Digital forensics finds and analyzes evidence from the scene of a crime—except, in these cases, the crime scene involves computers and technology. Digital forensics investigators determine what happened by gathering and analyzing forensic data. They typically set out to answer these three questions:
Digital forensics investigators hold and maintain certifications in their field to stay abreast of new forms of cyber attacks and how to combat them.
When cybercriminals steal your data, it’s important to reach out to digital forensics experts like the consultants at Snowfensive. Their specialists have the tools and experience to respond to your incident, contain the breach, and evaluate the impact on your organization.
When someone breaks into a store, they leave behind a smattering of physical evidence; evidence you can see, like missing property, damaged furniture, and broken windows, as well as evidence that’s not immediately visible, like fingerprints or DNA.
Unfortunately, collecting physical evidence isn’t possible with digital crimes, but that doesn’t mean cybercriminals don’t leave clues behind. Attackers leave digital evidence in computer memory, hard drives, system and network logs, and other operating system artifacts.
Digital forensics is the process of reviewing digital evidence to determine how criminals entered a system, how long they were in that network, what data they stole, what other systems they compromised, and whether they are still operating in the network. Digital forensics requires a combination of knowledge, experience, and software. Skilled digital forensics consultants know where to look and how to use specialized software that automates and speeds up the forensic process.
As digital forensic investigators process and analyze evidence, facts begin to materialize. They pass along these facts to business owners, legal teams, and other stakeholders enabling them to respond to customer concerns, assess contractual and legal ramifications, ensure they maintain regulatory compliance requirements.
Once an investigation is complete, digital forensic investigators compile a detailed report outlining their conclusions. Business owners use this report to explain what happened to clients, shareholders, or insurance companies.
Depending on their goals, cybercriminals typically commit the following crimes:
In recent years, businesses have invested in software to protect their networks. Unfortunately, hackers learn about these advancements and develop new, more complex ways to enter your system. Talking to specialists about current cybercriminal trends can help you stay ahead of the curve.
There are a number of things that take place during a digital forensic investigation or assessment.
Cybersecurity incidents are stressful, not only because they can negatively impact business operations, but also because businesses need to act fast to contain them. Of course, that doesn’t mean they should rush. The first step is to lay out a plan for success. In order to formulate this plan, investigators must talk to a company’s IT and legal teams as well as other business stakeholders. From there, investigators and stakeholders can collaborate and agree on specific goals for the investigation. These goals serve as requirements for drawing up the investigators’ plan.
The next step is containing the situation and acquiring evidence. This part of the process is often the most difficult, as it needs to prevent attackers from causing further damage while preserving evidence that can be used during the investigation.
During this phase, investigators gather forensic evidence, such as server and workstation memory captures, disk images, and logs from network devices such as firewalls and SIEMs. As this evidence is collected, it is uploaded to a shared drive or shipped to investigators for analysis.
Evidence is processed as soon as it’s received. For the most part, digital forensics investigators leverage specialized software tools to process evidence, but sometimes evidence must be processed manually. No matter which way investigators process the data, their aim is the same: to figure out if and when the suspicious activity occurred, with the end goal of building a timeline of events.
This timeline and any other applicable information are passed along to business stakeholders who use it in decision-making and communication to customers, employees, regulators, stakeholders, and even the public. Usually, investigators send shorter preliminary reports first, and constantly update them as new findings are uncovered.
Ultimately, the analysis phase is when investigators find out how attackers got into the network and if they’re still at work. The results of digital forensic analysis feed into the incident response process, a mechanism used by internal IT teams to further contain and safeguard new areas of the network that may have been compromised.
Once an investigation is complete, analysts produce a full report which contains an executive summary and technical results.
The executive summary is only one to two pages in length and is meant to convey the results of the investigation at a high level. Internal stakeholders, IR, and PR teams utilize the executive summary to understand the incident and issue communications as needed.
The technical results section houses the detailed results of the investigators’ analysis.
Most often, digital forensics reports are used internally. However, third parties such as insurance companies, outside government regulators, or even law enforcement may request to see them. As such, it’s important to discuss the potential audience for these reports during the planning phase.
It’s impossible to prevent future attacks entirely, but hiring forensics consultants can diminish the effects of future incidents and reduce their likelihood overall. Consultants can explain exactly how criminals entered your system in the past and offer suggestions for plugging up any glaring gaps so that attackers can’t sneak in again. And in rare cases where an attacker’s identity is known, a full digital forensics investigation with conclusive results is paramount to a winning legal case.
Traditional digital forensics are best suited for responding to known incidents and compromises. But if you are concerned about the possibility of a current attack, another service Snowfensive provides is an Active Compromise Assessment. Active Compromise assessments use many of the same digital forensic techniques to look for signs of an active compromise you may not be aware of.
