Forensic data analysis and interpretation
Due to the prevailing rate at which crimes are being committed at different social and economic levels across human race, there has been an urgent need to develop forensic tools which can help to curb the perpetrators of the crimes. Human's actions need to be consistently and systematically under surveillance so that the crime rates are being committed are reduced. Forensics study helps a country to put behind bars people who perpetrate various heinous activities to the citizens living in the particular country. The aim of this paper is to discuss a forensic tool validation; that could be used at any police and homicide departments in administering arrests of people who commit crimes in the country and across the entire world. The world has turned into a global village and, therefore, everything is being devised to the current technological requirements which have imposed significant influence in the law enforcement sector and the defense departments. Carrying out forensics at crime scenes aims at obtaining data about individuals from these locations based on any inferior information acquired at the scenes. Among the things which forensics target for follow-up on the victims are fingerprints, blood, any secretion from the body, and hair among other body parts that can be used to trace individuals as long as they have a traceable DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) fragmentation.
During a forensic data analysis and interpretation, several steps need to be followed sequentially so that the aim of the forensic examination is obtained without any erasure. First and foremost, it is vital for the forensic tool(s) to be validated; this has to be frequently done before and after any forensic data analysis. The forensic tool(s) require frequently checking after it has been used in the field or at whatever platform and also when it is bought; this reduces on the possibilities of any data misinterpretation based on obsoleteness of the equipment. Any software or hardware used in the forensic examination is well kept in the forensics department, and access to it must be limited to avoid alterations in the results leading to biased judgments. The investigative team has to know every component of the forensic examination, and after that at group level, every group is supposed to deal with a definite part of the evaluation. Forensics requires optimal discretion so that whatever results obtained at the end of the whole forensic process needs not to be influenced by any external or internal forces dealing with a cyber crime.
According to Donovan (2008), computer forensics is becoming an augmentative approach in the cybercrime labs and law enforcement areas. Computer forensics mainly deals with the validation, collection, preservation, examination, interpretation, and analysis of digital evidence based on scientific applications and methodologies for facilitation or reconstruction of criminal events. The different outlined aims of computer forensics have proximity as one action partook leads to another, and so if a step misses in one part; then there is a high possibility that the result will turn out complicated for the investigative team. At whichever level a forensic examination gets undertaken, there is always a need for the availability of a medical examiner who specifically deals with homicide issues; in this case, the medical officer works to provide the investigative team on the probable leads to the criminals based on the forensic data. The medical examiner also has what is takes in establishing a connection between a crime victim and the perpetrator with regards to the observations made from the victim for instance if there was any struggle between the individuals involved it is easy to detect from the adverse fractures on the victim.
Digitalization of forensic tools will ease the burden on the investigators with regards to the handling of information from numerous criminal records which stored in the computer systems. A system which is more efficient to deal with the crime records at the forensics department needs, therefore, to be adopted so as also to alleviate the loss of crucial information about crimes which may end up being unsolved and the perpetrators going scot-free. A single fingerprint in the database can make work easy in the identification of a case or record stored in the computer. Ultimately, after identification of the case, all the irrelevant information is gotten rid of to reduce the accumulated storage space and hasten the accessibility of any other information that may be useful to the investigators. The National Software Reference Library has outlined the usage of a Reference Data Set (RDS) as a primal factor in the forensics department. Among the various uses of an RDS are tracking camouflaged software, for example, executable files that have changed names which may be found to blend with other files of data; and location of a pirated software on a computer. An RDS helps an investigator to get information that may have been tampered with during the computation of the information into the computer so as to hide conjugal evidence.
Validation of a forensic tool
The advancements in technology have led to so many evolutions, many of which are targeted to benefit the ordinary citizen and make life easier through enhancement of communication. Despite this, other people have also taken advantage of this idea and have thereby decided to evolve other ways in which the technological world can alter man's way of living by endangering his life with his equipment. Consequently, there is another mode of digital forensics which has also been on the rise; mobile device forensics: this entails the recovery of digital evidence from mobile devices through conditions which are forensically sound and usage of acceptable methods. Mobile devices have in the recent years gained so much interest when it comes to solving cyber crimes and other criminal activities and thus, mobile forensics is an essential mode of forensics that defines how these mobile devices relate to the various forensic procedures. In most cases, the mentioning of mobile devices makes people think that the only forensic data retrievable from the devices are simple voice communication and capabilities of text messaging; there is more to it other than these two forensics data. Before dealing with mobile device forensics, it is important to note the characteristics of the mobile device based on the software or hardware being handled during the investigation so that there is no mishandling that may lead to loss of information due to technical errors. Ultimately, usage logs and geographical location are an important mobile device forensics' aspect as they provide extensive information with regards to a definite criminal offense. The storage capabilities (RAM and ROM) of a mobile device can also be helpful in handling an investigative process. Any data which may be encrypted by an individual can easily be tracked as long as there is sufficient material for handling the decryption or cracking of the mobile device (Ayers, Brothers, & Jansen, 2014).
