Aug 12, 2019 by Foresight

How a Forensic IT Expert Can Help a Criminal Investigation

Computers and other mobile devices are frequently involved in criminal investigations. In cases from fraud to terrorism and everything in between, analysing a computer’s hard drive can provide revealing insights about an individual and their activity, and techniques such as facial mapping, cell site analysis and CCTV analysis can help place an individual at the scene of a crime. It is the role of an IT forensics expert to make sense of this data and present it as convincing pieces of evidence.

Analysing Evidence Stored on Hard Drives

Data from computers and mobile devices can play a huge role in legal proceedings. In phishing scams or hacking cases, a device might form the scene of a crime, and in many other cases they are used as evidence. During hard drive analysis, IT forensic experts examine operating systems and files held on a hard drive to identify whether the individual who used the device has had any involvement in criminal activity, and to what extent they were involved. This analysis can help identify when a file was edited, who edited it, when it first appeared on a hard drive and whether attempts have been made to conceal or encrypt a file. This technique is used in a variety of criminal investigations, including fraud, murder, and terrorism offences.

Using Cell Site Analysis to Identify an Individual’s Location

Mobile phone and hard drive analysis can build a convincing picture of an individual’s activity leading up to a crime, and cell site analysis can determine whether an individual was present at the crime scene. Cell site analysis is a technique by which the geographical location of a mobile phone can be approximated. By tracing cell data records, experts can identify the time and date of a call or text, the first cell ID used to facilitate a communication and the last cell ID used. This data can give an indication of an individual’s whereabouts at the time of a crime, which can help to prove or disprove an alibi. When cell site evidence is supported by CCTV images, it can build a convincing picture of evidence to either prosecute or defend the accused.

Challenges Faced by IT Forensic Experts

An IT forensic expert can come across many different problems when analysing digital evidence. If evidence gleaned from computer or mobile phone analysis is being used to prosecute a suspect, the defence could argue that the device has been tampered with and the offending material placed there by another person or by a computer program. Other pieces of evidence such as CCTV images and witness statements may be required to support the findings of cell site analysis, as this technique cannot pinpoint the location of a device with complete accuracy.

Examination of digital evidence can be a time consuming task, but it can provide vital insights into an individual’s activity. These insights can either help prosecute or defend the accused. At Foresight, we have an unrivalled selection of IT forensic experts across many disciplines including hard drive and mobile phone analysis, cell site analysis and CCTV analysis. Get in touch if you require an IT forensic expert for your legal case.



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