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Cloud Computing Forensics. Best Practice and Challenges for Process Efficiency of Investigations and Digital Forensics



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Cloud Forensics
Marcelo Beltrão Caiado
Chefe da Divisão de Segurança da Informação
Procuradoria Geral da República
Brasília, Brazil
José Antonio Maurilio Milagre de Oliveira
São Paulo, Brazil
Abstract—Digital forensics is a relative new science that has
many challenges to overcome. This has been especially true
since the huge adoption of cloud computing, which has its own
characteristics, and the fact that many companies and
providers are not well prepared to respond an incident in a
proper manner. This paper discusses most common
assumptions and principles, and proposes a base process for
digital forensics in cloud computing.
Keywords: cloud computing, e-discovery, digital forensics,
procedures, information security.
There is no doubt that cloud computing is a phenomenon
that tends to change the way of delivering services in
Information Technology (IT) and Communication. Since
2009, the U.S. Federal Government has announced measures
to implement a massive and complex infrastructure with the
launch of, an online storefront for cloud
services [1].
In Europe, cloud computing is expected to generate
800,000 jobs. In Brazil, it is noted the advance of the Federal
Government with public services, which outlines a strategic
plan to drive the adoption of cloud services in the country in
a program called "TI Maior", presented by the Ministry of
Science, Technology and Innovation [2]. The program
discusses issues regarding development, regulatory
framework and also aspects related to information security as
According to a Kelton Research survey [3], 74% percent
of companies are already using some cloud computing
service. Flexibility, IT environment simplification and costs
reduction, are just some of the reasons.
On the other hand, there are no doubts that the growth of
technology can also carry risks, involving fraud, incidents
and electronic crimes. A survey by CipherCloud [4]
conducted during the cloud-focused Dreamforce event in San
Francisco that drew more than 48,000 attendees, shows that
among the biggest concerns of companies, when choosing
technologies in the cloud, are data security (66%), data
privacy (56%), compliance (34%) and data residency (26%).
In this scenario, it is necessary to devise a process of
investigation and digital expertise to be effective and that
respects the characteristics of business models involving
cloud services and especially in accordance with the
legislation or applicable international laws. This is the
challenge, considering the characteristics of cloud computing
that relativize to the extreme the standards and practices
adopted in Computer Forensics.
Put together to the challenge a poor doctrine applied to
the subject. Among the first papers that keep a relationship
with Computer Forensics and problems in cloud
environments, there are the ones published by Wolthusen
[5], and by Bebee [6] which proves the need to address these
issues urgently, considering the astonishing development of
This paper, showing some of the challenges discussed in
the international community, has its bedrock on the design of
a proposal for the investigation process and digital forensics
in cloud environments. It also presents assumptions,
principles and practices to be observed in such expertise
The success of digital forensics in cloud environments is
closely linked with information security planning.
Speculations on information security in cloud environments
are increasing, from risk analysis to implementations of
controls to ensure security metrics are met.
In fact, some of the worrying foreseeable risks in cloud
environments that must be included in a risk assessment for a
possible implementation or migration are:
1. Improper access to information: Any form of
unauthorized access to sensitive or classified
information as confidential;
2. Information leakage: The disclosure of
communications, data and trade secrets; and
3. Unavailability of services: Attacks targeted to the
structure of cloud computing, which somehow
disturb or interrupt the service.
In this context, being aware that a management system
for information security from ISO 27000 family provides
incident response capabilities and whenever any legal
relevance be necessary, that any answer will be made
following current legislation and best practices to use the
evidence in court, it is essential, since the security planning
for cloud services, that service contracts of this nature
predict: which elements of tracking will be generated; human
resources for forensics responses; and cooperation in multi-
jurisdiction cases.
A. Which Elements of Tracking Will be Generated
An important aspect to conjecture is related to the
systems auditability. In this context, stakeholders should
establish metrics, periodicity, scope and format of logs and
other records to be created and maintained.
