Digital Forensics & Incident Response
Digital Forensics & Incident Response Solutions
With today’s ever–increasing advanced threats, rapidly changing malware, and a constantly shifting legal and regulatory landscape, it is essential for organizations to develop a digital readiness program and have a proactive approach to incident response.
Organizations that seek to defend themselves against known and emerging threats to stay competitive must be prepared to forensically investigate and contain attacks. Because cyber threats are a reality for every organization, it’s important to know how you can help your business develop resilience to minimize the impact of such attacks when they happen and bounce back quickly. To do that, your organization must take Digital Forensics and Incident Response seriously.
What is Digital Forensics and Incident Response?
When you hear about digital forensics, one of the images that probably flashes through your mind is that of a court and lawyers, but that isn’t the case in this instance, as this process is more than legal processes or procedures.
Digital Forensic and Incident Response (DFIR) is an essential part of cybersecurity investigating cyberattacks and responding appropriately to minimize the effects. It is a specialized cybersecurity sub–field typically associated with computer response teams (CERT) or computer security incident response teams (CSIRT).
Although often lumped together because they work towards accomplishing similar goals, digital forensics and incident response are two entirely different processes. Let’s define both procedures individually.
Digital forensics is a division of computer forensics that focuses on recovering and investigating materials found in digital devices related to cybercrime. In other words, it is a process that aims to uncover why, when, and how a breach occurred to extract and document any evidence found so it can be used in a court of law.
Digital forensics can be carried out for various reasons, including criminal investigation, a civil investigation, or just an internal incident response investigation. The process also determines the source and the extent of the security breach so organizations can have an accurate diagnosis to develop an effective recovery plan.
The term digital forensics was first used as a synonym for computer forensics. Still, its meaning has expanded over the years to include the investigation of devices that can store electronic data. This means that it involves finding, analyzing, and preserving evidence from digital media to solve complicated digital–related cases.
There are different types of digital forensics, and they include:
Mobile Phone Forensics
6 Phases of Digital Forensics
When it comes to digital forensics, investigations follow standards to ensure success and quick results. The process of digital forensics can be broken down into six steps. Here is a brief explanation of each step.
The first step in digital forensics is to be clear about the objectives of the investigation and how the approach can be kept legal—identifying what evidence needs to be collected from what devices will go a long way to guide the process.
2. Securing the Devices
Appropriate steps are taken to secure the devices and computer systems involved in the breach. The devices must be guarded against unauthorized access throughout the investigation. Should the system or devices be connected to the internet, dismissing, the connection is a critical step to take.
This is the process where the data is extracted and preserved on the affected systems and devices. Investigators will extract files and digital artefacts (like event logs and packets of data) to prevent them from being overwritten. Efforts must also be made to recover lost (and/or deleted) information.
This is probably the hardest part of digital forensics as it involves analyzing and piecing together the data recovered to tell a full story of what occurred during the breach. Although this stage often stirs up disputes, there are industry–standard best practices that guide the process.
This is the phase where all the evidence collected during the investigation is recorded. Every step of the procedure is also documented to serve as a backup of the entire process.
This is the final step in digital forensics, and it involves helping stakeholders understand the source of the attack, the target, the motive, and what exactly happened.
Incident Response refers to the complementary set of processes that occur when a breach occurs. An organization can properly respond to security incidents in an orderly and efficient manner so you can both limit the damage of the attack and recover from it.
When the unexpected happens, organizations need to address and manage the aftermath. This is what incident response entails, with the goal being to handle the situation in a way that limits damage and reduces recovery time as well as costs.
Ideally, an incident response plan should be set up even before a security breach, or cyberattack occurs. It is about developing a flight plan before it is necessary. The scope encompasses not just the IT department but also the entire business functions to make quick decisions with reliable information.
If an incident is not quickly detected and properly contained, the consequences can be devastating to any organization. For example, when an incident is not efficiently and quickly handled, it can escalate to a bigger problem that can damage a data breach. It can also alienate customers and trigger greater government regulation.
Multiple studies indicate that more than 50 percent of companies do not have a detailed incident response plan in place, and those that do are taking an increased amount of time to respond. Organizations today need better incident response management to stay protected against the growing and accelerating number of threats.
6 Phases of Incident Response Lifecycle
To adequately prepare for an incident, there is a need to develop a plan that will dictate the course of action in the event of a breach. Here is what the process of an incident response lifecycle looks like:
This step involves developing policies and procedures or reviewing existing ones that stipulate how best to respond to an incident to have minimal impact on business operation. This is the stage that determines the exact composition of the response team and what should constitute a trigger to alert IT, staff.
Using the policies and tools determined in the preparation stage, this part details how to determine whether you have been breached so team members can work together to identify the nature of the attack and respond to it. It also includes common tactics used by specific groups in the cyber world to keep your organization one step ahead.
When a threat has been detected, the damage must be immediately limited and affected systems isolated to prevent further damage. The containment often includes short–term and long–term strategies to halt the attack and update and patch your systems.
Once the threat has been contained, the next step is to find and eliminate the root cause of the breach. In other words, this step builds on the progress of the former by ejecting the intruders and eliminating malware from the systems. The process continues until all traces of the attacks are removed.
6. Lesson learned
This is the final stage of the overall process, and it involves analyzing and documenting the data breach. Team members can discuss what worked well in the plan and the lessons to learn to improve future response efforts.
Why choose DC Encompass Digital Forensics & Incident Response Solutions
At DC Encompass, we offer Digital Forensics and Incidence Response solutions that can benefit organizations in many ways. Our services can help you organize, and review digital evidence for information relevant to an investigation. With this, businesses get to save crucial time that would otherwise been spent on searching through tons of files and artefacts for the needed evidence. We can also help your business bounce back quickly from an attack and resume business operations immediately.