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A workflow to support forensic database analysis

Susaimanickam, Rojesh (2012) A workflow to support forensic database analysis. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Governments and private organisations are increasingly aware that vital information stored in their databases is no longer safe behind perimeter firewalls, intrusion prevention systems and other edge protections. Databases store a broad range of private and important information, making them a prime target for exploitation by wrongdoers wishing to breach confidentiality, damage the integrity of the data or make it unavailable to its users.

The intricate nature and the non-stoppable critical services running in databases makes forensic examination of database difficult and challenges the forensics recovery and examination processes.

The research presented in this thesis discusses the feasibility of developing an enhanced workflow that provides insight into the challenging complexities of examining and using database evidence. It lays the foundation for the development and establishment of standards in database forensic analysis and forensic case management.

The major contribution of this research is a literature review that summarises the state-of-the-art in database forensics. It argues for the need for more in-depth research in this field and highlights limited availability of forensic data. To improve this, the research presents the design of a generic workflow of database forensic examination. This is evaluated using a qualitative and case study based evaluation and highlights the various limitations and drawback of the workflow.

In summary, the research in this thesis proposes a system that allows a forensic examiner to focus on what is relevant to a case in a systematic way that can be proved in court. The workflow also acts as a case management tool by aiding the forensic examiner to apply established standards and procedures to identify best-case result by systematically, thoroughly and efficiently collecting and validating digital evidence.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Information Technology
Supervisor: Lee, Kevin and Boddington, Richard
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