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What Is the Difference Between Computer Forensics & Digital Forensics?

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The terms computer forensics and digital forensics are often used interchangeably to refer to the investigation of any computer, computer-related device or digital device for legal purposes.


Technically, the term computer forensics refers to the investigation of computers. Digital forensics includes not only computers but also any digital device, such as digital networks, cell phones, flash drives and digital cameras.


The purpose of computer and digital forensics is to determine if a device was used for illegal purposes, ranging from computer hacking to storing illegal pornography or records of other illegal activity.

Different Methods

According to the authors of the paper "Computer Forensics In Forensis," different users apply computer forensic systems, models and terminology in different ways. Different users may make incompatible assumptions and arrive at different conclusions regarding forensic data.


The paper "Computer Forensics In Forensis" also states that computer scientists working with law enforcement officials need to be motivated by legal goals, but they need to understand those goals. For example, to computer scientists, computer audit trails have uses other than computer forensic data, including performance verification and accounting purposes. Accounting and debugging needs are different from forensic needs.

Expert Insight

"Computer Forensics In Forensis" goes on to state that the accuracy of computer forensic methods and the extent to which forensic data should be admissible in court is not yet well understood.


Carol Wiley started writing as a technical writer/editor in 1990, was a licensed massage therapist for almost 12 years and has been writing Web content since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering, a Master of Business Administration, a Certificate in Technical Writing and Editing and a Certificate in Massage Therapy.

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