Technology used in digital forensics can aid in cyber investigations

Law enforcement organisations and businesses are increasingly in need of digital forensic investigations, yet there is a critical scarcity of experienced forensic investigators. Approximately 600,000 such posts are thought to still be unfilled, and that number is rising. But this growing disparity between skill and need portends increased risk for investigators.

Time is of the importance in forensic investigations, therefore the risk extends beyond the workload and stress on the investigative teams. To reduce risks such as financial loss, customer exposure, reputational harm, and severe regulatory penalties, corporations must launch breach reaction, investigation, and repair as soon as feasible. Budget restrictions and a lack of experienced employees make it more common for law enforcement authorities to require non-technical reviewers to prepare cases for review; this causes time-consuming mistakes, backlogs, and bottlenecks.

To fill the gap, law enforcement authorities frequently appoint forensic lab subcontractors to stay open late. This option is pricey even though it prepares more cases for the examiner to analyse by morning. An individual subcontractor typically costs around $80,000 per year. Imagine having to hire four or five people; the extra $500,000 to $600,000 a year would be a significant budget hit. If the employees are permanent or have additional benefits, the cost will increase much more. In any event, it will be costly to continually train and replace these employees. The tedious procedure of getting these cases ready for review makes the cost even more excruciating.

The largest cost for businesses that can’t fill critical cybersecurity and forensic positions is timeliness: they can’t afford to wait to respond to incidents or breaches. They must rush to gather the essential materials to launch a digital forensic inquiry from wherever they can, for instance, if they are affected by ransomware and need to undertake an immediate investigation. It’s an expensive and dangerous tactic. Writing scripts to link their security architecture with systems like security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) and security information and event management (SIEM) will cause an unwanted delay in response, even with the proper resources in place. Additionally, it invites human error.

Despite this bleak outlook, there remains hope in the shape of cutting-edge technology. The availability of automated digital forensic tools is increasing; these technologies were made expressly to address issues like prices, skill shortages, uniformity, and efficiency. Automation helps law enforcement organizations run their digital forensic labs more effectively overall. Instead, then replacing human workers, technology enhances their work, frees people from boring, repetitive duties, and gives them more time to think things through and make judgement choices. Agencies can programme their automated procedures to run at any time of day or night, on any day of the year, even when — especially when — the office is closed, rather than shutting the door on an empty forensic lab when six o’clock strikes.

he beauty of this new technology is that it incorporates checks and processes to ensure that decisions are in line with standard operating procedures and, crucially, does away with the danger of human error. The data made ready for examiners is error-free, which is a huge factor in speeding the investigation process: mistakes cost the entire force time and money and hurt the victim in terms of bringing criminals to justice. 

For corporations, automation accelerates incident response workflows and improves the speed at which corporate assets can be secured. One of the highlights of the newest technology is its ease of use: a graphical user interface enables even non-experts to be productive with minimal training. Instead of waiting for IT to write a script, they can use a drag and drop interface to create automation for any case type. 

Everyone wants the issue of automating investigations and incident response to be solved. However, not every automation tool is created equal. Although many are entering the market, very few can provide the essential advantages that businesses and agencies seek—reduced research time and a fill-in for the talent deficit.


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