You have lost some very important data, and you decided to search for professional help because you so desperately want that information back. The business of data recovery is a sensitive undertaking as knowledge and integrity are lacking in our society today. You have to make sure that you are in safe hands then.
The companies that recover data are divided into four major types, namely: the nationwide companies that are well versed, those that can recover almost all your information, those that offer services at a very low rate or those that are overpriced because they also outsource service and finally those companies that market the service but are not able to solve any of your problem.
All these companies are out there and you risk getting exploited for poor services or no service at all. As you continue reading you will be able to see what a good company should look like because all of them look more all less the same. When you go for a data recovery company it should be equipped with the following:
Should have the manufacturer’s authorization
The manufacturer of the devices used by this data recovery company will always authorize them to disassemble their devices and offer the warranty. If that company does not offer services this way then you are knocking the wrong doors. Ask them to show you which company approves their drive savers.
Make sure they certify the clean room as required by the ISO class
These are the general conditions of a manufacturing area that are free from static surrounding and dust. The cleanroom is tested twice a year by auditors and certified By the ISO. These companies should follow the conditions certified at original disk manufacturers.
You should be assured of the security of your data in the process of recovery
When recovering data it is under threat from viruses, hacking and even theft. So the data recovery company should recover your files taking into account its safety. The company should be well secured both from outside to the inside. They should have a well monitored and secure web connection that protects them from intrusion by hackers and other criminals.
Should already be inspected by a third party company (SOC 2Type 2 report)
This audit report is issued when a third party company carries an audit on the security of data protocols. Many companies claim to provide information security while they do not, only SOC Type 2 inspection guaranties they do.
Should have a tested and trustworthy HIPAA security submission
The recovery company should have the above named audit that proves that it complies with all standards of security. Any company that offers these services should comply.
Have good encryption tools and a well trained staff that are certified
There are several unique encryption devices out there. When you need integrity in your encrypted information make sure the recovery service provider has engineers that are well trained. They should be able to use the best encryption tools.
As I already said there are companies that provide good services and those that do not. Do not let yourself be baited by low prizes and promises that are not realistic. Demand that they prove their credibility in all spheres. Otherwise you risk losing your data forever.
The disk of your computer can contain vital information without which you cannot do any work. For businesses, both big and small, such a situation is an utter disaster when all jobs can halt, and everybody is thrown out of work. The financial loss mounts as man-days are lost due to the defective disk. For individuals, it is equally frustrating if the hard disk of the computer fails to respond to all this cajoling to revive it. Since the drive is dead, you have no option but to replace it. But the critical data that the defective disk contained has to be recovered at all costs.
Defects in drives
The reasons behind a dead hard drive may be many. You have to take steps accordingly to recover the sensitive data contained in it. The usual problems behind an inoperative hard disk and the actions that you should initiate are:
- Head has crashed – This is one of the defects that can occur with most hard drives before they become completely dead. Head crashes can severely damage the disk causing the recovery of sensitive data to become difficult. Take it to the data recovery company immediately as soon as it goes dead. Do not try anything else because the crashed head may compound the damage. The head crash may have occurred to stiction, or dust particle entering the disk cover or the disc spindle losing its speed allowing the head to come into contact with the platter.
- Spindle has jammed – When the disc has been used for a long time, the moving parts get worn out. As a result, the disk spindle on which the platters are installed can get jammed. If the platters do not move the head is unable to read any data and the disc remains lifeless. The best option in this case is to take the disc to a disk repair agency that can repair the problem and help you to retrieve your data from it. Replace the disk with a new one load the extracted data onto the new disk and start working as if nothing had happened.
- Electronic component has failed – The electronic circuit board on the disk is its controller. It decides which portion of the disk is to be filled with data, which portion of the disk has to be accessed for the data and so on. Any component failure on this board will render the disk useless. In this case, take the disk to the disk repairing center where they can replace the defective circuit board with a matching one. With new circuit board the disk will get another lease on life and you will get your sensitive data back.
