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Computer Evidence: Collection and Preservation, Second Edition by Christopher L. T. Brown

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Natural Forces

The most common forces that can affect evidence dynamics are fire, water, and other weather-related events. Although these are indisputable, time alone can be a force that affects digital evidence. In this section, we will start off by examining digital evidence where it rests—digital media.

A strong indication of how volatile data can be is that computers’ magnetic hard disks are measured in Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF). That’s right—not if there will be a failure, but when. Other types of data storage devices, such as USB flash disk, are rated by their data retention life. Even CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs have a data retention life expectancy. All these indicators show that the natural force of time alone can contribute to the ...

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