What is cyber or digital forensics?
Cyber crimes are on the rise, and understanding forensic investigations is a key part of solving them. Learn the basics and get up to speed
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Cyber forensic investigation is the process of identifying, preserving, analysing, and presenting digital evidence in a way that is legally admissible. It is an important tool for law enforcement and other organizations that need to investigate cyber crimes such as hacking, identity theft, and child exploitation. Here are some fundamental principles of cyber forensic investigation:

  1. Follow a set of best practices: It is important to follow a set of best practices, such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, to ensure that the evidence collected is reliable and admissible in court. This includes following proper procedures for seizing and handling evidence, as well as using approved tools and techniques to analyse it.
  2. Maintain the chain of custody: It is important to maintain the chain of custody of evidence, which is the record of who has handled the evidence and where it has been stored. This helps to ensure that the evidence has not been tampered with and that it can be traced back to its original source.
  3. Use forensic tools: Cyber forensic investigators use specialised tools and techniques to extract and analyse digital evidence from computers, servers, and other devices. These tools include disk imaging software, data recovery tools, and network analysis tools.
  4. Understand the legal implications: Cyber forensic investigators need to understand the legal implications of their work and be prepared to testify in court as expert witnesses. This includes understanding the laws and regulations related to cyber crimes and being familiar with the rules of evidence.
  5. Stay up to date: The field of cyber forensic investigation is constantly evolving, with new technologies and techniques being developed all the time. It is important for investigators to stay up to date on these developments in order to be effective in their work.

Forensic Tools

There are many tools available for use in cyber or digital forensics, which is the practice of identifying, preserving, analysing, and presenting digital evidence in a way that is legally admissible. These tools are used to extract and analyse data from a variety of sources, including computers, servers, smartphones, and other digital devices. Some common types of tools used in digital forensics include:

  1. Disk imaging software: This type of software is used to create an exact copy of a disk or other storage device, including all of the data on the device. Disk imaging is an important step in the digital forensic process, as it allows investigators to work with a copy of the data rather than the original, which helps to preserve the integrity of the evidence.
  2. Data recovery tools: These tools are used to recover data from damaged or corrupted storage devices. They can be used to extract deleted files, recover lost data, and fix damaged file systems.
  3. Network analysis tools: These tools are used to analyze network traffic and identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate the presence of malicious activity. They can be used to track down the source of a cyber attack or to identify the scope of a data breach.
  4. Hash matching tools: These tools are used to create a unique “fingerprint” of a file, known as a hash value. Hash values can be used to verify the authenticity of a file or to identify duplicates.
  5. Forensic analysis software: This type of software is used to analyze and extract data from a wide range of sources, including computers, servers, smartphones, and other digital devices. Some forensic analysis software includes features for carving out deleted files, analyzing disk partitions, and extracting metadata from files.
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