From Crime to the Private Sector: A forensic analysis is an essential tool to investigate, document, and determine who is responsible for suspicious activity and is therefore not only a tool for criminal investigations. In cybersecurity, this methodology is also becoming increasingly important in the private sector.
Forensic analysis is used to reconstruct the course of incidents. Digital traces are secured and analyzed in context. Digital traces are all actions that are carried out in an IT environment. Examples are: DNS Filter
● running applications
● registrations made from one system
● system commands
● Access and download of files
● Connections to external devices
● Registrations from external networks
In order to perform forensic analysis, clear guidelines must be followed. The integrity of the data obtained is of great importance here.
Forensic investigation steps at a glance
The forensic process can be divided into individual investigation steps or methods. The Cognitech Cloud (MC2) divides the process into six investigation sections:
● Strategic preparation: These are actions taken before an incident. Typical measures here are, for example, the activation of log services.
● Operational preparation: These are actions taken after the incident but before data collection. Incident and inventory taking is among the activities here.
● Data collection: Data collection measures are, for example, images of existing systems, cloud video surveillance, etc. However, the preservation of evidence must be guaranteed here, so all generated images must be secured with a cryptographic process.
● Investigation: In the investigation, forensically valuable data is explicitly extracted.
● Data Analysis: A detailed analysis is made from the collected data. This is where measures come into play that makes it possible to establish the various connections between data, devices, or networks and thus, for example, to be able to determine the source.
● Documentation: The devices involved, the data collected, and the findings are now compiled into a result and overall documentation.
These investigation steps are used in the operating system, network, and memory forensics.
Operating system forensics
System forensics is an area of IT forensics in which valuable information can be obtained from a system or operating system. However, a definition must first be established to collect data from an operating system. The Cognitech Cloud Online defines an operating system as follows:
“An operating system is understood to mean the programs of a digital computer system which, together with the computer system properties, form the basis of the possible operating modes of the computer system and, in particular, monitor and control the execution of programs.”
Extensive information can generally be collected in the operating system since a large part of the forensic data source is managed here. This sometimes also results in data on the network or used connection.
For network forensics, the focus is on investigations that affect a network. Information about a network or its activities is obtained and analyzed. The methodology used in network forensics varies. The observations of a network can therefore be either targeted or holistic. In principle, however, an attempt is made to create a chronological sequence of network events, with IP addresses and encrypted and unencrypted messages collected.
In network forensics, two different types of systems are used to collect network data and traffic.
● Catch-it-as-you-can: All data packets are routed through a network traffic point and secured in a database. The analysis of the data is based purely on stored data. The results obtained should also be stored in the database. The problem with this system is that it requires a large storage capacity, which is often associated with additional costs.
● Stop-look-listen: Here, only the data required for the analysis is saved in a database. Incoming traffic is filtered and analyzed in memory in real-time. The storage capacity is massively smaller here, but a more powerful processor is required.
Memory forensics focuses on finding and evaluating forensic information from the main memory. In the meantime, memory forensics is also considered an essential part of a forensic investigation. Since, among other things, data can be found when only visible in the main memory. The main memory contains important information about processes, active network connections, accessed documents, and the runtime status of the computer as long as it is supplied with power.
Forensic video analysis in cloud means is used to secure incidents that have occurred. This is intended to determine how the security risk arose. All sub-steps and the overall documentation must be followed up in detail. In addition, it should be noted that information can be found in the operating system, network, and main memory, and all systems involved must be analyzed to obtain a holistic picture. Cognitech cloud security is a streaming service for forensic video investigation software that will help make your analysis faster.