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Bits & Bytes (Mega-, Giga-, Tera-)

Bits and bytes are how computers render informationBits are the smallest form of information read by digital devices. In binary code, bits are represented by either a 1 (ON) or 0 (OFF). A collection of 8 bits is called a byte. A kilobyte is 1024 bytes, a megabyte is 1024 kilobytes, and gigabyte is 1024 megabytes, and so on for Tera-, Peta-, Exabytes and larger. A typical 3-minute mp3 song recording is roughly 3 to 6 megabytes, whereas a cinema-quality film on Blu-ray could exceed 40 gigabytes or more.

The job of computer forensic analysis starts by creating bit-by-bit forensic clones of source media such as hard drives, optical media like CDs and DVDs, even smartphones and tablets. Certified examiners use clones to conduct analysis to guard against tampering or error which could destroy evidence.

Conducting investigations at the bit level allows computer forensic examiners to bypass the user interface of the operating system and manually recover deleted files through a process called file carving.

 

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