How Does Forensic Data Recovery Work?

Lost files, corrupt drives and mismanaged operating systems often lead to digital data being forever adrift in the technological ether. From small businesses to enterprise behemoths, data loss can be a big problem, leading to costly downtime and general logistical chaos.

We aren’t bothered by nightmares of presenting to a crowd in your underwear… but, accidentally deleting the presentation? Yeah, that’s terrifying.

So, how does forensic data recovery work? What makes forensic data recovery different from other types of data recovery? Let’s dive headfirst into all these questions and more. Read on!
<h3>Digital Forensics vs. Common Data Recovery</h3>
First, let’s address the elephant in the room. When you hear “forensics,” the first thing that might come to mind is the catchy intro of one of the many CSI adaptations. This glamorized take on forensic science is far from reality. While we aren’t talking about mildly thrilling case-solving, the word “forensic” is apt.

In regard to data loss: the main goal for any operation is to mine through hard drives or cloud servers to find accidentally deleted files and recover them. In a nutshell, data recovery is the process of obtaining information trapped in a digital location.

It’s not about finding that Word file you forgot to save; it’s about finding content that once existed in a digital location that may not exist anymore. Data recovery is essential for a well-prepared IT recovery plan for any business. So, what does forensics have to do with this process?

How is Computer Forensics Different From Data Recovery?

Digital forensics implies that the process of recovering data is part of a criminal or private investigation. That’s pretty much what separates forensic recovery from the regular data recovery process.

Suffice to say, your corrupted PowerPoint presentation wouldn’t need the forensics data recovery process. Unless, of course, those slides hold some evidence that would crack open an investigation.

To the average person, the difference between the two might seem minimal. The end results might be the same, but the objectives are different from the onset. Since the data is part of possible criminal investigations, it requires a scientifically verifiable and trustworthy method for recovery.

That means using the proper forensic tools. Law enforcement will call for the help of data recovery specialists for all kinds of tasks. But what will these specialists do to save those deleted files and corrupted hard drives during forensics investigations?
<h3>Accidentally Deleted — How Data Recovery Finds Lost Files</h3>
Computer forensics is all about preserving evidence, performing structured information analysis and validating digital data to recreate past events. Back before the digital renaissance, law enforcement did this by dusting for fingerprints and finding physical evidence.

In our modern digital world, It’s all about metadata, IP addresses and remnants of a digital fingerprint in the form of leftover ones and zeros. Cracking the case now means using recovery tools of all kinds to mine for deleted data.

What is the Process of Recovering Data?

In reality, data forensics is a broad and varied field. As modern technology advances, the job of a forensic specialist becomes more complicated, and new sub-branches of the field pop up yearly.

Generally speaking, though, when a data recovery specialist starts their investigation, they have to go through several stages. These stages are:

1. Seizure

2. Forensic acquisition

3. Data analysis

4. Final report production

Forensic specialists deal with both the private and public sectors. For public work, they push to prove or support a hypothesis in criminal court. Private forensic recovery usually relates to corporate investigations.

To perform data recovery, specialists use advanced software options and forensic tools.

Forensic Tools and Software

Deleting files off a hard drive permanently removes them, right? Well, not for computer forensic specialists. These data recovery pros use both hardware and software solutions to extract the digital data and revive it from the recycle bin.

The first thing they will do is make a bit-accurate replica of the hard drive. Specialists either use hardware solutions like a write blocking device or use a software solution to recover data.

Sometimes the data recovery process involves using a pre-packaged suite of software tools. Other specialists prefer to create their own tool kit by piecing together key pieces of software to tackle certain problems.

Options are plentiful at almost every stage of the forensic data recovery process. Sometimes a forensic specialist will need to use software to perform a data capture of the drive. Specialists use other software to analyze emails.

Forensic software can cater to specific operating systems too. This includes different operating systems, like open source and secure Linux builds. Forensics data recovery services use a whole arsenal of software and hardware tools for criminal investigations.

In the face of all this advanced recovery tech, does a process exist that permanently removes data?
<h3>Can You Permanently Remove Data?</h3>
Okay, so at this point, we know what data forensics is and how specialists use the process to aid in criminal and private investigations. Unfortunately, these tech wizards aren’t truly magical. Sure they can find lost files in a sea of corrupt data, but some files are harder to recover than others.

The key to permanently removing data is to rewrite over the original. Often, when you delete files, your operating system will only delete the link to the data. The content of the file still exists and data recovery specialists can find that quite easily.

Data remnants can be an issue. If you have sensitive data, like bank statements or confidential files, you don’t want those remnants waiting for someone to scrape up. Keep in mind that malicious actors, like hackers, can theoretically access your data the same way a data recovery specialist does.

Overwriting data destroys what was previously on the drive. Many software programs exist that can permanently delete files with a simple and easy-to-use interface — good news for your identity security, bad news for forensic recovery.

Keep in mind that while most of the data is gone, remnants may remain. Part of the challenge of forensic data recovery is piecing together these scraps to create a ghost image. While they may not get the full picture, often they can find enough data to aid in an investigation.
<h3>Looking for Data Recovery Specialists?</h3>
Now that we’ve answered the question of “how does forensic data recovery work,” you may be thinking forensics is a bit overkill for your situation. Look, we’ve all deleted files we weren’t supposed to. If you find yourself in a pickle looking for professional mobile data recovery specialists, Gadget Genie is here to help.

Our professional team of mobile tech experts can assist in recovery efforts and can help you find those lost files. Whatever problems you might be facing, we’ve got the solutions you need. Reach out today to get started.

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