History of Digital Forensics | Definition, Types, Advantages & Disadvantages

Digital Forensics – History & Objectives

This write-up will talk about what is digital forensics, its history, objectives, process, types, advantages & disadvantages.

If you have an interest in forensics and related aspects, you might have heard of digital forensics.

Moreover, you might often hear seizure of computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices by the police or other investigating authorities.

Do you wonder why it is so? How do digital forensics experts do it?

With the rapid increase in the number of digital crimes, the need for digital forensics has increased as well.

 So, let’s dive in and understand digital forensics.

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What is digital forensics?

Digital Forensics forms a part of criminological science that emphasizes the recovery and examination of material found in digital devices concerning cybercrime.

The term digital forensics was first utilized as an equivalent word for computer forensics sciences.

From that point forward, it has extended to cover the examination of any devices that can store advanced information.

Despite the first computer or digital crime was accounted for in 1978, leading to the enactment of the Florida Computers Act, it wasn’t until the 1990s that it turned into a widely known term.

It was distinctly in the mid 21st century that national approaches to digital forensics arose.

Digital forensics is the way toward recognizing, protecting, dissecting, and reporting digital information as evidence.

This is done to introduce proof in a law courtroom when required.

The history of digital forensics

Glancing back at the historical backdrop of digital forensics, law authorization during that age had a negligible understanding of the utilization of digital forensics strategies.

Notwithstanding, during the 1970s and 1980s, the digital forensics group was generally agents of government law implementation offices with a computer foundation as a knowledge base.

The primary space of worry for law implementation was information storage, as most documentation happened digitally.

Verifiably, seizing, holding, and dissecting the documentation were long undertakings for the specialists.

Under all these circumstances, the FBI dispatched the Magnet Media program in 1984, which was the primary authority official digital forensics program.

Following this, different strategies to distinguish cybercriminals when they interfere into PC frameworks were created.

In 1986, Cliff Stoll, a Unix System Administrator at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, made the first honeypot trap.

At last, digital forensics investigation got widely picked up as a profession owing to the spread of child pornography on the web.

The conflict between Iraq and Afghanistan additionally prompted the interest in digital forensics examination.

Simultaneously, computerized crime scene investigation assumed a significant part in removing the evidential information from the digital devices assembled by the U.S. troops during the conflict.

In 2006, the U.S. carried out a required system for electronic revelation in its Rules for Civil Procedure.

Since then, digital forensics has emerged as a separate discipline and continues to evolve.

What are the objectives of digital forensics?

If you are wondering what the objectives of digital forensics are, don’t worry, we have got it covered for you.

The primary objectives are as follows:-

  • It assists with recovering, dissecting, and safeguard PC and related materials in such a way that it helps the examination organization to introduce them as proof in an official courtroom.
  • It assists with hypothesizing the intention behind the wrongdoing and personality of the primary guilty party.
  • Planning methods at a speculated crime location that assists you with guaranteeing that the digital proof acquired isn’t tampered with.
  • Information procurement and duplication: Recovering erased documents and erased parts from advanced media to remove the proof and approve them.
  • Assists you with distinguishing the proof rapidly, and further permits you to assess the likely effect of the malignant movement on the person in question
  • Creating a PC criminological report which offers a total report on the examination cycle
  • Safeguarding the proof by following the chain of authority or custody

What is the process of digital forensics?

Digital forensics is a process and not just a single thing to be performed.

It involves several functions and steps to complete a task.

Right from identifying the device and information to presenting the data as evidence in a court of law, there is much more in between.

The process is as follows:-


It is the initial phase in the digital forensics process. The identity interaction primarily incorporates things like what proof is available, where it is put away, and finally, how it is put away (in which manner or format).

Electronic capacity media can be PCs, cell phones, PDAs, and so forth.


In this stage, information is confined, secured, and safeguarded. It incorporates keeping individuals from utilizing the digital gadget or device so that the proof isn’t altered.


In this step of the process, digital forensic experts remake pieces of information and reach inferences based on proof found.

Be that as it may, it may take various attempts of the investigation to help a particular crime hypothesis or theory.


In this step, a record of all the noticeable information should be made. It helps in recreating the crime location and evaluating it.

It involves appropriate documentation of the crime location alongside photography, portraying as well as crime location mapping.


In this final step, the cycle of synopsis and clarification of ends is finished.

