The wide usage of technologies preconditioned the appearance of a great number of threats. The increased vulnerability of data combined with the exploration of digital storage resulted in the need for efficient computer crime investigations. With this in mind, the given paper delves into the peculiarity of this very process and the most important aspects specialists who work in the sphere should give their attention to. Besides, computer-related forensic procedures that are needed at the first stages of the investigation are suggested in the paper. Moreover, the process of securing digital evidence is also outlined. The document revolves around the necessity of following all these procedures to achieve success and guarantee the preservation of crucial data and increased security of companies and organizations. Finally, the probability of oversight and its hypothetical impact on the image of a crime scene are also discussed. At the end of the paper, the conclusion is given.
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The mass use of innovations altered the character of modern society, which at the moment could be described as a networked one. However, the digitalization of the majority of activities performed by different organizations is a two-edged weapon as it also undermines the privacy and secrecy of data. The appearance of new vulnerabilities demands new approaches to investigate computer crime scenes. The efficiency of these approaches depends on the observance of specific procedures and methods that might guarantee positive final results and the elimination of similar threats that might appear in the future. For this reason, the functioning of these crime scene investigators becomes an important element of the coherent society.
Besides, having arrived at a computer crime scene, an investigator should ensure that the three most important computer-related forensics procedures are performed to process the evidence of the crime and a high level.
First of all, he/she should obtain a warrant (U.S. Department of Justice, n.d.). Any piece of evidence that is collected in the course of the investigation should be obtained legally and set down to avoid any misunderstandings or problems. An investigator could be blamed for a prejudiced attitude. That is why a warrant is needed, as it helps to prove the fact that all pieces of evidence are collected in an appropriate way, and there are no points of concern.
Second, the crime scene should be documented, including the tiniest details that could be found there. It is crucial to ensure that evidence is preserved in the way close to its original state (Britz, 2013). It will help to increase the probability of positive outcomes and guarantee that the following analysis will provide the credible evidence needed for the investigation. In case some alterations are crucial, they should be justified and noted as even the slightest change could distort the final results of the examination.
Third, it is extremely important to preserve all pieces of evidence in the same way they were collected during the investigation of a crime scene (U.S. Department of Justice, 2011). It is the key to the credibility of findings and successful results. Moreover, if the evidence is altered, it should also be noted not to trigger the appearance of numerous misunderstandings.
Only in case these procedures are observed, an investigator will be able to perform his/her duties at a high level.
Therefore, the increased threat of digital crimes also results in the great necessity of special tools and procedures that might help to secure digital evidence and find offenders. Besides, a financial investigator should, first of all, have a secure storage location that will be used to save all information obtained in the course of the investigation and protect it (U.S. Department of Justice, 2011). One should realize the fact that criminals will obviously want to eliminate any fact that could help to prove their guilt. For this reason, it is also important to have sufficient back-up copies that could be used in case the data that is preserved in special storage becomes corrupted (Casey, 2011). The usage of these copies will obviously help to guarantee the prosecution of offenders and elimination any threat of that sort in the future. For this reason, these approaches become crucial for a financial investigator.
Nevertheless, in case one of the above-mentioned procedures is omitted, the final results of the investigation will not be credible and suffer from the lack of real pieces of evidence. For instance, if the warrant is not obtained, all facts collected by a financial investigator will be considered not relevant because of the possibility of fraud or juggling with facts. The absence of credible facts and evidence will deteriorate the results of the investigation significantly, and a team will not be able to find an offender. Moreover, if digital evidence is not secured, offenders might use the same loophole and corrupt them. It will also have a great pernicious impact on the process of the investigation and deprive members of a team of any opportunity to find real offenders and provide them with punishment. In this regard, the observance of these procedures is crucial as it preconditions the positive outcome of an investigation.
The complexity of data collection and the nature of this sort of crime also precondition the increased probability of oversight that might occur during the process of identification of digital evidence. For instance, in case the scope of computer forensics is too narrow, it will be difficult to determine what systems have evidence or not (“Common mistakes during a computer forensic analysis,” n.d.). At the same time, the identification of the wrong system might result in a waste of time and an inability to collect the latest facts. For this reason, to avoid such oversights, the investigator should, first of all, avoid using internal IT staff as they might be subjective and provide false data (“Understanding digital evidence,” n.d.). Furthermore, he/she should perform computer forensics at the crime scene immediately because it is crucial to be able to collect only credible and relevant evidence. Finally, an investigator should ensure that all-important procedures are observed, and only approved methods are used.
Altogether, considering the fact that digital crimes have become one of the most topical problems of modern society, the functioning of investigators who arrive at a crime scene and collect digital evidence becomes especially important. They should perform a set of complex actions and follow outlined procedures to be able to collect the most credible and relevant evidence that could be used to find an offender. Thus, in case some of the above-mentioned procedures are disregarded, the results of the investigation will be corrupted, and a team will not be able to provide prosecution to offenders. In this regard, the observance of the basic rules of digital evidence collection becomes a crucial aspect of the functioning of any specialist of this sort.
Britz, M. (2013). Computer forensics and cyber crime: An introduction. New York, NY: Pearson.
Casey, E. (2011). Digital evidence and computer crime: Forensic science, computers and the Internet. Cambridge, MA: Academic Press.
Common mistakes during a computer forensic analysis. (n.d.). Web.
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Understanding digital evidence. (n.d.). Web.
U.S. Department of Justice. (n.d.). Forensic examination of digital evidence: A guide for law enforcement. Web.
U.S. Department of Justice. (2011). FBI law enforcement bulletin. Digital evidence. Web.