Three Myths About Digital Forensics as a Practice

Following up on last month’s article about “Three FAQs About Digital Forensics as a Service”, we thought it useful to spend some time debunking some myths about digital forensics from both a general practitioner and service provider perspective.

Every industry comes with “urban legends” or popularized myths that surround the practice. Many of these rarely represent reality and some are outright false. The more intriguing or interesting the field, the more pervasive these falsehoods can be. Digital Forensics is no different than any other industry in this respect. The reality is that TV and movies have sensationalized what we do to the point where there are several misconceptions about the practice of digital forensics, which run the gamut of the various sub-sets of the practice and affect those in law enforcement, private sector litigation support, incident response and government contractors. While Hollywood has tried to make the profession “sexy”, there are some realities to this field, including the long hours spent staring at a computer monitor, developing a script or researching an application. While not overly exciting, those are activities in which any practitioner worth their salt needs to engage on a regular basis… But it doesn’t make for good TV.

In order to dispel some common myths about our field, three of these misconceptions are discussed in this article. This selection of industry myths has been garnered through discussing and working cases with people outside the industry over the combined time in law enforcement and private sector practice of digital forensics for the past 12 years.

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