Importance of Forensic Tool Validation
Digital forensics is a new discipline in the field of forensic sciences, which is molded by the birth of innovative technology. Digital forensics uses tools, which are mainly computer based devices. In order to fortify the groundwork of digital forensics, the validation of the forensic tools is an integral process to fulfill. These tools ought to be validated in order to guarantee that the results provided by the tools are exactly correct. Also, it should be ensured that the evidences that the tools will bring about can be taken up in the court dealings.
The field of digital forensics is advancing swiftly in terms of its importance and uses. However, there are many concerns that can interrupt and damage the reputation of experienced forensic inspectors. One of the most integral concerns in forensic tools is the validation of the technology being used when conducting an examination or instigation in digital forensics. The discipline of digital forensics is instituted on the ideology of reiterated processes and feature substantiation or verification of facts (Brunty, 2011). A digital forensic examiner is required to be skilled and knowledgeable in designing and preserving high quality validation procedures of forensic tools.
In digital forensics, validation is commonly used to signify confirmation or assurance of results in an examination or in courses of actions (Jackson, 2009). Nonetheless, the method of validation is at times not properly exploited or depicted in some circumstances or perspectives, but it can be organized through different strategies that will be formulated by utilizing appropriate forensic tools. Therefore, the process of validation, especially in forensic tools, should have a stern setting down of the processes required to authenticate or certify a procedure for the validation process in the area of forensics.
Trusted Sources of Tools Validation Reports
New adaptations of forensic tools are generated recurrently by tool producers to endow with innovative approaches and expand the array of obtainable utilities and mechanisms. Forensic tools should be validated to ensure the correctness of results or tests. In this regard, the Department of Justice together with the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Standards & Technology are among the organizations that formulate validation processes for numerous forensic laboratories and forensic examiners. Meanwhile, the National Commission on Forensic Science is planning to work out with the validation tools and reports to guarantee the production of reliable evidences using scientifically precise and meticulous digital forensic methods (Drahl & Widener, 2014).
Processes Used To Validate Forensic Tools
Digital forensics uses a manifold of tools to assess the test results and make sure that the results are precisely presented. It uses different hardware, software, computer systems, mobile devices, and other technology products to maintain the precise judgment on test results and other examination or investigation, whether for the justice system or other related concerns that need accurate outcomes or findings.
Developing the scope of a tool validation plan may involve defining the background and defining what the software or tool should do in a detailed fashion. Developing the scope of the plan also involves creating a protocol for testing. This is done by outlining the steps, tools, and requirements of such tools during the test. This may include an evaluation of multiple test scenarios for the same software or tool. To illustrate, when validating a particular forensic software imaging tool, that tool can be tested to determine whether or not it successfully creates, hashes, and verifies a particular baseline image that has been previously set up.
Information Found In Forensic Tool Validation Reports
The forensic tool validation reports encompass the legitimacy and soundness of sources, based on the results of the forensic examination being undertaken by certified forensic examiners. The evidences are used as information in court hearings or proceedings. The software tools used by forensic specialists are corroborated in order to determine their appropriateness in the forensic undertaking. Current forensic tools should meet certain specifications or qualifications before confirming that these tools are precise and free of unwanted errors. Several forms of software and hardware tools or digital applications can be brought into use in forensic laboratories.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Standards and Technology inculcate the basic principles for software and hardware forensic tools. There are different kinds of cases that need instigation, which is why it is very important to identify the tools that are appropriate and more effective in a certain case or examination. Comprehending how the tools should be used will be beneficial and noteworthy in choosing or deciding upon the software and hardware forensic tools that are necessary in a specific case.
Digital forensic examinations have a main target of recognizing and measuring the occurrence of evidences in order to support a number of conclusions pertinent to digital forensics. The analysis in the recurring stages of evidence investigation should be able to address concerns and questions about the outcome or results. The interpretation of these forensic evidences should be validated accurately so that it can replicate the existing information and examination report, stating that it is clearly investigated or scrutinized by expert forensic examiners and laboratories.
Forensic Examination Analysis
A digital forensic tool validation report can be used to defend or attack the results of a forensic examination report as long as it has all the information needed by the examiner. Hence, the report should be replicated and the forensic illustrations should be accessible for copying purposes by a third party (Garrie, 2014). Furthermore, the examiner should assess the content of the forensic examination report in order to be able to determine if the information is sufficient or overflowing. The digital forensic report must also present a consistent and coherent outline so that it will not lead to wrong conclusions.
Experienced digital forensic examiners utilize a wide range of tools, and it is imperative for them to be aware of their origin and point of view. These forensic tools should be used such that they clearly state the potential issues that may arise upon the presentation of evidences and forensic examination reports. Thus, the importance of a tool validation report is that it will help determine the limitations or boundaries of a forensic test. Frequently, an elucidation of the result is essential to the whole process, with the intention of using suitable measures or completing resolution procedures.
Conceivably, the validation of forensic tools should be considered forceful and significant to the methodology in order for the assessment to have an impact on gaining comprehension and arriving at the correct findings, whether it is executed in the forensic laboratories or moved to a higher court procedure. Without a doubt, supervision and re-evaluation are indispensable tools that can be used with the main intention of ensuring that the validated processes will remain legally binding and applicable even if processes will be modified because of certain parameters or restrictions.
NIST Forensic Tool Validation Report
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created a project named Computer Forensic Tool Testing, with the intention or purpose of establishing a method for the testing of computer forensic software tool. This will be beneficial in investigation or examination purposes as well as for cases that require or call for court proceedings (“CFFT Methodology Overview,” n.d.). The tool will first be validated and tested in order to ensure that the tool can unquestionably produce accurate test results. This testing methodology is motivated by its function and its purpose in the area of digital forensics. Moreover, the CFFT project is established for testing the software tools that are used in forensics, establishing methodologies, implementing it based on decisive factors, and utilizing hardware tools that can also help in the validation process. The CFTT is intended to present a way to determine whether the forensics tools convene their requirements.
On the other hand, the intensification in the field of digital forensics has shaped a growing demand for the latest software or for the development of software that will be proficient in convening the requirements of the forensic examination. These software applications or tools are necessary for providing innovative approach and technology-related ideas in the investigation of cases and in the acquisition of forensic evidences.
In this regard, a further tool validation and authentication structure of forensic tools must be developed in order to test its precision and its importance in the forensic investigation. In addition, test results have got to be recurring and replicated for it to be well thought-out as a permissible electronic proof of evidences. These can be achieved through the use of different forensic tools such as mobile devices, hard drives, and software applications among others.
Brunty, J. (02, March 2011). “Validation of forensic tools and software: A quick guide for the
digital forensic examiner.” Retrieved from
“CFFT Methodology Overview.” (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.cftt.nist.gov/Methodology_Overview.htm
Drahl, C. & Widener, A. (12, May 2014). “Forcing change in forensic science.”
Retrieved from http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i19/Forcing-Change-Forensic-Science.html
Garrie, D. (28, January 2014). “How to evaluate a digital forensic Report – Part 4.”
Retrieved from http://blog.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/practice-of-law/evaluate- digital-forensic-report-part-4/
Jackson, W. (09, November 2009). “NIST report clarifies evaluation of forensic tools for
mobile devices.” Retrieved from