What Is Digital Forensics?


The rise of digital technology has brought about an increase in cybercrime, resulting in the need for digital forensics. Digital forensics is a branch of forensic science that deals with the identification, collection, analysis, and preservation of digital evidence in order to investigate and solve digital crimes.

It has its roots in traditional forensic science, but with the increasing use of digital devices, the need for specialized digital forensic techniques has arisen.

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.

How Much Important is Digital Forensics?

Digital forensics is necessary for several reasons.

Firstly, it is essential for investigating and prosecuting cybercrimes, such as identity theft, hacking, and cyberbullying. Cybercrimes can cause significant harm to individuals and organizations, and digital forensics can help identify the perpetrators and hold them accountable for their actions.

Besides, digital forensics is important for intellectual property theft cases. Companies invest heavily in research and development, and stolen intellectual property can cause significant financial losses. Digital forensics can help identify how the theft occurred, who was involved, and how to prevent future theft.

Also, digital forensics is also used in civil cases, such as divorce cases, where digital evidence such as emails, text messages, and social media posts can be used to determine child custody, alimony, and property division.

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.

Development of Digital Forensics

The development of digital forensics can be traced back to the early days of computing when investigators would use basic tools and techniques to recover data from computers and other electronic devices.

However, as technology advanced and digital devices became more prevalent, the need for more sophisticated tools and techniques grew.

  • The term “digital forensics” was originally coined for computer forensics and later was referred to cover investigations of any device that can store digital data. It is reported that the first computer crime occurred in 1978 in the USA.
  • However, until the 1990s, digital forensics had finally become a formal term that was recognized by the public.
  • At the beginning of the 21st century, the national digital forensics policy appeared for the first time.
  • During the 21st century, not only the development of digital forensics has been booming in policy, experts, digital forensic lab infrastructure, but tons of supporting tools started emerging, which helps deeply accelerate the scientificity and accuracy in the process of digital forensic investigation with less labor cost.

However, even if there has been a fast development, one of the biggest challenges facing digital forensics today is the sheer volume of data that needs to be analyzed.

With the proliferation of digital devices and the growth of the internet, the amount of data being generated is increasing exponentially. This has led to the development of new tools and techniques for managing and analyzing large datasets, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms.

Despite these challenges, digital forensics continues to play a critical role in modern law enforcement and investigations.

As technology continues to advance, it is likely that the field of digital forensics will continue to evolve, with new tools and techniques being developed to meet the needs of investigators and analysts.

What Are Digital Forensics Tools?

Due to the various types of digital devices and diverse ways of storing data, there are many multiple digital forensic tools used in the digital forensics process.

Generally speaking, digital forensics includes the following types:

At present, there are few solution providers that can cover all types of digital forensics circumstances in the world. The most famous one known as an integrated Digital Forensic Solution is SalvationDATA.
Let’s take a look at what digital forensic tools SalvationDATA provides for each type of forensics.

  • Data Recovery System: DRS (Data Recovery System) is the next-generation intelligent all-in-one forensic data recovery tool that can help investigators acquire and recover data from both good and damaged storage media like HDD simply and easily.
  • Mobile Forensics: SPF Pro (SmartPhone Forensic System Professional) is an all-in-one and user-friendly mobile forensic system. With automatic programs to choose the best solution for extracting file system, physical, and logical evidentiary data from several mobile OS like Android, iOS, Symbian, Blackberry, etc, especially from 99% of Chinese brand mobile devices.
  • Database Forensics: DBF6300 is the leading database forensic product that covers the main types of relational databases currently, aiming to resolve the problems about deleted & damaged database files, damaged file systems, and restriction of application system accessibility.
    database forensics
  • Video Forensics: VIP (Video Investigation Portable) 2.0 is capable of accessing the normal or even non-functioning DVR surveillance systems such as burnt, watered, and damaged DVRs. Not only can it perform forensic data recovery from password-protected DVR directly but also search and retrieve video clips from live CCTV surveillance systems quickly and easily.
    Video Analysis - vip

Though the development of Digital Forensics has brought out various supporting tools in the investigators’ arsenal, they still need to be trained in more scientific methodologies, since crimes won’t be as fixed form as how we presume.

Apply for a Free Trial Now!

In a more cutting-edge manner, an all-powerful digital forensic lab could be the best infrastructure for digital forensics!

Digital Forensic Lab



Digital Forensics is a scientific crime investigation method that helps accelerate the efficiency and accuracy of case cracking.

In essence, digital forensics will continue to play a crucial role in solving real-world cases in the digital age.

With its fast development in the current digital society, various supporting tools, and infrastructure, applied by high-quality experts could make a huge difference in digital forensic work.