Forensic investigations have become more challenging with the increased sophistication of technology. Increased innovation has enabled fraudsters to use more sophisticated methods to steal and manipulate systems. As a result, this has proved to be a hard nut to crack for the forensic investigators. The emergence of new technologies, such as cloud computing, has improved connectivity within the forensics community. According to Daryabar et al. (2013), soon, digital forensics that incorporates cloud services will be vital in enhancing investigation through the exchange and preservation of data by forensic professionals making it possible to complete a survey with expedition. Notably, forensic investigations have, for a long time, experienced challenges and barriers. The challenges and barriers faced by forensic investigators include computer hardware issues that pose the risk of losing data, software challenges in cybercrime investigation, legal issues, identity theft, and the inability to gather data from different points and store them in a centralized location for the investigators. As Daryabar et al. (2013) indicate, the challenges make it impossible to have conduct coordinated and comprehensive investigation, thus incorporating cloud services will improve the management of criminal data in the interest of the criminal investigation. The adoption of cloud services in forensic investigations will make it possible to achieve digital forensics that manages forensic data from different investigations, thus making it possible to accomplish the forensic goals.
Impact of Changes in Technology on the Field of Digital Forensics
Changes in technology have made significant impacts on digital forensics. Therefore, there is a need to adopt the appropriate measures to counter the undesirable effects of technological changes. According to Quick and Choo (2014), technological changes in digital forensic have largely impacted modern law enforcement in areas such as government agencies, which have become more efficient. Importantly, there has been a rise in technological and mobile society, resulting in tremendous digital forensics growth. Therefore, changes in technology have eliminated some of the traditional challenges, thus improving the investigators. The barriers encountered in forensic investigations have been consistently reduced, thus streamlining operation. This has made it easy for professionals in this area to conduct investigations. For instance, FBI records show that case leads have decreased with the incorporation of digital examination. According to Moran-Perez (2020), In 2012, the FBI had 13,330 cases, but the lead was reduced to 6500 cases in 2003 due to the adoption of technology in the form of digital investigations.
Changes in technology have increased the capacity of law enforcement agencies to track criminals and assist victims. According to Quick and Choo (2014), improved technology makes it possible to analyze evidence, thus introducing links between criminals and their crime, thus making it possible to solve cases. More cases of cybercrime have been solved using the latest technology in digital forensics. A significant characteristic of cybercrimes is that criminals leave digital footprints of their activities, thus making it possible to track and catch up with them. For instance, technology has made it possible for tracking and assisting victims of child pornography. The increased use of personal computers has increased cases of child trafficking and pornography, thus expanding the scope of crime and the complexity of apprehending criminals (Moran-Perez, 2020). The internet has further increased and facilitated the distribution of child pornography content. However, changes in technology have increased digital forensic techniques and approaches that have effectively made it possible to track and arrest criminals involved with child trafficking and pornography.
Technological changes have also contributed to the reduction of online fraud through the increase of digital forensic tools. According to Daryabar et al. (2013), online fraud has gained a lot of mileage and public consciousness in the last decade. It is characterized by banking crimes and corporate insurance fraud, securities and commodities fraud, and identity fraud, thus overwhelming the police. Online fraud has topped as the most common complaint made to the internet crime complaint center. However, changes in technology have increased digital tools that enhance fast and reliable data and information acquisitions and analysis to track and convict cybercriminals, thus reducing the cyber fraud-related cases.
Impact of Cloud Services on the Field of Digital Forensics
Cloud services have positively impacted digital forensics in various areas, especially in evidence and data management. Cloud services have primarily contributed to the preservation of evidence and data in the interest of investigations. Data is stored remotely, thus ensuring that it is not interfered with or compromised by malicious parties to the investigation. Data acquisition from a cloud service provider is made by serving them with a court order (O’shaughnessy, and Keane, 2013). This helps in ensuring that such evidence can only be available to the right parties, thus effectively preserving it.
