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Glossary of Computer Forensics Terms

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Term Definition

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. This is the basic communication language or protocol of the Internet.

Temporary or swap files

Many computers use operating systems and applications that store data temporarily on the hard drive. These files, which are generally hidden and inaccessible, may contain information that the investigator finds useful.


A device that allows you to send commands to a computer somewhere else. At a minimum, this usually means a keyboard, a display screen, and some simple circuitry.


The linear representation of project tasks based on calendar measure¬ment. The timeline can be represented in days, weeks, months, quarters, or years.


A Unix/Linux tool that traces (identifies) the route taken by data packets as they traverse (hop) across a network connection between two hosts and displays the time and location of the route taken to reach the destination computer. In Windows, this same utility is known as Tracert.

Track density

The space between tracks on a disk The smaller the space between tracks, the more tracks on a disk. Older drives with wider track densities allowed wandering.

Trojan horse

A useful and seemingly innocent program containing additional hidden code that allows the unauthorized collection, exploitation, falsification, or destruction of data. A Trojan horse performs some unexpected or unauthorized (usually malicious) actions, such as displaying messages, erasing files, or formatting a disk.

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