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Seeing What Isn’t There

Written by Cindy Murphy

Seeing What Isn’t There

Flash memory, the type of electronic storage technology used in SSDs, USB thumb drives, mobile phones, SD and microSD cards, and more storage devices, may seem to be identical to the magnetic storage devices such as spinning hard disk drives we’ve used since the 1950s to store data. However, underneath a layer of abstraction, flash memory is far different from magnetic media, a fact with which we in the digital forensics world are still grappling. In particular, something I call “flash memory amnesia” can spell trouble for forensic investigators. As the infamous Murphy’s law, supposedly coined by Edward Murphy in 1948 says, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong,” and this phenomenon represents one particular way things can go very, very wrong.

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