Looking for a needle in a haystack can be overwhelming, especially when you have little information. Before successfully finding your needle, it is also essential to know the needle’s features and the events preceding its loss.
The same goes for computer forensics investigation. The digital space is a stockpile of information from billions of people. One information can lead to another and may sometimes result in a dead-end. With an overwhelming number of cases waiting to be solved per day, it is only essential to create an efficient workflow that will increase your job productivity.
The computer forensic investigators should also carefully observe legal restrictions. This maintains a high credit score when investigating. Credibility is vital to an investigator’s work.
The best practices in computer forensic investigation include:
- Review your notes. An investigator would only want to consider what information is essential. When looking for relevant information, the first avenue to get more is by reviewing what’s already been gathered. Relevant information is sometimes missed when there is no review. Reviewing notes can also pave the path on how to move forward with the investigation.
- Funneling down information will help narrow leads to answers. The first step of investigation might have led the investigator to several IP addresses. Once an investigator finds a keyword that suspects a crime, a keyword such as a child pornography, the number of suspects owning the IP addresses can be narrowed down to a suspect.
- Eliminate or solidify evidence. Always look at the information you gathered from a different perspective. When an investigator does such, he may find unique information that can eliminate or solidify the evidence. This process can help a computer forensic investigator arrive at a report.
- Watch your time. The investigator needs to stray away from information that distracts him. He always needs to consider the time that is wasted when he focuses on the irrelevant. Time is also an issue, especially when the investigators are working for law firms. These units have a list of clients that almost immediately needs help. As a computer forensic investigator, time can be a two-edged sword that you should always watch.
- Always analyze. An investigator’s report becomes useless without proper analysis. A computer forensic investigator is provided with high-technology software that helps in a thorough examination of the data retrieved and gathered. However, investigators should also initiate the manual analysis. This will help arrive at a report with real human understanding.
- Copy, copy, copy. It is intentionally repeated thrice as a reminder to the computer forensic investigators. Evidence should always be copied or captured according to local procedures. The investigators need to retain copies of evidence considering each one is essential to help to find relevant information.
- Seizing evidence has limitations. Hence, it is crucial to investigate side-by-side an officer that can provide the necessary equipment and prevent tampering of evidence. The officers also ensure restrictions are strictly being followed. It would also be best to work closely with the system administrators. They can help with quickly sourcing information as it has been part of their jobs.
The best practices on computer forensic investigation seek to establish the reliability of data and its validity. These practices may vary depending on the which works best for an investigator. What is important when starting an investigation is to always consider the legalities of the processes more than the eagerness to finding what needed to be found.
A needle in a haystack can easily be found when you know which needle it is and how it got lost in there.