The latest crimes often leave a digital/non-digital trail. Detecting, preserving, and analyzing that hidden evidence needs accurate technique as well as highly sophisticated expertise.
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Today we will discuss how artificial intelligence can be used as a highly smart digital forensic tool. Artificial intelligence and data forensics go hand in hand for a lot of reasons. Due to the latest advancement in material science, the digital forensic field is benefitting from artificial intelligence. The most suitable relevant reason is Artificial intelligence’s ability to execute a huge number of data at one time.
It is challenging for any individual to perform routine work without the help of computers or digital devices. Computer and mobile devices have increasing roles in all aspects of human life. This sharp development has led to the importance of digital forensics. The discovering and analysis of evidence located on all things electronic with digital memory, including computer devices, cell phones, and network infrastructure.
Digital forensics researchers and experts stand at the forefront of some of the highly challenging problems in the world of computer science, including “Big Data” analysis, protection, natural language processing, data interpretation & visualization, and cybersecurity.
We will discuss a highly encouraging practical example of artificial intelligence being used in a digital forensics setting by Forensic Risk Alliance (FRA). It is well known a forensic investigation business that supports legal cases across the globe. The FRA is using AI in the investigation of the Airbus bribing scandal.
2- What is Artificial Intelligence?
Intelligent Robots have long been the main wonder thing and fantasy of the science fiction world. Now we are living in an era in which Artificial intelligence has become a reality of life. It is having a very solid and deep impact on our daily lives. From earth to space, from phone devices to cars, and criminal investigation & justice systems, military defense, drones, planes, fighter jets, finance, and medical care, education, training, research, agriculture to industry, communications, government, service, manufacturing, medicine, and transportation in short Artificial intelligence is shifting the way we live.
In the mid of 1950, John McCarthy, who is known as the father of Artificial intelligence defined as ”The science and engineering of making intelligent machines”. The definition of Artificial intelligence is not quite simple, but we can tell you more simplify the meaning of Artificial intelligence in this article, AI is creating such a computerized process that performs in a similar way that a common person would deem intelligent.
This computerized process involves the development of machines or computers able to engage in human-like thinking processes such as learning, reasoning, adapting, self-correction, etc., and acting intelligently. These machines or computer software are highly improved to perform human-like tasks such as visual judgment, speech identification, cognitive thinking, decision making, learning from experiences, and resolving complicated puzzles with extraordinary speed, accuracy, and limited error rate than humans.
3- What is digital forensics?
Digital Forensics is defined as the process of preservation, identification, extraction, and documentation of computer evidence that can be used by the court of law.
In other words, it is a branch of forensic science of obtaining evidence from digital media like computer devices, cell phones, servers, or networks. Digital forensics is a part of forensic science that covers the recovery, examination, and investigation of digital devices and elements as they are associated with criminal activity.
4- History of digital forensics
The first application of scientific study was conducted in (1847 – 1915) by Hans Gross, head of criminal investigations. In the history of digital forensic in 1932 FBI set up a lab to offer forensics services to all field agents and other law authorities across the USA.
In 1978, the first digital crime was identified as the Florida computer crimes act, which included legislation against the unauthorized modification or removal of critical data on a computer device.
In the coming next few years the range of digital crimes being committed increased and laws were passed to deal with issues of copyright, privacy/harassment like cyberbullying, happy slapping, cyberstalking, and online predators.
5- Why Digital Forensics?
Computers and other digital devices are becoming ubiquitous Crime involving computers has been growing very quickly, Digital evidence is being recognized much more easily in courts.
Digital forensics can help us to identify:
- What was the stolen thing?
- Digital forensics helps us to trace whether the critical information was only copied, distributed, or deleted.
- Cybercriminals can intentionally delete data to harm their targets.
- The confidential business data may be unintentionally damaged due to interference from hackers or the software that hackers use in any network.
- In a Ransomware attack, your data may also be encrypted and held for ransom and rendered unusable. It may be sold on the dark website.
- Digital forensic can help you to identify the cause of any cyber-attack on your network or computer device and the possible intent of a cyberattack on your network.
- Digital forensic enable you to Safeguard digital evidence used in any attack or cyber-attack before it becomes obsolete or erased.
- Digital forensic helps in establishing security hygiene, retracing hacker footsteps, and finding hacker tools used in any cybercrime.
- Digital forensic enables you to search for data access/exfiltration points in your network infrastructure.