The adoption of an interface to access data records is also
critical, mainly in SaaS service facilities, wherein the
customer access to records and physical information is more
limited. It may also agree upon a forensic API contract,
which allows the actual client to initiate the first response.
Finally, it is important that the CSP (Cloud Service
Provider) be obliged to inform the customer in cases
involving incidents or attempts immediately and with
complete documentation about the incident.
B. Human Resources for Forensics Responses
Forensics responses should be predict in agreements
between CSPs and customers, especially detailing the
procedure, in which case the answer must be forensic imprint
and above of all, indicating internal staff as well as
contractors or independent third parties that could follow the
examinations. There must be a staff of suitable professionals,
incident responders and legal body, which must be in the
SLA and in the contract.
1) How to deal with cloud computing
It may be that physical access to the affected device is
thousands of miles away from the client, which is why it is
important, in the contract, to establish where, physically, the
customer wants their data to be, choosing a location with
greater forensic maturity and more suitable legislation.
2) Consolidated standards
When detailing the procedure that the human resources
will perform, it is essential the adoption of consolidated
standards in the community, among which we can mention:
SAS 70 certification;
RFC 3227: Guidelines for Collection and evidence
NIST SP 800 86: Guide to Integrate into
Techniques Forensic Incident Response;
ISO / IEC 27037: Guidelines for identification,
collection, acquisition, and preservation of digital
ISO / IEC 27041: Guidelines for the analysis and
interpretation of digital evidence (DRAFT); and
ISO / IEC 27043: Digital evidence investigation
principles and processes (DRAFT).
C. Cooperation in Multi-jurisdiction Cases
The Safety Plan must be designed by knowing how the
customers data physical division is performed, considering
legal aspects and privacy of each cloud shadow, detailing
clearly contacts of response teams and details of the
legislation of the countries in cases of incidents. This
preliminary step is critical to the success of any forensic
analysis, because in case of any incident, the expert must
make the data segregation, which is not an easy task, without
having the minimum information. It is important to mention
that the cloud provider must present the customer and
determine the liability of third parties which are also used to
provide the service.
It is therefore confirmed that CSPs and customers need to
establish forensic capabilities so that we can reduce the
information security related risks in cloud environments.
Best Practices for cloud computing security should be
observed when designing, hiring, establishing metrics and
service levels across multiple CSPs and customers.
Internationally, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), has a
good practice guide for information security implementation
in cloud environment [7]. Likewise, the European Network
and Information Security Agency also has important
recommendations on the subject [8].
A forensic response process to incidents regarding cloud
computing should be provided in the Security Management
System and agreed with service providers and everyone in
the supply chain, considering the maturity of the
implemented security as well. There is no doubt that the
success of a forensic response process is closely linked with
the maturity of information security applied to the cloud
structure and especially the willingness of such service
providers. Rarely, in an investigation of this nature, there
will be the traditional and classic option to seize the
The digital forensics is an area for identification,
preservation, collection and analysis of digital evidence and
artifacts (those, when relevant to the case), in the scope of
presenting the materiality of an incident (showing whether
the event actually happened or not) and mainly by indicating
the source of the incident. This is a science in its infancy,
with few more than ten years of groundbreaking research.
Among the fronts of digital forensics, we can identify the
post-mortem, where analysis have addressed commonly
content of discs, recovery, carving, e-discovery, among
others, and the live one, which seeks volatile content such as
memory, kernel, processes, network states, data that is totally
or partially impaired with the shutdown of the equipment.
Nowadays it is also being spoken about elastic forensics, a
derivation of live, designed to cloud environments, which are
elastic, besides being structured in a dependency chain. The
term elasticity refers to the idea of an environment that can
be easily extended, according to customer demand.
Cloud forensics, in this context, would be one of the
specializations of Digital Forensics, target to the analysis of
cloud environments, involving investigations related to
incidents, fraud and computer crimes. To Keyun Ruan [9],
from the Centre for Cybercrime Investigation, of University
College Dublin, cloud forensics would be linked to network
forensics, which in turn would be linked to digital forensics.
