Beginner’s Guide to Computer Forensics

Computer forensics is the exercise of amassing, analyzing, and reporting on virtual information, which is legally admissible. It may be used to detect and prevent crime and in any dispute in which proof is stored digitally. Computer forensics has similar exam degrees to different forensic disciplines and faces comparable issues.

Beginner's Guide to Computer Forensics 1

About this manual

This manual discusses laptop forensics from a neutral angle. It is not related to a particular law or supposed to promote a particular enterprise or product and isn’t always written in the bias of both regulation enforcement or industrial computer forensics. It is geared toward a non-technical audience and provides an excessive-level view of laptop forensics. This guide uses the time period “computer,” but the standards observe any tool able to store virtual records. Where methodologies were referred to, they are furnished as examples only and do not constitute guidelines or advice. Copying and publishing the whole or a part of this article is certified completely beneath the phrases of the Creative Commons – Attribution Non-Commercial 3.Zero license

Principle 2 above may also enhance the question: What situation would change to a suspect’s laptop using a laptop forensic examiner be important? Traditionally, the laptop forensic examiner could duplicate (or acquire) facts from a turned-off tool. A write-blocker[4] might be used to make a specific bit for bit copy [5] of the unique garage medium. The examiner would work then from this reproduction, leaving the authentic demonstrably unchanged.

However, occasionally it is not feasible or suitable to exchange a pc off. It might not be feasible to switch a laptop off if doing so could bring about substantial financial or other loss for the proprietor. It may not be perfect for exchanging a laptop off if it could mean that probably valuable proof can be lost. In each of those situations, the laptop forensic examiner could need to carry out a ‘live acquisition’, containing strolling a small program at the suspect computer, which will reproduce (or collect) the facts to the examiner’s tough drive.

By running one of this software and attaching a vacation spot pressure to the suspect laptop, the examiner will modify and/or additions to the laptop’s kingdom, which have been now not gifted before his movements. Such actions might stay admissible so long as the examiner recorded their movements, become aware of their impact, and changed into capable of explaining their movements.

Stages of an examination

For this article, the laptop forensic examination system has been divided into six ranges. Although they’re presented in their regular chronological order, it’s far vital to be bendy at some stage in an exam. For instance, in the course of the analysis degree, the examiner may also find a new lead, which could warrant further computer systems being examined and mean a return to the assessment stage.


Forensic readiness is a crucial and now and then unnoticed degree within the exam method. In business computer forensics, it could include educating customers approximately device preparedness; as an example, forensic examinations will provide more potent evidence if a server or laptop’s built-in auditing and logging structures are all switched on. For examiners, there are numerous areas in which prior corporation can help, consisting of education, regular checking out and verification of software program and gadget, familiarity with legislation, managing sudden troubles (e.G., what to do if baby pornography is present all through a commercial job) and ensuring that your on-website acquisition kit is complete and in working order.


The evaluation level includes receiving clear instructions, chance analysis, and allocation of roles and sources. Risk evaluation for regulation enforcement may additionally consist of evaluating the chance of physical chance of entering a suspect’s property and how excellent to deal with it. Commercial organizations additionally want to be aware of fitness and protection issues, even as their assessment might additionally cover reputational and economic dangers of accepting a particular venture.


The primary part of the collection level, acquisition, has been added above. If the acquisition is to be achieved on-site instead of in a computer forensic laboratory, this stage could identify, secure, and document the scene. Interviews or conferences with employees who may additionally preserve data that may be relevant to the exam (that could consist of the stop customers of the pc and the manager and character answerable for imparting pc offerings) would commonly be accomplished at this degree. The ‘bagging and tagging’ audit path could start right here via sealing any substances in unique tamper-obvious bags. Consideration additionally desires to take delivery of to securely and accurately transporting the cloth to the examiner’s laboratory.

Beginner's Guide to Computer Forensics 2


The analysis depends on the specifics of every job. The examiner generally offers remarks to the client in the course of an evaluation. From this speech, the evaluation might also take an exclusive route or be narrowed to precise areas. Analysis ought to be correct, thorough, independent, recorded, repeatable, and completed in the time-scales to be had and resources allocated. There are myriad tools available for computer forensic analysis. It is our opinion that the examiner should use any tool they experience comfortable with so long as they can justify their choice. The foremost requirements of a laptop forensic tool are that it does what it is supposed to do. The only way for examiners to make sure of this is to regularly check and calibrate the tools they use before evaluation takes area. Dual-tool verification can confirm result integrity throughout analysis (if with the tool ‘A,’ the examiner finds artifact ‘X’ at area ‘Y,’ then tool ‘B’ has to reflect these outcomes.)

Leah Leonard

Coffee expert. Troublemaker. Typical music guru. Friendly beer fanatic. Introvert. Web specialist. Uniquely-equipped for implementing bullwhips in Ocean City, NJ. Spent a year importing licorice in Hanford, CA. Have some experience licensing cigarettes for the government. Once had a dream of selling toy monkeys in Las Vegas, NV. Spent the 80's working on hula hoops in Minneapolis, MN. What gets me going now is working with action figures in the government sector.

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