The Impact of Social Media on Forensics Investigations

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Source: legal.thomsonreuters.com

With more than three billion users across various platforms, social media does not need an explanation. It connects us with the world, which is the reason why we spend more than two hours daily scrolling through media. However, all the good things do not come without risks.

There is lots of personal information shared on these platforms which makes it a great place for people to do different kinds of crimes. However, where is a crime there has to be a service to protect us. For that reason, we made this article to show the impact of social media on forensic investigations. Keep reading and find out more.

What type of crime is done through social media

To determine why is social media so important in forensic investigations, it is important to go through all the crime that is done through these platforms.

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Hacks

The point where you are not able to access your account because someone else has logged in and changed your information means your profile is hacked. Although this is surely annoying if you have lots of vital information in your profile everything can be lost which is seriously devastating.

In addition, they might proceed to message your friends and demand finances, or other beneficial goods which ruin your reputation.

Getting your profile hacked is done through various mechanisms. The first thing might be the use of a public computer or a network that can be accessed by the owner. In addition, if you have told your passwords to strangers or it was a quite simple code that you have used on various platforms.

Photo manipulation

With lots of photos being shared on multiple platforms, people have lots of material to do the crime. It is quite easy for them to take your photo and manipulate it to make you look bad. For example, the most common manipulation is making your photos in a sexual manner which makes victims feel ashamed.

Manipulated photos are used on victims as blackmailing mechanisms to get finances or sexual favors. On the other hand, they’ll upload it and share it with their family or close ones.

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Scams

As one of the most common things happening on social platforms is scams during shopping or offering various prizes. For example, you find something you need that is offered for a cheap price, and you have to share it with some of your friends. Instead of getting a coupon, you are getting your information stolen.

Another example is when you are in direct communication with the seller. They offer something you need, the price is right and you proceed to purchase. However, after you send the money you get nothing in return.

Dating crimes

In a time when everyone is connected by many people are still alone, social platforms are one of the most used dating options. However, this is the place where most people take advantage of others and they trick them to do certain things.

For example, a person might begin by giving small gifts at the start, but then demand high financial sums for various reasons. This is where people get mostly tricked and take their money away. Another example is by meeting with people with intentions to do harm which usually leads to rape.

Source: bbc.com

Bullying

This is another common crime in social platforms where victims are being pressured to do certain activities. There can be shameful information used or manipulated photos. This makes the person feel humiliated which is the reason why they agree to do a certain activity to preserve their honor.

In addition, there are certain programs pushed to teenagers to commit self-harm activities which was the reason for many suicide attempts in the past.

The importance of forensic investigations

With lots of crime on social platforms, finding a way to protect yourself is essential. According to TruePeopleCheck, social media investigations are highly important in acquiring evidence of a potential crime that can be used in court against the suspect.

Besides virtual crime, social platforms are used as chats to arrange other criminal activities in the open world. By looking for evidence in the suspect’s logs, you can simply understand the process and the intentions behind their actions which is important in forensics.

Source: info-savvy.com

How does forensic investigation help

As mentioned above, forensic investigations help by finding information and proving the guilt of a certain suspect. That is done through three major processes which we’ll go through them in the following.

Looking for evidence

The first part of the process is looking for evidence on all social platforms the person might be using. The first platform is the one where the crime was done and the search is thorough. In addition to the social media platforms, hardware parts are also taken for investigation.

Besides the person who did the crime, the investigator looks for evidence in close ones and family to find an accomplice if there is one. Lastly, the investigator makes a report about all the information found and how did they find it.

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Collecting data

The data is collected using various programs and tools available to the investigator. To name a few methods, forensics uses manual documentation as well as screenshotting of certain logs. In addition, they use open-source applications as well as forensic recovery tools to reach the information needed.

In addition, various applications are used to retrieve data from smartphones since they are the most used devices in the present day. All the files are getting access and the ones related to the case are being processed.

Examining the situation

When the files are being found, they cannot be accessed straight away but they need to be decoded. This is where certain files turn into call and message logs.

When it comes to social platforms, this is where they get information such as chats and posts as well as locations and groups they are a part of. In addition, everything comes with the correct timestamp which contributes to court in battling the suspect.

Source: userlike.com

Conclusion

Although there are various mechanisms used to find information about the crime, there are still certain challenges that investigators are facing. For example, mobile phones are the most used devices and it can be hard to decode them.

They usually change operative systems, and files can be encrypted which is an additional problem for the investigators. At the moment, they cannot keep up with the tempo of new system releases so finding better tools for investigation is what is looked for in the future.