However, the information or conclusion should be presented in simple language and terminologies.

Also, all the terminologies should have reference to the particular details of the evidence.

What are the types of digital forensics?

Digital forensics in itself is a diverse field. When you think about the elements and aspects involved, you will come across plenty of it.

Even the slightest deviation can be counted as a separate element. Moreover, the field is so dynamic that it involves updates and modifications rapidly.

All along with this, digital forensics has its types which are as follows:-

Disk Forensics

This type of digital forensics manages the separation of information from storage media via looking through active, altered, or erased records and files.

Network Forensics

It forms a sub-part of digital forensics. It is identified with checking and investigation of PC network traffic to gather significant data and legitimate proof.

Wireless Forensics

This type of digital forensics forms a division of network forensics.

The principle motive of wireless forensics is to offers the instruments required to gather and break down the information from wireless network traffic or database.

Database Forensics

This type form that part of digital forensics that deals with identification, investigation, and assessment of the data sets and their connected metadata

Malware Forensics

This branch manages the recognizable proof of malignant code, to consider their payload, viruses, worms, and so forth

Email Forensics

Manages recovery and examination of messages, including erased messages, schedules, and contacts

Memory Forensics

It manages to gather information from system memory (framework registers, cache, RAM) in crude structure and afterwards cutting the information from the raw dump.

Mobile Phone Forensics

It is concerned with the most part which is managing the assessment and investigation of cell phones.

It assists with recovering the phone and SIM contacts, call logs, approaching, and active SMS/MMS, audio, recordings, and so forth

What are the advantages and disadvantages of digital forensics?

Computers have become a significant aspect of your lives. This doesn’t reject criminals and hackers who have the specialized expertise of hacking into PC network frameworks.

Electronic proof has assumed a part in court yet acquiring can be troublesome.

There have been issues of validness related to this kind of proof. In any case, it is actually utilized today with the assistance of legitimate guidelines to make them allowable in court.

Digital forensics is beneficial, however; it additionally has disadvantages, like we always say that every coin has two sides.

Therefore, we have put together both sides for you to explore.

The advantages and disadvantages are as follows:-

  • The trading of data is occurring regularly preposterous. Although this might be advantageous for us, it can likewise act as a chance for hackers or cybercriminals.
  • Phishing, corporate fraud, protected property debates, online theft, breach of agreement, and resource recovery are a portion of the cases wherein digital forensics can be utilized.
  • Aside from the technical angle, lawful issues are additionally included. Digital forensics experts make their examination to make the digital proof or evidence will be permissible in court.
  • There are advantages and disadvantages with regard to digital forensics investigation. This field is generally new and criminal matters are normally managed actual confirmations.
  • This makes electronic proof something new. Luckily, it has been a useful instrument wherein significant information required for a case that has been lost, erased, or harmed can be recovered.
  • Digital forensics investigation’s primary benefit is its capacity to look and analyze a pile of information rapidly and proficiently.
  • They can look through keywords in a hard drive in various languages which is valuable since digital violations can without much of a stretch get across borders through the web.
  • Important information that has been lost and erased by cybercriminals can be recovered that becomes considerable proof in court. Legal experts can deliver information in court that was already inconceivable.
  • The principal mishap when utilizing electronic or advanced proof is making it permissible in court. Information can be effortlessly changed.
  • The expert should be keen to completely consent to standards of proof needed in the official courtroom. The digital forensics examiner should show that the information is altered.
  • Their own examination should likewise be completely recorded and represented.
  • Digital forensics investigation should likewise prepare of lawful standard methodology when taking care of proof.
  • The principal drawback is the expense incurred while recovering information. Digital forensics experts charge for each hour.
  • Examination and revealing of information can take up to 15 hours yet it will likewise rely upon the complexity of the case.
  • Another is that while recovering information, investigators may coincidentally reveal advantage archives.
  • Legal professionals engaged with the case should likewise know about digital forensics. If not they will not be authorized to interrogate a special witness.
  • This likewise applies to the adjudicator, specialists, and lawyers. Digital and computer forensics are still genuinely new and some may not get it.
  • The expert should have the option to convey his discoveries such that everybody is able to understand.
  • Despite the fact that digital forensics has its disadvantages, this can be tackled by the party involved. However, proof then again can be gathered once.
  • The utilization of computers and the increase in cybercrimes additionally require a similarly high strategy for putting an end to it.
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