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Computer technology has brought much revolution to the way may processes are carried out in the everyday life. The technology especially with the arrival of the internet has made it possible for many processes to simple and at the same time others to be so hard and almost impossible to carry out. One such area which has been so much affected by the computer technologies is in criminology. It has been possible for crimes to be committed leaving no evidence behind. This has been possible because with the help of the computers it is possible to erase all the evidence of a crime committed. At the same time computers have been used to give evidence of crimes committed. With respect to the above this research paper examines the use of data stored in computers to carry out investigation with an aim of proving the occurrence of a crime. To comprehensively cover this area of investigation the research paper examines what entails digital evidence and describes how this process is carried out. The paper explains the key principles involved in this investigative process. The threats that the data collected is exposed are investigated. Generally the paper will look at the whole process of carrying out the investigation with descriptions being given to the techniques used in carrying out the process. The significance of crime reconstruction is also examined.

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Blyth and Sutherland (2007) have defined digital evidence as, “the information of value to criminal case that is stored or transmitted in digital form” Chisum (1999) has coined a similar but a comprehensive definition, “any data stored or transmitted using a computer that support or refute a theory of how an offence occurred or that address critical elements of the offense such as intent or alibi.” The Standard Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE) defines the term as, “any information of probative value that is either stored or transmitted in binary form that may be relied upon in court.” It is significant to note that the definitions are not just pointing to information but one which can be relied upon in a court of law. Actually as it will be seen later proving that a given data can be relied on in the court forms the hardest part of the cyber forensic business.

Casey (2004) has defined the use of the word data to mean all kind of information including images, texts and videos among others. He argues that that the word digital evidence can be used interchangeably with electronic evidence he cautions that care ought to be taken as they might not mean the same in some cases. With respect to digital evidence Casey (2004) has identified three categories of computer systems: communication systems, open computer systems and embedded computer systems. In all these three categories identified a lot of information can be collected from various electronic gadget which will likely lead to give evidence in a court of law. However, Blyth and Sutherland (2004) have warned that the digital data is fragile in nature and as a result, “can easily be disrupted, changed or replaced by affecting the legal admissibility of digital evidence.” With respect to this Blyth and Sutherland (2004) have argued that it is significant for the data collected to be handled in a way that maximizes its evidential value in the time of trial. This is short constitutes what is referred to as the principles of cyber forensics.

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