When the term ‘digital forensic software’ is mentioned, most people think of advanced software used by CSI teams to identify culprits in criminal cases. While many forensic tools are used by law enforcement, the majority of tools are friendlier to everyday users than you think.

With the rise of cyberattacks affecting everyone around the globe, knowing some recovery and forensic tools, and how they can be useful is important. If you want to be able to recover from a cyberattack better, here are some of the things you need to know about digital forensic software.

There’s an App for That

Digital forensics is a wide field, but most forensic tools are actually designed to do a specific thing. Using a specialized tool allows you to get better results when trying to recover files, identify why and how your device got hacked, and perform other post-attack maintenance.

You can, for example, use EDB Viewer to read into your Outlook folders without an active Exchange Server. The tool is handy for when you need to recover important messages or extract key information from a dead mail server or a broken email database.

MBOX Viewer handles emails too, but the tool focuses more on the content of the emails and their attachments. You cannot extract other information from a mail server using MBOX Viewer, but you can easily recover important emails in full.

Good Doesn’t Always Mean Premium

You don’t have to immediately opt for a premium recovery and forensic tool to save your data. There many free digital forensic tools you can use to perform advanced tasks. For most users, the free tools available right now are reliable enough.

Secure Forensics have actually compiled a comprehensive list of free computer forensic tools available for different scenarios. It lists tools such as EXIFTool, Ghiro, and Link Parser, along with where you can download them.

When you do need to buy a forensic or recovery tool, you also want to consider consulting experts. At times when free tools aren’t enough, having experts perform data recovery and digital forensic increases your chances of getting your data back successfully.

It Can Be Very Complex

Digital forensic, as the term suggests, is also used in legal proceedings. There are certain ways to handle devices and data that has been affected by a cyberattack. By handling the forensic process correctly, the chances of identifying how the attack happened also become higher.

The process itself involves four main stages: collection, examination, analysis, and reporting. The tools mentioned earlier go through the same set of stages in order to produce a report. A wide variety of tools is used when analyzing a device.

There are also times when hardware restoration is required. Data recovery experts and forensics specialists are usually recruited for this type of forensic work. For the rest of us, trying to fix a damaged hard drive is simply a big no.

Just because digital forensics is seemingly complicated, this doesn’t mean it cannot be useful in everyday situations. The next time you think someone has copied your file or accessed your email without permission, use free digital forensic tools to get the answers you’re looking for.