To the authors network forensics techniques could be
tailored to cloud computing environments.
Nonetheless, access to data on disk (raw) or snapshot
structures will often be essential for understanding what
happened to the compromised system, given the elasticity of
the cloud service models. We also cannot fail to conjecture
the intimate connection with Database Forensics, as
sometimes the expert must act in this instance, seeking
records from unauthorized modifications of data stored in the
When we think of cloud, we imagine a model, on
demand, in which access is allowed to a shared pool of
configurable resources, including but not limited to
networks, servers, storage, applications and services. For the
forensic expert, initially it will be mandatory in the
identification phase, to determinate if it is really a cloud
environment or any other form of web service, or even a
VPS or VPN. A mistake in the identification of the service,
will certainly lead to investigations failure, which may
violate standards and best practices.
From the perspective of Computer Forensics,
virtualization services on a single physical server brought
several points and questions to be addressed by the research
community. The ease of deleting data has always been one of
the issues pertaining to virtualization. On the other hand, it
may be stated that the cloning bitstream (physical) would be
facilitated by copying the file that represents the virtual disk.
With cloud computing, we have other issues to be
considered. While the cloud become an object of studies by
hackers and crackers, in its various instances, from the
hypervisor (which manages the resources for virtual
machines) to the interface layers, there is also concern about
the use of public and private cloud providers as anti-forensic
technique. Criminals could be using this technique for
improperly accessing virtual spaces, practicing crimes or
hosting shells, botnets, access to resources for deep-web,
trojans among others. As an example, the Pirate Bay is
operating from cloud-hosting providers around the world to
escape from authorities [10].
By the other hand, there is the concept of data
abundance involving artifacts, where screening sample
techniques need to be applied to prevent that the forensic
never ends.
In this context, the digital investigator must bear in mind
that the cloud within the practice of computer incident may
be used as:
Object: When the virtual server in the cloud is the
target of cybercriminals, being directly attacked,
such as in a denial of service;
Environment: When the cloud is the environment in
which a digital crime is committed, such as
unauthorized modification or deletion of data;
Weapon: When the cloud is one of the tools used to
commit crimes or stores digital planning or artifacts
that might lead authorship of a possible computer
crime. This context is also when cloud is used as
anti-forensic technique for stealth connection or
attribution of authorship to an innocent person, or
even the use of botnets;
In above cases, sometimes customers and cloud providers
are at litigation, where an expert will be appointed to
evaluate eventual failure in service delivery, which might has
generated losses or accountabilities.
Still, it should be noted that forensic investigations in
cloud environments will take place in the following
interesting prospects:
Research: Full investigation of violations of law
and policy, or even suspicious transactions,
rebuilding events and collaborating with authorities
and sponsors of expertise in collecting and
analyzing evidence; Using from network techniques
such as packet capture techniques to disk (dead)
capture, and data recovery, encrypted and using
Prevention: Through the log monitoring, event
correlation and anticipation of supposed incidents;
Working in conjunction with the incident response
Compliance: Helping companies and organizations
meet the requirements and best practices involving
security and response to incidents involving cloud
According to [11], a good research method should
always consider different sources of evidence, not only the
provider but also the customer terminals, using methods like
data fusions for collection and data correlation.
Although there are much disagreement in regard to
assumptions, principles and practices for investigative
analysis in the clouds, some assumptions have been
consolidated in the international community researchers.
Those assumptions are features that need to be considered
always in such analyzes. We present some the most
important ones.
A. Consider the Technical, Organizational and Legal
Before starting to work on a cloud environment, the
expert should divide the initial design of the project in three
dimensions: the technical, which will map the entire
structure to be analyzed; the organizational, where he will
understand the business model, service features, and will
map the called dependency chain and human structure for
incident response and customer service; the legal, which he
will assess the legal issues related to data and to orient the
computer examination as evidence acceptance in court,
establishing the chain of custody, among others.
