In order to establish the innocence or guilt of a suspect, the law requires evidence to prove the complaints or claims alleged by the plaintiff. Sometimes, evidence is not found within our plain sight, but deep within the inner recesses of a computer. Today, technology is everywhere, involving every little thing we do and criminal activities are no exception. Computer crimes are rampant in this technology-driven world. Computer crime is defined as “any violation of criminal law that involved the knowledge of computer technology for its perpetration, investigation, or prosecution” (Conly, 1989).
In order to safeguard the physical property and technology that could be used in executing a terrorist plot, the first responding officer must take special care to protect evidence and to preserve its original state. It is of utmost importance that the collection of evidence must be done carefully and meticulously. Failure to do this might lead to loss or change of original data, causing it to may be inadmissible in court.
Russel Kay (2006) wrote some steps that might help to preserve and protect the physical property and technology before the forensic experts arrive on the scene: • Secure the computer system to prevent it from being altered or tampered with by the investigators, third parties or automated processes such as viruses or other types of malware. Never analyze data using the machine it was collected from. • Make exact, forensically sound copies of data storage devices, including hard drives. • Do not change date/time stamps or alter data itself.
• Recover deleted files as much as possible. • Maintain a full audit log of your activities throughout the investigation, and produce a detailed report at the end (p. 49). Efforts to protect and preserve the evidence in its original state when the crime was committed will contribute greatly to the successful prosecution of the case. References Conly, Catherine H. (1989, July). Organizing for Computer Crime Investigation and Prosecution, National Institute of Justice, 6. Kay, Russell. (2006,April 17). Computer Forensics. Computerworld, 40, p. 49.