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Digital forensics

Digital forensics refers to the use of technology to analyse electronic information stored on PCs and smart devices. Digital forensics is widely used for collecting the necessary data when cooperating with judicial and overseas regulatory authorities during an investigation.

Digital devices, including PCs and smartphones, are used in most cases of fraud that occur today, and digital forensics is often the breakthrough in the resolution of such cases. Some examples of cases where digital forensics is especially effective include industrial espionage involving the theft of trade secrets for use by a competitor in Japan and abroad, or the concealment of data and destruction of digital evidence. During the investigation process, we accumulate a variety of information as evidence. The methods we use to do so include restoring deleted files and internet browsing histories, and confirming the use of external recording media. Digital forensics technology can be applied in other situations as well. We expect to use this technology to solve an even wider variety of problems in the future.

By applying digital forensics to our existing investigative methodologies, PwC’s forensic services practice provides greatly expanded investigative capabilities. This enables us to provide not only information, but high-quality intelligence.

Uses of digital forensics include

  • investigating information leakage (industrial espionage, theft of confidential information etc.),
  • analysing mobile devices,
  • restoring deleted data, and
  • investigating compliance and policy violations.

PwC’s approaches

Computer forensics

PCs often contain data that can be used as evidence. But if you collect evidence for a fraud investigation by simply copying data, you might not be able to maintain the data as evidence. And you might not be able to restore deleted data either. In this case, the relevant authorities might not accept the data as adequate evidence. To extract and restore data as reliable evidence, your data needs to be extracted by professionals. PwC's forensic services practice uses world-class, specialized and highly reliable equipment and software. Our professionals have extensive experience not only responding to lawsuits in Japan but also providing support in submitting evidence to support lawsuits and regulatory authorities overseas, including in the US.

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Mobile forensics

Today, mobile devices such as mobile phones and smartphones are indispensable for daily businesses. Because smartphones have almost the same level of functionality as PCs, they are particularly likely to contain data that can be used as evidence for fraud investigations. Because more and more organisations are allowing BYOD (bring your own device, a system that allows employees to use their own smartphones for business), it can be difficult for those organisations to control which applications can be used. Compared to organisations that distribute smartphones to their employees, organisations that use BYOD face a higher risk that inappropriate information may be taken off of company premises. When investigating fraud, data must be collected by professionals, using specialised methods that do not compromise the data’s reliability as evidence.

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Our team

Yuichi Ikeda

Partner, PwC Advisory LLC


Min Liu

Director, PwC Advisory LLC