Chain of Custody in Computer Forensics

Conduct research using the library and Internet for information about chain of custody in computer forensic cases.
Describe why chain of custody is so important and the process for ensuring it’s accurate.

 Chain of custody is an important element to legal proceedings that require the provision of evidence. In the recent years, several cases that require the provision of forensic evidence have emerged. Similarly, concerns about the chain of custody in computer forensics are growing. The practice is defined as the documentation of all steps that evidence provided in the trial has assumed; from the collection, analysis, to storage (Solomon, Tittel, Broom, & Barrett, 2011). The term chain of custody is used to describe such process because the evidence is subject to changing its nature. The difference in quality is also described as breaking the chain. When the integrity of the chain is lost by breakage of any link, the entire chain of custody is not fit for use in a court of law or any other legal proceedings. The court accepts nothing less of a well-documented chain of evidence. There is no provision for inconsistency and gaps. A complete chain of custody should also describe the procedures under each step from collection to storage, before providing evidence in court.

In computer forensics, the process of protecting the chain of evidence may vary from one item to another. There are however standard steps to be followed. The first practice is to document every step in the chain of custody. Documentation may include taking pictures, writing down the particular detail or audio recordings. Every activity that is performed on a piece of evidence must be documented. Hence, illegal practices like deleting part of proof should not be carried out as such evidence is not acceptable and admissible in the court of law. To ensure admissibility chain of custody, there is a need for protection (Solomon, Tittel, Broom, & Barrett, 2011). The latter entails proper storage to avoid unintended modification.


Solomon, M. G., Tittel, K. R., Broom, N., & Barrett, D. (2011). Computer Forensics JumpStart (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons. doi: 9781118067659

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