Documents and Computer and Mobile Device Forensics

1. Detail how an electronic crime scene be processed.

2. How can law enforcement use the locations of cell tower information in a criminal investigation?

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3. What type of evidence can be extracted from a mobile device?

According to Saferstein, “Document examiners apply knowledge gathered through years of training and experience to recognize and compare the individual characteristics of questioned and known authentic writings.” (p. 474) Document examiners compare known handwriting exemplars to questioned writings. They also examine typewriters and printers to determine if the devices were used to prepare a questioned document. Typewriters and printers are subject random wear of their parts which gives their printed documents individualized characteristics. Document examiners also review documents that have been damaged or modified through alterations, obliterations, and erasures.

Computer Forensics

There is a vast amount of evidence that can be recovered from a computer. The key is to properly secure and process the electronic crime scene, so that evidence can be retrieved. The electronic crime scene must be documented by sketching the scene as well as photographing it. It is important to photograph the connections as well as the serial numbers of the equipment. The next step is to preserve the electronic crime scene through a live computer acquisition, a system shut down, or removing the plug from the back of the computer. As Saferstein explains, the electronic data is then analyzed. Internet data can also be analyzed as well as e-mail, chat, and instant messaging.

Mobile Device Forensics

Most people have a mobile devices nowadays. These mobile devices are becoming substitutions form computers. They are challenging for forensic examiners because their technological capabilities are advancing at an alarming rate. There are many different brands and types of “smart” mobile devices on the market and each is different, so there is no one forensic tool that can analyze all mobile devices. Mobile devices are used to communicate (texting and phone calls), access the Internet and social media, and to send e-mails. Most mobile devices are equipped with GPS and calendars and users can download applications to read the news, get directions (Google maps), shop, listen to music, play games, conduct their banking, etc. All of this information can be extracted and analyzed for evidentiary value.

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