You don’t have to wait for a security breach to reach out to Snowfensive. While we offer incident response services, building a relationship with Snowfensive early can prevent potential threats. Our solutions include:
Our experts hold multiple certifications, including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), EC-Council Certified Encryption Specialist (ECES), and GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst (GCFA).
When you talk to Snowfensive, we’ll discuss your goals and come up with a customized plan to meet your business needs. In addition to small businesses, we work with businesses of all sizes from small companies to Fortune 500 corporations, to federal government agencies.
If you’ve had a recent incident, contact Snowfensive immediately so we can start containment and recovery. Consider talking to us about our Penetration Testing and Physical Security services to prevent incidents before they happen. To reach out, fill out the form on our website and let us know what you’re looking for.
Advancements in technology and the development of the internet have led the modern world on a technological trajectory that redefines business and personal habits daily. The advantage is that systems and people have become interconnected to communicate, produce and perform tasks at a considerable speed and higher accuracy than ever before. However, this level of interconnectivity has brought its own challenges. Organizations and individuals have to consistently develop skills and strategies to protect the new space they are operating. Within this space, cybersecurity is the new defense corps that every organization should employ to keep their computer systems and electronic data safe. In this post, we will talk about the different cyber security teams that keep organizations digitally safe.
Several organizations and services often collaborate to provide tactical offense and defense strategies against potential threats in a real-world security setting. The different roles armed forces play in a military environment is an example of this. A similar principle is used in the world of cybersecurity, where security teams assume various functions to protect computer networks, devices, and data from ever-increasing sophisticated adversaries.
There are essentially three teams that contribute to your organization’s cyberspace security capabilities: red, blue, and purple. These terms are often used interchangeably; however, there are differences. Let’s look at their respective functions, skills, and benefits and how their collaboration can ensure more robust security for your company.
A red team is a group of professionals trained to use their hacking abilities to benefit an organization. Also known as white-hat hackers, a red team uses real-world adversary tradecraft to exploit weaknesses within an organization to improve its security. To do this, they employ a 6-phase simulation to mimic attack scenarios. These scenarios reveal the potential physical, hardware, software, and human vulnerabilities within your organization. They will then provide recommendations on better securing your company’s network moving forward. The list of phases include:
Red team consultants are highly trained computer professionals with excellent knowledge and understanding of computer systems, protocols, and security techniques. They possess powerful software skills to develop tools to circumvent security measures. They also have extensive penetration testing experience to help exploit common vulnerabilities.
Finally, red team consultants have the social engineering skills to manipulate others into sharing information. They play a critical role in assessing your company’s ability to prevent, detect, correct, and improve its security vulnerabilities.
In contrast to a red team that conducts attacks to identify weaknesses, a blue team consists of incident response consultants. It is their goal to protect your company’s critical assets against security threats. The blue team provides guidance to your company’s IT security team. IT, in turn, is responsible for maintaining the internal network against various types of risk, including cyberattacks and threats.
The blue team gathers data that shows the security vulnerabilities in your organization. They assess risks and introduce more stringent security policies, such as passwords, to reinforce system access requirements. They are also responsible for monitoring and logging system users and checking for unusual activity that poses a threat to company assets. The Blue team will evaluate security vulnerabilities and compile an action plan to prevent or lessen the impact of threats if attacked.
As the red team essentially focuses on playing the role of offense, the blue team’s role is focused on defense. This means that they are responsible for preventing and detecting security threats and strengthening existing security protocols.
Blue team members need to fully understand your organization’s security strategy across people, tools, and technologies. They must have adequate knowledge of your company’s existing security detection tools, systems, and alert mechanisms. Blue teams require highly developed analytical skills to identify potential threats and prioritize threat responses. Additionally, they must possess the relevant hardening techniques to reduce attack surfaces such as phishing and other web-based breach techniques.
A purple team is a group of professionals that assume the roles of both a red and blue team. They select targets and techniques closely related to real-world threats. Whereas red teams find vulnerabilities and blue teams help address the risks, purple teams work together to share their knowledge for ultimate security.
Selecting these teams depends on your organization’s security goals. However, as cybersecurity threats become increasingly automated and sophisticated, your company will benefit from both red and blue teaming.
At Snowfensive, we aim to provide the ultimate offensive and defensive cyber security service, putting security awareness in your company’s culture. Our services cover a broad range of industries in private and public businesses, including Fortune 500 companies and local, state, and federal government agencies.
Let Snowfensive’s highly qualified team of consultants help you by conducting penetration testing, finding your vulnerabilities before attackers do. Our social engineering skills and system-tailored tests can assess your employees’ security awareness. Our incident management, digital forensics, and malware analysis services will protect your company’s assets against potential cyber-attacks.
Don’t leave your organization’s most important assets to chance. Contact us today to learn how Snowfensive can eliminate your security team’s downtime, comply with regulatory requirements, and save you money. Our passion for cybersecurity will help your business identify and mitigate the risks, and protect your data and reputation.
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