As the age of technology thrives and persists, the need for cybersecurity becomes imperative. Cybersecurity has evolved profoundly over the years and will continue to do so as humans become more dependent on technology. Cybersecurity ties directly into the necessary use of digital forensics, a branch of forensic science that deals with investigating digital devices when needed for criminal cases, especially in terms of hackers.
What is Digital Forensics?
Digital forensics is a type of investigation that includes looking into computers, tablets, mobile devices, websites, and social media accounts to try to recover information that has been altered; usually for a court case. However, the use of digital forensics has become even more relevant when dealing with the issue of hackers and tracing their digital footprints. In fact, digital forensics is so important to the society in which we live in today digital forensic services have created entire companies dedicated to investigating computers, mobile devices, tablets, websites, and social media to prevent threats, promote safety, and prevent hackers from stealing or deleting valuable information.
Hackers will typically exploit a person’s information or documentation or they will erase it. In both scenarios, the use of a digital forensic scientist is crucial and can save you from hackers’ intentions and detrimental outcomes. Here are some ways that digital forensics can save you from hackers:
Determining Document Authentication
In certain scenarios, a hacker will alter and/or erase information found on a person’s device or website. This can, of course, be problematic for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason being document authentication. For example, if a hacker alters documents belonging to a person found on his or her device, especially legal ones, determining the authenticity of these documents will be challenging. Digital forensics, however, allows the original document to be recovered prior to the alterations made by the hacker.
Likewise, digital forensics analyzes the document to determine, facts, origin, writer/composer, and when and where the document was written and altered. These digital forensic abilities assist in saving a person and their documents from hackers.
Preserving Digital Evidence
Preserving evidence is perhaps one of the most important tasks when dealing with any type of investigation. When looking into information that needs to be retrieved from a digital platform, this task is more often than not extremely hard. It’s easy for hackers to delete and change information. However, the use of digital forensic tools makes preserving digital evidence do-able and can save a person’s digital presence as well as any other important information that could have been manipulated, including personal information and items like pictures and messages.
If a hacker is caught and is taken to court, this aspect of digital forensics is particularly important. Preserving digital evidence allows digital forensic scientists to recover an exact copy of the original document which will allow court officials to point out what the hacker has changed or deleted. This will aid in bringing the hacker to justice in addition to making sure the victim of a hacker gets all the information back that they have lost.
Determining Intent of Hacker
This is particularly important if the hacker is caught and taken to court. Digital and computer hackers all have various degrees of intent, some more harmful than others. Digital forensic scientists can retrieve various pieces of information besides documents; including:
- Searches in the search engine
- Social media posts
- Website visits
This aspect of digital forensics can save you from hackers by determining what it is the hacker wanted to do with the account or device he or she hacked into. Or, if a secondary crime is committed by the hacker in addition to hacking, the court will be able to prove more with the additional evidence found via digital forensics.
In Court: Alibis and Statements
Similar to proving intent, digital forensics can save you from hackers in the courtroom by disproving alibis and statements. Digital forensics collects and analyzes data from computers, devices, websites, and social media and uses it as evidence in a court setting.
Digital forensics allows the hacker to be found guilty with evidence that he or she may have attempted to delete/alter. Similarly, if the hacker is found guilty and attempts to give false statements and alibis in the courtroom, law officials will be able to pinpoint these statements and alibis and bring the hacker to justice, saving you from his or her actions.
The Future of Digital Forensics
Digital forensics is a service that is here to stay and has a long, complex future ahead. As technology becomes more apparent in everyday life, digital forensics becomes more necessary in order to make sure information, items, and documents are not being exploited or manipulated. Unfortunately, as technology thrives, hackers become more widespread, it’s important to make sure you are proactively protecting yourself from them. If you are a victim of hacking, keep these digital forensic tips in mind to make sure your digital footprint is a private one.