Taking immediate action
You can have a lot of problems when you have a dead hard drive on your hands. If you have kept an online backup on hard disks, you are saved a lot of trouble. But if you have the backup on CDs and DVDs you may get some help from them though the backup may be old and may not pertain to the latest situation. Taking the drive to a professional data recovery firm is the best option you have when the disk drive goes dead. The companies have the latest equipment and years of expertise to recover sensitive data from the drive. The work is done in such a way that full secrecy is provided to the extracted data and you can be assured that no one else will come to know of the contents of your hard drive.
It is very difficult for anybody to know in advance when a disk drive is going to fail. Since the disc contains data that is vital for any business or individual, there has to be some means of keeping it safe at all costs. You may not be able to recreate data that is lost. Information regarding daily transactions in a bank is a case in point. If any data on these transactions is lost, then it is almost impossible to get it back. The basic protection against any loss of data is possible, keeping a backup to prevent any loss.
Keeping a backup
- Backup on optical media – Small amounts of data can now be easily backed up onto CDs and DVDs that can be used to reload the new hard drive later on. It is especially convenient for home users and small offices.
- Backup on pen drives – The pen drives available currently in the market can hold up to 32 GB of data and sometimes is enough to hold all you critical data. Individuals with a limited amount of critical data can keep backups in this fashion.
- Backup on external disks – Presently external hard disks are available for keeping backups that can go up to 2 GB of data. These external disks work through the USB ports and are very convenient for individuals to handle.
- Backup on tapes – Large businesses have huge volumes of data that have to backup on tapes that can store this data. The applications allow the use of multiple magnetic tapes that make the storage of backed up data almost infinite.
- Backup on disk drives – An array of disk drives are used to back up vital data by large businesses so that they can access and use the data whenever any problem occurs with the original disk drives of the computer
- Using cloud computing – Nowadays the latest craze is about cloud computing where your data resides in a computer somewhere where it is safe, and you just download whatever you need to your computer to work.
Using special hardware
For all kinds of businesses protecting data is a very important factor for healthy operation. Using special hardware such as the RAID or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks is one of them. In this concept, the hardware breaks up data into small chunks and stores them on a large number of disks. Whenever this data is accessed, it is recreated by fetching its various portions from multiple disk drives, and passes it to the computer asking for data. Another feature of this concept is that it allows multiple disks to go bad without affecting the operations by building the data from what is left of it in the operational disk drives. Protecting data has become so important that large businesses who have enough money are building Disaster Recovery Sites which may be located in a different place from where their main computer system works. It is one of the ways to protect your data in case of natural disasters taking place in one part of the world.
Computer Forensics is the procedure of examining computer systems through collecting and scrutinizing computer-related proof and data to determine their prohibited or unlawful participation in crimes or frauds. Businesses, the military, law enforcement, intelligent agencies have embraced the use of computer forensics expertise. Computer evidence processing actions are scrupulously observed in the procedure, as the findings should be presented in a court of law.
Computer forensics is a section of forensic sciences and is progressively becoming significant in court cases as forms of cybercrime are on the upsurge. Consequently, the work of these computer specialists, proof can now be brought to court cases to resolve some of the worst internet and technology-based crimes.
It is not possible to find an online crime that cannot benefit from computer forensics services. All types of institutions are facing computer crimes challenges as many criminals today are computer savvy and can commit crimes through the use of computers. Computer forensics experts can access and analyze any information that is passed along through computers, cell phones, fax machines and all digital/electronic devices that can store data.
Electronic discovery service is where documents, intellectual property, email, copyright issues, internet activity, trade secrets, computer security, instant messaging and network invasion are all scrutinized and establishes what information might be valuable to a case or a circumstance. Computer forensics services become useful when a client has comprehension of what information is on the computer or other device and requires help in guiding them in the right direction as to how to use the data.
Computer forensics services also consists data discovery and analysis as it is applied when the specialists use techniques to recover data that was thought to be lost. After the data is retrieved, it is analyzed to find out who the author was, the time it was created/erased and its relevance to the particular situation. Sensitive information can easily be lost in this phase; hence a lot of care is needed. Minor actions such as turning a computer on or off can corrupt evidence.
Preservation of evidence is another valuable computer forensics service as it is the phase where the forensic image is made of all applicable data. The image is essentially what is being examined, and the source where data was removed is stored in a safe and confidential environment. The security and legitimacy of this information are examined very cautiously and managed only by a digital forensics specialist.
