Digital forensic investigations are a new phenomenon that has come as a response to an increasingly digital world. Though many are unaware of the field and practice, it can be incredibly useful to individuals who are victims of cybercrime and other crimes linked to digital devices.
The field of digital forensics can also be extremely useful to business owners, who are often vulnerable to cyberattacks, cyber terrorism, and other forms of cybercrime.
One would hope that they would be able to safeguard one’s personal or organizational digital devices at all times, but sadly, this is rarely the case. In instances when cybersecurity fails, digital forensic investigations offer people a means of solving crimes and bringing criminals to justice.
Business owners can benefit from an awareness of what digital forensic investigations are, and the costs associated with the practice. This way, if one is the victim of a disheartening cybercrime, the culprits can be identified, and justice can be served.
What Is Digital Forensics?
Digital forensics is a branch of forensic science that deals with digital media. It is often used to investigate crimes that involve digital technology, and investigators are tasked with compiling digital evidence, analyzing this evidence, and then presenting it clearly.
Evidence is typically collected from devices such as computers and smartphones. In some cases, even servers can be tapped into to find evidence related to crimes. In this way, investigators can find evidence of crimes and even recover deleted data that can be important to solving a crime.
The Phases of Digital Forensics
The process of conducting a digital forensics investigation includes nine distinct phases. By understanding these phases, one can gain a clearer understanding of the digital forensics process and how it can ultimately lead to the solving of a crime. Here are the nine phases associated with a digital forensic investigation:
- First response: Once a crime has occurred and authorities have been alerted, a team of investigators will be dispatched to begin the investigation.
- Search and seizure: Once investigators arrive on the scene, they collect all devices that may be associated with the crime.
- Collecting evidence: Utilizing the devices that they’ve collected; investigators will collect data using a number of advanced methods.
- Secure evidence: After evidence is collected from devices, it is stored in a safe environment where the device and its data can be authenticated.
- Acquire data: Forensic teams go about retrieving electronically stored data, which someone could have attempted to delete off the device.
- Analyze data: Once investigators have collected all the data that they possibly can from devices, they set about analyzing the data and making it clear enough to be presented in a court of law.
- Assess evidence: At this point, the evidence collected from the devices is proved, or disproved, to be directly related to the crime being investigated.
- Report and document: Investigators will compile their findings — such as data and evidence — into reports that comply with the law.
- Expert testimony: An expert witness testifies that the evidence collected through the digital forensic investigation is useful to the case.
How Much Will a Digital Forensic Investigation Cost Your Business?
No business owner wants to be a victim of cybercrime. Unfortunately, cybercrime happens every single day, and every business owner is at risk of having a crime committed against their business. If this does happen, it’s important to know how much a digital forensic investigation will cost.
Depending on many factors — such as the size of the business, the nature of the crime, and the level of encryption on digital devices — the prices of a digital forensic investigation can vary substantially. Typically, the cost of a digital forensic investigation will be somewhere between $5,000 and $15,000.
However — in some disheartening cases — a digital forensic investigation can cost upwards of $100,000. This being the case, it’s important to safeguard oneself and one’s business in every possible way to mitigate the chances of being vulnerable to cybercrime — such as a cyberattack.
Ways to Safeguard Your Business from Cybercrime
Though cybercrime is becoming a more common threat to business owners across the globe, there are precautions that one can take to minimize their risk. Being aware of these precautions — and taking the time to implement them — can increase the safety of one’s business and act as a barrier between one’s business and cybercrime.
- Have a plan: Though no business hopes to be the victim of a cybercrime, it’s important to have a plan in place in the case of this event. Having a clear course of response to this form of crime can make solving and fixing problems easier and more efficient in the case of a cyberattack.
- Be careful when downloading: It’s important to limit the number of downloads on one’s business’s devices whenever possible. The more one downloads, the more one is at risk of downloading malicious software that could give a hacker access to one’s devices and private information.
- Utilize encryption and two-factor authentication: By encrypting all digital communications in one’s business, one can add a layer of defense to their operations. All of the software that one’s business uses should be set to automatically encrypt communications, which can deter hackers from being able to hack into a business’s network.
Being Aware of Cyber Threats
Technology has made today’s world an exciting place to be and has allowed for countless innovations that positively impact our lives. Unfortunately, an increasingly digital world has brought with it an increase in cybercrime.
Thankfully, there are ways to both safeguard oneself from cybercrime and utilize digital devices to solve criminal cases. The field of digital forensics is a force that has the potential to serve justice where a crime related to digital technology is committed and make the world a better and safer place.