How Digital Forensics Examiners Investigate

No matter how solid your security systems may appear, no company has total protection from a data breach.

Insider mistakes, network vulnerabilities, data mismanagement by a third party or a successful phishing email attempt can all result in a data breach. A cyber-incident can destroy your reputation within minutes. Fortunately, the digital forensic experts at Secure Forensics can help you mitigate further damage to your reputation, bottom line and customer loyalty.

The digital forensic investigators at Secure Forensics have decades of experience, multiple certifications and hours of expert witness testimony. While they have the resources of a large corporation, they provide the same flexibility as a boutique firm. By taking a deep dive into the breach, they learn who did it, how the hacker got in and what the hacker wanted, and offer ways to prevent another breach. Secure Forensics can find the answers and help you address your cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

What is a digital forensics investigator?

According to The Balance Careers website, digital forensics investigators “reconstruct and analyze digital information to aid in investigations and solve computer-related crimes. They look into incidents of hacking, trace sources of computer attacks and recover lost or stolen data.”

Investigating the data breach

With privacy regulations like GDPR, data breach investigations have to be done quickly and thoroughly to comply with laws and protect the organization’s holdings. The moment a data breach is suspected, a digital forensics investigator should be brought onsite to begin the investigation.

That investigation begins with finding the answer to a very simple question: Did a data breach occur? Not all cyber-incidents are data breaches, and responses to each type of incident will be different.

Once it is determined to be a data breach, an investigator will determine if the attack is ongoing, has ended or has spread across multiple endpoints. If it is ongoing, the experts at Secure Forensics will stop the cyber-incident so the damage is minimal. They will then investigate how the breach occurred and how far-reaching it was. As they examine the network, they will look for similarities to other data breaches as clues to better understand how the breach happened and what information is at risk.

Discovering the data breach details

Investigators will look for malware that may be hiding in the network or investigate logs to find anomalies that indicate stolen authentication credentials. They may find that the attack didn’t originate inside the organization, but through a third party. In this case, the investigator will need information as to how vendors connect with the affected party.

Investigators will also look at the files that were compromised. “Attacks often leave behind forensic evidence that is critical in the discovery of the type and amount of data that has potentially been exfiltrated from your organization,” wrote John J. Irvine for CSO. “If you can’t find and view the content of the exfiltration files, you might not have accurate information regarding the size or scope of a breach.”

Once the breach is mitigated, the investigative team will put together a plan to prevent a similar breach in the future. Based on a thorough assessment of the incident, the Secure Forensics team will implement a data breach response plan to prevent similar incidents.

There are digital forensics tools available that allow organizations to do their own shallow forensic examinations into disaster recovery, but these tools are limited in scope. A digital forensics investigator from Secure Forensics will provide the insight your organization needs to mitigate the current situation and improve your overall cybersecurity defenses.

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