As the trend for high-specification mobile phones and computers continues at a rapid pace so too does the potential for electronic media misuse and abuse. This kind of fraudulent activity is becoming more commonly seen in legal cases, particularly with employment tribunals. Legal firms are beginning to employ the services of computer forensics experts more widely in documenting electronic evidence and providing litigation support, as this can be crucial in the outcome of cases.
Computer forensics can be used to track and provide evidence in cases of intellectual property theft, money laundering, hacking, moonlighting and the accessing of illegal or inappropriate websites. Digital forensics can also help to secure concrete evidence of illegal activity not usually associated with electronic devices including blackmail, drug dealings and abusive behaviour.
Regardless of whether digital forensics is being used in a criminal case or a civil matter (even as part of an E-discovery exercise), maintaining chain of custody is vital. This is the fully documented tracking of evidence for the period of time that the forensics team has possession of an electronic device. It ensures that each member of the team can be held accountable for any action that they take with the media.
The purpose of this chain is to log the movements of the data, how it has been stored and subsequently analysed. It is essential that this documentation presents an accurate description of any copying, transportation and storage that has occurred, to prevent any potential legal challenge.
It is worth pointing out the differences between e-discovery and computer forensics. E-discovery is the method of processing and manipulating electronically stored information to be used in legal cases. This can take the form of emails, word processed documents, images and any other type of file, which can be filtered, viewed, analysed and categorised effectively via this system. E-discovery using a forensically acquired data set is crucial in maintaining the integrity of any information present, while potentially recovering any deleted material that may be appropriate for the legal proceedings.
Computer forensics is a highly complex industry that requires the latest in product knowledge and technical expertise. Specialists will have years of experience in the on-site capturing of data from computers, servers and other forms of electronic media. This data is then analysed by their forensic analysis specialists, and used to track how a particular device has been used. All areas of the chain of custody documentation will be completed to the highest standard to ensure peace of mind for the client.