The age of digitization has made the lives of criminals difficult, to say the least. However, when seen from an investigator's point of view, it was high time that digital forensics investigation comes to the fore. Especially, as law enforcement has finally decided that the time had come to put the brains of IT professionals into work.
It also helps investigators to track criminals and bring them to justice by tracking any uncanny activity that the accused was carrying out on his/her private computer.
How to conduct digital forensics investigation? Every one of us needs to acknowledge that we live in a time where cyber-crimes have not only become rampant in society, but it has changed the nature of crime itself as well.
From ATM frauds to hacking one's personal information, cyber-crime is at an all-time high, giving us even more reason to put our faith in digital forensics investigation.
After all, it is your personal well-being that is at stake!
And it is not only about protecting your personal information. A digital forensics investigation is a vital tool when it comes to safeguarding sensitive government information as well, a step that is crucial when it comes to protecting the interest of a country.
So, for those who are in uniform and working in the fields, here are five steps that they would like to keep in mind while carrying out a digital forensics investigation.
Developing a policy and procedure- Irrespective of whether or not a suspect is involved in some kind of a criminal cyber activity or has shown intent to commit a crime, we must understand that digital evidence of any kind is of immense importance.
The professionals who deal with such information fully acknowledge this fact and know very well that they can easily fall into the wrong hands if they are not appropriately protected.
And it is for reasons like this that strict guidelines and procedures are set up and need to be followed to preserve this evidence.
Such strict procedures include guidelines as to when forensic investigators can recover these documents. How to put systems in place for retrieval of evidence, where to store them, and finally, making sure that the authenticity of these data is kept intact.
It has become commonplace to see various forensic units around the world, relying heavily on digital forensics investigation services. Not only that, they are increasingly hiring professionals who are well acquainted with the protocols and practices and knows how to make use of such evidence.
What forms the core of the various investigative procedures and policies of law enforcement departments utilizing digital forensics investigation is the codification of a set of explicitly-stated regulations. It includes things that constitute as evidence, and place to look for this evidence. It also focuses on how to handle the information once they have been retrieved.
Before carrying out any kind of investigation, it is absolutely essential to follow appropriate steps to determine the crime that is at hand, including digital forensics investigation. It also analyzes every investigative action that is related to the case. This includes going through the case briefs, assessing the warrants, and lastly to get permission before pursuing the case.
Assessment of the evidence at hand- It goes without saying that it is incredibly crucial for any investigative process to accurately assess the evidence whether the crime is cyber or otherwise. And central to this processing of evidence is a clear understanding of the details of the case.
To understand this, let us take an instance. For example, if an investigative agency is trying to prove that a suspect has indeed committed a crime like identity theft, digital forensics investigators use a set of highly sophisticated methods. It helps them to go through the suspect's email account, hard drives, social networking sites, and other digital footprints that can act as suitable evidence of the crime.
Before going ahead with the investigation, the concerned investigator must state the type of evidence sought modified or accessed.
Presentation of findings- Lastly, it is time to put everything together and present the findings of the investigation. The presentation should include a summary of the case, the investigation procedures that were followed, and a detailed analysis of the evidence that was found.
The presentation should also include a clear and concise report on the findings of the investigation, including any conclusions that were reached based on the evidence.
A well-presented report is critical because it will be used to assist in court proceedings or other legal actions that may be necessary.
In conclusion, digital forensic investigation has become an essential tool in modern law enforcement. It allows investigators to track and prosecute cybercriminals, safeguard personal and sensitive information, and protect the interests of individuals and countries.
By following strict procedures and guidelines, investigators can collect and analyze digital evidence effectively and present their findings in a clear and concise manner. It is a complex and constantly evolving field, but with the right training and experience, investigators can stay ahead of the game and successfully fight cybercrime.