Network Security

The 6 Best Digital Forensic Tools For Breach Investigation and Brand Protection

What is digital forensics, how does it work, and which digital forensics tools should you use to investigate breaches, carry out internal investigations, and protect your brand?

The 6 Best Digital Forensic Tools For Breach Investigation and Brand Protection

Digital forensics is a field of forensic science that involves identifying, extracting, processing, and analyzing electronically stored data to find out how and why something happened. In the context of a business, this “something” is usually a physical security or cybersecurity incident, such as a data breach. Digital evidence can be analyzed to help identify the cause of the attack and the threat actors involved. However, digital forensics can also be used to investigate brand theft, fraud, or employee misconduct. In each case, digital forensics provides evidence that law enforcement authorities and legal teams can use to crack down on the perpetrator. This information can also be important when making insurance claims. 

The data used in digital forensics can be extracted from desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, IoT devices, datacenters and remote storage, computer networks—really, any environment where data is stored virtually. Once extracted, the data is processed and analyzed to gain insights from it. These can then be presented in an investigation report. 

In this guide, we’ll explain how digital forensics works and walk you through the three main use cases where digital forensics may come in useful for your organization. We’ll also recommend the best solutions to help you carry out an investigation in the event any of these incidents occurs within your business.

How Does Digital Forensics Work?

The exact process used in digital forensics changes depending on what kind of incident you’re investigating. However, it usually involves three key steps: identifying and extracting, processing and analyzing, and reporting. 

In the first step, you identify the data you need to provide evidence in your investigation and extract it from wherever its stored. This may be in a virtual database, storage center, or a physical device such as a computer or hard drive. During this process, you should create multiple copies of the data you’re collecting. These backups will help prevent data loss, damage, or tampering from affecting your investigation. 

Once you’ve extracted your data, you need to process it in preparation for analysis. This involves removing any errors, redundant, or incomplete data, and converting the raw data into a format that’s readable to both machines and humans. 

Once the data has been processed, you can analyze it to determine how the data relates to the incident you’re investigating—i.e., whether it proves or disproves the case. To achieve this, you’ll need to know who created the data and howwhether it was edited and if so, by whom, and a timeline for when these activities took place.

Finally, you can use the insights gained from your analysis to create a report that clearly explains the results of your discovery to all stakeholders involved in the case. 

Digital Forensics For Breach Investigation

When an organization suffers a data breach, digital forensics can be used to identify the root cause of the breach, its effects on the business (i.e., what data was stolen or damaged, any financial loss), and the threat actor responsible for the attack. This information is usually passed onto law enforcement authorities that want to catch the threat actor, but it can also be used by the organization to improve its security posture and prevent future breaches of the same nature.

What Features Should You Look For In A Digital Forensics Tool For Breach Investigation?

If you’re looking for a digital forensics tool to help you investigate a breach, you should make sure the tools you’re considering offer the following features: 

  1. Data Collection: The tool must be able to compile large sets of data. 
  2. Forensic Imaging: The tool must be able to create a forensic image, which is immutable during the investigation. 
  3. Analysis: The tool must offer robust analysis features, such as the ability to analyze system logs memory files, malware scanning results, and phishing link scanning. It should also enable you to trace the source of the breach (i.e., where the attacker entered the network, and at what time).
  4. Reporting: Once you’ve completed your analysis, you should be able to quickly and easily generate reports that explain your findings from within the platform share with key stakeholders like C-suite executives, law enforcement authorities, IT security staff, and insurance authorities. 

Expert Insights’ Product Recommendation 

Here are the top digital forensics tools we recommend for breach investigation: