With digital forensics playing an increasingly important role in legal proceedings, information security, and incident response, key players such as attorneys, Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), and Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) professionals alike need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the emerging digital forensic trends that you should understand and be prepared for.
Growing Use of Cloud Storage: As cloud storage continues to become more popular among businesses and individuals alike, digital forensics practitioners must now incorporate cloud storage into their investigations. This means looking beyond traditional methods of recovery and data analysis—involving on-premises systems—and starting to use techniques that are suitable for retrieving data from cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, etc. Additionally, due to the rise in remote work during the pandemic, many organizations have adopted cloud-based collaborative tools like Slack or Zoom. With this new technological shift to cloud-based environments, organizations need to develop new policies and procedures to help employees understand the impacts of off-site storage and web-based social settings. Similarly, investigative techniques need to evolve along with an organization’s updated practices.
Rise of Mobile Forensics: With mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets becoming increasingly popular (and necessary), mobile forensics has quickly become a critical component of digital forensic investigations. Mobile forensics involves analyzing the data stored on these devices for potential evidence. As employees and other users continue to rely heavily on their mobile phones for communication, networking, and other activities, it is more important than ever before for organizations to have effective tools in place for extracting and analyzing this data from mobile devices.
Automated Investigations: In recent years there has been a push towards automating many aspects of digital forensics investigations as a cost-saving measure by reducing manual labor which in turn enhances efficiency. For example, new software is being developed that can automatically acquire digital evidence from sources such as hard drives or USB devices. This allows investigators to quickly collect potential evidence while leaving behind artifacts that may interfere with further analyses. Additionally, automated analysis tools are being developed which can identify malicious activity faster than manual processes while reducing false positives.
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning Integration: The integration of AI and ML technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent in digital forensics investigations due to their ability to identify patterns more effectively than humans can—potentially leading to quicker identification of malicious activities or targeted attacks against corporate systems/networks. These technologies are also becoming better at automatically extracting evidence from different sources such as emails or social media accounts without requiring human intervention at all stages of the process. As these technologies continue to improve, they will become even more useful for DFIR practitioners working on complex cases involving large volumes of data sets.
Vehicle Forensics: Vehicle Forensics is a branch of digital forensics that focuses on the examination and analysis of vehicles for legal and investigative purposes. With the help of specialized tools, techniques, and processes, vehicle forensics practitioners are able to recover evidence from vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, boats, and aircrafts. In recent years there has been a surge in the use of vehicle forensics due to its application in criminal investigations related to drug smuggling, human trafficking, and terrorism. The data from vehicles can also be used for civil cases such as insurance fraud and accidents. As cars become increasingly connected with on-board computers and sensors, vehicle forensics is becoming an even more important tool for law enforcement and private investigators.
Digital forensics is constantly evolving as technology advances and new trends emerge; it’s essential for attorneys, CIOs, CISOs and DFIR professionals alike to stay ahead of the curve by understanding these trends so they can be prepared when needed. As the digital forensics field continues to grow, cloud storage integration, mobile forensics, automated investigations, AI/ML integration, and vehicle forensics will remain at the forefront. These new trends are revolutionizing the industry and driving innovation in exciting ways! It is important to keep ahead of the curve by staying informed about advancements in digital forensics technology so you can ensure your organization remains secure online, takes advantage of cost- and time-saving measures, and develops successful strategies in handling data storage and retrieval!