The Five Necessary Steps for Performing Forensic Analysis

Cybercrimes or cyber-attacks seem to be increasing day by day, and hackers are finding new ways to breach someone’s privacy. The IT professional team comes into the picture to prevent them and protect businesses’ IT infrastructure. Therefore, there is a need for IT infrastructure services to tackle these attacks. The well-learned IT professionals feel that forensic analysis is an effective way to secure the infrastructure of an organization. So, let’s dive in as to what forensic analysis is. 

Meaning and Significance of Forensic Analysis

Forensic analysis studies the causes and patterns of cyberattacks. The forensic analysis team creates physical evidence to present as digital information in the court hearings. The IT team aims to identify and analyze the information that can help them get reliable evidence. There are specific vulnerabilities in the infrastructure, and before cybercriminals use their strategies, businesses need to identify them. Forensic analysts are quite experienced in finding these irregularities, making them one step ahead of criminals in retrieving the deleted data.

Data deleted from a device isn’t permanently deleted, but it is hidden from the user. In forensic analysis, deleted data and memory of the device are retrieved and interpreted. Therefore, forensic analysis must be regularly conducted to prevent such attacks. If not, you’re indirectly inviting criminals to attack your IT infrastructure.  

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Five Key Steps to Perform Forensic Analysis

●    Developing policy and procedures- 

Forensic evidence can be highly-sensitive and delicate. IT professionals know how important and valuable the information is. Hence, they handle and protect the information with the utmost care, ensuring that it is not compromised.

To protect this information, they develop strict procedures and policies. These procedures highlight ways to prepare systems to retrieve evidence, storage, documentation of activities, and authorizations. They are necessary as these procedures and policies ensure that the forensic analysis is carried out correctly.

●    Assessing the Evidence – 

After developing certain policies and procedures, the IT professionals investigate and assess potential evidence of cybercrimes. Through forensic analysis, the evidence can be accessed in a significant way.

Firstly, the IT infrastructure team tends to classify the cybercrime and then evaluate it to acquire evidence. Later on, the investigator determines the integrity and source of data before submitting it as evidence.  

●    Acquiring evidence

IT professionals carry out this step very carefully, and they come up with a precise plan to acquire evidence. A comprehensive analysis ensures that the evidence is relevant and reliable. The information is recorded, preserved, and documented upon obtaining the evidence. Without evidence, forensic analysis is considered futile.

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There are specific guidelines that IT infrastructure professionals follow to preserve the evidence. Often a digital copy or a forensic image is created on which the investigation is conducted to avoid tampering. 

●    Examining the evidence

The IT professionals follow procedures to retrieve, copy, and store evidence within an appropriate database. Forensic professionals use several approaches and methods to analyze the information. This makes the evidence more accurate and consistent. They also analyze file names because it helps identify the data with its creation date.

The team can adopt several tools to aid them in evaluating the evidence – from network analyzers and RAM Capture to analyze the memory artifacts and evaluate the encrypted physical drives. 

●    Documenting and Reporting

The last step of forensic analysis is documenting and reporting. The IT professionals keep a record of both software and hardware specifications. They also mention the methods they utilized in the investigation. The methods to test system functionality, and retrieve and store data are also included in this record.

It is necessary to document all necessary methodologies. Documents and reports are essential to provide a gist and analysis of the case. This tells IT professionals, how the integrity of the case is being preserved.

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Recent Trends in Computer Forensics

Malware forensics has gained significance as it is quite effective in dealing with cybercriminals. Organizations processing sensitive information need to defend the data and respond to such attacks quickly and accurately. The IT infrastructure team needs to equip itself with:-

● Digital Forensics- to retrieve evidence from computers related to information recovery, preservation and ensure it is in line with the digital forensic standards

● Mobile Forensics- This covers all devices that have both communication facilities as well as being portable – Mobile phones, smartphones, Personal digital assistants, etc.

● Memory Forensics- Needed to protect against data that can be permanently erased from hard drives. Memory forensics search for vulnerabilities in the computer’s memory

● Software Forensics- It addresses stolen software, compares source codes, and detects possible correlations. This is often utilized in IP litigations.

Conclusion

Organizations must be adequately equipped to handle data breaches, unauthorized server access incidents, and other threats in today’s technology-driven world. They need to brace themselves with the relevant forensic tools that enable them to retrieve crucial data and information. Cyber security companies work on technology that can trace hackers or cybercriminals and protect the data with restrictions on server access. 

Founder of this enthusiastic tech blog and a lover of nature, space, future technology, and maybe, a nerd.

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