Computer forensics has become an important part of the litigation process, over the last few months the media has reported on numerous cyber attacks carried out by criminals who have the technical know how of hacking into computer network systems, with this in mind electronic evidence plays an increasingly vital role in the Court’s to prove or disprove an individual’s actions in order to secure a conviction.
However, obtaining electronic evidence can be difficult and there can be issues of authenticity, digital evidence has to be provided in such a way that it is admissible in a court of law. The exchange of information is taking place every day over the internet. Although this may be convenient for us, it can also pose as an opportunity for criminals. Phishing, corporate fraud, intellectual property disputes, theft, breach of contract and asset recovery are some of the situations where computer forensics can be applied.
Computer forensics’ main advantage is its ability to search and analysis a vast amount of information quickly and efficiently and identify the crucial pieces of data that can be used to assist in the formation of a legal case. Valuable data that has been lost and deleted by offenders can be retrieved and used to form substantial evidence in court. A recognised computer forensic expert is able to produce the data in court by way of report that was previously impossible. Another advantage is a forensic examiner can carry out searches on a hard drive using different languages and is beneficial as cyber crimes can easily cross borders through the internet.
When instructing a computer forensic expert it is vital that you choose a reputable, experienced and qualified examiner as the digital evidence must be treated in such a way to make it admissible in court. Data can be easily modified, with this in mind the examiner must be able to fully comply with the standards of evidence required in a court of law, fully document and be accountable for any actions carried out, they must also understand and have received training in the legal standard procedures when handling evidence.
Legal practitioners involved in the case must also have knowledge of computer forensics, if not they will not be able to cross examine an expert witness. Computer forensics is still fairly new and not all parties involved in the case may fully understand it. It is the responsibility of the expert witness to be able to communicate their findings in a way that everyone will understand.
It is important to remember that evidence can only be captured once, therefore instructing the right expert to assist in a case that involves computer based evidence is crucial.
Our experts are fully aware of the significance and importance of the information that they encounter. All of our forensic experts are security cleared and the business premises along with our security procedures have been inspected by law enforcement agencies. Athena Forensics holds the “Sweet & Maxwell Expert Witness Checked” status which requires strict vetting of witnesses approved by at least two independent professional referees (solicitors/barristers) verifying both the quality of written evidence and presentation skills in front of the court.
Computer Forensic Experts