Digital Forensics

Digital Forensics is defined as the process of preservation, identification, extraction, and documentation of computer evidence which can be used by the court of law. It is a science of finding evidence from digital media like a computer, mobile phone, server, or network. It provides the forensic team with the best techniques and tools to solve complicated digital-related cases.

Digital forensics is the process of uncovering and interpreting electronic data. The goal of the process is to preserve any evidence in its most original form while performing a structured investigation by collecting, identifying, and validating the digital information to reconstruct past events.

Digital Forensics helps the forensic team to analyzes, inspect, identifies, and preserve the digital evidence residing on various types of electronic devices.

This is a branch of forensic science that focuses on the recovery and investigation of material found in digital devices related to cybercrime. The term digital forensics was first used as a synonym for computer forensics. Since then, it has expanded to cover the investigation of any devices that can store digital data. Although the first computer crime was reported in 1978, followed by the Florida computers act, it wasn’t until the 1990s that it became a recognized term. It was only in the early 21st century that national policies on digital forensics emerged.

Also it is the process of identifying, preserving, analyzing, and documenting digital evidence. This is done in order to present evidence in a court of law when required.

Steps of Digital Forensics

In order for digital evidence to be accepted in a court of law, it must be handled in a very specific way so that there is no opportunity for tampering with the evidence.

  1. Identification
    First, find the evidence, noting where it is stored.
  2. Preservation
    Next, isolate, secure, and preserve the data. This includes preventing people from possibly tampering with the evidence.
  3. Analysis
    Next, reconstruct fragments of data and draw conclusions based on the evidence found.
  4. Documentation
    Following that, create a record of all the data to recreate the crime scene.
  5. Presentation
    Lastly, summarize and draw a conclusion.
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Who is a Digital Forensics Investigator

A digital forensics investigator is someone who has a desire to follow the evidence and solve a crime virtually. Imagine a security breach happens at a company, resulting in stolen data. In this situation, a computer forensic analyst would come in and determine how attackers gained access to the network, where they traversed the network, and what they did on the network, whether they took information or planted malware. Under those circumstances, the role of a digital forensic investigator is to recover data like documents, photos, and emails from computer hard drives and other data storage devices, such as zip and flash drives, with deleted, damaged, or otherwise manipulated.

Types of Digital Forensics

Disk Forensics
It deals with extracting data from storage media by searching active, modified, or deleted files.

Network Forensics
It is a sub-branch of digital forensics. It is related to monitoring and analysis of computer network traffic to collect important information and legal evidence.

Wireless Forensics
It is a division of network forensics. The main aim of wireless forensics is to offers the tools need to collect and analyze the data from wireless network traffic.

Database Forensics
It is a branch of digital forensics relating to the study and examination of databases and their related metadata.

Malware Forensics
This branch deals with the identification of malicious code, to study their payload, viruses, worms, etc.

Email Forensics
Deals with recovery and analysis of emails, including deleted emails, calendars, and contacts.

Memory Forensics
It deals with collecting data from system memory (system registers, cache, RAM) in raw form and then carving the data from Raw dump.

Mobile Phone Forensics
It mainly deals with the examination and analysis of mobile devices. It helps to retrieve phone and SIM contacts, call logs, incoming, and outgoing SMS/MMS, Audio, videos, etc.

Digital forensics benefits and drawbacks

Advantages

  • To ensure the integrity of the computer system.
  • To produce evidence in the court, which can lead to the punishment of the culprit.
  • It helps the companies to capture important information if their computer systems or networks are compromised.
  • Efficiently tracks down cybercriminals from anywhere in the world.
  • Helps to protect the organization's money and valuable time.
  • Allows to extract, process, and interpret the factual evidence, so it proves the cybercriminal action's in the court.

Disadvantages

 

  • Digital evidence accepted into court. However, it is must be proved that there is no tampering
  • Producing electronic records and storing them is an extremely costly affair
  • Legal practitioners must have extensive computer knowledge
  • Need to produce authentic and convincing evidence
  • If the tool used for digital forensic is not according to specified standards, then in the court of law, the evidence can be disapproved by justice.
  • Lack of technical knowledge by the investigating officer might not offer the desired result

 

Summary

  • Digital Forensics is the preservation, identification, extraction, and documentation of computer evidence which can be used in the court of law
  • Process of Digital forensics includes 1) Identification, 2) Preservation, 3) Analysis, 4) Documentation and, 5) Presentation
  • Different types of Digital Forensics are Disk Forensics, Network Forensics, Wireless Forensics, Database Forensics, Malware Forensics, Email Forensics, Memory Forensics, etc.
  • Digital forensic Science can be used for cases like 1) Intellectual Property theft, 2) Industrial espionage 3) Employment disputes, 4) Fraud investigations.