Computer forensics, sometimes referred to as digital forensics, is a branch of forensic science that pertains to legal evidence found in computers and digital storage mediums. Computer forensics adheres to the standards of evidence that are admissible in a court of law. Computer experts investigate data storage devices such as hard drives, USB drives, CD-ROMs, floppy disks, tape drives, etc. They also specialize in identifying data and preserving evidence for use in court. Computer specialists, then analyze sources of documentary or other digital evidence to draw conclusions.
The days when a private detective could find all the information he needed during an investigation with only a gun and a quick fist are long gone. If you are serious about becoming a private detective in the 21st century, then you’d better get used to the fact that you are going to have to also become somewhat of a computer nerd.
Computers hold valuable information on the who, what, when and why of criminal behavior and much of that information requires the use of forensic software to extricate. Get to know the following computer forensics programs as best as you can or resign yourself to hiring a knowledgeable expert a some point in the future.
Computer Reference Websites
Following are websites and other resources that provide more information regarding computer forensics:
Computer Crime Books – A collection of computer crime and computer security books. Use these helpful books to learn the tools, techniques and terminology used by the experts in this field.
Computer Monitoring Software – A collection of resources and software used to monitor computer and network activity.
Digital Detective’s Netanalysis – Your investigations as a private detective will at some point almost certainly come to a dead end when retrieving information stored on a drive. What if the forensic information you need exists only in cyberspace? Digital Detective offers a program called Netanalysis which enables you to piece together the history of internet use regardless of which browser was used. In addition to the capability to put back together the information deleted from caches and browsing history, Netanalysis also helps facilitate that process of helping to identify what parts of that recovering information is actually valuable as evidence.
Email Spy Software – Email Spy Software is the latest in monitoring technology allowing you to secretly record every incoming and outgoing email on the computer you install it to.
Guidance Software – A company that manufactures computer forensic hardware and software and provides training resources.
Password Recovery Toolkit – Even if you manage to secure a computer filled with all the evidence your job as a private detective could possibly desire, it will do you no good if you can’t get past the passwords required for retrieval. When your computer investigation relies on cracking passwords to gain entry into hundreds of different computer applications, then you are going to need something like Password Recovery Toolkit to solve the case.are is a remotely installable spy software solution designed to provide convenient access to the monitored PC from ANY LOCATION without the use of IP addresses and direct connections to the remote PC!
SMART for Linux – Every private detective who may be searching for valuable information hidden away on computers needs to become familiar with operating systems other than Windows. SMART for Linux can do all the forensic investigative work that you would want to do on a computer running Windows except that it works for computers running Linux. The programs bearing the SMART name are used at all levels of the law enforcement system in America as well as the military and many private companies.
The Sleuth Kit – The Sleuth Kit and Autopsy Browser are UNIX open source digital forensic analysis tools, based on The Coroner’s Toolkit. They can be used to examine NTFS, FAT, FFS, EXT2FS and EXT3FS files.
Unshredder – Unshredder is a simple program that unleashes the power of a desktop computer to reduce the time consumed by investigators reconstructing shredded documentary evidence. Until now the only alternative to manual processing was to engage a third party to process the work on computers at their premises. By comparison to external processing of the evidence Unshredder reduces the turnaround time, keeps full control of the investigation in-house and there is less risk of a security risk or loss of the evidence. The original shreds remain unchanged from the process and the integrity of the original is captured electronically to be printed or dispatched electronically by wire or disc.
WinUndelete – Windows File Recovery Software – An easy to use undelete software utility to recover deleted files from hard drives, floppy disks, Zip drives, USB external flash drives, digital camera cards, and more.
X-Ways Investigator – X-Ways Investigator is a version of X-Ways Forensics designed specifically to allow the private detective to take over the investigation of evidence buried deeply within computers much earlier in the process. The primary focus of X-Ways Investigator is to provide you with every last bit of coded information that incontrovertibly ties files to that particular computer. One aspect associated with X-Ways Investigator that has the potential to be of invaluable use for certain investigations is the inclusion of multiple tools associated with images hidden on its drives. These tools range from providing time stamps associated with photographs to a skin color detection.
For more information about computer forensics as an essential part of modern day private detective work, please check out Computer Crime Investigations
To hire a private investigator who specializes in conducting computer forensic investigations, please visit our Private Investigator Directory.