Electronic Forensics


Electronic ForensicsThere are a number of reasons that businesses in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg Florida hire private investigators to perform computer and/or cell phone forensics. However, the type of information private investigators learn from computer forensics is different then information sought through a cell phone forensics examination. So, let’s look at both of these topics.


Computer Forensics

There is a branch of forensic investigations known as digital computer science. Within digital forensics, there is a specific branch known as computer forensics which is a term used in connection with evidence found in computers or electronic (digital) storage. Investigators that practice computer forensics examine computers and stored data for evidence to be used in either civil or criminal courts. In many cases, the investigative techniques used by computer forensic investigations mimics the techniques used for data recovery. The most significant difference is that when computer forensics are done for legal cases, there must be a legal audit trail.


Why Do Businesses Hire Private Investigators to do Computer Forensics?

Cybercrime is rampant and still on the rise. Crimes range from ransomware to snooping by foreign governments. During the 2016 United States presidential election, intelligence sources within the US were certain that Russia hacked at least one political party’s computers and leaked information they hoped would be used against a candidate. Companies not only have to protect their data and electronically stored trade secrets from bad actors, but also must protect customer and client data including payment information.

When a business believes their data has been breached they hire a private investigation firm to find out the extent of the hack, who did it, and how to protect itself from future data breaches.


How Investigators Perform Computer Forensics

There are four stages in a computer forensics investigation that are:

  1. Data acquisition
  2. Data examination
  3. Data analysis
  4. Investigative report

Moreover, investigators analyze all types of data on computers that include:

  • Images
  • Emails
  • Databases
  • Stored data
  • Hard drives
  • Thumb drives
  • Instant messaging
  • Other types of electronically stored data

Investigations are routine when a business is hacked. Business clients use computer forensics and cell phone forensics for evidence about:

  • Trade secret theft
  • Cases involving stock manipulation and stock fraud
  • Data breaches
  • Civil lawsuit evidence
  • Criminal investigation and evidence
  • More


Cellular Phone Forensic Investigation

Once only concerned with data on cellular phones, forensics in this area are concerned with data on any mobile device. Mobile devices include mobile phones, tablet computers, phablets, PDAs and other devices that are not tethered to the workplace. The reasons for hiring private investigators for cell phone forensics vary. The need is growing for mobile device forensics in part because smartphones do more than allow users to make phone calls and store and transmit data that can be business related. Smartphones are ubiquitous and are often involved in an online transaction that includes business related banking and financial information. Cellular forensics is beyond the ability of a business IT department. It is a part of the broader field known as electronic digital forensics. Though computer forensics is also part of this field, techniques used in mobile device forensics are very different.

While the end result, finding data that is evidentiary in nature and admissible in a courtroom is the same as computer forensics, the techniques for conducting mobile forensic investigations differ.

But, if you suspect your data is not as secure as you would like or suspect data has been stolen, changed or otherwise compromised, contact a digital forensics experienced private investigator just as many businesses in Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg Florida has done.