Computer Forensics Investigations
Crimes have become sophisticated, subtle, and incredibly damaging because of digital transgressions. In a computer forensics investigations, trained investigators exert efforts that can include the identification, retrieval, and analysis of digital data to solve a crime, identify an internal or external threat, or resolve an issue.
The Purpose of Computer Forensics Investigations
Computer forensics investigators gather evidence of tampering or illegal activities on your computer or company-wide data systems. Trained investigators, who understand the intricacies of hard drives, encryption, and networking, can resurface hidden or deleted data, including emails, search terms, internet history, documents, and more.
The metadata of digital information is also a critical piece of a computer forensics investigation, showing when information first appeared on a computer, when it was last touched, whether it was saved or printed, and even which user carried out which actions.
Technological trails can be disguised, but they are never truly gone. A detailed computer forensic investigation uses court-recognized software to detect crime and extract evidence without corrupting it. Because the gathering of digital evidence is a digital search in and of itself that can be tampered with, investigators understand what needs to be done to safeguard against theft or interference of this information too.
Crimes Uncovered by Computer Forensics Investigations
Whether personal computer, laptop, corporate server, wireless device, or otherwise, savvy cyber criminals can break into just about any system they want to retrieve or alter information. Various crimes include:
- Hacking: Unlawful entry into a computer system is known as hacking, and this infiltration is often done with the intention of stealing or damaging information.
- Intellectual property theft: Corporations carefully guard their proprietary information, but cyber criminals work with the intent to collect this information and use it for gain or underhanded means.
- Theft of personal information: The thieving of social security numbers, financial information, and other personal details is a common yet incredibly destructive cybercrime.
- Creation of viruses: A sure way to create downtime in a system, leaving it wide open for tampering, is with a virus that can download or disable software, prevent files or programs from opening or functioning properly, change passwords, and move or delete files.
Employment disputes, fraud, forgery, bankruptcy, and industrial espionage can all be boosted by a computer forensics investigation. But professional digital searches do not always have to focus on uncovering corrupt or malicious behavior. The need for a professional investigator may be as simple as identifying the inappropriate use of email and internet in the workplace. In some cases, a computer forensics investigation may require the dismantling and rebuilding of a system to recover lost data.
The Path of a Professional Computer Forensics Search
To take the most direct and targeted path to discovery, a computer forensics investigation must begin with information about the suspected crime. From there, investigators perform vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to determine where the infiltration or problem originated.
Sometimes the cybercrime or hacking is obvious – the perpetrator does not care if the crime is noticeable if they have already retrieved the information they want. Then there are the clever cyber thieves who are smart enough to hack into a system and do damage, then carefully and expertly cover their digital tracks. The subtlety is especially destructive because, quite often, the victim is not immediately aware that anything underhanded has occurred.
Why Outsource Your Michigan Forensics Computer Investigation to ASG?
The tracking of malicious online activity is critical and complex. The help of a trained investigator to confirm that a cybercrime has indeed been committed and then do the work to uncover the source of the crime is invaluable.
The computer forensics investigators at ASG are professionally trained and experienced in working side by side with law enforcement and legal teams to:
- Connect cyber communications to physical evidence of criminal activity.
- Uncover the tampering or deletion of digitally stored information.
- Pinpoint premeditated criminal intent.
- Track malicious online activity.
- Prevent future cybercrimes.
Digital evidence is delicate and can be easily compromised if not handled properly. Every ASG computer forensics investigation follows carefully established best practices and is done lawfully and legally so the information gathered can be used in court.
The procedures for uncovering information are sensitive too, including how to properly prepare systems for retrieving evidence, where to store retrieved evidence, and the best way to document activities to ensure data authenticity. Suspect underhanded digital motives within your organization or personal computer? Contact ASG today to discuss your computer forensics investigation needs.