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Dive Into Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR)

Dive Into Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR)

Organizations have been forced to change the way they plan, develop, and implement their cybersecurity because of digital technology advancement. Modern technology provides organizations new opportunities and new issues and challenges as well. With the growing cyber-attacks, many organizations are now putting in place proactive measures to improve their capacity to address security incidents and to establish a digital forensics ready environment.

Digital Forensics

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines digital forensics as a subfield of forensic science focusing on digital devices and cybercrime that is concerned with retrieving, storing, and analyzing electronic data that can aid in criminal investigations. This covers information from computers, servers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices.

According to Resendez et al. (2012), digital forensics combine elements of law and computer science to gather and analyze data from computer systems, networks, wireless communications, and storage devices that are acceptable as evidence in a court of law. Digital forensics is powerful. It helps solve complicated cases that rely on evidence from electronic devices. It restores deleted data, obtains evidence of misconduct, and recovers overwritten data.

How is Digital Forensics Process?

To begin with, investigators search for evidence on electronic devices and save the data to a safe drive. After that, they analyze and record the data. When it's ready, they hand over the digital evidence to the police to aid in a crime's investigation or present it in court to help convict a criminal.

To give you a clearer understanding of digital forensics process, here are 9 phases of digital forensics process.

1. First Response – digital forensic team acts immediately soon as a security incident happens and is reported.

2. Search and Seizure – the team search data and evidence on the devices involved in the crime.

3. Evidence Collection – professionals then gather the data utilizing forensic techniques to manage the evidence.

4. Securing of the Evidence – evidence is safely secured in a place where the data can be verified as accurate and accessible.

5. Data Acquisition – the team recovers the Electronically Stored Information (ESI) by following proper procedure to avoid altering the data.

6. Data Analysis – the team sort and review the verified ESI to find and convert data that is beneficial in court.

7. Evidence Assessment – investigators evaluate the ESI once it has been identified as evidence.

8. Documentation and Reporting – after the preliminary criminal investigation, the data is compiled and reported in compliance with the court of law.

9. Expert Witness Testimony – the expert witness confirms that the data is appropriate for use as evidence in court.

The Value of Digital Forensics

  • Rapid response

As digital forensics is mostly technological in nature, it’s a powerful tool for protecting data.

  • Expert evidence

A digital forensics investigation’s finding may be used to report to shareholders, insurance companies, courts, etc.

  • Preventing future attacks

Working with a digital forensics team to make proactive measurements.

How Digital Forensics Is Related to Incident Response

As mentioned above, digital forensics enables organizations to quickly identify the cyber-attacks occurred in your system. However, to manage the complexity of modern cybersecurity incidents, it’s also highly essential to combine digital investigative services with incident response expertise. Therefore, Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) is now becoming a high demand in modern organizations.

Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) is a multidisciplinary set of tasks and procedures that aims to stop active cybersecurity incidents. Traditional Incident Response (IR) typically includes some investigation components, but DFIR elevates it by incorporating a greater emphasis on digital forensics.

Organizations can benefit from several advantages when using DFIR, such as the capacity to:

  1. Be prompt and precise when responding to incidents
  2. Minimize data loss or theft and reputational damage
  3. Strengthen security protocols and procedures with a deep understanding of security incidents
  4. Recover from security incidents more quickly and with less disruption

How Does Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) Work?

1. Stop the attack (Rapid Deployment)

Incident responders will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the most effective measurements to contain and eliminate the threat while gathering evidence. This entails understanding the incident’s background, determine an investigative direction, acquiring access to the required resources and tools, conducting the initial investigation, and gathering evidence.

2. Eliminate the Intruder (Cyberattack Containment)

This phase includes initiating threat containment activities, locking down the affected systems/accounts, reconstructing the crime scene using computer and network forensics, finding the source and intrusion vectors, and locating any instances of data exfiltration. Your organization is more likely to be unharmed the sooner incident responders accomplish this stage.

3. Strengthen the Security and Deliver the Report (Continuous Improvement)

This phase includes creating a list of all compromised assets and the types of data or records exposed. The report is then delivered to the executive team which later is also sent to law enforcement agencies. This helps prevent similar incidents from occurring again as defenses are tailored to target the vulnerabilities that initially led to the incident.


91% of hackers need 15 hours to get past perimeter security measures, and 54% need that long to finish an attack. Digital data from a cyberattack should be kept right away for investigation, making the existence of Digital Forensics and Incident Responses (DFIR) is getting more crucial to prevent cyberattacks that are growing rapidly. The faster and more thorough a digital forensics investigation is, the better the chances of the hacker being caught and any damages being repaired.


BlueVoyant. What is Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR)? (2022). Retrieved from https://www.bluevoyant.com/knowledge-center/what-is-digital-forensics-and-incident-response-dfir

eSentire. What is Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR)? (2022). eSentire. https://www.esentire.com/cybersecurity-fundamentals-defined/what-is-dfir

Resendez, I., Martinez, P., & Abraham, J. (2014). An Introduction to Digital Forensics. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228864187_An_Introduction_to_Digital_Forensics

Team, P. D. (2021, February 3). What is Digital Forensics and Why Is It Important? https://www.provendatarecovery.com/blog/what-is-digital-forensics/

The University of Nevada, Reno. (2022). The Phases of Digital Forensics. University of Nevada, Reno. https://onlinedegrees.unr.edu/blog/digital-forensics/

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