Data forensics is one of the sub branches of computer forensics. It is essential to establish legal evidences as found in computers and its storage media. Its primary goal is to give a clear explanation of a digital artifact’s state. Digital artifacts include storage devices, computer systems or electronic documents.
Data forensics are employed for a couple of reasons. It is a significant portion of data recovery for either hardware or software failures. It also helps analyze how an attacker was able to break-in to a system. It is also important to gather information about an employee that a certain organization wants to terminate. Alongside all these reasons, different steps are followed in the database forensics process.
There are several steps involved in the entire forensics process. These are as follows:
• Preparation of the investigator. An investigator must have an ample background of the subject matter. He should be trained enough to know the facets of the process. He validates all data needed by the courts basing on generated reports. Since there are many tools to choose from, the investigator should determine the appropriate tool to be applied for the case.
• Collection of data. The data are gathered in the form of digital evidences. Data forensics make use of tools such as computers, hard drives, CD-ROMs and even cellular phones or digital cameras. The data should be carefully handled to assure that no changes are made. Documentation and the use of reliable tools will help secure the collected data for forensics use.
• Examination. There are two ways by which data are examined. Traditionally, the dead data analysis is employed. This is one method where investigations are performed on hard drives or any data at rest. Currently, the live data analysis is also used. This is helpful when the attacker does not make use of the computer’s hard drive. This is also important if the person makes use of cryptographic storage devices where data intervention may no longer be seen once the computer shuts-off.
Once the data are gathered and examined, the data forensics investigator may report the incident to management or to whoever needs the data. Following these steps require careful scrutiny of the scenario. This will ensure that all legal actions will be imposed on the attacker. In like manner, it will help dictate the punishment to be given to the offender.
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