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Proactive Computer Forensics

Written by Scott Zimmerman

Proactive Computer Forensics

The third part in Scott Zimmerman’s series on Planning and Preparation. 


In this issue, Scott focuses on preservation of evidence. He explains how an organization should establish its policy regarding the investigation of a computer crime and preservation of evidence Before deploying the procedures described in this article.


The preservation of evidence can be a fairly labour intensive process. The procedures require time and resources – such as hardware and software – above and beyond those needed for normal system administration duties. Additional personnel may be required to handle the increased workload. Detailed planning is crucial, as is  complete management support. For these reasons, the point made at the beginning of this article is of vital importance. 


The process of storing information as evidence differs materially from the process of storing information purely for internal use. Even without extensive documentation, the integrity of logs and other files may be verified to the satisfaction of in-house personnel. However, the requirements of the judicial system dictate that evidence must possess a verifiably high level of integrity and a documented chain of custody (more on this later) before items can be accepted as evidence in court. An organization that follows the correct procedures for gathering evidence will be able to recover with relative ease after an intrusion; an organization that maintains information strictly for internal use may not be prepared to prosecute an intruder.


In order to build a solid case, the organization must gather all information in accordance with standard rules of evidence. 


In the United States, evidentiary requirements are contained in the Federal Rules of Evidence, or FRE. The complete Federal Rules of Evidence (2009) may be found at http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/index.html (will open a new window).


Of the thousand-plus rules available, we are most concerned with the relevant parts of Article VIII – Hearsay, and the relevant parts of Article X – Contents of Writings, Recordings, and Photographs. 


We shall look at Article VIII first…


The full article appears in Issue 4 of Digital Forensics Magazine, published 1st Aug 2010. You must log in with a valid subscription to read on...


 
 

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