B. Consider the Logical and Physical Dimensions
The expert must completely review the structure, in each
forensic analysis, understanding the physical dimension that
hosts the logical area of the client, and mainly identify which
are the physical and logical constraints to access the assets.
Seldom, in an examination in such environments, the expert
will have full access to the physical dimension, whereas this
dimension is considered by many providers their business
C. It Might not Exist Media Control and Access to
Physical Infrastructure
The principles, frameworks and best practices are usually
based on the assumption that the storage media is always in
investigator’s control. This changes with cloud computing.
Some concepts brought by the principles of the Association
of Chief Police Officer (ACPO) of England, and
Investigative Process Model (Dip Model) from Digital
Forensics Research Conference (DFRS), are put in check
when the environment is in the cloud. It must be noted that
these frameworks are well regarded by the community in
digital investigations.
The non-physical infrastructure must also be
characteristics of multi-tenants and multi-ownerships clouds,
where information can be stored in different asset owners or
where a single physical disk can concentrate data from
numerous other clients. In case of access, one could think of
privacy violation.
D. Elastic Tools, Elastic Cloud
The community should look for tools that fit the elasticity
of the cloud.
E. Provider Cooperation is Essential
Despite some models of services in the cloud facilitate
customer access to information and metadata, it is also
known that it is virtually impossible to perform an
examination in cloud environment without any cooperation.
A process for responding to incidents involving forensic
cloud computing should be provided in the Security
Management System and agreed with service providers and
third parties in the chain of dependence, including the
possibility of simulations.
Digital forensics has not been seen as an easy task in
cloud computing devices. According to Gartner: "cloud
services are especially difficult to investigate, because data
access and data from multiple users can be located in several
places, spread across a number of servers that change all
time” [12].
Starting from the assumption that the company already
knows the risks involved in a cloud environment, we have to
define a process for the forensic response time, which not
only restore services but mainly produces scathing evidence
of what occurred in a system, and can be considered in court.
Among the steps we propose for an investigation and digital
forensics in a cloud environment, there are:
A. Map Technical, Organizational and Legal Dimensions
This is the first step, i.e., before the expert establish an
effective plan for forensic analysis, one should divide the
assessment into three tabs, and in it, sort and collect all
available information, contacts, norms and rules.
At this stage it is important that the expert consider the
following, as it will give needed information to advance in
the examination:
1. Review the contract, SLA and Security Policy;
(cases involving cessation activities, deletion or
exclusion, any zero knowledge encryption system,
cooperation with authorities), among others; and
2. Assess whether cloud computing characteristics are
present (or if we are dealing with other similar
Figure 1: Cloud Computing Layers [13]
The expert must also evaluate organizational
configuration or development platform models, which may
1. Private Cloud: Infrastructure is operated only by the
organization that owns the cloud.;
2. Community Cloud: The cloud is shared by many
organizations, because they have a common goal,
and is administered by the community;
3. Public Cloud: It contains information from more
than one user / customer, maintained by a
organization provider; and
4. Hybrid Cloud: Composition involving two or more
models, also called virtual private cloud.
Sometimes used for load balancing in different
For digital forensics it is important to know the ways of
configuring a cloud service, since this will directly impact on
the path of data that can be collected as evidence. It should
be noted that data stored in the cloud can be stored in one or
more distributed physical locations, making the
determination as to which law should be enforced or even
the procedure and framework applied. This is a complicated
issue and that needs to be addressed by the expert.
In addition to the organizational setting, the expert should
evaluate the service model supplied by the provider being
analyzed. As it is known, there are three basic levels of
services involving cloud computing models, namely:
1. SaaS (Software as a Service), where the client can
use applications available by the provider cloud,
and the interaction is commonly done through web-
browsers. As an example, there is the Google Apps
suite of applications;
2. PaaS (Platform as a Service), where there is the
availability of an application programming interface
(API) so that customers can create and host
applications. Commonly there is the provision of a
development platform; and
3. IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), which is the
assignment of virtualized computing resources such
as processing power, memory and storage.
