- Outside of courts, cyber forensics helps determine weaknesses in computer-based systems.Martin Poole/Stockbyte/Getty Images
In a society that constantly becomes more Internet dependent, cyber forensics becomes more important. According to Tom Vidas at the 2006 Nebraska Cert Conference, the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that 30 computer whizzes working with a budget of less than $10 million could bring the U.S. government and economy crashing down. Because of the nature of cyber forensics, the tools differ from common concepts of tools. Instead of the fingerprint powder and computer programs in other types of forensics, cyber forensics requires the knowledge of the computer programs that hackers and cyber criminals use.
- Perhaps the most common tool that cyber forensic professionals use is Microsoft Windows. According to Vidas at the Cert Conference, 95 percent of all cases that require cyber forensic investigation involve the use of Windows. Therefore, very precise knowledge of Windows is required for those in the field of cyber forensics in order to prevent crime and catch criminals.
- Ambient data refers to deleted information that still exists on some part of the computer, according to Forensic Focus, a computer forensics news source. Deleted information, though no longer available to the computer user, is stored on a computer until overwritten. Much like a chalkboard that still has impressions of erased letters until new letters are written on top of it, the computer does not erase everything from a disk at the moment you click the "delete" button. Ambient data can help find hidden information on a computer.
Disk Imaging Tool
- A disk imaging tool directly and accurately copies a disk in order to preserve the integrity of information for use in criminal charges and criminal court, according to Forensic Focus. Disk imaging also needs to occur without any changes or damages to the original disk. Any changes in the original disk can cause a judge to throw the whole disk out of a court trial.
- Documentation is the most necessary tool for cyber forensics, according to the Nebraska Cert Conference. Unintentional changes in computer files, such as file access dates, can cause problems in presenting court evidence. Therefore, cyber forensic specialists need to create documents for each action they create, including the document's time and date of creation, the incident occurrence, what hardware and software the computer runs and any photos of hardware, software or essential cryptographic hash that are deemed necessary for a court trial.