These are a few examples of cases where digital forensics have been called upon to uncover the how, what, where and sometimes why in a wide variety of investigations. In some cases, guilty parties are uncovered and their actions proved by the forensic data. In others, innocent parties may be cleared of wrongdoing.
The Goal of Digital Forensics
Digital forensics experts provide their services to attorneys, governments, individuals and businesses for internal investigations, civil or criminal matters. They uncover, collect, preserve and analyze evidence left on computers, servers, network equipment or any type of digital storage media.
The procedures used require certified, highly experienced digital forensics engineers using the latest tools, techniques and precise evidence authentication and preservation protocols. The evidence they uncover will stand up in court thanks to their thorough training and years of experience.
Cases Where Digital Forensics Played an Essential Role
Most of the work of digital forensics experts may go unnoticed by the public, but occasionally important cases where forensics were critical to a successful resolution of a case appear in the news.
Hot Car Child Death
In late 2016, a father was convicted of murdering his 22-month old son by leaving him in a closed car in sweltering heat. Although there was suspicion that the mother had knowledge of his intentions, she supported her husband as a good person.
That is, until computer forensics uncovered a pattern in the husband’s “deleted” browsing history and chat-group trails that revealed he was sexting multiple women including an underage girl plus researching information specifically about hot car child deaths.
The Odatv Case
In April 2017, a court in Istanbul acquitted 13 defendants from a popular news website in Turkey. They were charged with supporting a terrorist organization suspected of plotting to overthrow the Turkish government. The case pivoted on files found on their computers.
A digital forensics consultant applying sophisticated forensics techniques found that the damning computer files were actually planted using remote access Trojan malware and timestamp forging.
Chinese Dairy Firm Missing Over $350 Million
The Huishan dairy firm in China recently uncovered a $357 million shortfall in their accounts months after a high-level financial executive went missing. The missing money represents about 83% of their reserves, so the incident has devastated the company’s stock.
Other finance employees had left the company in recent months, further hindering timely discovery of the shortfall. Huishan are now calling in a “forensics accounting expert,” but clearly they need a team of digital forensics experts to retrieve and examine emails, logs, social media accounts, file activity and so on in order to track down what happened and pinpoint where the culprits may have fled.
Digital Forensics Involved in an Increasing Variety of Cases
Whether it is assisting law enforcement to solve crimes, investigating a breach in a corporate network or gathering evidence for use in a civil case, computer forensics is experiencing growing demand from more areas than ever before as its value is demonstrated in an increasing assortment of cases.