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Digital Forensics and Incident Response

The discipline of digital forensics and incident response (DFIR) is evolving swiftly; thus, practitioners require to be flexible and creative. Managing the increasing intricacy of modern cyber privacy issues necessitates the integration of virtual examination resources with event retaliation capabilities.

Digital Forensics and Incident Response

What Is Digital Forensics and Incident Response?

These both terms are subfields of cyberprivacy. DFIR meaning entails the identification, analysis, containment, remediation, and possible presentation of testimony concerning intrusions, litigation, and other digital inspections.

There are two main parts to DFIR facilities:

What Is Digital Forensics?

This division of forensic discipline is an exploratory arena that gathers, analyses, and dispense digital suggestion like user motion and structure data. In lawsuits, monitoring inquiries, core business surveys, illegal behavior, and other sorts of digital inquiries, a digital signal is utilized to discover information about what transpired on a PC, wireless routers, smartphones, or tablets.

What Is an Incident Response? 

Like virtual forensics, it examines computers by congregation and scrutinizing facts. In the setting of dealing with a privacy breach, it is necessary to consider the relative merits of several reply options, including inquiry, repression, and retrieval.

Why is DFIR Important in Cybersecurity?

Most people's first concern following a cyber safety breach is restoring usual operations. But it is as significant to regulate what went wrong and take steps to avoid a recurrence.

It is a forensics procedure that examines an outbreak and aids in defining the whole life cycle of an interruption, eventually ruling to a root cause examination.

Experts in DFIR will collect and analyze a plethora of data (such as user, grid server entree, antivirus, cupola review records, and VPN review logs) to learn about the attackers, the methods they used to breach security, the tools they employed, and the steps that can be taken to restore normal operation.

When a case is formed against the assailants, this statistic is recurrently utilized as an indication. Utilizing online forensics, examiners can assemble and store discovered virtual indication.

What Kind of Digital Forensics Data Do Analysts Collect?

A study into processor misuse or facts loss can profit from an examination applying virtual forensics.

A merchant can investigate numerous bits of forensic evidence, including:

  • Disk stills

These are an exact replica of a storage medium, often a hard drive, and contain all of its data. It is possible to create disc stills from peripheral storage devices like USB flash drives.

  • Mental pictures

The random-access memory (RAM) of a computer can be captured in a retention picture using dedicated package. They have a lot of data that can't be found on a computer's hard drive. However, conventional virus and spyware scanners can't detect certain cutting-edge methods or the people behind them.

  • Information Requested

If examiners can't get their hands on a disc or memory still, they'll look at program data instead. Logs from hosts, network devices, and packages themselves are all included here.

The Importance of Digital Evidence

info that was sent or saved on a virtual device during an occurrence is considered virtual evidence, which is distinct from other types of evidence. Have you ever watched a crime drama?

They aid in solving crimes by assembling supporting evidence and reconstructing what happened. In the same way, virtual evidence consists of the info and movements taken by the virtual device during an event.

The following conditions must be met for virtual evidence to be considered authentic and dependable:

  • Legally, it can be used as evidence.
  • It's the real deal.
  • That is accomplished.
  • It's trustworthy.
  • It's credible.

In order to preserve the evidence's admissibility in court, DFIR report(s) and agents will collect it and keep it in a safe place away from any potential sources of infection.

However, this is not the only type of indication that agents may gather; they may also evaluate and record.

Digital Forensics and Incident Response Challenges

The difficulties of DFIR have grown in tandem with the development of more complex processer systems. The field of digital forensics and incident response is fraught with tests.

Digital Forensics Challenges

  • Dispersed indication

The ability to reconstruct virtual evidence is no longer dependent on a central host but rather exists in multiple locations, both real and imagined. Hence, additional man-hours, resources, and attention are needed in virtual forensics in order to properly gather and examine intimidations.

  • Fast-paced innovation

Virtual devices, package agendas, and operating schemes are always altering, mounting, and getting better. Specialists in the field of online forensics need to be able to handle online evidence in many different file setups and across many dissimilar categories of applications due to the rapid development of both.

Incident Response Challenges

  • Growing data, shrinking benefit

Companies are receiving an increasing number of security warnings but are unable to find the cyberprivacy personnel needed to deal with the capacity of data and, eventually, the pertinent threat data. To fill the void in available talent and keep up with the latest threats, many businesses are turning to retained DFIR professionals.

  • Expanded assault surface

The expansive outbreak surface of modern computing and package schemes makes it more problematic to gain a precise impression of the grid and upsurges the jeopardy of misalignments and user error.

Steps of the DFIR Process

Palo Alto Grids Unit 42 has developed a DFIR key that is powered by threat intelligence and staffed by experts armed with state-of-the-art equipment and methodologies. There are two interconnected phases to our DFIR procedure.

