Computer forensics definition
Computer forensics is the process of investigating and analyzing digital devices (e.g., computers, smartphones, tablets) to collect evidence for legal proceedings. It involves using special tools and techniques to gather and analyze the relevant data. The data may help determine how the devices and networks were used, by whom, and when.
Computer forensics aims to uncover digital evidence that helps to solve crimes and resolve disputes. Computer forensics is typically performed by law enforcement agencies, private investigators, and digital forensics firms.
See also: network forensics
How computer forensics works
- Identification. The first step in computer forensics is identifying the digital devices and data sources that must be investigated.
- Data collection. Once these devices are identified, the investigators collect and preserve the necessary digital evidence. The evidence has to be collected in a forensically sound manner to ensure it can be used in court.
- Analysis. The investigators analyze the data and extract the relevant information using specialized tools and techniques.
- Interpretation. The information is interpreted to determine its relevance and value as evidence.
- Presentation. The findings are presented in a clear and concise manner.
Computer forensics techniques
- Disk imaging
- File carving
- Timeline analysis
- Metadata analysis
- Live analysis
- Network forensics
- Mobile device forensics
- Hash analysis