- Digital forensic can help to recognize the duration of unauthorized access on the network from any unauthorized device. Digital forensic enable you to identify Geolocation the logins and map them.
6- Digital forensics provides Network Security
Enterprises, government entities, nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, and health care service providers need to secure their confidential data from online cyberattacks that could result in the theft of critical data or complete shutdown of an entire computer network.
A digital forensic specialist can identify the cause of data breach and nature of cyberattack and recover the data or identify any critical information or personally identifiable information that was hacked or deleted.
7- Digital forensics Identify and Prevent cyberattack
Cybersecurity experts and digital forensics specialists enable security applications such as malware detection on a computer network, servers, and personal computer devices.
To avoid such attacks, you should adopt a proactive approach by keeping the system up to date, installing and maintaining special software for network access permission, and two-factor authentication logins.
8- Process of Digital forensics
For the acceptance of digital evidence in a court of law, it should be kept in a sophisticated process to avoid any chance for cybercriminals to hide or tamper the evidence Identification.
It is the initial stage of the digital forensic process, this process indicates the identification of investigation objectives and needed resources. Digital forensic experts also identify the evidence, the kind of data they deal with, the digital devices the data is stored. Digital forensics experts operate with every type of storage device like hard disks, cell phones, desktop computers, laptops, remote drives, and tablets.
In the second step, the digital forensic experts always ensure that the critical data is isolated and preserved. It means that no one can utilize the particular device until the end of the investigation process so the evidence remains secure.
In the third stage, digital forensics experts conduct a deep systematic search for any relevant evidence. The digital forensic experts work with both system and user files and data objects. Based on found evidence, the experts draw the result.
In this documentation process, all the found critical and relevant evidence is documented format. It helps to extend the crime scene and review it. It Involves proper documentation of the crime scene along with photographing, sketching, and crime-scene mapping.
In the last step of the digital forensic process, all evidence and conclusion are reported and summarized according to forensics protocols. It includes the methodologies and procedures of the analysis and their explanation. It should be written in a layperson’s terms using abstracted terminologies. All separated terminologies should reference the specific details.
9- Delayed Digital Forensics examination
Day by day increasing workload for digital forensics experts makes it extremely problematic to collect exact data, execute the data and get timely outcomes. The Times publishes an article and shows some statistics about the delay in forensics operations.
- They found 12,667 electronic devices were awaiting analysis across just the 33 U.K. forces that participated in their survey.
- The Times’s investigation of U.K. forces revealed that up to 2,000 devices were awaiting analysis at any time.
This huge mountain of backlogs stops forensic experts to respond to cybercrime promptly. According to London’s Metropolitan police estimation:
- They reveal that 60% of its exhibits would take three months to examine.
- The 39% would take three to 12 months to examine.
- The 1% would take more than 12 months to examine.
A distressing question for all tech leaders that how they will manage the disaster recovery process to maximize the effectiveness of their incident response plan. If dedicated government agencies are incapable to examine, documenting, and presenting their verdicts in a well-timed manner.
10- Examining a firm with 60 million documents
A forensic investigation business (FRA) that supports legal cases across the globe. FRA implemented AI in digital forensics to examine (Airbus bribing scandal) a company with 60 million documents.
The digital forensic experts leveraged the power of Artificial intelligence fueled data forensics to conduct an in-depth Technology-assisted review (TAR).
With the power of Artificial intelligence during data forensics, FAR successfully cleaned 60 million documents legally assigned to approximately 800 Airbus employees worldwide.
Artificial Intelligence can search unstructured data like emails, memos, and other drafted documents. In this challenging case, actual evidence regarding bribery was hidden in codes relating to prescriptions and doctor’s notices. Artificial intelligence has the powerful capability to identify these codes much more speedily.
A computer program was able to score millions of documents based on a specific number of attributes that were fed into the system. The computer program was able to read more and scores more quickly and with high accuracy by these criteria.
11- Role of Artificial intelligence in Digital Forensics
Artificial intelligence is a well-known field that assists us in dealing with computationally complicated and big problems. Digital forensics requires analyzing a large amount of complex data. So Artificial intelligence is a highly recommended tool for dealing with different issues and challenges currently existing in digital forensics. Artificial intelligence system is associated with ontology, representation, and structuring of knowledge.
