n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Cybercrime investigations : cyber-processes for detecting of cybercriminal activities, cyber-intelligence and evidence gathering

Special Edition 5
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Due to modern societies' increased reliance on borderless and decentralised information technologies, cyberspace has been identified as an easy target for criminals. Encryption is no longer 'foolproof', e-commerce is unsafe, and the Internet is no longer safely in the hands of responsible entities. Control over cyberspace has become a free-for-all, and nothing is 'hackproof' with old cybersecurity models collapsing. As a result tracing cybercriminals have become an increasingly difficult task for law enforcement agencies. Owing to the rate with which crimes are perpetrated in cyberspace, as well as the complications presented by investigations of such a multi-jurisdictional character, the task of the identification, successful investigation and prosecution of cybercriminals reflects rising challenges to law enforcement agencies across all borders - both physical and in cyberspace. Conventional investigative procedures do not meet the demands of the challenges associated with the investigation of cybercrimes. Technological advancements have made it increasingly difficult to answer the investigative questions of who, what, where, when and how. As such, in the digital setting, evidence is now gathered and processed differently from traditional means. In this article it is argued that the technical aspects and procedures of investigations into cybercrime are also still developing in response to the rapid growth and changing cyberattack/hacking modus operandi of cybercriminals. This has given rise to substantial discussion on the capabilities of existing cyber investigation models, tools used for the analysis of evidence and law enforcement in their effort to tackle cybercriminals. The investigation of cybercrime involves more than minimal technology examination or recovery of digital evidence. It necessitates the explicit presence of a variety of technical and non-technical specialised controls and investigative aids. This article provides a descriptive analysis of various investigative models and techniques used in the investigation of cybercrime and their effectiveness in securing prosecutions of cybercriminals. In addition, it will look at the various challenges that are faced in the execution of investigations into cybercrimes.

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