Mention crime and we think of robberies, murders and detectives examining the crime scene, interrogating witnesses and finally nailing the guilty.
But there is, however, another kind of crime, where traditional methods of criminal investigation fall flat on its face. Instances like hacking, cyber fraud, phishing, identity and data theft, all account as cyber crime. Cyber crime can be defined as an illegal electronic operation that target the security of computer systems and data processed by them. Even though it may appear that the effects of cyber crime are not life threatening, they have the potential to disrupt life.Studies inferred that people were more scared of their bank accounts being hacked or credit card details stolen over the internet, than they were of robberies. There have been numerous cases, wherein people have been vulnerable to cyber crime in one way or the other. Crime can never be eradicated, but it can be prevented with the help of effective security to information. Whenever cyber crimes are committed, cyber forensic experts enter the scene and try to sniff out the clues and help in catching the culprits.
Computer forensics and mobile phone forensics is not about processing data; but about investigating people and their actions in relation to a computer or other electronic data processing or storage device. Therefore looking to find and use information about what has happened to data as evidence to pinpoint fraudulent, dishonest or deceptive behaviour in individuals
The forensic investigation of data held on mobile telephones, PDAs, laptops, PCs and other data processing and storage devices provides a valuable resource in litigation, and dispute resolution, in many cases the recovery of deleted e-mails, and 'hidden' data, of which the computer user may be, and probably is completely unaware. For example, information embedded in the computer file or cached to disk about the sequence of access and editing of a document, when and who by. This delivers new evidence that is often sufficiently compelling to short-circuit the whole dispute.
There is a prevailing misconception in the minds of many that retrieving deleted data involves no more that restoring what is in the recycle bin or trash can. Analysis through computer forensics and mobile phone forensics requires far more than just copying files and folders from targeted computers or devices. Data from computers needs to be specially imaged to produce an exact copy showing the data stored within.
What Kind of Information can be Uncovered?
When it comes to fighting crime, there are many ways that computer forensics has proven to be effective. The information that is uncovered can be anything from espionage to theft and several other crimes in between. Evidence of affairs, money laundering, smuggling, and other crimes have also been uncovered as a result of computer forensics
Skills & Tools
A cyber forensic expert is supposed to be adept in network security because most cyber crimes take place over networks. They should be competent in data recovery and encryption, because data and passwords are the targets of information theft. The experts should also be aware of cyber laws as most of the cases can got to court, where the forensic expert would be calles either as a witness or an examiner. A cyber forensics expert need not necessarily have to deal with computers all the time. Depending on the nature of cases and crime committed, the experts have to work on mobile phones, PDA's, USB drives, media players, etc.
When it comes to corporate houses, they don't really tend to trust the cops. They guard their systems and data by hiring the services of experts in information securities, such as Agape Inc. Also the process of collecting evidence after a cyber crime has been committed is not a cakewalk. Lot of care needs to be taken while collecting the evidence and processing them, as the loss of even an electron of information could mean that the data would not stand up to legal scrutiny. Of course, the job of forensic experts is very difficult, but they are assisted by some tools which help in processing the data quickly. The cyber forensic tools are software packages that can be used to preserve the state of storage devices or extract data from them. These softwares fall in 3 categories:
- Open source software
- Proprietary software
- Tailor-made software for specific needs, designed by companies.
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