Artificial intelligence has immense potential to provide essential skills. It can assist in the standardization, management, and exchange of a large number of data, information, and knowledge in the forensic domain. Now the digital forensic experts and people are understanding the impact of AI in daily routine life. They are trying their best to understand it from digital science which is now in everybody’s pocket.
The digital forensics process involves comprehensive research and collection of evidence from various sources and then connecting the same to reach particular logical conclusions that help the digital forensic experts further in the investigation process.
However, while doing digital forensic activities, one has to handle a huge amount of data that need to analyze thoroughly. It can be made possible through various databases to find if any the perfect match which can be chaotic and complicated.
i) Effective Data Handling
Artificial intelligence enables forensic experts to handle a huge amount of complex data effectively and execute analysis at various stages during an investigation.
ii) Time Saving
It assists to save a considerable amount of precious time that is an essential part while solving a complex case but is most often looked down upon or neglected.
iii) Data access Management
The handling of critical type of data is also very challenging as it ensures the data that is collected is stored, analyzed carefully, and is accessible to only people associated with the particular investigation, and can be easily accessed and retrieved whenever the need occurs.
iv) Complex data Analysis
Digital forensic is a modern investigation tool that is high on the computation of data and requires analysis of huge and complex data sets. Artificial intelligence enables experts to handle and resolve these large data sets. AI helps to execute a meta-analysis of the meta-data collected from various sources and pool them to simplify complex data. AI can reduce the data of complex forms into a simplified and understandable format in a comparatively very short period.
V) Pattern recognition
Pattern recognition is based on heavy statistics and probabilistic thinking. AI helps to recognize such patterns in complex data in a more accurate manner. The most challenging stage in the digital forensic process is identifying the specific type of patterns in huge sets of complex data. This process involves image pattern recognition, where the computer program helps to identify various parts of an image or a person. AI can assist in detecting patterns in various emails and messages and matching different information with various types of existing data in the system databases.
vi) Matching Information
Artificial intelligence enables forensic experts to match the suspect’s information with the existing databases and records and forward the needed information to investigators of any previous action that the concerned suspect may have been involved in.
vii) Graphical Representation
Artificial intelligence plays a significant role by helping the forensic experts in providing evidence a graphical representation of hypothetical theories and offers statistical tools which can be a huge breakthrough in different cases.
viii) Legal Solutions
One of the most crucial parts of the investigation is the evidence without which solving any crime is nearly impossible and maybe rightly negated no matter how intuitive or evident it might appear to one.
ix) Data Mining
In simple words, data mining is a compound of Artificial intelligence, statistical research, and probabilistic ways that are all applied together to collect and examine large units of data as for the huge size of data, simple computation techniques may not prove beneficial.
x) Communication Bridge
AI is enhancing communication between all team members of forensic experts. The forensic investigation team always requires communication between forensic statisticians, lawyers, criminal investigators, and others. Any communication gap between these parties can affect the investigation and can lead to wrong decisions or misunderstanding of data can lead to delayed or wrong justice.
xi) Developing statistical proof
AI enables forensics experts to build graphical structures that can assist in building scenarios and case stories. Digital forensic science involves strengthening the narrative and arguments with solid statistical proof. AI can also help you to build graphical model situations that can be used to prove or disprove arguments. AI is helping the law to make better decisions.
xii) Building Online Storage
AI enables you to build an online storage memory box that can store all digital forensic investigations, critical data, properties, and proofs. With an extraordinary rate of building storage capacity, such as USB, hard drives, Optical media, flash drives that can store extremely large amounts of essential data. It is very challenging for forensic investigators to save and analyze all this information. Artificial intelligence is the best tool to store, analyze and use this data for legal proceedings.
At the end of this article, we concluded that artificial intelligence is now the most emerging and most vital applied science in all aspects of life in this digital era. Your organization is very large and operating worldwide with thousands of employees and possesses thousands of documents, computer devices, files, and pieces of critical data based on the duration of your operation alone.
If your critical business data is breached or hit by a cyberattack and striving to attempt such a massive scale inquiry like (Airbus bribing scandal) without implementing digital forensic with artificial intelligence will be difficult or impossible.
At this stage, most of the work on applying artificial intelligence to digital forensics science is still in the very beginning stage.
In digital forensic science, the importance of AI is its well-established capability to present the reasoning process and how this reasoning process varies from one algorithm to another. It can be improved with adjustments in the AI algorithms.