experience with a wide range of computer hardware and software than the typical data recovery expert may not. Moreover, the specialist often is called upon to testify in depositions and at trial regarding the information recovered.

Computer evidence can exist in many forms or formats. Knowing this possibility, it's possible to recover alternate formats of the same data.

Because the protection of evidence is critical, a knowledgeable computer forensics specialist will ensure that a subject computer system is carefully handled to ensure that no possible evidence is damaged, destroyed, or otherwise compromised by the procedures used to investigate the computer.

The computer forensics specialist will take several careful steps to identify and attempt to retrieve possible evidence that may exist on a subject computer system. He will also make certain that extracted and possibly relevant evidence is properly handled and protected from later mechanical or electromagnetic damage.

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