The steps mentioned above should be completed appropriately for the computer forensics analysts to come up with a report on the findings. All of the proof should be carefully phrased and only have significant matters that are related to that particular situation. The main aim here is to gather everything that relates to that case and will have the highest possibility of success.
A computer forensics investigator should be able to give an expert testimony on their findings since their services are used in a court of law. The examination carried out should be precise with its evidence the one representing the forensic company should be well-spoken, persuasive and particularly accurate with their testimony.
All the above-mentioned services are significant features of the computer forensics realm as each area requires to be handled in a very precise and cautious way to avoid any evidence being tampered or mishandled. Every phase of the procedure is just as important as the first which is why it takes years of experience to be considered a professional in this field.
Each project should be considered valuable and it’s not only imperative to uphold the services presently offered through computer forensics but to make every effort to stay on the cutting edge of technology and be able to combat anything new to the game.
Computer forensics is mainly the breakdown of information created and contained in computer systems to gather material that can be forwarded as enough proof in courts of law. Computer forensics regularly includes a follow on electronic discovery procedure and follows a consistent set of processes to pull out a chain of evidence that can conclude the occurrence of an incident and the responsible parties.
There are several techniques and applications used by computer forensics experts to examine hard drives in search of concealed folders and unallocated disk space, plus checking copies of deleted or damaged files. Computer forensics has unavoidably become an obligatory tool due to the surrounding crime levels.
Recovering stolen or tampered data when solving a murder case or unraveling financial fraud is what computer forensic investigators work on to deliver the extracted info from the computer or electronic devices. In cases of medical malpractice or negligence, computer forensics is applied to seek proof. On regards to the outcome, justice is awarded to the victims of the incidence.
Divorce and child custody cases also require relevant information extracted from computers and other computing devices, to retrieve tampered or stolen data. It means computer forensic investigation help in the process of such cases. Such information can exhibit a guardian or parent’s lack of responsibility or can disclose information validating a spouse’s infidelity. The forensic team forwards this information to the courts to change the course of a trial.
Children today are substantially exposed to the internet and easily fall victims of any possible of internet crime. For this reason, computer forensics has been a great benefit to parents who wish to monitor their children’s activities. This way, parents ensure their children are not victims of predators or involved in any unsocial activist groups.
Implementation of the electronic discovery procedure can also uncover critical evidence in corporate proceedings. Organizations are also victims of internal traitors who interfere and tamper with their valuable data, leading to significant losses.
Computer forensics analysts carry out various levels of investigation which include:
Preservation- it is the initial stage of the preservation of original data is the answer to correct analysis. In this stage, a forensic copy of an original item is made then examined while being compared to the original.
Identification- once the incidence has occurred, the first step is to identify various components in areas such as hard drives, CDs, files and other databases. Evaluate the processing of performing data recovery services and forensic examinations. They conduct keyword searches for relevant information.
Interpretation- this is a crucial phase that involves locating evidence and with the ability to interpret it accurately to determine the results of the investigation procedure. Misinterpreted analyses have sealed the fate of many legal cases. High level of expertise in required in this stage as one misstep could make all the difference.
Extraction- this is the stage where the computer forensic team extracts data from working media and stores it in another form of media.
Documentation- the stage involves documentation maintenance from the beginning of the case through its closing stages. Courts can conduct tests to authenticate the methods used by experts to establish the reliability and relevance of evidence. Courts can question the legal measures that were carried out; this includes the integrity of the proof produced, any legal or administrative proceeding and the reporting system.
Electronic discovery is the rising action in the legal war that delivers accurate and justified results as experts can now investigate any crime from individual to corporate matters. Computer forensics is becoming more popular making it be one of the most highly praised and desirable professions today!
If you are tech savvy and have had an interest in working in the law enforcement or for special organizations such as the FBI, working as a computer forensics expert will be the ideal career for you. Nearly 50% of cases handled by the FBI require the assistance of computer forensics investigators. A digital forensics expert has higher chances to work with the FBI.
Besides working for the FBI, there are also many benefits that computer forensics investigators have which is certainly an ideal career option in today’s fast changing the world. Working as a Digital forensics experts are a fulfilling career as one is given a significant mission to solve cyber crimes. It is perceived as an important social responsibility as one is involved in helping the nation as a whole in finding the IT fraud by reducing the IT crimes.
