You may have heard of the term before, but what exactly is digital forensics? This important field is one that is growing rapidly and helps to maintain the notion of justice for all. To learn more, let's take a look at this critical field of public of private justice and fact-finding.
What is E-Crime?
To begin with, one must first take into consideration the fact that without e-crime, there would be no need for digital forensics. So, what is e-crime? E-crime is any crime that is electronic in nature or that utilizes electronics in some form at some point in its commission. With this all said, naturally, we need a discipline that is then devoted to addressing electronics crimes.
Enter Digital Forensics
This is where digital forensic science comes into play. This is the science that specifically deals with electronics crime. So, how does it do this?
This science is the one that is capable of dissecting digital information and fact-finding in the digital format in a way that no other discipline can. In essence, digital forensic investigators are sort of digital police. Such professionals and forensic endeavors can be found in public law enforcement agencies as well as in private institutions.
Some great, additional explanation of the field comes to us by way of the National Institute of Justice. According to the institute:
"Digital evidence is information stored or transmitted in binary form that may be relied on in court. It can be found on a computer hard drive, a mobile phone, a personal digital assistant (PDA), a CD, and a flash card in a digital camera, among other place s. Digital evidence is commonly associated with electronic crime, or e-crime, such as child pornography or credit card fraud. However, digital evidence is now used to prosecute all types of crimes, not just e-crime. For example, suspects' e-mail or mobile phone files might contain critical evidence regarding their intent, their whereabouts at the time of a crime and their relationship with other suspects. In 2005, for example, a floppy disk led investigators to the BTK serial killer who had eluded police capture since 1974 and claimed the lives of at least 10 victims."
Furthermore, as a result of this new state of business, the institute states, "In an effort to fight e-crime and to collect relevant digital evidence for all crimes, law enforcement agencies are incorporating the collection and analysis of digital evidence, also known as computer forensics, into their infrastructure"
Past, Present, Future of the Science
Because electronics are the catalyst first needed for there to be e-crime, the field of digital forensics did not really begin to appear until after such electronics had been well established in use. As the NIJ states, law enforcement agencies today are steadily working to include such digital sciences into their standardized, in-office operations. This, along with the ever-expanding electronics-based world we live in today, tell us that digital forensics is a science that is here to stay for the present and future. Among others, for those seeking employment in this specialty field, this is certainly great news.
Justice is an important element to any civilized people, and as our world goes more and more digital, justice must find a way to occupy this realm as well. Digital forensic science provides that crucial way in. For more information on the ever-expanding world of digital forensics today, you are encouraged to explore the resources of the NIJ or the FBI Laboratory Services Division.