It is critical to identify the service model so that we can
prepare the process of digital forensics, considering the
variants of each service. The collection is directly influenced
by the models of service delivery. In IaaS-based platforms,
there is more interaction between the client and platform,
which will result on a greater possibility of collecting data
for forensic examination, that may not occur in PaaS and
SaaS models. Typically, on SaaS and PaaS platforms the
expert will not have control of the hypervisor, which would
be very important in an investigation.
Another advantage of investigating IaaS environments is
related to the fact that in such a model, it is usually possible
to make a snapshot analysis, supported by all popular
hypervisors like Xen, VMware ESX and Hyper-V.
Furthermore, processes need not to be interrupted for
forensic analysis, generating no downtime or SLA violations.
On the other hand, the ideal is that SaaS and PaaS
interfaces offer or implement an additional interface with the
purpose of compliance and forensics. Through the API,
clients should receive information about events in their
environments [14]. Another alternative may be the
compression and encryption of logs that could be sent to
third-party servers, preventing the possibility of a shutdown
or volatile data destruction.
B. Identify Outlining Stages of Computer Forensics that
Will be Overcome and Correlate Them to the
In this phase the expert will create tabs in his project with
all phases of Computer Forensics: a) Identification, b)
Preservation, c) Collection, d) Examination, e) Analysis f)
Presentation. Within these tabs, he must employ assumptions
that are consensus in the research community, as discussed
in Part 3 of this work. We must recall that the expert should
always be updated with new assumptions, principles and
C. Identify Outlining Stages of Computer Forensics and
Propositions with Technical, Organizational and Legal
At this point, we propose a data fusion. The expert will
merge Computer Forensics phases, given the assumptions
related to an examination of this nature, with the result of the
mapping of technical, organizational and legal frameworks
applied to the case. The result will be a matrix, where the
researcher will have assumptions, data and characteristics to
be examined at each stage of the forensic examination.
Having this information, the expert can then devise the
best strategy for forensic investigation, beginning the
execution of his expert activity. Among the criteria that will
emerge and that will guide the work, we list:
1) Identification
The detection of an incident in a cloud environment may
differ according to the model adopted for the services. The
adoption of cloud in Intrusion detection systems can be
implemented by the user in the IaaS or even by the CSP in
cases involving SaaS or PaaS. At this time the expert will
interact with the professional´s provider for mapping the
incident and the extent of damage. It will be identified which
access the provider offers to the customer in the event of an
investigation. Also, it will be identified if the provider is
performing regular snapshots or even object auditing and
multiple backups.
2) Preservation
The preservation of evidence in cloud environments is
not so peaceful. Implementing preservation techniques may
require isolating cloud resources, which can cause
performance degradation for other clients. From the best
practices, providers should isolate the physical disk
connected to an incident. The problem is that data from other
customers that share resources could also be copied.
Under the existing frameworks, identifying electronic
stored information, commonly sets up procedures
considering that the evidence is in the possession of the
investigator. In cloud, the providers are in custody of such
information. Client control is more difficult. The client can
indeed control his data, but do not always have access to the
metadata server he uses, and which are fundamental in a
computer investigation.
Another issue that needs to be revised in the process of
preservation is the chain of custody. In SaaS or PaaS models
the customer may not be the first to have contact with the
evidence, then the provider shall be responsible for this
preservation task, involving the allocation of knowledgeable
first responders.
In the conventional model, the chain of custody must
start when the researcher has access to physical media. For
companies, the challenge remains to implement contracts
that allow the investigator access to the evidence, sometimes
in a physical way, and not just with network access, or even
a chain of custody that begins with the provider and then is
transferred to the client.
