What is Computer Forensics?

As technology is getting advanced, it is increasing the chances of various threats and cybercrimes. Every website or social media platform is prone to cybercrime resulting in compromising one’s identity and impacting the crucial information stored online. Therefore, various situations require proper investigation of the scenario.

We have a separate branch for handling such situations of cybercrime. You must have heard of the forensics science that includes the computer forensics branch specific for investigating and documenting evidence to reach a conclusion and find a solution.

The below article highlights the details and important information on computer forensics.

What is Computer Forensics?

Computer forensics, earlier known as Digital forensics, falls under forensic science, focusing on recovering and investigating the material found in digital devices in cybercrime situations. The process includes preservation, identification, and documentation of the computer-based evidence to be considered by the court of law. With this science, you can find the right evidence from digital media. You can assign a team with skills, tools, and techniques to work on complicated cases.

With computer forensics, you can help the team analyze, inspect, and preserve digital evidence from various electronic devices storing digital data.

In 1978, the first-most computer-related crime was thought. By 1991, computer forensics was coined and became a recognizable term. By the early 21st century, various policies have been created on digital forensics.

History of Computer Forensics

It has been an interesting journey of computer forensics, and you can go through its various phases as below.

  • Between 1847 -1915, Hans Gross was the first to use scientific study to work on criminal investigations.
  • In 1932, the FBI had set up a specified digital forensics lab dedicated to offering forensics services, tools, and techniques to all available field agents and other authorities across the USA.
  • In 1978, we came to know about the first-ever computer crime within the Florida Computer Crime Act.
  • In (1982 – 1911), Francis Galton had conducted the recording of the first-most study of fingerprints.
  • In 1992, Academic literature had recognized the term Computer Forensics.
  • In 1995, the International Organization was formed on Computer Evidence (IOCE).
  • In 2000, embarked on the establishment of the First FBI Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory.
  • In 2002, Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE) published the first book called “Best Practices for Computer Forensics” based on digital forensics.
  • In 2010, Simson Garfinkel came across and highlighted the issues facing digital investigations.

Types of Computer Forensics

The types of computer forensics depend on the type of issues and belong to what part of the computer. Below are various types of computer forensics.

Disk Forensics: this type deals with extracting data from the computer’s storage media, allowing you to search active, modified, or deleted files.

Network Forensics: it is another type of digital forensics, allowing you to monitor and analyze the computer’s network traffic and collecting important information leading to legal evidence.

Database Forensics: it specifies the study and examination of related databases and their stored metadata.

Malware Forensics: it allows you to identify the malicious code to carry out work on their payload, viruses, worms, etc.

Email Forensics: it helps in checking the recovery of emails, covering all deleted emails, calendars, and contacts.

Use Cases of Computer Forensics

Below are some cases and situations where you can implement Computer forensics.

Use of digital forensics for thefts related to intellectual property, industrial espionage, disputes related to employment, investigating fraud, unauthorized use of the internet and email in the workplace, digital forgeries-related issues and cases, bankruptcy-related investigations.

Objectives of Computer Forensics

Below are some objectives of computer forensics:

Evidence to Court: It helps in recovering, analyzing, and preserving the digital and forensic evidence, allowing to a crucial part that can help in the investigation lead by the department to provide the evidence in the court.

Identifying the culprit: It helps find the main cause of the attacks and identify the main culprit carrying out the crimes.

Legal Procedures: it helps design the rigorous methods and procedures carried out at a suspicious crime place, assuring the found evidence is uncorrupted.

Data Redundancy: it helps in recovering the deleted or corrupted files from digital media to validate them.

Creating reports: it helps in generating computer forensics report indicating the complete investigation of the crime.

Abiding rules: it helps preserve all the collected and maintained evidence by following the chain of custody.

Preserving evidence: it helps store the evidence by following the standard procedures in legal custody.

Steps of Computer Forensics

Below are the five basic and necessary steps for the proper implementation of computer forensics. The steps are identification, preservation, analysis, documentation, and presentation.

Identification: this is the first step, including things like what is the evidence, where it is found, and lastly, how it is stored, specifying the format.

Preservation: in this stage of the process, you can isolate, secure, and preserve the data. People are stopped using a digital device, so there will be no temperament with digital evidence.

Analysis: at this phase, investigation teams reconstruct data from various fragments and reach a conclusion depending on the evidence. However, it may take time to examine the specific crime theory.

Documentation: In this process, a proper record is created based on all theories and evidence. It allows you to recreate the crime scene and review it repeatedly until complete satisfaction of theories. It allows you to create proper crime scene documentation along with photographs, sketches, and crime-scene mapping.

Presentation: In this last process of computer forensics, specifying the details and explanation of conclusions. However, it is written in a layperson’s terms using simple terminologies. All abstracted terminologies are kept about to specify the details.

Advantages of Computer Forensics

Below are the advantages of implementing computer forensics.

  • It helps in tracking down various cybercriminals efficiently from any location in the world.
  • It will protect the organization’s money, reputation, and valuable time.
  • It allows you to collect, process, and review the factual digital evidence, proving the cybercriminal activity in the court.
  • It allows you to preserve the integrity and authenticity of the computer system and its rights.
  • It allows you to present the evidence in court, leading to the culprit’s punishment and a proper judgment.
  • It helps various companies and businesses to collect and capture the most crucial and personal information if their computer systems or networks are compromised.

Disadvantages of Computer Forensics

Below are some disadvantages of computer forensics.

  • Sometimes it is very difficult to ensure the integrity of the digital evidence as it can be tampered easily, leading to false results and conclusions.
  • If you have budget issues, maintaining, producing, and storing digital records can be difficult and inefficient.
  • You need to have a piece of excellent computer knowledge in every possible field to be a legal practitioner.
  • It is not a cup of tea to generate authentic and solid evidence.
  • You need to use digital forensic tools as per the specified standard, and else all the evidence will be disapproved by the court.
  • If your theory and investigation are not up to the mark, it may lead to preliminary results, and the culprit will be free.

Challenges Faced by Computer Forensics

Below are some challenges faced by Computer forensics.

  • Carrying out the digital forensic investigation will require high-end excessive internet facilities.
  • It is very easy to find various hackable tools to tamper with evidence.
  • In case of weak evidence and lack of physical evidence, may lead to false results.
  • It will require large storage, making the investigation job difficult.
  • If there is a technology change, you need to upgrade the system, and the solution might change.


Computer forensics is in great demand nowadays due to increased cybercrimes. As the technology is getting advanced, the hackers too. They have new and advanced tools for impacting your system in terms of performance and availability. So, there is a separate branch that will help you investigate such crimes and help you resolve your security concerns. Every website needs security if it is holding personal and crucial information. Having such forensics at our end will make your daily life easier.

About the author

Simran Kaur

Simran works as a technical writer. The graduate in MS Computer Science from the well known CS hub, aka Silicon Valley, is also an editor of the website. She enjoys writing about any tech topic, including programming, algorithms, cloud, data science, and AI. Travelling, sketching, and gardening are the hobbies that interest her.