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The Role of Digital Forensics in Solving Cyber Crimes

Your mobile app developers today have to understand more than simply putting together some code. They have to understand cybersecurity practices so that they can prevent their apps from being hacked and compromised.

Criminals today have quickly realized that the internet has opened up some very rich pickings. From phishing emails to gather your personal data through to actual hacking of sites and apps to change how they operate, there are many ways that they can get access to personal and banking information through to committing more sophisticated frauds.

Digital forensics is the application of investigative techniques to solve digital crimes. From viruses that hold your computer and the data it contains to ransom, through to hacks that redirect customers to alternative sites. Forensic scientists can analyse the available evidence to help solve these crimes.

Your digital forensic scientist will be able to help you to identify what has actually happened as well as to hopefully identify the perpetrators. Digital forensic professionals may be employed within law enforcement agencies, or even within private companies to help them to understand how they are being attacked and what they can do to close the holes that are being used in their security.

What Are the Different Phases of Digital Forensics Investigation?

Digital forensics are now a science in their own right. As with all scientific investigation they need to be undertaken in a methodical manner if the results are to be trusted. With many degrees now available in these areas there are now several frameworks that can be used when conducting an investigation. The following however is probably the most commonly used and simplest to understand:

  • Identification: before you can get started with your investigation you need to know precisely where you need to look. This first stage is identifying where the data you will need is likely to be held. This could be anything from mobile devices through to servers. You also need to consider where those devices may be and who will hold them.
  • Preservation: you need to preserve the information that you need for your investigation. This could mean physically protecting the devices from further use as well as taking pictures and other information about the scene of the crime. You will want to document everything including how the evidence was actually collected.
  • Collection: this can include everything from copying data to printing it out. Often this can actually require the removal of drives or portable equipment so that you have access to the information that you require for your investigation.
  • Analysis: this is where your forensics expert comes into their own. They use their skills and experience to review the available data and evidence to determine what has actually occurred. They will be able to draw conclusions that will be fully based on the data that is available.
  • Reporting: if the investigation is part of a criminal investigation then it is vital that the information is presented in a formal manner that cannot be doubted by others. Methods that have been used should be able to reproduce the same results for any other investigator that would undertake a review of the available data.

How Are Digital Forensics Solving Cyber Crimes?

We all use digital devices and many will find app developers for hire to create tools that people will use for communications through to game play. However, there are always those that will want to use app developers for more nefarious tasks. There are those that will build apps with the intention of stealing information from us without us knowing. Code can be hidden within the complex apps that may be hard for people to spot. Forensics can be used to spot this use as well as helping to identify who the people are that are benefiting from the data that is being collected.

Others may use apps that are readily available to commit crimes. For instance spreading of child pornography or even terrorism. While you may be hiring app developers to create something that you feel is totally innocent, you must be aware that some may find ways to use that app for other purposes. From local police to federal investigators, more and more are turning to the use of digital forensics. There is a host of information that is held on our devices that can be used to show someone’s intent through to providing information as to where they physically were at the time of a crime.

No matter how smart a criminal may think they are, they will often leave behind information that a good digital forensic scientist can uncover. They can do everything from breaking passwords to recovering information that was thought to be deleted or encrypted. This can provide the information that is required to help convict the criminals in question.

But as with any information that may be used within a court of law, it must be robust. How a deleted file is recovered or how encryption is read can have a significant impact on if that information can be used. This is why there is a real need for qualified forensic investigators.

Qualified investigators are seen as experts in their fields and their reports can be utilized in all forms of cases from fraud to murder. Forensics are no longer just for finding the causes of security breaches, this is a fast growing and respected career path for those that want something a little different to do within IT.

Would You Want a Career Solving Catching Cyber Criminals?

Whether you want a role in internet security within a company or want to work within law enforcement, there are many opportunities out there for anyone qualified within digital forensics. This is a growing field and one in which there are more and more opportunities.

Criminals are becoming more sophisticated in how they commit fraud and other crimes online. This is making the role of the digital forensics team more challenging. So if you are looking for a career that is really going to challenge you, then this could be a real area of interest for you.