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Glossary of Computer Forensics Terms

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Term Definition
Ambient Data

Ambient data is information that lies in areas not generally accessible to the user. This data lies in file slack, unallocated clusters, virtual memory files and other areas not allocated to active files. This is a forensic term that describes, in general terms, data stored in non-traditional computer storage areas and formats. The term was coined in 1996 to help students understand computer-evidence-processing techniques that deal with ev-idence not stored in standard computer files, formats, and storage areas. The term is now widely used in the computer forensics community and it generally describes data stored in the Windows swap file, unallocated space, and file slack.

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