Computer forensics is a new and growing specialty that serves both the public and private sectors. Computer forensics specialists are not only competent in software related matters, but in those relating to computer hardware issues as well. Computer forensics comes into play in both ethical and criminal issues, including intellectual property law, theft, and fraud.
Computer forensics follows traditional principles for scientific investigation. Work in computer forensics is systematic, well recorded and documented, and acceptable within a court of law. The methodology of computer forensics follows several steps. The first is to identify sources of digital evidence. The second is to preserve that evidence from loss, change or corruption. The third step is the process is to analyze the evidence, and the fourth is to present the evidence within the context it is required.
A good computer forensic specialist can manage the computer system and the data it contains while protecting sensitive evidence. Computer forensics explores both the individual computer, and any relevant networks or server connections. Computer forensics allows for the discovery of obvious and hidden data, as well as allowing access to password protected, encrypted and otherwise secured data on a computer system. Computer forensics may also allow for the recovery of deleted files.
Industrial applications, the insurance industry, legal professionals, the courts and more rely on computer forensics for many functions, ranging from preventing the spread of illegal materials to avoiding corporate fraud. Computer forensics is a growing field, and one that will continue to provide evidence and insight to prevent growing criminal computer related activity.