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

Objectives of digital forensics

Here are the essential objectives of using Computer forensics:

  • It helps to recover, analyze, and preserve computer and related materials
  • It helps to postulate the motive behind the crime and identity of the main culprit.
  • Data acquisition and duplication:.
  • Producing a digital forensic report which offers a complete report on the investigation process.
  • Preserving the evidence by following the chain of custody

Process of Digital forensics

Digital forensics entails the following steps:

Identification

It is the first step in the forensic process. The identification process mainly includes things like what evidence is present, where it is stored, and how it is stored (in which format). Electronic storage media can be personal computers, Mobile phones, PDAs, etc.

Preservation

In this phase, data is isolated, secured, and preserved. It includes preventing people from using the digital device so that digital evidence is not tampered with.

Analysis

In this step, investigation agents reconstruct fragments of data and draw conclusions based on evidence found. However, it might take numerous iterations of examination to support a specific crime theory.

Documentation

In this process, a record of all the visible data must be created. It helps in recreating the crime scene and reviewing it. It Involves proper documentation of the crime scene along with photographing, sketching, and crime-scene mapping.

Presentation

In this last step, the process of summarization and explanation of conclusions is done. However, it should be written in a layperson’s terms (simple language) using abstracted terminologies. All abstracted terminologies should reference the specific details.

Types of Digital Forensics

There are several types of digital forensics which include:

Computer/Disk Forensics

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

Network Forensics

It is related to monitoring and analysis of computer network traffic to collect important information and legal evidence.

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 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.

Example Uses of Digital Forensics

In recent time, commercial organizations have used digital forensics in following a type of cases:

  • Intellectual Property theft
  • Industrial espionage
  • Employment disputes
  • Fraud investigations
  • Inappropriate use of the Internet and email in the workplace
  • Forgeries related matters
  • Bankruptcy investigations
  • Issues concern with the regulatory compliance

What Is Forensic Readiness?

Forensic readiness is defined as: “The achievement of an appropriate level of capability by an organization in order for it to be able to collect, preserve, protect and analyse digital evidence so that this evidence can be effectively used in any legal matters, in disciplinary matters, in an employment tribunal or court of law.

Forensic readiness helps an organization streamline its activities so that retrieval of digital evidence becomes easy with reduced hassles. That is, digital evidence is appropriately recorded and stored even before an incident takes place, without interruption of operations.

Goals of a Forensic Readiness plan.

Forensic readiness planning is part of a quality information risk management approach.

A forensic readiness plan should have the following goals:

  • To gather admissible evidence legally without interfering with business processes
  • To gather evidence targeting potential crimes and disputes that could have adverse impact on an organization
  • To allow investigations to proceed at costs proportional to the incident
  • To minimize interruption of operations by investigations
  • To ensure that evidence impacts positively on the outcome of any legal action

Benefits of Forensic Readiness Planning

The benefits of forensic readiness planning include:

  • Preparing for the potential need for digital evidence
  • Blocking the opportunity for malicious insiders to cover their tracks
  • Reducing cost of regulatory or legal requirements for disclosure of data
  • Showing due diligence, good corporate governance and regulatory compliance
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