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Retrieving digital evidence is a vital process in the investigation of computer crimes. Digital evidence can be used to prosecute many types of crime, not specifically e-crime. Evidence stored on any electronic device can be transmitted in binary form and be used during court. With civilian, commercial, and government need for protection digital forensics companies apply their latest technology in packages for customers. Companies like ProDiscover, OSForensics, AccessData FTK, and Guidance Software Encase offer a variety of extraction methods for clients to identify and act on threats. These companies provide evidence in a safe and clear manner for viewing during court. Digital forensics are key in solving some high profile cases such as the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme. Madoff kept record of his clients by using an IBM AS/400 minicomputer. Investigators had trouble retrieving information from the 25 year old device because they did not have the tools to do so. This is why digital forensic companies strive to provide the newest and best technology.
ProDiscover offers the least amount of functions out of the companies listed. ProDiscover meets the criteria of the National Institute of Standards’ Disk Imaging Tool Specification. ProDiscover creates automatic write ups of reports that gathering data such as time zone information, drive information (including things like volume serial number and hidden sectors, among others), evidence of interest, and Internet activity. Information stored can be easily accessed by specifying the file type or data pattern. ProDiscover offers in-depth tutorials on how to use the system. The system is compatible with both Windows and Mac in 32 bit and 64 bit. ProDiscover offers their product for $50 per program. Overall the system is great for those who need a forensics tool on a budget.
OSForensics offers a top of the line program that lets you extract forensic data or uncover hidden information from computers. The program allows for users to create searchable indexes that locates information stored in files deleted and not deleted. Some other features ProDiscover offers are high-performance deep file searching and indexing, e-mail and e-mail archive searching and the ability to analyze recent system activity and active memory. The program can also create a timeline of events that indicate the time and context of activity. For professional use the program costs between $400-$800.
AccessData FTK provides a top notch defense for large scale companies. FTK provides comprehensive processing and indexing up front, so filtering and searching is faster than with any other product. FTK can handle massive data sets and allows the user to locate threats much more quickly. AccessData specializes in password recovery and is a common tool used by law enforcement. It can also correlate information throughout many different devices such as mobile devices, network data, and internet storage. With a target market of large companies FTK offers its program for $4,000.
Guidance Software Encase works to search computers for information and aids in the process of creating a comprehensive report. Encase can analyze information on Linux, Mac, and Unix platforms as well as operating systems within phones like iOS and Android. Encase has a long history and is used by many. Encase has provided the groundwork for many other forensic companies and continuously provide top quality products. This comprehensive system goes for $3,500 and one year of customer service.
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