Digital evidence can be found on a variety of platforms and in a variety of formats. Analysis of data, emails, network activity, and other potential artifacts and sources of clues to the scope, impact, and attribution of an incident is common in forensic investigations. Digital forensics tools often have varied expertise due to the broad diversity of available data sources. Various digital forensics tools are used in an investigation.
Benefits of Digital Forensics Tools
Help find vulnerabilities
There is no way to prevent your sensitive information from entering the hands of fraudsters without appropriate security measures. You can expect unwanted emails, reduced productivity owing to poor service quality, and a bad online reputation once they do. To avoid such issues, you must keep a continual eye on everything that happens in or around your system or network so that vulnerabilities may be addressed before they do serious harm.
Checks employee-related crimes
Employees are often interested in gaining access to information that does not pertain to them or in exchanging confidential data with third parties, especially if they want to earn extra money. Of course, these acts are completely prohibited in any corporate setting, therefore using digital forensics tools can assist you in detecting when employees violate your confidentiality policies and taking appropriate action.
Helps monitor online threats
Hackers are always devising new methods to assault consumers and steal their personal information without being detected. To remain ahead of these scammers, you’ll need strong surveillance software that can keep a continual eye on what’s going on in and around your networks while causing minimal disruption to normal operations.
Protects industrial espionage
Competitors may employ a variety of approaches, including industrial espionage, to learn about your newest strategy, plans, and advancements. They might, for example, send someone acting as a contractor to improve one of your products or services to obtain your trade secrets.
Assists law enforcement agencies
To develop criminal cases against offenders, law enforcement organizations rely largely on digital evidence. However, gathering and keeping vast volumes of data takes a lot of time and resources that may be better spent pursuing criminals.
Digital Forensics Software Tools
The Sleuth Kit And Autopsy
The Sleuth Kit (TSK) and Autopsy, two of the most prominent open-source digital investigative tools, have long been reliable options for volume system forensic research. Using a suite of command-line tools for examining disc images, the Sleuth Kit allows administrators to study file system data. TSK’s powers are boosted by Autopsy, a graphical user interface and a digital forensics platform that is frequently utilized in public and private computer system investigations.
Analysts believe The Sleuth Kit and Autopsy to be among the best disc and data capture tools available. This combination is user-friendly and flexible for a variety of users and devices, which is unusual for an open-source solution. Timeline analysis, hash filtering, file, and folder flagging, and multimedia extraction are all critical features.
OpenText is a provider of enterprise content management, networking, automation, discovery, security, and analytics services. It was founded in 1991 in Waterloo, Ontario. OpenText’s Security Suite solutions include the industry-recognized EnCase. Endpoint Security (EDR), Endpoint Investigator (DFIR), Forensic, Mobile Investigator, and Advanced Detection are some of the EnCase offerings.
EnCase’s capabilities include retrieving evidence from a variety of device types and hard drives, automating the preparation of evidence, doing deep and triage analysis, and collecting and preserving in-depth evidence. OpenText, like TSK and Autopsy, focuses on disc and data capture software.
CAINE (Computer-Aided Investigative Environment) is an open-source Ubuntu and Linux-based digital forensic distribution designed by Italian engineers. CAINE provides interoperable software that works with existing security solutions to create a user-friendly interface. Organizations can redistribute and change their demands for Windows, Linux, and Unix systems because it’s open-source.
CAINE has several important features, like automatic timeline extraction from RAM, adjustable features and tools, and a few additional tools that make our list of the best DSF solutions. TSK and Autopsy, Wireshark, and PhotoRec are among the tools included in CAINE, giving it a comprehensive choice for Linux distros specializing in digital forensic investigations.
The Ubuntu-based SIFT Workstation is another popular Linux distro for digital forensics and incident response (DFIR). The SIFT Workstation provides three deployment choices for free and open-source DFIR solutions: download a virtual machine, native installation on the Ubuntu system, and installation on Windows via the Linux subsystem.
SIFT is a memory optimizer developed by the SANS Institute in 2007. It runs on 64-bit operating systems and automatically updates the software with the latest forensic tools and methodologies. Customers praise the VM appliance’s efficacy, citing its open availability for companies and the ability to create snapshots and eliminate cross-contamination.
Volatility’s original version, which debuted at Black Hat and DefCon in 2007, was based on academic research into sophisticated memory analysis and forensics. Because of its revolutionary memory forensics technology, the charity Volatility Foundation is now a top digital forensics vendor. Volatility is well-known among investigators for its capabilities for analyzing runtime states utilizing RAM data.
Volatility conducts in-depth research into OS internals, malicious code, and abnormalities to improve its tools, which are compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS. Volatility has an inbuilt API for PTE flag lookups, support for Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization (KASLR), and automated Failure command execution after several failed starts.
X-Ways Forensics is a disc and data capture software that is based on the WinHex hex and disc editor and includes three additional utilities. For disc cloning and imaging using an integrated computer forensic environment, investigators can use WinHex or X-Ways’ Forensics, Investigator, and Imager.
Automatic detection of lost or deleted partitions, read partitioning for file system structures inside .dd image files and remote computer analysis are just a few of the notable features offered by X-Ways. X-Ways tools can readily recognize NTFS and ADS and can access discs and RAID configurations. Administrators can provide write protection for data integrity by using templates to read and change binary data.
