You might never guess that a 1.4-megabyte floppy disk could lead the arrest and conviction of a serial killer whose crimes spanned nearly 30 years. But that’s exactly what happened to Dennis Rader.
Known as the BTK Killer, Rader was famous for sending detailed letters to police and local news. In February of 2005, Rader used a floppy disk to send his letter, assuming that it couldn’t be traced back to him. The police were able to extract metadata of a deleted Microsoft Word document from the disk, which contained “Christ Lutheran Church” and was last modified by someone named “Dennis”.
With that information and a bit more research, the police were able to determine that a man by the name of Dennis Rader was the president of his church’s council, and investigators eventually had all they needed to arrest and detain him.
That is the power of digital forensics.
If you consider how many connected devices we own, and how much data we share, you can expect to hear more and more cases where digital forensics is used to solve crimes.
What is digital forensics?
It’s a process of investigation where the crime scene and evidence is digital. Instead of DNA, for example, investigators use the data on connected devices to build a case and assist in solving crimes.
To get a better understanding, our friends at Maryville University put together an excellent infographic which details what digital forensics is, how it is used, and how important it is to the future of forensic science. Check it out below, and feel free to share!