3) Collection
The challenge of collecting is to have access to data. The
investigator may have access to data, or copy over the
network, or rely on the CSP team. The evidence collection in
cloud environments proposes new challenges to experts,
especially due to the lack of tools to assist them with agility.
It should initially be pointed out the challenge to the expert
who will handle increasing amounts of data, with the storage
capacity growth and low cost of such devices. An
investigation in a virtualized environment can become
extremely costly in the collection phase, due to the existing
devices. The elasticity (involving the ability to scale capacity
according to the requirements), which is characteristic of the
cloud, increases this problem.
One way to minimize this fact is to use screening models,
as the model called Screening (CFFTPM) [15] a framework
that has been growing among the research community
The collection also will deal with the following
1. Multi-jurisdiction: Data can be stored in physical
locations with different jurisdictions. One must
respect the jurisdiction of where the data resides;
2. Limited access to physical media: For legal or even
business strategy, the expert may have limited
access to media, needing a further court order;
3. Dead Forensics or Live Forensics: The memory
capture and other states might be limited to an
interface available to the customer. Similarly, it is
virtually impossible to shutdown a machine to
remove the disc or boot via live CD, common
practices in traditional digital forensics. The expert
should establish remote collection strategies.
Figure 2: CFFTPM Phases [15]
Commonly, the expert would be performing the imaging
of the disc, through duplication bitstream equipment or a
command like dd. This changes in cloud, where an interface
apparently on a single disk is divided into multiple physical
disks. The challenge for the expert is to know each segment
that composes the target and are interesting for the
investigation, cloning the devices (defining the start and end
clusters) and then have the capability to concatenate them in
an investigation environment. Thus, the expert will have to
deal with the concept of distributed multi-tenant. A good
example of this is Google GFS [16].
It is mandatory for the contractors to predict, therefore,
not only the logical access cloud interface, but also situations
where physical access is essential. A proposal to collect data
that proportionally respects neighbors in the clouds should
be among the team's Cloud Service Provider and customers
If on one hand, cloud providers are striving to provide
security to data in the clouds, on the other, such security
involving encryption and data traffic can become an enemy
in time of investigation involving cyber crimes. The
implementation of zero knowledge system, a concept that
allows all data to be encrypted before being sent to the
clouds, may cripple an investigation. There will be the need
of a covenant involving the exchange of keys, if the
encryption is performed by the client, otherwise the provider
should be legally liable. A negative example comes from
Google, that to ensure the privacy of users, assures that when
a user deletes their data, they are in fact deleted and the
pointers of the replicators are also eliminated, which can be a
On the other hand, in the cloud, we can think about a
certain persistence of data, which is an advantage, because
unless the customer has administrative access, it becomes
difficult to perform a complete deletion of data. Hence, it is
important to know the persistence in the form of backups and
other data provided by the CSP.
In this sense, the European Union encourages union
members to apply the Data Retention Directive of 2006 [17],
which in Article 5 stipulates communication providers to
retain certain data about users, userid, allocated IP, time and
date of the communication and time of login and logoff
systems. The challenge is whether the legislation includes
providers of cloud computing services. We will soon have
the first legal signs on the topic.
A proposed solution to the problem of the constant
inability of the expert to have physical contact with the
evidence to be collected, can be called organizational
cooperation, where the provider would be responsible for the
extraction of forensic image of physical disk or partition, or
at least virtual machine created for the client by handling the
hypervisor. There should be exceptionally careful when
handling the hypervisor, which can be compared to a kernel
of the operating system. It will be usual for cloud providers
to provide snapshots of the disk and client memory. Good
practice recommends that this generation be documented and
assisted by an expert for the customer, so it can be used as
digital evidence in court. This approach will ensure that the
hypervisor was reliable.
Important to remember, in these cases the researcher is
not the first to have contact with the evidence and the chain
of custody is created by the provider. It is clear and
undisputed that cloud providers need to know the procedures
of digital forensics, mainly relying on human resources
prepared for such tasks.
