The role of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is significant in organizations with sophisticated cybersecurity protocols. A CISO can handle internal and external risk management for the IT landscape. Nowadays, cybersecurity is one of the biggest concerns that every business comes for it to ensure the safety of their data. CISO is a top security executive who should be looking for regulations and compliances that impacts their role too. Therefore, knowledge of digital forensics is extremely critical to any successful CISO.
Why a CISO should know digital forensics
Digital forensics is a branch of forensic science that encompasses identification, preservation, extraction, and documentation of computer evidence to produce in the court of law. It deals with forensic investigations on the computer, mobile phones, and other digital devices.
The CISO is a leader of the cybersecurity team and, therefore, should be aware of crucial cybersecurity subjects. Digital forensics plays an intrinsic role in determining the cause and purpose of a cyberattack. Thus, the findings of an investigation serve a greater purpose to a decision-making authority when reframing security strategies. A CISO with a digital forensic knowledge or certification can justify the duties and responsibilities of the job role.
Why digital forensics is a must
1. Avoid pitfalls
In case of an intrusion by an insider or potential attacker, a team of IT, security, management, and representatives from other departments come into the picture. The frontline staff should be trained on communication channels in case of emergencies. Immediately isolating and shutting off the suspected machine will help too. Also, consider the possibilities of weighing the pros and cons of duplicating everything. Another solution is training the staff on evidence preservation. The staff shall be trained to preserve evidence carefully. The forensic team looks for recent changes and access to study the timeline of events.
A common mistake that the staff members do is turning off or rebooting the machines, which may destroy evidence stored in the memory. Giving a laptop of the previous employees to the new employees without scanning for malicious content could create security issues. These acts will tamper the evidence, and their recovery becomes difficult.
2. Check logs
Digital forensics is not just restricted to laptops and systems. It also involves communication data and network access. Thus, insider conspiracy can impact the employer and the client company. It turns out that the responsibility of a CISO is to remain aware of the logging history and retain it as evidence. During investigations, when a CISO or digital investigator faces a logging issue, they realize that the access is denied, saving the performance of the network. CISOs must consider this a risk management decision as access to the network is critical.
3. Ensure the chain of custody
Safe custody is a crucial part of forensic investigation to present it in the court of law. Without a chain of custody, there can be an allegation of tampering the evidence. For in-house forensic procedures, employees should follow the copying and transfer of evidence process.
Preserving data, documenting, and producing it is just not enough. The CISO’s responsibility is to ensurethe maintenance of the chain of custody. Here are few suggestions to maintain the chain of custody –
- Collecting and documenting the evidence.
- Keeping evidence in possession of an investigator.
- Tracking and documenting the transfer of evidence from one investigator’s custody to another’s.
- Ensuring the security to avoid tampering of the evidence.
- Creating hash values for every piece of evidence retains the originality of it.
Forensic investigators create copies of the compromised system or evidence and analyze the copied version. It allows keeping the original system under safe storage. The court of law accepts only that evidence produced in its original form.
4. Hire skilled professionals
Though organizations have in-house resources to conduct forensics, they prefer calling experts as consultants. Experts include forensic tool vendors, certification providers, professional associations, etc. There are both vendor and vendor-neutral certifications in the digital forensic field, which adds value to one’s experience.
Forensic consultants use different tools that are opensource, commercial, or custom-made. The investigator uses tools based on the requirement, and therefore, it is not good to assess them based on the tool selection. Instead, assess investigators on network architecture knowledge. Forming an in-house forensics team makes sense for big organizations. Small and medium organizations can hire digital forensics consultants to conduct forensic.
It makes sense to say that to be a successful CISO you should be a certified digital forensic investigator. A recognized program like Certified Hacking and Forensic Investigator (C|HFI) prepares you to conduct computer investigations using groundbreaking digital forensics technologies. The program provides detailed knowledge of laws and regulations that can be considered for a CISO’s profile.