Sum Up of Digital Forensics
As reported, global smartphone users have exceeded 4.8 billion, which means 58.37% of the world’s population possesses smartphones. With such a lot of digital devices, tons of digital information could be hidden in multiple data forms and come up with numerous digital crime cases.
In addition to mobile phones, the number of electronic devices such as computers, wearable devices, smart cars, etc, since smart appliances have all increased exponentially in recent years, with unquantifiable data stored in these digital devices.
In specific cases, these data provide investigators with objective and true clues and evidence, which greatly improves the efficiency of law enforcement agencies in solving cases.
From the perspective of Investigators, they have become very skilled in dealing with traditional types of digital evidence, such as short messages, spreadsheets, etc.
Though it’s been a lot to learn, the technology is still moving very fast and they could be left behind once they stop being trained with more skills and knowledge in their arsenal.
With the rapid development of computer and Internet technology, all kinds of disputes, civil cases, and criminal cases related to digital technologies increased sharply.
In the process of judgment or disposal of such disputes and cases, digital data has become a kind of important evidence.
Definition of digital forensics
Digital forensics is the process of collecting, analyzing, and preserving digital evidence from electronic devices and networks for use in a court of law.
This evidence can include data from computers, mobile phones, digital cameras, and other electronic devices. The goal of digital forensics is to identify, preserve, and analyze digital evidence in a way that is admissible in court.
Digital forensics is a branch of crime forensic science, with the featured purpose to obtain, restore and analyze data evidence found in digital devices linked to criminal activity, so as to provide a basis and reference for court trials.
- Specifically, digital forensics refers to the process of fixing, identifying, extracting, analyzing, and recording digital evidence.
- It is the science of finding evidence from digital media such as computers, mobile phones, servers, databases, CCTV, DVRs, or the Internet.
- It provides crime investigation teams with the best techniques and tools to solve complex cases, by processing analysis, inspection, identification, and various digital evidence stored on multiple types of electronic devices.
Because of the abundance of digital data, digital forensics is becoming increasingly crucial for investigations everywhere.
Nowadays, almost all cases are involved digital evidence, and it is said that digital forensics plays an irreplaceable role in obtaining and analyzing these pieces of evidence.
Real Cases in Digital Forensics
Digital forensics has been used in numerous real-world cases, including high-profile criminal investigations.
Below are real cases that show digital evidence that assists law enforcement agencies and the company’s internal investigators in the process of handling cases.
Michael Jackson’s Dead Investigation
At 2:26 pm on June 25, 2009, in the United States, pop star Michael Jackson died of a heart attack in a hospital at the Los Angeles Medical Center. The cause of death was that his private doctor Conrad Morrie injected a lethal dose of propofol which caused Michael Jackson to die of a heart attack.
In this case, investigators found a document on Dr. Morrie’s computer showing that he authorized the use of a lethal dose of the drug, which ultimately led to Michael Jackson’s death. Morrie was convicted of manslaughter by the Los Angeles Superior Court on November 7, 2011, and was imprisoned for four years.
Confidential Investigation in Apple
An employee works as an engineer in Apple’s self-driving car department. He chose to leave after working for two and a half years.
In the exit interview, he told his department manager that he would join an electric car manufacturer. This aroused the suspicion of the manager. The company’s security department began investigating the employee about to leave.
They searched his two work mobile phones and a work laptop and found that in the days before leaving his job, the employee had unusually frequent activities on Apple’s intranet.
They also found a large number of confidential files downloaded from the company’s database. Faced with questioning, the employee admitted to stealing company data.
The matter was handed over to the FBI, and the employee was eventually charged with stealing company trade secrets.
Other impressive digital forensics cases
In the case of the San Bernardino shooting in 2015, the FBI used digital forensics to unlock the iPhone of one of the suspects. The evidence obtained from the phone helped investigators determine the motive and plan behind the shooting.
In another case, digital forensics played a crucial role in identifying and prosecuting Ross Ulbricht, the creator of the online black market, Silk Road.
The investigation involved the use of digital forensics tools to uncover the digital footprints left by Ulbricht, which ultimately led to his arrest and conviction.
We live in a rapidly changing world, and nothing changes faster than digital technology. Both of the above two real cases involved digital forensics.
In this regard, let’s find out how digital forensics develops.