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Cloud Forensics Glossary

The cloud has revolutionized the way we store and access data. However, this shift has also brought new challenges to the field of digital forensics. One of the most important challenges is maintaining chain of custody, which is the unbroken trail that demonstrates the origin, movement, and transformation of digital evidence.


This blog post will serve as a glossary of key terms in cloud forensics, helping you understand the complex world of digital investigations in the cloud.








Chain of custody in the cloud


Chain of custody is critical in any forensic investigation, but it becomes even more important in the cloud environment. Traditional methods of maintaining chain of custody, such as using physical copies of data, are often not feasible in the cloud. This is because cloud data is often distributed across multiple servers and can be accessed by multiple users.




Challenges of maintaining chain of custody in the cloud


There are several challenges to maintaining chain of custody in the cloud, including:



    • Data location and distribution: Cloud data is often stored across multiple servers in different geographical locations. This makes it difficult to track the movement of data and ensure that it has not been tampered with.


    • Shared responsibility: In the cloud, multiple entities may have access to and control over data. This can make it difficult to determine who is responsible for maintaining the chain of custody.


    • Logging and auditing: Cloud providers often have their own logging and auditing systems. It is important to understand how these systems work and how they can be used to track the movement of data.





Techniques for maintaining chain of custody in the cloud


Despite the challenges, there are several techniques that can be used to maintain chain of custody in the cloud, such as:



    • Hashing: Hashing is a mathematical process that creates a unique fingerprint of a piece of data. This fingerprint can be used to verify that the data has not been tampered with.


    • Logging and auditing: Cloud providers often offer logging and auditing services that can track the movement of data. These logs can be used to reconstruct the chain of custody.


    • Encryption: Encryption can be used to protect data at rest and in transit. This can help to prevent unauthorized access to data and ensure its integrity.


    • Immutable storage: Immutable storage is a type of storage that cannot be modified or deleted. This can help to ensure that the original state of data is preserved.



Cloud forensics glossary terms


In addition to the terms mentioned above, here are some other important terms in cloud forensics:



    • Cloud forensics: The application of digital forensics techniques to investigate crimes or incidents in the cloud.


    • Digital evidence: Any information that can be used in a legal proceeding. In cloud forensics, this may include data stored in the cloud, logs, and metadata.


    • Cloud service provider (CSP): A company that provides cloud computing services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).


    • Virtualization: The process of creating a virtual machine (VM) that runs on top of a physical machine. VMs are often used in the cloud to provide isolated environments for applications.


    • Hypervisor: The software that manages VMs.


    • Container: A unit of software that packages code and its dependencies together. Containers are often used in the cloud to deploy and run microservices.





Cloud forensics is a complex and rapidly evolving field. However, by understanding the key terms and techniques involved, you can better understand how to investigate crimes and incidents in the cloud.