Below listed are some of the numerous benefits of working as a Computer Forensics Specialists:
Well-paying jobs- Computer Forensics investigators are usually paid a decent income due to their high demand.
Long-life Career- Unlike many dead-end careers that are being swallowed mostly by technology, computer forensics is one of the handfuls of careers that seem to be immortal as they grow together with the technology development.
Easy to secure a Job- Today, every organization, and business to even individuals are in need of computer forensics services. Nowadays, almost everyone is using computers or computerized gadgets that at one point will need the services of a forensics analyst. These computerized devices are used for communication especially, and they store a lot of information which could be required to extract needed information from.
Skillful- Computer Forensics training entails some important extra skills that the trainee gets to learn. Other essential skills such as data retrieval, software programming, coding among many others are skills that can make one secure an excellent job in the IT Field.
Mostly, the high rate of fraud, abuse and absolute criminal activity on IT systems by hackers, contractors, and even employees has created countless job opportunities in computer forensics field. Becoming digital forensics specialists can be a lifelong career that provides a secure lifestyle and suitable income. The higher qualification you acquire, the more income you can generate. A well-experienced with more qualifications computer forensics expert usually has a lucrative annual salary.
Computer forensics expertise covers a niche market that is quite dominant and has a big market share in today’s economic world. A computer forensics expert is “mobile” as the certification attained from digital forensics field is recognized globally. A forensic specialist has the privilege to work in any country he/she likes. Cyber crimes have become prevalent worldwide, and countries are always willing to import qualified experts if they cannot acquire any locally. However, bodies such as governments will prefer hiring locally due to confidential matters.
The constant trend of computer crimes, such as cyber terrorism, child pornography, and identity theft has influenced this profession more and more challenging. Computer forensics is an interesting and exciting career that deals with tons of data and many different people from different industries. There is also exposure to the newest high-tech computer forensics tools that makes one quite intelligent and making it an ideal career option as well.
It’s your lunch break, and you have decided to bring your laptop out with you to get some extra work done on the go. You’ve sat down and have received your drink, however when you reach over to grab the menu, you accidently knock over your cup of water. Much to your horror, the water spills all over your laptop and due to the water damage, you end up losing access to some valuable files on your database.
Unfortunately scenarios like this one occur more often than you might think. Luckily for most people faced with similar circumstances, data recovery techniques can be used to help them recover their lost data.
Is the Database Data Salvageable?
Trained data analyzers are experts in recovering data from just about anything, including databases. Even if the device or server has a lot of physical damage, there still might be some logical data available to be retrieved. Unfortunately the more damage to the device, the less recoverable data.
There may be instances where data is lost on a device that was not caused by physical damage. Data can sometimes become corrupt because of other problems within the system, or by human error. In cases like these the chances of recovering the data is far greater than that of devices with physical damage.
Do It Yourself Data Recovery
In the event where you have accidently deleted a file, or an error with the data has occurred, you may be able to recover it on your own. There is now software available on the market that can assist you in repairing or retrieving missing data.Some programs offer a better chance at recovery than others, however those may be more expensive.
It is essential to follow all the directions the program comes with. If all the directions are not followed precisely then you could risk losing more data in the recovery process.
When to Call in a Professional
Just because you may be able to recovery any lost data on your own, doesn’t mean that this is always the best method. Seattle Database recovery services have skilled experts who are highly educated when it comes to data retrieval on database platforms. These experts are knowledgeable in the work that they do, and have had years of experience doing it. If you have an extensive database in which has become corrupt, or damaged, it may be time to call in an expert.
Never try retrieving files on your own in systems that are more complex, as this may cause more files to become corrupt and lost completely. Instead, trust an expert and leave your database in good hands.
The various forms of optical media that are used for recording data are basically divided into two categories, CDs or Compact Discs or DVDs or Digital Versatile Discs. These two main types of optical media can be further divided into subgroups which are CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW. The symbol R stands for the CDs and the DVDs that can be used only once for recording and multiple times for reading the data recorded on it. On the other hand, the symbols RW stands for the features of the CDs and the DVDs that allows them to be used for multiple recordings and multiple reads.
