What is Computer Forensics?
How do you get started with a computer forensic investigation? The answer is simple: call and speak to a E-Investigator. Powerhouse Forensics will help you understand the electronic discovery process from start to finish. Regardless of whether your ESI is trapped in laptops, desktops, external drives, backup tapes, cellular phones, smart phones, servers, hosted drives, or shared drives, Powerhouse Forensics has the expertise to harvest the ESI for forensic evidence. We utilize the latest digital forensic tools and software to provide you with the best in Powerhouse Forensics. In general, the computer process follows the following steps:
The Importance of a Independent Third Party
In order for any digital forensic evidence to be considered forensically sound, the information must be found and analyzed by an experienced professional outside of your company. Forensic evidence can be considered contaminated if the imaging is done within the company, which is why Powerhouse Forensics technicians use techniques that abide by both state and federal regulations for civil and criminal cases. A third party is essential to establish the validity of your investigation so that the data found is not considered contaminated.
The security of your company no longer depends on locks and alarm systems. Today, your company’s most valuable information can be stolen or compromised from inside your own building, right on the desktops of your workers. When your security has been breached digitally, it’s imperative that digital forensic evidence is gathered through experienced computer forensics technicians who understand electronic discovery and are both knowledgeable in the situation’s legalities and skilled in the technical complexities.
While it can be tempting for network administrators or other network security staff to attempt solving security breaches themselves, it is important to note that any digital forensic evidence that is gathered from within the company will be considered contaminated by a court of law. Likewise, employees in corporate governance, legal departments or information technologies also benefit from being educated about how a third-party forensics team can best help an organization with security issues.
Why use Forensic Technicians?
Those who manage or administer information systems and networks understand the basics of computer forensics. Through an established scientific process used to collect, analyze, and report computer forensics technicians, the experts at Powerhouse Forensics gather the digital forensic “fingerprints” left behind with technological theft. This involves electronic discovery of latent evidence such as deleted, damaged, or encrypted files. Computer forensic technicians are specifically trained to know where to look for data, how to extract it without damaging the integrity, and the legal implications of the forensic evidence involved. In addition, the technicians at Powerhouse Forensics are experienced in compiling this research into a comprehensive report and can serve as dependable witnesses should your case go to court.
Why is this technology important?
Computer forensics allows for the general integrity of your network infrastructure and ensures that your organization’s private information remains private. The defense of your company’s vital information lies within the understanding and implementation of sound computer forensics practices. This in-depth defense gives your information multiple layers of protection from employee abuse, as well as protects your company from violating government regulations such as those rules regarding customer data privacy.
Working with professionals who have both technological and practical understandings of computer forensics and electronic discovery can also cut costs for your company. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the market for intrusion detection and vulnerability assessment software has reached over $1.45 billion over the last decade. The information analyzed by these types of software is the same that a forensics technician uses to identify, gather, preserve, and analyze digital forensic data for your case.
How does Computer Forensics work?
The first step in investigating technological digital forensic evidence is obtaining the device in question. An Powerhouse Forensics technician will then get a forensically sound image of the data and determine what is relevant to your case. There are two types of data that may be collected: persistent and volatile. Persistent data is stored on a local hard drive and is saved when the machine is powered down. Volatile data, on the other hand, is found in registries, caches, and random access memory. Volatile data can be hard to capture, so it is essential that it is accessed by a technician qualified to do so in a reliable, permanent way that renders the data usable in court.
After electronic discovery, the data is analyzed for content. The results of the search are then written up in a comprehensive report that illuminates the situation for you, the court, and any other parties that are involved.
What are the legal restraints of computer forensics?
Since computer forensics is a relatively new and continually developing field, the court system is still catching up with the technology. All actions taken by anyone overseeing a company’s network security must fall within the current legal constraints of forensic activity. New court rulings continually affect the legalities of computer forensics and digital forensics, so it is important for technicians and organization network administrators alike to actively check the United States Department of Justice’s Cyber Crime website. This website lists recent computer forensics-related court cases and covers the standards for reporting cyber crimes and evidence in court. Even if you have solid evidence of wrongdoing, that evidence is utterly useless unless it is obtained in a legal manner.
A more recent concern is the increasing number of laws being passed requiring companies to take extra measures to keep personal data private. By utilizing Powerhouse Forensics computer forensics specialists, your organization will have a detailed record of all security policies followed, which can aid in avoiding lawsuits or regulatory audits.
There are three main areas of law that must be considered when dealing with computer and network security:
- In the United States Constitution, the Fourth Amendment protects against unlawful search and seizure. In addition, the Fifth Amendment protects citizens from self-incrimination. These ideas influence decisions applying to under what circumstances evidence can be gathered and how that evidence can be used in court.
- Violating the Wiretap Act, the Pen Registers, Trap and Trace Devices Statute, and the Stored Wired and Electronic Communication Act during a forensic investigation could result in being charged with a federal felony punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.
- Federal rules about hearsay, authentication, reliability, and best evidence also play a part in computer security with regard to the authority to monitor and collect the data in question and the admissibility of the methods used to collect said data. Powerhouse Forensics are well-versed in these laws and are invaluable assets in an investigation not only for their skill but also for their extensive knowledge.