Evidence on the Information Superhighway, Essay Example

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Essay

The phrase information superhighway dates from the earliest days of the Internet. There were many high hopes and warnings from the start, and much (but not all) of both have come true (Shaw, 2012). But there is an old saying about roads: Bad roads, good people . . . . We can guess the rest — and the information superhighway is a very good road. We must be prepared.

There are proper steps to collecting and  preserving computer criminal evidence. They depend in part on whether you have physical access to a computer or have hacked onto a suspect’s equipment via the web or intranet, but either way, separate copies of the entire hard disk and internet-access records must be kept. If a computer is seized, then it is important to do as little to it as possible at first. All changes must be documented as well as all other data storage.

There are different kinds of data. For investigation purposes, visible and latent are two major categories. Visible data can be fingerprints (which are themselves visible, latent, or plastic) on a suspect’s computer. As digital data visible is called active and refers to the kind accessible to both the operating system and the user: data files and programs. Latent data is that which the operating system and its antivirus program or firewall cannot access, change, or block without prior knowledge or permission. It is invisible except to those who can find it (NYCFS, 2012).

The parts of the computer system that must be examined to retrieve computer evidence are any parts that can contain data. Some parts cannot be changed via software once recorded or hard-wired. Others can be changed, either deliberately or accidentally, legally or illegally. The basic list of both kinds includes the self-contained hard drive; BIOS (Basis Input/Output System); MBR (Master Book Record); CPU (Central Processing Unit); RAM (Random Access Memory); ROM  (Read-Only Memory); and all portable storage, magnetic or optical.

All that data will help answer the who, what, where, when, and how of computer crime.

References

NYCFS. (2012). The computer forensic examination process. Retrieved from http://www.newyorkcomputerforensics.com/learn/forensics_process.php

Shaw, K. (2012, June 21). Did this 1985 film coin the phrase ‘information superhighway and predict siri? Retrieved from http://www.itworld.com/business/282014/did-1985-film-coin-phrase-information-superhighway-and-predict-siri

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