Authors: Ricci Sze-Chung Ieong (eWalker Consulting Ltd)



What is Digital Forensics? Mark Pollitt highlighted in DFRWS 2004 [Politt MM. Six blind men from Indostan. Digital forensics research workshop (DFRWS); 2004] that digital forensics is not an elephant, it is a process and not just one process, but a group of tasks and processes in investigation. In fact, many digital forensics investigation processes and tasks were defined on technical implementation details Investigation procedures developed by traditional forensics scientist focused on the procedures in handling the evidence, while those developed by the technologist focused on the technical details in capturing evidence. As a result, many digital forensics practitioners simply followed technical procedures and forget about the actual purpose and core concept of digital forensics investigation. With all these technical details and complicated procedures, legal practitioners may have difficulties in applying or even understanding their processes and tasks in digital forensics investigations. In order to break the technical barrier between information technologists, legal practitioners and investigators, and their corresponding tasks together, a technical-independent framework would be required. In this paper, we first highlighted the fundamental principle of digital forensics investigations (Reconnaissance, Reliability and Relevancy). Based on this principle, we re-visit the investigation tasks and outlined eight different roles and their responsibilities in a digital forensics investigation. For each role, we defined the sets of six key questions. They are the What (the data attributes), Why (the motivation), How (the procedures), Who (the people), Where (the location) and When (the time) questions. In fact, among all the investigation processes, there are six main questions that each practitioner would always ask. By incorporating these sets of six questions into the Zachman’s framework, a digital forensics investigation framework – FORZA is composed. We will further explain how this new framework can incorporate legal advisors and prosecutors into a bigger picture of digital forensics investigation framework. Usability of this framework will be illustrated in a web hacking example. Finally, the road map that interconnects the framework to automatically zero-knowledge data acquisition tools will be briefly described.