- What Is Digital Forensics?
- Cloud Computing
- Points to Remember
This article focuses on the basics of digital forensics which gives an idea of how it’s being used, tools used in digital forensics and collection of evidence (how digital evidence is handled), and challenges facing digital forensics. There are connections between Digital forensics and cloud computing. With digital forensics, this article also structured the basics of cloud computing. In which it points to a clear-cut idea of what is cloud computing, the advantages of cloud computing, challenges (cyber security challenges in using cloud computing in the utility industry), etc. As per the current scenario, digital and cyber forensics plays an important role in solving crimes. The technologies are developed, but still, this field is facing lots of challenges. As now cloud computing is at the hype, the old digital forensic methodologies won’t help to an extent in the investigation process. If data transparency in the cloud and the implementation of toolsets may help to solve the issue to an extent. The challenges facing digital forensics and cloud computing are to be addressed and resolved effectively.
Science and technologies are developed to comprise the whole universe in a single hand. In this fast-developing modern digital world, a lot of people are haunted by different problems. Nowadays cyber-crimes had been a serious social issue. As the number of crimes increases, technologies like digital forensics had come into practice in solving crimes. But the fact is even the people are living in this digital world most of them are not aware of the basics of digital forensics and how it helps people to overcome cybercrimes. Digital forensics can be used in different areas like criminal investigation, intelligence, etc. digital evidence plays important role in investigation procedures.
Cloud computing is a prevalent topic in information technology. This technology mainly uses central remote services to maintain data and other applications. There are many benefits and advantages to cloud computing. The most significant challenge in cloud computing is cloud computing utilization within the electric utility industry is that the uncertainty related to the relinquishing “control” from a utility-owned infrastructure to an infrastructure lies outer of the physical and electronic security perimeter of the utility. In the future, utilities will be transforming their back-office and billing systems and their customer portals to software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers. Mostly small to medium utilities including rural co-ops and municipals will lead to the cloud. The last utility function that may be transferred is real-time control and status monitoring. Many challenges should be addressed before real-time control functions will be performed by resources provided by cloud computing facilities as we will discuss in this paper. Status monitoring like a transformer, breaker, and relay monitoring may evolve such as the devices being monitored communicate with a cloud.
What Is Digital Forensics?
There are different ways to expound on digital forensics. In simple words, it’s the application of science in which identification, preservation, and documentation of digital evidence in a court of law. It can be used in criminal investigation, administrative matters, intelligence, etc. when we think about digital forensics in criminal investigation aspects, the first thing that came to mind of people is cyber bullying, child pornography, etc. but the fact is it is not comprised of this two areas. It’s a vast area in a criminal investigation which includes homicides, burglary, abduction, and many more. Digital evidence can play a vital role in the investigation process. For example, cell phones, laptops, and other sorts of digital evidence can be collected and submitted to a court of law.
2.1 Collection of digital evidence and challenges facing digital forensics.
The foremost thing is to secure the crime scene and the evidence present in the scene. The crime scenes which contain digital evidence are a bit difficult to secure, it needs a lot of care because the devices may be connected to a source or any other networks. So it needs utmost care while handling the evidence to make sure no data is lost. It is necessary to search everywhere because there will be small size memory cards that contain lots of evidence like images, videos, etc., and removable storage media like DVDs, hard drives can also give information regarding the crime. if there is a warrant it is important to search everywhere which contains a sort of storage media. Cellphones are very valuable evidence in which we can recover text messages, call logs, e-mails, and more. It is helpful to identify the connection between the culprit and victim or the people who come in contact with the culprit and so on. For example, in the case of abduction or kidnapping, digital evidence like a cell phone may help to identify the location, the last person coming in contact, and other details regarding the crime.
When any evidence is collected documentation is the important step want to be done. Documentation can be written notes, photographs, and videos. There must be the type of digital evidence collected, serial number, model, whether the device was in an on/off position or connected to any device or source like the internet. Every detail regarding the evidence should be noted. After that, the entire scene should be photographed. The complete scene should be photographed before the scene is disturbed. It’s necessary to take long-range, short-range, and close-up shots which include the shots of evidence separately and of the connection like if a computer is connected to a printer it needs to be shot clearly. Serial numbers, model, and other details regarding the device need to be photographed. Next is note-taking, it is also important to detail noting of the actions with evidence found. Before submitting digital evidence in front of court it needs to meet legal requirements, one of that is a chain of custody. That is before submitting it to the court the evidence will examine, stored, analyse, and will be noted.
Now digital forensics is facing some sorts of challenges in which two of which are cloud computing and solid-state hard drives (SSDs). Due to technical or legal reasons (or both) it may be unrecoverable. In the cloud when files are deleted the mapping will remove immediately and there is no assess to the data. This is the main challenge facing digital forensics.
As per definition cloud computing is a technology that uses the internet and central remote servers to maintain data and applications. This technology allows businesses to use it without installation and can assess with the internet. There are private and public clouds in which public clouds give services on an open market that is, cloud service providers which are worldwide. The most secure one is private clouds which are used by companies, organizations, and so on. They have a private network.
3.1 Advantages of cloud computing
- Cloud technology is cost-friendly.
- Cloud gives infinite storage possibilities (can store more data).
- It is highly automated and haves more mobility.
- It ensures that the files and applications are safe and it is available whenever the user needs them.
3.2 Cyber security challenges in cloud computing
The transition of all the functions used in the power system utility operations to cloud computing is going to be gradual and will only occur if the cyber security challenges described in the following sections are addressed. To describe these challenges appropriately, we have to define the traditional security triad of availability, integrity, and confidentiality in cloud computing. When the information is sent to the cloud, the utility should be concerned about how that information is stored and, if applicable, archived. The cyber security challenges related to information storage highly depend on whether the utility uses an infrastructure-as-a-service or a software-as-a-service.
To supply information to applications running in the cloud, the utility needs to identify all the pertinent sources of information also assign a sensitivity level to the information. The information will be collected from multiple sources. The utility has to decide how the information will be delivered to the application in the cloud. Cyber security challenges in this area are related to the validation of content irrespective of the transport layer security. The power system utility that receives information and commands from cloud applications must not rely on the transport layer for providing all integrity and confidentiality service. The transition of functions that are used in power system utility operations to cloud computing will be gradual and will only occur if the cyber security challenges are addressed properly.
Digital forensics is not only limited to computers it’s vast. All the digital devices are comprised of digital forensics. It is applicable in criminal investigation, civil and private sectors. Digital evidence plays important role in criminal investigation and all the evidence needs to handle with care. As the world had changed into a digital scenario it is necessary to know the basics and how these effects or influence our day-to-day life.
Cloud computing became the most useful technology for businesses, companies, and industries. It is secure and provides infinite storage possibilities to the users. Many utilities started experimenting with the use of cloud applications for billing, customer interface, and smart metering portals.
About The Author
Sneha Vincent is currently pursuing her degree in forensic science from Kalasalingam Academy Of Research And Education.
Points to Remember
Here are just a few examples of a digital forensic scientist’s duties:
- Determining if a digital image has been altered.
- Analyzing acoustics of a recording.
- Finding out what devices connected to a system.
- Determining if files have been deleted from a drive or device.
- Locating a remote system or user.
- Finding a victim or suspect based on data.