Computer forensics refers to the scientific study of computers, which entails the art of preserving, recovering, retrieving, as well as analyzing data stored on computers or any other type of electronic media in accordance with presenting evidence during court rule procedures. This involves electronic storage media, including diskettes, tapes, and hard drives. It is primarily a computer crime scene investigation because the quick development of technology has given rise to problems like hacking, which have exposed various types of preserved information. Even though the term “computer forensics” is frequently used nowadays, it is a relatively new area of technological development that has only recently received legal legitimacy. The essay aims to assess the growing importance of computer forensics to law enforcement.
Electronic evidence and information collecting are now commonplace in most conflicts and crime scenes, thanks to computer forensics. Due to their ease of use and lack of bulk, computer forensics has been widely used by law enforcement agencies for a long time (Sadiku et al., 2017). Law enforcement officials have occasionally been able to produce their own printouts from original application programs, specialized analytic, or examination tools since the debut of computer forensics in the justice systems.
Investigators can now more easily retrieve crucial evidence from distant computers, some of which they do not physically have access to, as long as these computers are reachable by phone or share a network connection. This has made it possible to investigate information from a specific computer network, including potential online actions in cyberspace (Sadiku et al., 2017). Computer forensics includes all types of electronic records, including phone logs, bank account transactions, and court documents with voluminous paperwork.
Since there is so much information kept in computers—more than most people could possibly imagine—electronic evidence can be helpful in criminal cases, civil issues, as well as human resources and employment procedures. Since it is harder than most people would think to recover information from a computer, it is crucial to have skilled examiners in this area to carry out the procedure more quickly and accurately.
Whether the information was destroyed purposefully or accidentally, computer forensics can when used properly, recover lost and deleted data and provide evidence. Data recovery’s sole purpose is to recover lost data, while computer forensics’ major goal is to advance law enforcement practices. Therefore they attempt to recover lost or existent data and analyze it as much as they can. Data recovery is consequently a more straightforward field than computer forensics, although using some of the same techniques and tools.
Cybercrime, or computer crime, is a brand-new category of crime that has emerged as a result of globalization and advancements in computer technology, particularly in communication and information exchange. Due to the fact that it is the sole method for producing evidence in the prosecution of these types of criminals, this crime has hastened the use of computer forensics in law enforcement. Cybercrime comprises a wide range of online misdeeds, including cyberterrorism, identity theft, financial crimes, hacking, and others (Holt et al., 2017). In addition to cybercrimes, there are other additional crimes whose methods have been simplified by the use of computers, particularly the internet, due to its simplicity and security of communication. As an illustration, consider, for example, terrorism and drug and human trafficking.
Computer forensics can be used to provide essential evidence in various criminal and civil proceedings. Criminal prosecutors may utilize computer data as evidence, for instance, in cases involving child pornography, murder, financial fraud, drug usage, and embezzlement. Computer forensics can be used in civil litigation in cases of fraud, discrimination, divorce, and harassment (Holt et al., 2017). While insurance firms may use computer forensics to identify potential computer-based evidence about accidents and compensation, corporations may use this technology to unearth evidence of sexual harassment and sensitive company information. Procedures for law enforcement are required for resolving such matters at all levels, from the individual to the corporate.
A computer at the scene of a crime is highly valued by law enforcement officials since, in most circumstances, it may contain important information that can be used as evidence. They do not, however, let anyone else to alter the computer since tampered evidence could be compromised. In order to testify in court, they consequently hire computer forensic experts who can withstand the pressure and scrutiny.
Since it has been so frequently employed in the struggle for workers’ fairness in the workplace, computer forensic has gained significant importance in the corporate world and in enterprises. The most popular form of communication in contemporary human resources processes has been computers. Electronic mail systems, servers, and individual personal computers are where the majority of this material is mostly collected from (Holt et al., 2017). The presentation of this evidence must be made by a computer forensic specialist who can expertly describe in court what was done to the machine and its data because computer information is susceptible to manipulation.
