What Are Forensic Images And Why Are They So Hard To Get Right?

What Are Forensic Images And Why Are They So Hard To Get Right?

Computers are everywhere. They’re in our homes and in our offices. They’re in our cars, our phones, and sometimes even our household appliances. Because technology has become so deeply ingrained in our culture, it’s no surprise that computers, laptops, and mobile devices commonly wind up as courtroom evidence.

When a person’s life fits on a hard drive, the information contained within it can offer valuable information and insight into their lives. In some cases, the hard drive from your client’s computer may be the key to the entire case.

But as with any piece of evidence, these items must be handled with care and follow strict guidelines in order to maintain the integrity of the information they contain.


eDisovery is a term broadly used to describe the process of identifying, collecting, and producing information that was stored electronically. The information may include voicemails, emails, documents, databases, or media files such as video, audio, and pictures.

In most cases, this information is stored on a hard drive, memory stick, or other such device. And in order to protect the information as well as maintain the authenticity, a forensic image is created, not unlike taking a photo of a crime scene so the environment can be studied long after changes have taken place.

What Is a Forensic Image?

A forensic image is a step-by-step, bit-by-bit copy of an information source such as a hard drive. Think of it as an exact recreation of the device in question. During the forensic image creation process, a unique digital fingerprint is created and used to certify the authenticity of the data.

Forensic imaging is a lengthy and detailed process, but it’s necessary to ensure that the information being handled is authentic and that the extraction process does not alter the data in any way. The latter could invalidate the information, thereby rendering it inadmissible as evidence in court.

Why Is Forensic Imaging Difficult To Get Right?

Unlike a photocopy, forensic images won't work if just one byte of data is corrupted.

Such precise extraction isn't easy and must be completed by a trusted technician with experience preserving data authenticity and integrity.

Once the information has been imaged, it must be compared against the source to ensure there are no differences between the two. If the copy matches the source, an industry-standard tool will assign a digital fingerprint to affirm the authenticity.

Although there are a host of industry-standard tools employed by forensic technicians, there is no one correct way to get the job done. Our team of technicians have come up with their own method that produces reliable images without wasting time or money.

Do You Need Forensic Imaging?

Legal Imaging has been a pioneer in both eDiscovery and forensic imaging for years, serving Mobile, Alabama, and the surrounding communities. Our experts utilize only the latest, most innovative technology to produce the information you need in a way that is safe, strategic, and defensible.

Furthermore, our firm has partnered with the University of South Alabama Computer Science Department to create an innovative, state-of-the-art forensics lab that will aid in both eDiscovery as well as forensic imaging.

Contact us today for a FREE Practice Management Assessment or to find out why Legal Imaging should be the first number you call for all of your forensic imaging and eDisovery needs.