Computer forensics is an extremely powerful tool investigators are turning toward to put criminals away. Some crimes in which computer forensics may help lead to conviction include murder, terrorism, organized crime, smuggling, extortion, tax evasion, sexual harassment, embezzlement, corporate espionage, fraud and medical malpractice. There were 16 regional computer forensic labs (RCFLs), which are federal labs that aid city, county and state jurisdictions in investigating crimes, nationwide in 2012.

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BTK was a notorious serial killer in Wichita, KS who named himself after his killing method—”bind, torture, kill.” He killed at least 10 people over a period of 30 years. By posting ads through the local newspaper, BTK asked police if he could communicate with them via floppy disk without it being traced back to a particular computer. The police lied and said yes. The floppy disk was quickly traced to a computer at the church where Dennis Rader was president of the congregation. DNA tests matched Rader to the BTK murders—and he pled guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder. Rader was sentenced to 175 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution.

To learn about how computer forensics has helped uncover clues in other cases, check out the infographic below.

Of Cops and Cookies: How Police Are Using Computers to Solve Crimes

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