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How Can Computer Forensics Aid in Crime Scene Investigation?

January 6, 2011 IADT Chicago, Computer Forensics, IADT General 0 Comments

With the explosion of technology in everyday life, computer forensics is more important today than it has ever been. Uses for computer forensics can range from monitoring employees' computer activities to testing Internet security to tracking down hackers and spammers. One of the most exciting places to use an education in computer forensics, however, is crime scene investigation.

Like everyone else, criminals store plenty of personal data on their computers. Law enforcement officers have found that they can recover this data through computer forensics and use it as evidence during criminal trials. Computer forensic investigators can not only find information buried on a personal computer, but also on PDAs, cell phones, CDs and jump drives.

One famous example of computer forensics used in crime was the case of the BTK murderer. When police received a letter on a floppy disc from a man calling himself the BTK serial killer in 2004, they used computer forensics to find out that the author was a man named Dennis linked to a Lutheran church. The discovery eventually led to the arrest and conviction of Dennis Rader, who confessed to 10 murders between 1974 and 1991 around Wichita, Kansas.

Today's computer forensics investigators are so advanced that they can recover information from a deleted file or even a reformatted hard drive. Computers store information in so many places that it is impossible for a criminal to find and delete everything. For example, simply opening a Microsoft Word document creates 15 temporary files. Sometimes forensic investigators have to dig through thousands of files to find evidence, but if it's ever been a computer, they are usually able to track it down.

Because the court testimonies of computer forensics experts are often vital in prosecuting a case, training in crime scene computer forensics should include both law and technical computer education. It should also include an internship and training on industry equipment to provide real-life experience that law enforcement agencies are looking for.

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