Major Challenges Faced by Digital Forensic Investigator

The digital world is skyrocketing every day with the introduction of new technologies, software, and programs. But over the period digital advancements have become a two-edged sword. Though it has made life easier the crimes and attacks are steadily increasing. This has made digital forensic more tedious. With the increasing efficiency of cyber-attacks in the dark web, the challenges faced by a digital forensic investigator are becoming complex. Cybercriminals not only dwell in the dark market but also wreak havoc on the social web and other digital channels. Identity theft, cyber bullying, data leakage, malware attack, and more are on peak now on the digital platform. High-quality evidence collected by an investigator is the checkpoint to stop the rise of attacks.

Challenges in digital investigation

It can be easily said that evidence is the checkpoint but the cyber forensic investigator faces a multitude of problems throughout the process of evidence collection. These challenges faced by a digital investigator are broadly classified into three. This includes,

  • Technical challenges
  • Legal challenges
  • Resource challenges

Let’s quickly jump into each of the challenges.

Challenges in the technical field

With digital growth, even cybercriminals have adapted to growth. To undo the knots of the crime and to collect digital evidence the investigator uses various Cyber Forensic Solutions. This process is called the anti-forensics techniques and this is obstructed by a multitude of problems.

Encryption: Encryption of file keeps important information private and doesn’t allow unauthorized access. Cybercriminals nowadays use advanced encryption techniques to keep the forensic investigators at bay.

Steganography: It is a mode of encryption that is combined with cryptography. It is an added step for security to protect the data. Attackers use this system to hide their data inside a compromised system which the forensic investigator has to reveal.

Covert channels: A covert channel is a communication protocol with which the attacker can hide data over the network bypassing intrusion detection technique. The attacker uses it to maintain the hidden connection between him and the compromised system.

Data wiping: In some cases, an attacker who is not aware might leave out some files or history unerased, but a clever one wipes out every small piece of information that can be potential evidence and put him at risk.

Data hiding in storage space

The development of cloud storage and other storage, spaces in addition to being a boon for common people. It has also become a boon for cybercriminals to hide data. Unlocking these data needs specialized tools.

Other technical hitches include tail obfuscation, skill gap, operating in cloud, etc.

Resource challenges

The volume of data that is involved in the case differs from each scenario. In cases where there is a pile of data that has to be scrutinized, it consumes a lot of time. Also, the investigator has to be vigilant that the evidence’s availability, confidentiality, and integrity are not compromised. To manage huge data and to ensure the protection of data the investigators are equipped with cyber solutions developed by various companies.

Legal challenges

The presentation of the collected evidence is more difficult than the collection of the data due to the legal frameworks that exist around the evidence. Privacy of the organization and institution should also be considered and in most cases, soft approaches have to be handled. In India, the lack of proper guidelines for the acquisition of digital evidence has destroyed the potential of digital evidence. Also, the limitations of the Indian evidence act, 1872 on the evidence collection process have become huge.

Final words

The limitations faced by a digital forensic investigator to collect evidence and present it, are increasing day by day. To aid them with the process and make crime detection easy, various companies are coming up with many Digital Forensic Solutions.


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