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Digital Forensics

Reading out data on a supposedly destroyed hard drive, dismantling the on-board computer of a car involved in an accident, finding hidden files on a smartphone – in the digital society, investigators often need the support of IT experts to solve crimes. There are special training programmes for “digital forensics” that combine technical expertise with legal knowledge. However, compared to the established practices of careful securing and intelligent evaluation of evidence, for which traditional forensics builds on the experience of entire generations of investigators and scientists, forensic computing is a very young discipline that has to be very adaptable: Innovations and new systems come with new classes of digital traces – but also challenges for research and practice in digital forensics, because forensic scientists and police officers must be trained for digitality in the long term.

Felix Freiling is Professor of IT Security Infrastructures at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt). In this episode of Digitalgespräch, the sought-after expert explains how to properly handle digital evidence and what else is part of digital forensics training, talks about practical examples and makes it clear where data is generated in our everyday lives that could be analysed if necessary. He talks about the role that falsifiability of digital traces plays in reality, whether AI supports investigations, how well criminals cover their digital tracks and where the knowledge of forensic computer science is still useful. Together with hosts Marlene Görger and Petra Gehring, Freiling discusses what the omnipresence of digital traces means for privacy, how responsible digitalisation can help think about crime on both a small and large scale – and what the digital equivalent of a DNA trace could be.

Episode 45 of Digitalgespräch, feat. Felix Freiling of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, 12 December 2023
Further informationen:

Link to the Research Training Group ‘Cybercrime and Forensic Computing’ at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg:

all episodes of Digitalgespräch

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The podcast is in German. At the moment there is no English version or transcript available.