On Complex Crimes and Digital Forensics



Citation information

M. S. Olivier. “On Complex Crimes and Digital Forensics”. In: Information Security in Diverse Computing Environments. Ed. by A. V. D. M. Kayem and C. Meinel. IGI, 2014, pp. 230–244


Science provides the basis for truth claims in forensics. Very little research has been done to explore the scientific basis of digital forensics. The work that has been done vary widely in what they propose; in most cases it is unclear how the philosophical remarks about such forensic science apply to digital forensics practice, or that the practical suggestions are a sufficient basis to claim that practice based on them is scientific. This chapter provides an initial exploration of the potential of decision problems from the field of algorithmics to form this scientific basis. There is no doubt that decision problems operate in the scientific domain and decision problems look similar to hypotheses to be of immediate practical use. The chapter suggests that, if decision problems are used in this manner, it is clear that current digital forensics have only scratched the surface of what is possible. Probabilistic complexity classes, for example, offer interesting possibilities for performing complex tests in relatively short times, with known error rates. Using decision problems as a demarcation criterion makes it possible to distinguish between digital forensic science (or simply digital forensics) and digital forensic craft, which should be called digital investigative technique or some other suitable term that does not imply that its use leads to scientific truths.

Full text

A pre- or postprint of the publication is available at https://mo.co.za/open/comcrime.pdf.

Definitive version

The definitive version of the paper is available from the publisher.
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6158-5.ch012

BibTeX reference

author={Martin S Olivier},
title={On Complex Crimes and Digital Forensics},
booktitle={Information Security in Diverse Computing Environments},
editor={Anne V D M Kayem and Christoph Meinel},
publisher={IGI} )

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