Cellebrite is a digital intelligence business specializing in mobile device forensics that was founded in Israel in 1999. With the rise of mobile devices, Cellebrite has established itself as a prominent provider for law enforcement and businesses who need to collect, examine, analyze, or manage data from mobile devices. Cellebrite touts services that unify the investigation lifecycle and preserve digital evidence via their Digital Intelligence Investigative Platform.
While Cellebrite offers a variety of DFIR products, the Cellebrite UFED is widely regarded as one of the best commercial digital device forensics solutions available. The UFED (Universal Forensic Extraction Device) can extract physical and logical data from advanced locks, encryption barriers, and deleted and unknown material. Exclusive bootloaders, automatic EDL capability, and clever ADB are among UFED’s recovery options.
ProDiscover was founded in 2001 to assist public and commercial sector organizations in the investigation of digital crimes. By 2021, the India-based supplier will have worked with over 400 clients in over 70 countries, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), NASA, and Wells Fargo. Forensics, Incident Response (IR), and ProDiscover Pro are three ProDicover products that emphasize computer forensics, incident response, electronic discovery, and corporate policy compliance investigations.
ProDiscover’s solutions offer a range of capabilities that enhance the digital forensic investigation lifecycle, from locating data on a computer disc to safeguarding evidence and preparing reports for future use. Extraction of EXIF data from JPEG files, creation of copies of questionable discs, and support for VMware to run captured images are among these features. Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux file systems are all supported by ProDiscover products.
Wireshark was first released in 1998 and has since grown in popularity to become one of the most used network protocol analyzers in the world. Wireshark examines network packets and performs testing and troubleshooting, specializing in the forensic examination of whole networks. A standard three-pane packet browser that encapsulates data structures, this provides a detailed investigation of hundreds of protocols. Wireshark runs on Windows, Linus, macOS, Solaris, FreeBSD, and NetBSD and is multi-platform compatible.
Superuser access on Wireshark constituted a serious threat to people investigating raw network traffic almost a decade ago. Wireshark, on the other hand, remains one of the most popular open-source tools, with a long list of functionality. Take on network analysis using VoIP analysis, capture files with gzip compression, and convert to XML.
Xplico is a top network forensics analysis tool (NFAT) that restructures data using a packet sniffer. It was founded in 2007. Unlike Wireshark and other network protocol analyzers, Xplico focuses on reconstructing application data to identify protocols using Port Independent Protocol Identification (PIPI). The major goal of Xplico, which is available as a free and open-source tool, is to extract application data from an internet traffic collection.
HTTP, IMAP, POP, SMTP, IPv6, and other protocols are supported by Xplico. When Xplico is used, it generates XML files that uniquely identify the flows and pcap present in each reassembled data structure. Multithreading, SQLite or MySQL integration, no data entry constraints, and the ability to run reserve DNS lookups from the DNS pack are all important Xplico features.
Exterro was founded in 2004 in Portland, Oregon, and specializes in workflow-driven software as well as governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solutions. While all of our recommendations help firms manage compliance, Exterro is particularly useful for assisting in-house legal teams, streamlining compliance processes, and managing risks. SOC 2 Type 2 certified and FedRAMP authorized, Exterro’s operations are secure. Exterro’s acquisition of industry-leading AccessData in December 2020 propelled them further into the DFIR space.
Exterro provides products in the areas of e-discovery, privacy, risk management, and digital forensics. FTK is well known for its forensics-focused products, which are divided into Lab, Imager, Enterprise, and API-specific solutions.
In 2011, Canadian police officer Jad Saliba launched Magnet Forensics after noticing that law enforcement’s digital forensic capabilities were lacking. The company now has 4,000 customers in over 90 countries, providing public and commercial sector organizations with digital forensic investigative tools. Magnet AXIOM for DFIR, Magnet Automate, Atlas, Review for digital evidence collaboration and management, Magnet Ignite, and Outrider for triage solutions are among Magnet Forensics’ products. Magnet is compatible with both Linux and Windows.
Magnet AXIOM Cyber is a good option for companies that want DFIR capabilities. Magnet’s enterprise solution includes incident response, root cause analysis, insider threat, and HR investigation capabilities, as well as e-discovery gathering, review, and analysis. Other crucial features include hosting AXIOM Cyber in Azure or AWS, off-network remote collection, and case intelligence tools. The Magnet RAM capture feature provides for recording the memory of target devices for future investigations.
LogRhythm, a cybersecurity intelligence business with a range of solutions for organizations, made our top products list for SIEM, threat intelligence, and UEBA this year. LogRhythm’s first emphasis and flagship product was its SIEM software, which was launched in 2003 out of Boulder, Colorado. As the years passed, network forensics became a feature in their newly rebranded MistNet Network Detection and Response, which is now known as NetMon (NDR).
NetMon, LogRhythm’s network forensics technology, can also be purchased as a standalone solution, according to the company. LogRhythm’s technology gathers packet capture and derived information, maintains log data, and employs network forensic sensors to fill in the gaps, emphasizing the significance of a DFIR approach.