The importance of Digital Forensics in Cyber Security and its 5 phases

cyber security professionals

Cyber security is more or less in accordance with digital forensics. Cyber security wouldn’t have been so efficient, if digital forensics did not back it, with its evidence and proofs. Digital forensics is basically one of the branches of digital science. This science follows a defined pattern to identify, preserve, analyse and document any digital crime, in a way that can be presented as evidence in a court of law.

Brief History of Digital Forensic

The history of digital forensics dates back a few decades. The term was a second name for computer forensics. The first record of digital crime can be traced to 1978, which was then followed by the introduction of “The Florida Computers Act”. However, digital forensics become popular only 1990s onwards. The next big amendment in the act was in the early 21st century when national policies on digital forensics were established.

Definition Of Digital Forensic

According to the definition shared by Technopedia,

“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 digital information to reconstruct past events. The context is most often for the usage of data in a court of law, though digital forensics can be used in other instances.”

Importance of Digital Forensics in Cyber Security

Cyber security is basically a way of safeguarding your device, network, data, etc against hackers and cyber crimes and the people carrying out this job are known as cyber security professionals. The types of technologies used in cyber security use information provided by digital forensics to prevent any cyber attacks. In short, cyber security professionals are dependent on digital forensics to carry out their work essentially. Some of the common ways in how cyber security benefits from digital forensics are

  • Prevents hackers and hijackers from accessing any online network or data
  • Digital forensics information can detect malware & spyware and can prevent viruses to exploit or delete any online data
  • Helps in recovering deleted information
  • Digital forensics help in identifying areas of weakness and vulnerabilities well in advance

Five Phases of Digital Forensics

A specific process has to be followed by cyber security professionals in order for the evidence to be accepted in a court of law. Following the process also ensures that there is no opportunity left for cyber criminals to tamper with the assembled evidence. Here are the five phases followed in a digital forensic process.

1.     Identification:

In this stage, the scope of the investigation is established which outlines the goals and objectives of the investigation. It begins with identifying the evidence and the devices used in cybercrime. It is essential to document all the evidence found in this stage preferably considering the IT security services, where they are stored and in which file type.

2.     Preservation

In this stage, the identified data is carefully isolated, secured and stored. It is also crucial during this stage to ensure that as much as possible digital evidence is extracted by IT security services and preserved carefully. A backup file of the evidence is also created and steps are taken to make sure no further tamper of evidence or digital footprints are left behind, even by the forensic team.

3.     Analysis

In the analysis stage, the digital forensic team deeply scrutinizes the evidence and reconstructs the identified objectives to reach a conclusion. A systematic timeline is drafted by the team to put the pieces together and conclude how the cybercrime was conducted.

4.     Documentation

This is one of the most important stages of the digital forensic process. In the documentation phase, all the collected evidence in any form and format is securely documented and stored pertaining to the crime investigation. The most critical information and most close accurately reached conclusion is documented in a specific way to be presented in a court of law.

5.     Presentation

This is the last and also the most crucial stage of the digital forensic process. In this stage, the investigators present the state of findings, evidence, documentation and conclusions reached in front of the court for everyone to understand clearly. Based on the report and presentation of the digital forensic team, the court of law reaches the final conclusion against the cybercriminals.

How ProVise Can Be Your Cyber Security Partner?

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