Computer forensics has been defined as a much more advanced process than data recovery. According Walker (2010), “computer forensics is the legally accepted practice of preserving and analyzing pertinent digital information”. This means that its central goal is the recovery of valid and original data that can be used as evidence in a court of law. The reasons for this are not particularly hard to discern. This is because it is a very effective means of gathering evidence and solving crimes. In fact, available literature on the capability of computer forensics illustrate that it remains the most valid means of solving complicated problems such as wire fraud, identity theft, child pornography and homicide.
Secondly, the availability of tools capable of retrieving deleted, lost or hidden files and data from a computer reaffirms the validity of such evidence. The process of data retrieval and its storage before presentation to a court of law is done by trained personnel always referred to as a forensic examiner. According to Vacca (2005) “a trained forensic examiner can retrieve files that are deleted, disguised, hidden or encrypted (up to 128-bit encryption) - far beyond a normal examination of data”. These are experts in data preservation, data imaging and data analysis to ensure that the processes are forensically sound and employ court approved methodologies.
Computer forensics is the only valid means in collecting evidence for solving crimes that include wire fraud, identity theft, child pornography and homicide because of its ability to track emails, detect instant messaging and retrieve any form of computer related communication. In the present age, computer communication forms the most preferred channel. Evidence related to crimes of wire fraud and identity theft can easily be retrieved by forensic examiners because the nature of most of their operations is done by the use of computers. Walker (2010), buttresses this point by succinctly stating that “experts have even advanced the technology to the point that they can track data real time, or while it is actually being sent and received”