Forensic data recovery is not something to put off, especially if you are searching for incriminating evidence. Although deleted emails and other data can usually be recovered, there are ways to permanently delete files. In addition, files can become corrupted or overwritten and valuable evidence lost for good.
The first step in this particular process is to hire a reputable and certified firm that uses the proper equipment in a state of the art lab. Any mistakes made here could make your results invalid in a court of law.
The law also requires that you establish a chain of custody for the computer data and that you keep detailed logs of the events that transpire from the beginning of forensic data recovery until the end. The chain of custody ensures that no one can access the computer and alter data. Both sides of a trial can audit the logs in order to determine validity of data.
To recover the data itself involves using software to uncover deleted files and restore them for viewing. A forensic data recovery specialist can decipher even files that are partially rewritten, archived, or encrypted. The specialist can determine if the suspect attempted to permanently delete files or engaged in any other suspicious activity on the computer.
Forensic data recovery is also able to find hidden files that have been renamed and broken apart to make them more difficult to find. These files can be put back to their originals state. The data recovery process uses sophisticated software that is able to search thousands of files on a computer and analyze them based upon size, keywords, and type.
When the work of forensic data recovery is done, the work of analysis begins. Reports are generated which give an overview of the files on the computer along with a timeline for when they were last accessed or changed. The suspected person’s email and internet browsing history can be investigated as well.
Analysis reports can be generated and submitted as evidence to legal authorities or a court of law. Audit reports can also be created that offer supporting evidence for the accuracy of the recovery process as well as verification that procedures were followed that comply with the Department of Justice regulations.
Prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys can analyze the same evidence in search of proof of guilt or innocence. In some instances, the forensic data recovery specialist may be called to testify at the trial or to provide expert testimony as to the significance of his findings.
The process is not a quick one, data recovery is only part of the picture. The data must also be analyzed from many different angles in order to help officials arrive at a logical conclusion concerning criminal activity.
The cost of forensic data recovery can vary quite a bit depending upon the services needed. Expect to pay up to $350 per hour for a reputable firm with a good reputation. Complex data recoveries and criminal cases require more time to complete and are therefore more costly.
When it comes to hiring a forensic data recovery firm, cost is not as important as experience. One mistake and your data may be lost for good. One deviation from established procedure could make your evidence invalid in court. Experience and reputation can give you peace of mind in knowing that if it exists, the evidence will be found and presented properly.