Data recovery problems
The recording surfaces and the mechanical components of normal hard disks are sealed inside a hard metallic cover. The cover is hermetically sealed so that no moisture or dirt can enter inside it. It ensured that the integrity of the data and allows the disk to be used vigorously for recording and reading the data continuously. Unfortunately, the optical mediums do not have these protective features and are susceptible to the following factors that can render the optical data recovery very hard:
- Poor storage – All kinds of optical media are affected by temperature and moisture. Though the manufacturers claim that the data stored in the optical media can remain reliable for 100 years if stored properly, the reality is that most of the times you will find them strewn all over the place. The media can get bent out of shape, and the plastic layer can get damaged if the storage environment is not cool enough.
- Poor handling – The biggest problem with optical media is that the exposed surface of the recording area can get fingerprints, scratches or smears that can cause the data in the affected area to become unreadable. Moist environments can cause fungus to grow on the recording surface rendering the optical media unreadable.
- Poor recording – Another problem with an unreadable optical media is that the drive in which it was created failed to record properly or did not show up the error while verifying the recorded data. When you try to read the contents of this optical media after some time, there may arise a problem in reading the data. Recording or burning processes that get aborted or does not complete properly can cause the recorded data to become unreadable. A good media and correct recording speed are also important for a stable recording.
Recovering the data
Data recorded on optical media that have been affected by the above problems may be hard to recover as the recording surface may have got damaged by the time the fault is detected. There may be a large number of software applications available in the market for optical data recovery that claim to have the capability of recovering data from all kinds of optical media. But the fact is that most of the times the recovery software is run on the same machine where optical media was created. If the data is critical then taking it to a professional data recovery company is the only option. They will inspect the optical media for physical damage and mishandling problems first. If these are minor, then they will use sophisticated equipment to recover as much data as possible from the damaged optical media.
The art involving the identification, recovery, preservation, analysis of data related to a criminal act is called forensic science for computers. It is the same as data recovery process from a computer and its peripherals but is bound by some guidelines that make it mandatory for audit to be done on the whole procedure. Even if this procedure is used for solving cyber crimes, the reports are also allowed to be used in civil courts. The evidence obtained from this process has been declared by the courts in US and Europe to be highly dependable and acceptable for court proceedings.
Procedures and techniques
The whole procedure of computer forensics may appear to be very easy on TV, but is actually very difficult to perform. Any process related to computer forensics is made up of acquisition of data, examination of acquired data, analysis of the data and creation of reports based on the analysis. The different techniques that are used for this job are:
- Analysis across drives – In this technique the data obtained from different hard disks are correlated to create a full picture of the crime.
- Analysis of live data – The Sysadmin tools of the computer having the criminal data is used to extract the evidence of the criminal act. An image of the logical hard drive is obtained for analysis before the computer is shut down.
- Recovery of deleted files – Most of the times files that were deleted by the criminal have to be recovered. The forensic experts use their own special recovery tools to recover the deleted data. It is helped by the fact that though the computer shows that the files have been deleted actually it does not physically delete the files that can be recovered later.
- Use of stochastic methods – Though computers work in precise and specific modes sometimes it becomes difficult to analyze the acquired data easily. At this time stochastic or random modes are used to determine the mode of operation carried out by the criminal to steal data.
- Use of steganographic methods – This is a procedure to find out when an image is hiding other images that the criminal does not want others to see. These are usually pornographic pictures or movies that are banned by the authorities. The images that are present in the computer are analyzed in comparison to the original images. If there is anything is hidden behind them, it comes to light when the hashed original image gets changed by the hidden image.
A difficult job
With the huge rise of cyber crimes in the age of the internet, the job of people involved in computer forensics has become an uphill task. The companies who play for high stakes are always under threat of theft of data by a rival company. Cyber crimes against unsuspecting people have grown manifold. Children and teens are being lured into unsavory situations by others. The Cyberspace has become jammed with all sorts of criminal activities that are being carried out by a section of people who are out for monetary gain. The forensic experts sometimes have a tough time to prevent the crimes from taking place. But the forensics experts are soldiering on as they have to stop the disease from spreading as much as they can.