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Binary Code

Swirled stylized binary codeBinary arithmetic was originally described in the 17th Century by German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, but has its roots in the ancient Chinese Zhou dynasty.

In computer technology, binary code is a base 2 numbering system of 1s and 0s (as opposed to the base 10 decimal system we're most familiar with) which allows computers to interpret, read and write data. Each 1 (ON) or 0 (OFF) is called a bit. A group of 8 bits is called a byte.

Storage such as your computer’s hard drive or optical media like CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, print data as 1s and 0s across a spinning disc. Memory like your computer’s RAM and flash storage media, like USB thumbsticks or memory cards, use memory cells which interpret binary by high charge (1) or low charge (0).

Oftentimes digital forensic examiners will look at data at the bit level to find and extract relevant information and, with patience and a little luck, piece it together into a recognizable file. This process is called file carving.


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