Digital Forensics Process

  • Identify

The first stage is to classify all evidence and determine its storage method and location. This step requires extensive technical knowledge and analysis of all digital media types.

  • Preserve

Once the evidence has been located, the next step is to isolate, secure, and preserve the data until the inquiry is completed, including any regulatory or legal inquiries.

  • Analyze

The material is then evaluated and analyzed in order to draw conclusions based on the evidence discovered.

  • Document

The incriminating data is employed at this step to reconstruct the incident or crime for a full investigation.

  • Report

At the conclusion of the investigation, all evidence and findings are presented in accordance with forensics procedures, including statistical treatment and practices.

Incident Response Process

  • Scope

The first objective is to assess the scope and severity of the incident and identify indicators of compromise.

  • Investigate

After determining the scope, the search and investigation procedure begins. To detect threats, acquire evidence, and provide in-depth information, sophisticated systems, and threat intelligence are utilized.

  • Secure

Once individual threats have been neutralized, security vulnerabilities must be identified and cyber health must be continuously monitored. The secure stage comprises containing/eliminating active risks from the investigation and resolving security weaknesses.

  • Support and Reporting

Each security assessment is resolved with customized reporting and a strategy for unwavering support. We evaluate the organization as a whole and offer recommendations for the future.

  • Transform

Eventually, find gaps and give advice on how to efficaciously harden weak spots and reduce vulnerabilities to enhance the organization's defense capabilities.


SOAR technology automatically detects and resolves security incidents.

SOAR solutions can automate complicated security procedures and evaluate security incidents using machine learning, making them formidable cybersecurity tools.

They connect with important security solutions like firewalls and endpoint security in our digital environment.

Incident response is often handled by DFIR professionals and service providers. SOAR extends DFIR to automate numerous incident responses. This is crucial for thorough incident coverage and fast reaction as cyberattacks increase in frequency and sophistication. SOAR reduces DFIR human errors.

SOAR and DFIR security professionals can collaborate. SOAR solutions can handle simple situations with playbooks. DFIR experts can focus on threat hunting, investigation, and complicated threat response with less manual labor.

DFIR Best Practices

DFIR implementation effective practices include:

  • Use forensic telemetry and artifacts to discover system threats (such as file events and operating system artifacts). Memory dumps, event logs, registry files, transaction data, and threads are examples.
  • Perform a detailed post-mortem attack investigation to identify security events' causes.
  • Search systems, endpoints, and suspicious files for security breach-related data using many criteria.
  • Remediate a threat and close security weaknesses to prevent relapses.

How Do I Choose DFIR Services?

Consider the following while assessing DFIR providers:

  • Forensic capabilities: Assess the service provider's forensic evidence handling methodology and utilization of clean rooms, forensic laboratories, specialized storage systems, and eDiscovery tools.
  • DFIR experts: Evaluate the service provider's consultants and incident responders.
  • Vertical and industry expertise: Ensure the service provider has served organizations like yours with the same organizational structure and industry. Geographic scope organizations need DFIR services in different countries. DFIR often needs a local presence.
  • Service scope: DFIR can be proactive or reactive. Threat hunting, vulnerability testing, and security education are proactive. Incident response and attack investigation are reactive.
  • Pricing: Many DFIR providers offer prepaid subscriptions. If a company doesn't use all consulting hours, such as due to fewer security occurrences, they can use the hours to prepare for security incidents by doing tabletop exercises with leaders and executives.

DFIR Tools

Popular DFIR tools include:

  1. Volatility

The Volatility Framework, developed by the non-profit Volatility Foundation, promotes memory analysis and forensics. The open-source Volatility Framework uses RAM forensics to respond to incidents and detect malware. This preserves memory evidence following system shutdown. RAM data lets you test the compromised system's runtime. The Volatility Framework can easily discover Page Table Entry (PTE) flags, run the Failure command automatically when a service fails to start many times, and provide Mac plugins. Volatility is free on GitHub.

  1. YARA

YARA aids security experts to identify and classify malware. It supports Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. The yara-python extension lets you access it via Python scripts or its command-line interface. YARA rules identify files with certain content.

  1. FTK Imager

FTK Imager, a forensic toolset from AccessData, makes multiple copies of data without affecting the original to gather and consolidate the evidence. Its wizard-detects cybercrime and helps you manage reusable profiles for different investigations.


Having a reliable team on your side that has been there before is essential when you require additional internal resources or strategy to accomplish success. As a result, many businesses have turned to outside consultants and service providers that specialize in digital forensics and crisis response.


What is DFIR?
What are the benefits of DFIR?
What are the key components of DFIR?
What are some common tools used in DFIR?
What are the best practices for DFIR?


YARA - Official Website

FTK Imager Version 4.7.1 - Exterro  Official

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February 26, 2024
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