The digital transformation of society is affecting crime, criminals and criminal investigation. New cyber criminal methods using advanced technical tools and exploitation are an opportunity for criminals and a challenge for investigators. Technically complex online activities are being sold as services to less skilled criminals, increasing the challenge of fighting cybercrime. On the other hand, criminals face challenges trying to hide and avoid attribution. The large amount of digital traces stored across multiple locations creates an opportunity for criminal investigators. Crime scenes are also changing. With the growth of cybercrime, crime scenes are becoming virtual, global, and multi-jurisdictional. Investigating a transnational cyber crime scene requires investigative tools to remotely gather information, and also collaboration between entities in both the public and private sectors. Modern physical crime scenes have a comprehensive set of digital evidence sources. In addition to PCs and notebooks, digital evidence traces can be found in mobiles, internet of thing devices, automobiles, smart control systems, data stored with cloud providers, and distributed on servers across the Internet. With the increase in digital and online payment systems, financial transactions are also becoming an important digital evidence source, especially in financially motivated crimes like fraud. These shifts are fundamentally changing the way police, government, and industry investigators are operating.
This is a special issue of Societybyte focused on digital forensics. For this issue we have the perspective of a number of specialist authors who are experts in the field:
- Reto Inversini works for a National CERT, and covers the topic of Network Forensics with an overview of traffic capture, analysis, tools, and challenges.
- Sylvain Hirsch works in the finance industry, and gives the perspective of a CSIRT incident responder in a large multinational company.
- Emmanuel Benoist, is a professor at BFH and provides an overview of darknet markets in the criminal underground. Andreas Habegger, also a professor at BFH, introduces us to the fast growing area of hardware forensics.
- Christian Zeunert who is experienced in international legal litigation completes the digital forensics picture with coverage of Electronic Discovery (e-Discovery). All of these articles give you a broad overview of digital forensics.
The importance and relevance of this topic has prompted BFH to begin development of a new Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Digital Forensics & Cyber Investigation (DFCI). A BFH press release in the coming months will announce this new education program designed to help fill the demand for skilled digital forensic and cyber investigators.
We wish you an exciting and insightful reading.
Dr. Bruce Nikkel
Professor of Digital Forensics at BFH