Chapter 12. Computer Forensics

Humanity has become dependent on computers to store and process personal, professional, and business-related information. Even criminals cannot resist the power of the computer for maintaining records of their illegal activities. Prostitution rings maintain databases of their "Johns"; drug traffickers maintain lists of their primary customers, distributors, and suppliers; and murderers, rapists, stalkers, abusers, and other violent criminals may keep detailed accounts of their obsessive behavior and other activities. Businesses may produce volumes of data in their systems that describe in detail illegal activities such as discrimination, sexual harassment, environmental pollution or damage, antitrust activities, bribery, extortion, and a host of other legal and regulatory violations. Governmental agencies and military organizations also maintain a wealth of classified and topsecret information about their own activities as well as those of other countries. I would venture to guess that there is more information stored on all the hard drives, disk packs, floppy diskettes, compact disks, and other electronic media in the world than exists on printed matter.

Most legal systems, and especially those in the United States, have come to rely on this wealth of electronically stored information to help convict or exonerate suspects and to determine the extent of damages in civil actions. But accessing this information can be difficult, sometimes almost impossible. ...

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