Let Us Explore Challenges Faced By Forensic Investigators

MailXaminer | February 28th, 2019 | Forensics

From the past few years, technology has evolved at a much faster pace than expected. With the advancement in technology, there is a great increase in the frauds associated with technology. Nowadays digital forensic investigators facing more complex challenges in digital forensic evidence collection. However, there are numerous investigation techniques and tools available using which the forensic examiner can investigate cases in a better way and carve evidence. Still, various problems occur while the forensic investigation. In the section given below some of the frequently occurring challenges faced by forensic investigators are explained. Explore all the issues in cyber crime investigation and apply the perfect technique to eliminate them.

challenges in cyber crime investigation

Check Out Current Challenges in Digital Forensics Investigation

Basically, the development of new technology is to invent things to benefit mankind. But criminals use technology to achieve their own targets. Thus, forensic investigators have to go through various challenges & issues in forensic investigations process to find out the real culprit behind the crime. Some of the real-world problems faced by digital forensic investigators are:

  • Hardware Problems
  • Software Issues
  • Legal Challenges

Challenge 1: Hardware Issues in Computer Forensics

“Hardware enhancements to fulfil technological needs is a key constraint.”

  • Sometimes, while investigating a case, the suspect replaces the hard disk before it is acquired by the forensic experts. Moreover, the data has been already transferred from the old hard disk to the new one using write blockers then forensic investigators would face some challenges in digital forensic evidence collection from the unallocated clusters. Additionally, in some cases, the evidence of the replacement of the hard disk may not be apparent.
  • At the time of carving evidence of communication from a mobile device that was reset just before acquiring the evidence is also issues in digital forensics investigation. In such a situation, only a select backup is reinstalled which accentuates the issue.
  • In several laptops, the hard disk contains an inbuilt algorithm to self-erase data on the removal from the machine. It becomes a very complex problems in cyber crime investigation situation to gather evidence from the hard disk without removing it. Moreover, in modern SSDs (Solid State Drives), recovery of deleted contents are the big challenges faced by forensic investigators.
  • In a few cases, the size of hard drives is too big which means the investigators have to become efficient while examining large volumes of electronic data. Forensic Examiners also need to be more selective about devices to be seized for examination.

Challenge 2: Software Challenges of Cyber Crime Investigation

“SaaS and PaaS models have altered the structure of computing”

  • Accessing application data is associated with multiple constraints. It can be due to the natures of the Operating system and application in which they are defined. For Example, to track the changes made in the contents of the file one has to compare it with the previous/subsequent version of the file or with its last modified timestamp. Now, this task becomes complex challenges in digital forensic evidence extraction where document manipulation is suspected.
  • Sometimes, certain logs and application information gathered from an operating system may be helpful in selective investigations. One can understand better via an example: The Windows 8 operating system gathers information on a Wi-Fi network accessed and the extent of data transmitted. This type of information may be helpful in case of data theft or certain network-intrusion scenarios. However, the correlation between the event of violation and information collected from these sources is still being tested on an individual case basis.
  • The challenge of gathering evidence becomes more complex issues in forensic investigations, with the increase in the number of mobile chat applications containing features of self-erase or deletion on the delivery to the intended recipient.
  • Encryption in the devices also proves to a challenge while carving evidence from them. For example, to gather evidence from a mobile messaging application such as WhatsApp, one has to decrypt the device. This comes out to be a challenging problems in cyber crime investigation.

Challenge 3: Legal Issues in Digital Forensics

  • Evolving privacy and data protection regulations across maturing regulatory definitions and geographies aspects may lead to complex challenges in digital forensic evidence gathering. For instance, information present on the suspect’s system may contain some non-sensitive, private information. This information may be useful at the time of the investigation. However, accessing such information may be considered as a violation in certain countries.
  • Nowadays, most of the companies believe in BYOD – Bring Your Own Device policy. The companies allow employees to use their personal mobile devices for accessing official communication. This become a complex challenges faced by forensic investigators in gathering evidences during the investigation process. For example, accessing an email from webmail using a mobile device and then downloading the attachments can lead to data theft. Moreover, specific information on the device on which such type of information was downloaded and details on which files were downloaded can be difficult to trace in the current environment.

Additional Issues/ challenges faced by forensic investigators.

  • In a cloud-based environment, there is an increase in the identity theft and opportunities of credential compromise. As cloud-based applications permit the users to access data from multiple devices. Thus, it becomes difficult for forensic investigators to gather evidence where a user is using two devices to make changes to the application data or service at the same time. As the major problem occurs while identifying the source of the changes.

Summing Up

Criminals use technology for terrible tasks such as data theft, identity breach etc. Whereas, development in technology is done to provide benefits to mankind. Now, to deal with all the digital crimes forensic investigators make use of different tricks and software to carve evidence and identify the criminal. Still, there are many challenges cyber crime investigation which forensic examiner have to face while dealing with the case.