Validation of a forensic tool is primal in an investigative process, as this is significant in the determination by the Attorney or the prosecutor of whether a crime will be solved or not. According to Brunty (2011), digital forensics mainly bases on quality evidence and principles of repeatable processes. Foremost, the test results used in the forensic examination must be repeatable and reproducible for consideration as electronic evidence. Repeatability in digital forensics entails the identical results which are obtained using the similar methods, conducted in the same environment of testing. When identical results are obtained using similar working methods, but at different testing surroundings then the test results of the digital forensics are considered reproducible. The attorney and prosecutors will always want to know how particular conclusions came in place, the criteria used in the compilation of the validation report by the forensic examiner, and why the forensic examiner picked on the choices which he/she deployed in the handling of the investigation. In forensics, it is important to note that one action is a lead source to the next step and if the source is not well-handled, then the source will turn out to be a blind spot to the forensic examiner; everything counts and prioritization is of absolute significance.
A digital forensics validation report
Additionally, the forensic examiner is supposed to evaluate his/her validation tool very well so that the latter effects do not turn back on jeopardizing his/her career in the end. The validation tool must be consistent in operation and suppose there is any doubt in this then the forensic examiner has to take time in making sure that he clears the air by making the functionality of the validation tool right. It is advisable to take into consideration the personnel dealing with the validation tool as they will always have a tie to whatever information based on the computed result on the validation tool. Suppose the forensic examiner is dealing with a case that has a replicate of documents, he/she should make sure that the original copy remains confined at a place where only him/herself knows. In the case of any tamper of the validation tool, then the forensic examiner must reach out to the most reliable sources and report the incident for follow-up. Dealing with the validation tool has to be flexible to the forensic examiner so that at the end the forensic examiner does not leave the forensics department being worked up and in an ultimate confusion that will trigger gross actions.
A digital forensics validation report could be used to defend or attack the findings from a report of a digital forensics examination by providing a clear outline of all the necessary steps followed and the specific personnel which were involved in handling the various procedures during the digital forensics evaluation. In many cases, there are any useful materials by the forensic examiners for instance any audio or video recordings, signed documents, encrypted sources, and sources that link the perpetrators to the crime scenes for example murder weapon(s). Blood samples can also be used to defend or attack the findings from the report of the digital forensics examination. These materials can be arraigned before the court of law, to the prosecutor or to the attorney to stipulate the necessary action on the case. The only sure way through which a forensic examiner can be sure to get a criminal offense into justice is by deploying a well-executed digital forensics validation report that takes into consideration all the stipulated aspect of a good digital forensics validation report.
Digital forensics analysis is an important scientific approach in the current world; this helps in outsourcing the real crime perpetrators and allowing the law to take its course of action upon them for their wickedness. However, several key factors need to be taken into consideration while administering any investigative process through the help of forensic examination. Following key steps including the proper compilation of a digital forensic validation report using a properly-devised digital forensic validation tool. The forensic examiner, therefore, has to have a clear outline of how he/she is going to conduct the digital forensic examination for a better validation report. The forensics departments remain as the surest way of dealing with cyber crimes and other criminal offenses across the world as they are mostly precise. Departments of Justice have specialized in equipping forensic laboratories with the necessary equipment for solving crimes across the country and across the borders to create a sustainable environment for human beings. Definitively, the forensics analysis has made it easy to curb cyber crimes; bringing to justice other immense unsolved crimes due to the digitalization of the forensic tools.
Ayers, R., Brothers, S., & Jansen, W. (2014). Guidelines on Mobile Device Forensics. National Institute of Standards and Technology. U.S. Department of Commerce.
Brunty, J. (2011). Validation of Forensic Tools and Software: A Quick Guide for the Digital Forensic Examiner. Retrieved from http://www.forensicmag.com/article/2011/03/validation-forensic-tools-and-software-quick-guide-digital-forensic-examiner
Donovan, J. (2008). Computer Forensics. The United States Attorneyst Bulletin. Office of Legal Education; 1620 Pendleton Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.
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