Our Computing, Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity students had the pleasure to be shown the complex and dynamic world of digital forensics, by Victor Völzow, an international speaker on the subject. Victor is a trainer in digital forensics in Germany with a background in policing. He started working in the field in 2007 and has been training forensic specialists from regional, federal, and international law enforcement since.
Victor’s lesson started off by discussing the topic of Live Data Forensics. Volatile data on information systems are ubiquitous; whenever someone turns on a computer, data is created. However, the data’s lifetime is short and as soon as the power is cut, the data will fade away, therefore making it volatile. The question then must be asked if this is data we can afford to lose? Volatile data has the potential of holding valuable information, for instance: encryption, malicious software, other applications, and even whole operating systems could be storing valuable data exclusively in the computer’s RAM (Random Access Memory). All data which would be lost as soon as the plug is pulled. Other topics included Live Acquisition, Live/Incident Response, Triage, and Memory Forensics.
To top off the talk, Victor showed our students, through live demonstrations, how important volatile data is, how it can be acquired, and how it can be analysed using open source tools. Finally, Victor pointed out opportunities, challenges, and limitations of Live Data Forensics by addressing the need for more research in this relatively new area. The future will, no doubt, see a shift from traditional “dead box” forensics, whereby analysis is done primarily on hard drives where data is at rest, to Live Data Forensics. It was an opportunity for our students to see the foundations of a fledgling field.
The Department of Computing, Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity would like to thank Victor for travelling from Germany to deliver this talk to our students. We would be very happy to have him with us again and wish him a pleasant and safe trip home.