Digital Forensics Options

Digital forensics is the process of investigating a computer system after a digital attack. Learn about digital forensic investigation and security.

Digital forensics is the act of analyzing cyber attacks. Digital forensics is used to identify how the attack was carried out, spotting vulnerabilities and security breaches to fix for future releases. It also determines whether your data can be recovered. Digital forensics also tells you whether your system was damaged because of malicious activity, and if so, whether it was illegal. While digital forensics is most commonly associated with computers, it can apply to a wider range of devices, including cell phones, digital networks and storage devices.

With more businesses relying on online stores and cloud-based services, digital forensics is even more important. Data breaches are a serious risk. Whenever there is a breach, security experts can patch whatever method was used to get through the existing security features. For users, digital forensics determines whether your data is completely lost or recoverable. It is important to note, not all breaches involve data being stolen. Part of keeping data secure involves encryption, which uses a complex algorithm to mask data. Digital forensics not only determines how a breach happens, but the likelihood of whether the data was actually decrypted. 

Digital Forensic Tools

There are a variety of tools used in digital forensics. While some programs are only available to law enforcement, there are many digital forensics tools built for network administrators and other IT professionals. Forensic software scans computer systems for existing threats and vulnerabilities. There are also recovery options to help you get back any data that was lost or damaged during a cyber attack. Some companies provide their own digital forensic investigation, while others create software that allows other administrators to perform their own investigations. Forensic software often includes protection against future attacks as well.

Benefits of Digital Forensic Tools

Digital forensic tools determine how an attack was carried out, allowing you to fix vulnerabilities in your system to avoid future attacks. When your system is at risk, it is possible other malicious files are on your system. Digital forensics identifies if there are still active threats on your computer, and what you can do to correct them.

It also helps identify the source of the attack. While cyber attacks are normally carried out by outside parties, it is possible someone in your company was responsible for the attack, either directly or indirectly. Using digital forensics tools ultimately strengthens your network, preventing future attacks and helping you recover from whatever damage was caused by unwanted files infecting your system.

Steps to Take After a Hack

If you are hacked or experience a data breach, there are several steps you can take to prevent future attacks and preserve your data. First, make sure you change all of your passwords. A common hacker tactic is to use a keylogger to store everything you type into your computer. Hackers can also go through your internet history to get any stored passwords on your computer. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, change your passwords immediately. This also applies to any other users on your network, as their data may also be compromised. 

Next, you want to scan your computer for any malicious files. This is normally a standard part of digital forensics. Your software should be capable of removing the malicious files. If it is unable to clean your system, you may need to take more drastic action, such as completely wiping your hard drive and reinstalling your operating system. If the breach occurs at work, speak with your IT team to determine the next steps. If it is a personal computer, consider taking your device to a digital forensic company to perform a thorough scan. Some of the top companies in the United States include:

The exact cost of digital forensic services vary depending on the complexity of the task and whether you want to preserve your data or wipe your system. Scans are typically free as part of the initial assessment, but a more complex investigation can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $15,000.

If you believe sensitive financial information was taken, contact your bank and credit cards. If you confirmed this data was stolen, freeze your accounts immediately so thieves are unable to spend your money. The government runs a website where you can report your identity theft. This not only helps with investigations, but the website contains tips on what steps to take next and how to safeguard against future attacks.

IBM Security QRadar

QRadar is a popular tool because it is easy to use and has a wide range of scanning options. If there was a data breach, the software will recreate the exact steps the hackers took to get into your system, clearly identifying where and how your security was circumvented. QRadar is also fully compatible with the rest of IBMs security programs, including EDR, SIEM, NDR and SOAR. If you already use IBM software, there is no reason not to add QRadar to your system. A free version is available but has limited support compared to the licensed version, which starts at $800.00 a month. IBM also offers discounts and custom quotes for larger businesses, but you must contact IBM directly.

Intercept X Endpoint

Intercept X is a great digital forensic tool if you are concerned about price. Unlike most other services, it charges per user. There are a few different tiers available, with a basic account costing $28 per user each year, while the most expensive tier is $79 per user per year. While all of the tiers include protection and alerts against attacks, only the highest tier involves direct support from the producer, Sophos. Everything else must be managed directly by your IT team. Because of this, Intercept X is primarily aimed at businesses and not personal computers. 

FireEye Network Security

If you want real-time protection against cyber attacks, FireEye is an excellent choice. FireEye is both an active security system as well as a suite of digital forensic tools. The software uses dynamic machine learning and artificial intelligence to constantly upgrade itself against digital attacks. It is also capable of blocking immediate cyber attacks, including denial of service attempts. The software is fully customizable, and your administrators can set custom alerts for different threats. You must contact the company directly for a quote.