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    Best Practices for Triage Collection in DFIR

    When it comes to cybersecurity, effective triage collection is paramount. The ability to quickly and accurately gather, process, and analyze data can make the difference between a contained incident and a full-blown security breach. Here, we outline best practices for triage collection to enhance your incident response strategy, ensuring your organization is prepared for any potential threats.

    Identify Data Sources and Be Prescriptive in What You Collect

    Efficient triage collection starts with identifying the right data sources. The aim is to reduce acquisition resources and processing time by focusing on the most relevant artifacts. Following guidelines from NIST, the best practice for live data triage collection should be based on:

    • The likely value of the artifacts to the investigation.
    • The volatility of the data.
    • The effort required to acquire that data.

    Key artifacts to collect include network connection states, logged on users, currently executing processes, event logs, $MFT, registry hives, and volatile memory. After an initial analysis of triage evidence, if a full disk image is necessary, it can be acquired, processed, and analyzed automatically.

    Ensure Primary and Backup Connection Methods

    Establishing and maintaining access to the machines you need to triage is crucial. Plan and implement primary and backup methods to get shell access, whether through XDR, RDP, or other means. This ensures that even if one method fails, you have alternatives to continue your investigation without delay. In AWS for example, you have multiple options including EC2 Instance Connect to connect to systems without more traditional SSH access.

    If you have an environment with 50,000 hosts and you believe, based on initial detections, that some may be compromised. By following an effective incident response plan, you should be able to narrow the scope of your investigation significantly by performing the following, as an example:



    Collect and Process Data Efficiently

    Standardizing and documenting the collection and processing of evidence data is essential for efficiency. Where possible, collect and process evidence from systems of interest in parallel. This approach accelerates the analysis of key events, enabling quicker resolution of incidents and reducing overall risk to the organization.

    Analyze Data Holistically

    A holistic view of all pieces of evidence during an investigation is critical. This comprehensive perspective allows security teams to move swiftly through containment, eradication, and recovery phases. Develop methods to collect and aggregate data at scale, providing the ability to view and drill down into data in a timeline or other user-friendly formats across all systems.

    Refine and Sharpen Your Toolset

    Staying current with the latest trends and technological advancements in the industry is essential. For instance, the rapid adoption of cloud computing has forced many organizations to adapt their incident response processes for cloud environments. The cloud, however, can be a significant asset to your security team. Consider utilizing cloud resources to collect, process, and store evidence in a secure, flexible, and efficient manner.

    By following these best practices, organizations can enhance their triage collection processes, ensuring they are prepared to respond swiftly and effectively to any security incident. In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, being proactive and well-prepared is the best defense.

    If you want to know more about what the Cado platform can do to speed up your investigations, schedule a demo with our team. 

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