Digital forensics investigations in the Cloud


The essentially infinite storage space offered by Cloud Computing is quickly becoming a problem for forensics investigators in regards to evidence acquisition, forensic imaging and extended time for data analysis. It is apparent that the amount of stored data will at some point become impossible to practically image for the forensic investigators to complete a full investigation. In this paper, we address these issues by determining the relationship between acquisition times on the different storage capacities, using remote acquisition to obtain data from virtual machines in the cloud. A hypothetical case study is used to investigate the importance of using a partial and full approach for acquisition of data from the cloud and to determine how each approach affects the duration and accuracy of the forensics investigation and outcome. Our results indicate that the relation between the time taken for image acquisition and different storage volumes is not linear, owing to several factors affecting remote acquisition, especially over the Internet. Performing the acquisition using cloud resources showed a considerable reduction in time when compared to the conventional imaging method. For a 30GB storage volume, the least time was recorded for the snapshot functionality of the cloud and dd command. The time using this method is reduced by almost 77 percent. FTK Remote Agent proved to be most efficient showing an almost 12 percent reduction in time over other methods of acquisition. Furthermore, the timelines produced with the help of the case study, showed that the hybrid approach should be preferred to complete approach for performing acquisition from the cloud, especially in time critical scenarios.

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@article{Thethi2014DigitalFI, title={Digital forensics investigations in the Cloud}, author={Neha Thethi and Anthony Keane}, journal={2014 IEEE International Advance Computing Conference (IACC)}, year={2014}, pages={1475-1480} }