AWS Snapshot Forensics: Preserving Evidence in the Cloud

The cloud offers numerous benefits for business agility and scalability, but security concerns linger. When an incident strikes your AWS environment, gathering evidence quickly and efficiently becomes paramount. That’s where AWS snapshot forensics comes in, leveraging snapshots to capture a frozen state of your system for investigation and analysis. This is specifically useful for preserving EC2’s via the EC2 snapshot ability, but we can also talk more generically about snapshotting data in other compute, although that may require your own custom functionality.
  • We’ve built a platform to automate incident response and forensics in AWS, Azure and GCP — you can grab a demo here. You can also download a free playbook we’ve written on how to respond to security incidents in AWS.
This blog dives deep into the world of AWS snapshot forensics, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to handle security incidents effectively. We’ll explore:
1. Understanding the Landscape:
Forensics in the Cloud vs. Traditional Methods: Grasp the unique challenges and advantages of conducting forensics in the dynamic cloud environment.
The Role of Snapshots: Learn how snapshots act as readily available, point-in-time representations of your EBS volumes, crucial for preserving evidence.
2. Building a Forensic Foundation:
Designing a Forensic Investigation Environment: Discover best practices for setting up a dedicated environment for secure and controlled analysis of evidence.
Automation Solutions: Explore tools like the AWS Security Automation Orchestrator for EC2 to streamline evidence collection and processing.
3. The Nitty-Gritty of Snapshot Forensics:
Workflow Deep Dive: Unpack the step-by-step process of acquiring, analyzing, and preserving evidence from snapshots, including creating S3 buckets for secure storage and utilizing EC2 instances for bit-for-bit disk imaging.
Maintaining Chain of Custody: Understand the importance of chain of custody protocols to ensure evidence integrity and admissibility in legal proceedings.
4. Advanced Techniques and Tools:
Live Forensics vs. Post-Mortem Analysis: Differentiate between capturing evidence from running instances vs. analyzing snapshots, and choose the appropriate approach based on your situation.
Leveraging Open-Source and Third-Party Solutions: Explore tools like AFFACT, FTK Imager, and EnCase for advanced evidence analysis and carving.
5. Case Studies and Real-World Scenarios:
Putting Theory into Practice: Examine real-world examples of how organizations have successfully leveraged AWS snapshot forensics to investigate various security incidents.
Lessons Learned and Best Practices: Glean valuable insights from success stories and failures to strengthen your own incident response capabilities.
Embrace the power of AWS snapshot forensics, and safeguard your cloud environment with the expertise to extract valuable evidence when the moment demands it.