Since it is simpler to provide evidence for some of the most difficult crimes where the perpetrators were not physically present or left any traces, computer forensics is typically very important in law enforcement. It has also been successful in combating the numerous computer-related crimes that arise every day as a result of advancing technology and globalization (Holt et al., 2017). It has simplified the jurisdictional processes by providing some of the evidence that could have been difficult to find in the past.
In today’s law enforcement, the field of computer forensics development is crucial. This is a result of the intricacy of the various criminal offenses that are occurring today, which are influenced by globalization and developing technology, both of which are always changing. Since most criminal activity involves the use of computers and the internet, it can be exceedingly challenging to gather evidence in support of a case against them. Additionally, it has been much simpler for most criminals to operate covertly, making it more difficult to identify much alone trace such crimes.
Moreover, the majority of crimes committed nowadays are tragic and may need to be avoided before they happen. Examples of exceptionally persistent behaviors include, among others, acts of terrorism, the production and use of nuclear weapons, and pirate activity. White collar crimes, which primarily involve the use of computers, have been on the rise, necessitating more effective ways to address the problem.
Recent technological advancements in computers and other digital gadgets have opened up new opportunities for criminal activity. The majority of services are accessible online from any location. Numerous cell phones have internet access, computer services, and other capabilities that make communication easier (Iqbal & Alharbi, 2019). There are very few crimes that do not involve these technologies, given the aforementioned and several additional electronic-based transactions, making computer forensics crucial.
Computer forensics’ role in crimes has developed to the point that it can be used as evidence in a court of law. This is crucial to the preservation and collection of evidence, and law enforcement now follows a highly exact procedure. Computer forensics experts are in high demand in the market. The FBI employs IT specialists to gather important evidence for their investigations, which may involve basic hacking, espionage, or even bank fraud. Computer forensics are increasingly a common tool used by the FBI to look into crimes. In some situations, the evidence required to demonstrate premeditation is gathered via gadgets like mobile phones, tablets, and hard drives (Javed et al., 2022). For these authorities, computer forensics is the newest area of criminal investigation, and it is constantly expanding. The crimes related to exploiting technology in criminal behavior increase as technology advances. Recovery of deleted files, checking for security breaches for cybercrime, and checking for deleted passwords are just a few of the activities that are part of this specific phase of the criminal investigation (Montasari et al., 2020). Once gathered, the evidence must be preserved and translated for jurors, attorneys, and judges to review.
Overall, computer forensics has had a huge impact on law enforcement. There are now very few crimes that are not prosecuted using computer technologies due to the quickly evolving technology. Therefore, computer forensics is crucial to combating these difficulties, whose complexity grows daily. Since most tasks are now completed electronically and criminal opportunities are relatively proportional, the development of computer forensics is crucial nowadays. The use of computer forensics to identify fraud suspects is well known. Investigators are now employing computer forensics to find murderers, and they often access encrypted material that can be used as evidence in court.
Holt, T. J., Bossler, A. M., & Seigfried-Spellar, K. C. (2017). Cybercrime and digital forensics: An introduction. Routledge.
Iqbal, S., & Alharbi, S. A. (2019). Advancing automation in digital forensic investigations using machine learning forensics. Digital Forensic Science.
Javed, A. R., Ahmed, W., Alazab, M., Jalil, Z., Kifayat, K., & Gadekallu, T. R. (2022). A comprehensive survey on computer forensics: State-of-the-art, tools, techniques, challenges, and future directions. IEEE Access.
Montasari, R., Hill, R., Parkinson, S., Peltola, P., Hosseinian-Far, A., & Daneshkhah, A. (2020). Digital forensics: challenges and opportunities for future studies. International Journal of Organizational and Collective Intelligence (IJOCI), 10(2), 37-53.
Sadiku, M. N., Tembely, M., & Musa, S. M. (2017). Digital Forensics. International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Science and Software Engineering, 7(4).