A fully equipped digital forensics laboratory contains numerous specialty spaces, each with its own unique and specific architectural/engineering design issues that must be addressed.
Digital forensics is currently one of the fastest growing laboratory sections in the crime lab. Most laboratories without digital forensics capabilities in their old facilities are either remodeling existing spaces or planning space for digital forensics in their new facilities.
There appear to be two forensic disciplines pertaining to digital media, “digital forensics” and “cyber forensics,” which have not yet been formally separated and defined. These terms have been used as labels for these disciplines, yet not consistently, since much of the literature on this subject uses these terms interchangeably between the two disciplines. For purposes of this article, these two disciplines will be generally defined and labeled as follows:
Digital forensics is the forensic investigation of devices capable of storing digital data, the purpose of which is to extract the digital data from such devices in order to assist in the investigation and prosecution of crime, and/or to be used as evidence in civil court cases. Examples of these devices include (but are not necessarily limited to):
- Computers and their digital components.
- Digital audio devices such as MP3 players, iPods, voice recognition devices, and audio surveillance devices.
- Digital video devices such as digital cameras, digital video surveillance devices, scanners, plotters, facsimile machines, and photocopiers.
- Combination audio/video devices such as CDs, DVDs, floppy discs, and USB drives.
- Communication devices such as cell phones, Blackberries, and iPhones.
Cyber forensics is the forensic investigation of unlawful security breaches in computer network systems. This would include the investigation of cyber worms and viruses, and hacking into secure networks, whether they are government,military, or private industry networks.Cber examinations also include cases pertaining to classified information, espionage, and digital investigative support for the war on terrorism. Pursuit of persons responsible for child pornography, narcotics transactions, internet fraud, and any other illegal activities involving cyber space fall under the purview of cyber forensics.When these investigations uncover those responsible for unlawful cyber activities the violator’s computer hardware, software, and any device containing digital information becomes digital forensics evidence.