In 1984, Police officers and investigators began exploring the field that would become known as digital forensics. Then it was in the late 1990s that computer forensic technicians were able to perfect the systems that we use today. Now digital forensics is still new to the field of private investigators. However, many private investigators take a personal passion and explore new investigative techniques and approaches to both research and surveillance. Digital forensics is where research and surveillance collide.
This article will look specifically at what you might expect an investigation that uses digital forensics and brief explanations for how private investigators use these in their daily research or investigations. Digital forensics is not new, but there are many questions about how its used and the ethics behind exploring digital forensics as part of a private investigation.
What Digital Devices Do Investigators Use in Digital Forensics?
During training to become a forensic investigator or a computer forensics investigator many learn to handle hard drives, databases, email servers, storage media, websites,
cameras, zip drives, personal devices, and more. These are the most common devices found in digital forensics and there’s no doubt that any investigation could dive into someone’s personal device, hard drive, database, or email server.
When working with digital devices an investigator will examine and potentially recover information from digital equipment. May even need to reconstruct damaged systems to identify or locate evidence. Then after conducting an investigation will put together a report that explains the recovered evidence and reconstructed the file fragments. To accomplish this, they rely on exceptional technical skills and know-how.
Do the Private Investigators Need to Have the Device in Hand?
Unlike the 1980s in the 1990s investigators have almost perfected the art of remote acquisition forensics. Using a remote acquisition forensics tool we can by using these systems which are designed to allow forensic investigations through remote evidence-gathering. Some Countries do have laws that restrict how far a person can or should go with these remote forensic tools. However, many of those laws specifically apply to law enforcement officers and not private investigators.
Many people turn to private investigators because there are restrictions which stop the police from doing good work. Through remote acquisition, we may not need to have the device in hand. However, it may be useful to have the device, especially if you’re one of the owners or account holders. These are times when it’s critical to discuss with the private investigator what options are available and whether it would be realistic to bring the device in for forensic analysis.
Retrieving Deleted or Erased Data on Phones
Most people tend to believe that once they delete a message or image off their phone that it’s gone forever. Except that’s not true. Similarly come on deleting messages, images, or interactions on social media platforms, application such as WhatsApp, and more always leave digital fingerprints. Digital forensics exists because deleting the entirety of any portion of data off of a digital device is impossible.
Private investigators are often skilled at retrieving or locating data that the phone or device user believed was deleted or erased.
When Would a Private Investigator Use Digital Forensics?
Private investigators will often turn to digital forensics for a variety of reasons. If you suspect that someone isn’t providing the whole truth, or is purposefully deleting data or keeping you out of the loop, that would be the time we would delve into digital forensics.
For example, if you suspect that your spouse is up to something suspicious but can’t get past the lock on their phone, a private investigator would determine how to access that information.
With new technologies and rapidly spreading social networking sites and databases that store information without people knowing, it becomes a compilation of information,
available with just one click. Thus, the advancement in technology has made things more convenient. However, this has left many with additional problems. This means that the hired detective will focus on finding evidence after a computer security has either been breached or misused in various occurrences, for example harassment, fraud and breach of company security, and all that Jazz.