The Future Is Now — The Impact of AI on Digital Forensics

The frequency and intensity of cyber-attacks are increasing, resulting in a backlog of work for digital forensic analysts to sift through. Due to the high volumes of data to investigate, these specialists cannot rely on human power alone to complete their tasks. This leads many people to wonder if artificial intelligence (AI) technology has a place in the field of digital forensics.

Not only can AI be used to support forensic specialists’ work, but it can also benefit many criminal investigations. In fact, AI has already returned positive results in many cases. Let’s take a look at the application of artificial intelligence in forensic science.

Three Challenges Digital Forensic Specialists Face

A digital analyst’s job is never easy; however, there are three main challenges they are facing today that could be addressed using AI technology.

Data Diversity

Digital forensics investigators need to manage a wide range of data types. In a single investigation, they may have to examine mobile phones, computers, laptops, tablets, cameras, and storage devices. Each of these devices could have different operating systems that conceal digital evidence. Collecting and analyzing all this data can be time-consuming. AI technology can collate all this data and help investigators complete their work more quickly.

Scalability

Another major issue digital forensic specialists face is the lack of technologies that can be scaled to collect and prepare large amounts of data from the different cases investigated in a single day. Because of this, it’s all too common for investigators to build up a backlog of cases, which can cause vital evidentiary data to be lost or destroyed before the forensic analyst has had a chance to look at it. Clearly, the field of digital forensics could use more advanced technologies to help investigators collect and ready valuable data.

Limited Staffing

On top of data diversity and scalability challenges, digital forensics investigators are dealing with the results of staffing shortages. When there are not enough hands to collect evidentiary data, key evidence can fall through the cracks. AI technologies could help fill any holes created by a small forensics team.

How AI Can Help Digital Forensics Investigations

Successful forensics examinations rely on timeliness. If relevant evidence is not found and analyzed quickly, it could be lost or damaged. Unfortunately, current forensic tools and human capability are not enough to handle the data growing in complexity and volume with each passing day.

Here is where artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play. AI technologies help specialists investigate cyber-crimes quickly by sifting through the unstructured forensics data investigators collected. AI can help identify elements in photos and videos as well as pinpoint commonalities between communications, locations, and times. This process of knowledge discovery not only helps digital forensics investigators discover a suspect but also helps them identify information about the next crime or incident that may occur.

AI is not meant to replace the efforts of digital forensic specialists. Instead, it complements their capabilities by enhancing the accuracy of the data analysis. In this way, criminals can be brought to justice, cyber-attacks can be reduced and stopped, and fraud can be detected.

Limits of AI in Digital Forensics

While AI can improve the field of digital forensics, it is still in its infancy and has a few challenges of its own to overcome. Most importantly, pattern recognition solutions can occasionally generate false positives and inaccurate conclusions from processing large amounts of data. It could take some time before all these issues are sorted out, which is why it’s important to combine AI technologies with the efforts of digital forensics teams.

Experience the Power of AI

Overall, AI can simplify the life of a digital investigator as they collect and analyze forensics data. By saving these specialists time and energy, AI technologies enable the processing of ever-evolving data.

If you would like the support of the latest digital forensics tools and technologies during your criminal investigations, turn to Cornerstone Discovery. We’re one of the leading digital forensics companies in Pennsylvania and can help you uncover critical evidence. Contact our team today for more information about our digital forensics and e-Discovery services!

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