Fictional crime documentaries and TV shows often give a brief overview of the role of forensics in the world of crime. Forensic analysis is basically the application of science that’s used in the world of law, to uncover the truth for a criminal case. This method is generally used in a serious crime scene, where obtaining direct or first-hand information is difficult. Besides that, forensic investigation can also be used in cases related to paternity, product liability, insurance claims, etc. The information gathered during forensic investigation is inevitably used as evidence in court hearings.
There’s a section in forensics that’s dedicated solely to digital platforms. Digital forensics is the method used to recover and investigate data found in digital devices, in cases of cyber crime. The investigator can also track the suspect’s digital activity and relate that information to physical evidence. In many cases, this type of investigation has allowed detectives to discover planned attacks and prevent crimes from taking place.
According to experts, there are five critical components involved in forensic analysis, all of which contribute to the success of the investigation.
- Development of Policies & Procedures: Depending on the extent of the crime, forensic evidence can often be highly sensitive and extremely valuable. If the information gathered by a detective is not handled and protected well, it can be compromised easily. Due to this reason, it’s imperative that agencies develop and follow strict instructions and policies for everything related to forensic analysis. From preparing systems to retrieving evidence, storing of the evidence to providing access to investigators – at every step, the detectives have to follow certain procedures and guidelines.
- Assessment of the Evidence: The next step in forensic investigations involves the assessment of potential evidence in a cybercrime. This includes classification of the cybercrime in question – whether it’s related to identity theft, or phishing, or any other internet scams. The detective then has to establish the integrity and source of data, before they can enter it as evidence.
- Acquiring of the Evidence: This is when the investigator devises a detailed plan to acquire evidence without contamination. All of the data must be recorded, preserved and documented before, during and even after the evidence acquisition.
- Examination of the Evidence: In order to examine a piece of potential evidence, there must be procedures to retrieve, copy, and store evidence within the suitable database. It includes a variety of approaches that can be used to analyse information. For instance, an analysis software can be used to look for data archives, with particular file types or keywords.
- Documentation and Reporting: Lastly, all investigators need to keep a track of not just the software and hardware specifications, but they also need to include the specific methods that were used to crack the investigation. Documenting and reporting demonstrates how the user integrity was preserved, while also ensuring that all the parties adhere.
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