Cloud services in digital forensic enhance the implementation of surveys by supporting the identification of various evidence. This plays a critical role in the development of multiple theories relevant to the incident. Cloud services enhance the storage and preservation of fragile pieces of evidence such as evidence collected immediately after an incident and volatile memory for the investigations process (O’shaughnessy and Keane, 2013). Under the cloud services, the investigator can identify potential evidence using the platform as a service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Under the IaaS model, most of the evidence is available to the investigator since the customer can control the virtual applications, and operating systems. In the PaaS model, the customer is able to develop and deploy applications developed using programming languages, services, libraries, and tools supported by the provider (O’shaughnessy and Keane, 2013). However the customer is not able to control and manage the underlying Infrastructure.
Cloud services in the digital forensic enable the investigators to search and collect evidence and relevant data related to various cases. The search and collection processes involve thorough analysis and evaluation of the system for digital evidence. Different analysis methods can be adopted. The investigator should know the location and arrangement of data in the cloud environment. This will ensure that they have sufficient data and evidenceevidence to present before the other criminal justice system (O’shaughnessy and Keane, 2013). Therefore, the fact that cloud services stores all the collected evidence of different case enables the investigator to locate them without much efforts for the conviction of the criminals.
There are several significant differences in conducting forensic analysis compared to a situation where one is already holding devices that one has control over. First, the situation presents the difference in the scope and extent of the investigation. In forensic investigation, the investigator will go for any probable lead to the investigation to collect enough evidence for the crimes under investigation. In case the investigator has devices, he/she has control over, then they will exhaustively conduct investigations on the devices to retrieve the relevant evidence and data for their cases (Sammons, 2012). In this case, the investigators work on the devices and exploit the different leads to collect sufficient evidence and data for their cases. Secondly, the circumstances presented develop different levels and processes to access evidence and data. When conducting forensic analysis, they will have to liaise with external parties and seek approvals in accessing additional evidence to ensure that the analysis process is complete. On the other hand, when investigators have devices they have full control then, one will not have to seek permission and approvals in the course of analyzing them. In this case, they go straight to retrieving the evidence and data and conducting the relevant analysis.
Major Details and Methods
There different issues that affect cloud-based digital forensic. Cloud services’ multi-tenancy capability allows several clients to share physical server and use services provided by similar computing hardware and software simultaneously. This approach to access cloud services poses challenges of compromising investigators’ operations as they operate sensitive data (O’shaughnessy and Keane, 2013). Data provenance is dependent on the cloud service model used in the operations. This process entails the recording of the ownership of data as well as the processing of data history. This aspect is vital in digital forensic investigation. Therefore, investigators should adopt relevant models and effective storage management techniques.
The field of forensic investigation has changed gradually due to growth in technology. Particularly, innovations and emerging technologies have primarily contributed to the adoption of cloud based digital forensics across the globe. As technology continues to grow and become more sophisticated, investigators should be aware that fraudsters will become more complicated. They must therefore strive ti ensure that their methods remain at par with technology.
Daryabar, F., Dehghantanha, A., Udzir, N. I., Sani, N. F. B. M., Shamsuddin, S., & Norouzizadeh, F. (2013). A survey about impacts of cloud computing on digital forensics. International Journal of Cyber-Security and Digital Forensics, 2(2), 77-94.
Quick, D., & Choo, K. K. R. (2014). Impacts of increasing volume of digital forensic data: A survey and future research challenges. Digital Investigation, 11(4), 273-294.
Sammons, J. (2012). The basics of digital forensics: the primer for getting started in digital forensics. Elsevier.
O’shaughnessy, S., & Keane, A. (2013, January). Impact of cloud computing on digital forensic investigations. In Ifip international conference on digital forensics (pp. 291-303). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
Moran-Perez, G. (2020, February 13). A timeline of outbreaks from 2000 to present. Retrieved from https://sundial.csun.edu/156361/news/a-timeline-of-outbreaks-from-2000-to-present/