Despite the cloud provider contract predicting the
possibility of going to an expert for the collection of physical
evidence, sometimes it would be needed someone from the
provider to run the task. This is because we are dealing with
different platforms, trade secrets, proprietary technologies,
among other logistical issues that make it important that
wherever possible the client’s expert should be acting in
conjunction or can follow the expert's provider in executions
of tasks in operation.
It must be reminded that the legal limitation involving the
location of each provider can compromise the legitimacy of
the collected data.
It is, finally, another good practice to be implemented in
providers, the automated generation of hashes of snapshots,
dated, the virtual disks, as well as existing files, serving as a
basis for comparison after the data is capture by the expert.
The investigator then, at the stage of examination, must
extract the hashes from snapshots computed by CSP after
collection, and compare them by checking the matching.
Other important issues in the collection are:
1. In live collection, the expert should consider all
endpoints, and the generation of the timeline of
events should consider time synchronization, which
is difficult and demands specific tools;
2. The expert must pay attention to the segregation of
the evidence - collecting information logs from
multiple clients can generate legal liability;
3. He should assess whether the system already has a
solution to generate hash files from cloud, as well
as if provides support for remote binary copy; and
4. The expert should evaluate if the system being
examined offers versioning of erased or overwritten
files / objects, and how it is possible to access these
4) Examination and Analysis
The timestamping should be considered in the collection
phase and also in the analysis phase. A knowledge process
involving all jurisdictions should be adopted and timestamps
applied to services. The community challenge is to design
tools to automate this correlation.
Once the collection phase is overcome, by far one of the
most problematic stages involving cloud environments,
frameworks and practices for analysis can be applied to the
analysis of computer artifacts. Many open source tools, data
carving, pattern matching, and filtering are recommended,
like The Coroners Toolkit, Foremost, Xplico, Autopsy,
among others, contained in Linux Forensic distributions, can
assist the expert work. Under proprietary software, EnCase
and FTK should be considered. Dykstra and Sherman [18],
performed one of the first research involving data collection
tests in the cloud with tools like FTK and Encase, in an IaaS
In investigations where network traffic packets were
collected, Xplico or Wireshark filters can be used for session
reconstruction and even content decoding.
The analysis of evidence in cases involving cloud is
similar to analysis of evidence in digital forensics and may
Network traffic; and
Web data.
Regarding the logs, it is the expert´s task to be familiar
with the most used platforms, knowing the way they are
generated, so he can use a parser efficiently, detailing his
report in an effective way.
5) Presentation
In this proposal, the presentation phase may consist of
legal appraisal or a simple briefing or draft of what
happened. It can be used in legal form by a lawyer or even
used by the expert for the defense of their findings in court.
The forensic reports also work as an input in process
improvement and continuous corporate improvement.
The four Daubert Principles (guidelines for acceptance of
scientific evidence) should be considered in the presentation
of results involving investigations in cloud environment:
1. The key question is know whether the theory
can be tested, namely the theory must be
tamper-proof. The CSP must maintain evidence
for the time agreed;
2. The results should be subject to review by other
3. When applying a determined known technique,
the Court must consider the potential rate of
error, and the existence and maintenance of
standards and controls on their operation; and
4. It should be rated the degree to which the theory
and technique is generally accepted by the
scientific community. In Computer Forensics
this is a difficult task, considering that
discussions on international best practices are
just starting, which is critical to the
advancement in the area.
Nonetheless, it is highly recommended that cloud
Provider’s technicians sign along the client´s expert report,
ensuring uniformity of opinions and avoiding exploitation
thesis as self defense on the argument that the provider was
unaware or did not recognize what was performed by
There is no doubt that Computer Forensics in cloud
environments is still embryonic and needs to become more
mature to be able to equate the efficiency of an investigation
with respect to privacy, fundamental rights and guarantees
and SLAs between providers and other customers.
