Cyber incidents are fast moving and increasing in number and severity. When a cyber incident occurs, the attacked enterprise responds with a set of predetermined actions. Applying digital forensics to aid in the recovery and investigation of material on digital media and networks is one of these actions. Digital forensics is the “process of identifying, preserving, analyzing and presenting digital evidence in a manner that is legally acceptable in any legal proceedings (i.e., a court of law).” The purpose of this white paper is to provide an overview of digital forensics as it applies to cyber security.
Why is Computer Forensics Important?
Adding the ability to practice sound computer forensics will help you ensure the overall integrity and survivability of your network infrastructure. You can help your organization if you consider computer forensics as a new basic element in what is known as a “defense-in-depth” approach to network and computer security. For instance, understanding the legal and technical aspects of computer forensics will help you capture vital information if your network is compromised and will help you prosecute the case if the intruder is caught.
What happens if you ignore computer forensics or practice it badly? You risk destroying vital evidence or having forensic evidence ruled inadmissible in a court of law. Also, you or your organization may run afoul of new laws that mandate regulatory compliance and assign liability if certain types of data are not adequately protected. Recent legislation makes it possible to hold organizations liable in civil or criminal court if they fail to protect customer data.
Computer forensics is also important because it can save your organization money. Many managers are allocating a greater portion of their information technology budgets for computer and network security. In increasing numbers, organizations are deploying network security devices such as intrusion detection systems (IDS), firewalls, proxies, and the like, which all report on the security status of networks. From a technical standpoint, the main goal of computer forensics is to identify, collect, preserve, and analyze data in a way that preserves the integrity of the evidence collected so it can be used effectively in a legal case.
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