Since technology is reasonably new, the crimes that are associated with technology, known as cybercrime, are also new. Just like other criminal investigations, cybercrime also involves certain steps that are required to conduct an investigation, and following these investigation steps correctly helps ensure the success of each cybercrime case. The first step is for an officer to come to assess the situation and determine if the cybercrime charges are sustainable in court as a crime. This part of the investigation can get tricky considering how new some technologies are and the fact that the Internet is worldwide compared to physical crime, which usually takes place at the state or national level.
The next step involves a very common part of investigations, and that is the important questions that find out what crime was committed, who the potential suspects are, what the evidence is, when the crimes were committed, what types of physical and digital evidence there is, and where the digital and physical evidence may be. Evidence is one of the most important parts of any crime, and when it comes to cybercrime, the digital evidence can come in many different file sizes and an encryption code or something can also hide types and the evidence.
After asking all the right questions and securing evidence, investigators may begin to secure important devices and gain court-ordered warrants so that they may search through those devices. Warrants to search devices in a cybercrime case should describe all data, files, and electronic devices very clearly and specifically. Subpoenas can also be issued for investigators to continue their digital evidence search. Cybercrime investigations are very tricky regarding search warrants and digital information; there are strict requirements for basic subscriber information like IP address and message headers that do not apply to content information. The final step in a cybercrime investigation is pretty much the same as the final step in regular investigations that involve no technology. After questions and warrants, the investigator must analyze all their results with the prosecutor by working closely with them to figure out what the appropriate charges should be.