It is known that the frameworks, practices and principles,
wide discussed and consolidated in the community of
Computer Forensics, are not explained in their entirety or
accuracy and must promptly be derived, revised and adapted
in the design of a minimum standard that meets the concepts,
service models and configurations of cloud computing.
Within the present work, a proposal for preliminary e-
discovery processes and Computer Forensics was shown,
involving cloud environments, not exhaustive and stony,
which can be adapted to meet the changing technology and
the characteristics of each cloud environment, besides of
cases that may be presented.
While many challenges exist in digital research of cloud
environments, it is true that the contractual relations are
identified as one of the solutions to the problem, and there is
urgent need for international regulations. The Computer
Forensics must be provided in terms of services, ensuring
rights and duties between clients and providers. This is a
negotiation that should be made between the parties.
Computing is a key element, considering that the elements of
compliance in providing cloud services to grow. In Brazil the
PL 5344/2013, presented by Mr. Ruy Carneiro, wants to
regulate the relationship between users and companies of this
type of service.
An example that is worth to mention is the city of Los
Angeles, who adopted an e-mail system to 30,000 employees
in 2009, hiring Google services [19]. In this contract there
are predictions that Google can fix the city in case the system
is broken and city data exposed. On the other hand, the
Gmail service offered to individual customers, allows
Google to processes personal information on servers in the
United States and other countries, which can be a deterrent in
the face of an investigation involving such servers.
As it can be deduced, considering that bargaining power
may be greater on small providers, an expert can find
relevant information to an investigation more easily on these
Some issues that can and should be contractually defined
are: a) data collection amount and frequency, b) where the
information will be stored, c) interface for access to data
pertaining to the incident, d) ways that virtual disk images
will be provided, e) hash format of the files, f) who handles
the evidence on the side of the CSP, g) restrictions on certain
datacenter storage locations, which contain no laws on
privacy and security, or that do not cooperate in
investigations, among other issues that can troubleshoot data
spoliation or deterring investigations involving data in the
From the technical view providers may consider creating
automated systems that collect and preserve ESI (Electronic
Stored Information) pertaining to customers, for cases
involving incidents. Other issues that must be considered in
the technical side are: a) Ability to capture specific packages
in relation to client servers b) Potential access to routers and
other network components c) Segmented access to Firewall
record; d) Access to the service hops, e) Creating an instance
for log storage.
In this scenario, although not exhaustive, the first lines to
design a model for process efficiency of investigations and
digital forensic in the cloud were presented. They can be
extended to model specific processes for each one of the
different cloud computing technologies.
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Investigations in Computing Environments”, IEEE/SADFE
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
With overwhelming use of Internet, security in Cyberspace has become a prime concern. The forensic digital analysis as a whole, in its relative infancy, is the unwilling victim of the rapid advancement of computer technology, so it is at the mercy of ever more new and complex computing approaches. Forensic digital analysis is unique among the forensic sciences in that it is inherently mathematical and generally comprises more data from an investigation than is present in other types of forensics. The digital investigation process can be driven using numerous forensic investigation models. Among these is the need to analyze forensic materials over complex chains of evidence in a wide variety of heterogeneous computing platforms, environments and transports. This paper compares and contrasts different forensic investigation models and highlights the main components of forensic investigation model. It also proposes a fusion based investigation tool by grouping and merging the same activities or processes that provide the same output into an appropriate phase and mapping them into the domain of data fusion. This grouping process of the activities will balance the investigation process and mapping them into data fusion domain will produce more quality data for analysis and can produce potential legal digital evidence as an expert testimony in the court of law.
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Streaming at 1:00: In the Cloud". The White House -Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation
  • V Kundra
V. Kundra, "Streaming at 1:00: In the Cloud". The White House -Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, in press.
Global Survey: Has Cloud Computing Matured
Kelton Research, " Global Survey: Has Cloud Computing Matured? ". Third Annual Report, June 2011, in press.
Data security and privacy stopping cloud implementations
  • Ciphercloud
CipherCloud, "Data security and privacy stopping cloud implementations", in press.