Browse Definitions:
Definition

forensic image

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A forensic image (forensic copy) is a bit-by-bit, sector-by-sector direct copy of a physical storage device, including all files, folders and unallocated, free and slack space. Forensic images include not only all the files visible to the operating system but also deleted files and pieces of files left in the slack and free space.  

Forensic imaging is one element of computer forensics, which is the application of computer investigation and analysis techniques to gather evidence suitable for presentation in a court of law.

Not all imaging and backup software create forensic images. Windows backup, for example, creates image backups that are not complete copies of the physical device. Forensic images can be created through specialized forensic software. Some disk imaging utilities not marketed for forensic use also make complete disk images.

In the case of cybercrime, additional evidence may be discovered other than what is available through an operating system in the form of incriminating data that has been deleted to prevent discovery. Unless the data is deleted securely and overwritten, it can often be recovered with forensic or file recovery software.

Creating and backing up a forensic image helps prevent loss of data due to original drive failures. The loss of data as evidence can be detrimental to legal cases. Forensic imaging can also prevent the loss of critical files in general.

This was last updated in August 2017

Continue Reading About forensic image

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces.

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

SearchSecurity

  • FIDO (Fast Identity Online)

    FIDO (Fast ID Online) is a set of technology-agnostic security specifications for strong authentication. FIDO is developed by the...

  • cryptanalysis

    Cryptanalysis is the study of ciphertext, ciphers and cryptosystems with the aim of understanding how they work and finding and ...

  • Trojan horse (computing)

    In computing, a Trojan horse is a program that appears harmless, but is, in fact, malicious.

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • personal cloud storage (PCS)

    Personal cloud storage (PCS) enables users to store data, photos, music, videos and other files on a local network-attached ...

  • cloud SLA (cloud service-level agreement)

    A cloud SLA (cloud service-level agreement) is an agreement between a cloud service provider and a customer that ensures a ...

  • wear leveling

    Wear leveling is a process that is designed to extend the life of solid-state storage devices.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close