Digital Forensic Investigation of Social Media, Acquisition and Analysis of Digital Evidence

Digital Forensic Investigation of Social Media, Acquisition and Analysis of Digital Evidence

Reza Montasari (School of Computing and Digital Technology, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK), Richard Hill (The University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK), Victoria Carpenter (York St John University, York, UK) and Farshad Montaseri (Islamic Azad University of Khark, Khark, Iran)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/IJoSE.2019010105

Abstract

Various social networking sites (SNSs), widely referred to as social media, provide services such as email, blogging, instant messaging and photo sharing for social and commercial interactions. SNSs are facilitating new forms of social interaction, dialogue, exchange and collaboration. They allow millions of users and organisations worldwide to exchange ideas, post updates and comments or participate in activities and events, while sharing their wider interests. At the same time, such a phenomenon has led to an upsurge in significant criminal activities by perpetrators who are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to deploy technology to circumvent detection. Digital forensic Examiners (DFEs) often face serious challenges in relation to data acquisition. Therefore, this article aims to analyse the significance of SNSs in DFIs and challenges that DFEs often encounter when acquiring evidence from SNSs. Furthermore, this article describes the steps of the digital forensic investigation process that must be taken to acquire digital evidence that is both authentic and forensically sound.
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Background

Digital evidence is increasing in both size and significance in criminal and civil trials (Casey, 2011; Kerr, 2010; Brown, 2009; Kessler, 2010; Cohen, 2010; Ball, 2008; Manes et al., 2007). It is latent in the same way as a fingerprint or DNA sample (ACPO, 2012). However, digital evidence is more complex and volatile as it can be accidently or improperly modified, damaged or destroyed during the investigative process (Giova, 2011; Holder et al., 2009; Mukasey et al., 2008; Bem et al., 2008; Ashcroft et al., 2004). The extent of the value of the digital evidence is based not only on the extent to which a tool is trusted (Wojcik et al, 2006; Ciardhuáin, 2004), but also on the competence and experience of the investigator carrying out the digital investigation (ISO/IEC 27037, 2012; ACPO, 2012).

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