Ever been hacked? Had information stolen? Who do you turn to? What do you do? No matter what the level, a security breech has occurred and action must be taken to ensure a repeat offense doesnâ€™t happen. The first reaction to a security breech is to isolate it and fix it as soon as possible. However, writing to the systems in any way can cause clues to be overwritten. Therefore it is important to discover the identity of the attacker.
The more quickly that forensic analysis is performed the more likely that the attacker, vandal or thief will be apprehended. One of the best places to start in analysis is making a copy of the system that hasnâ€™t been written to. For Windows this is done using a program like Ghost. On the Mac platform using Carbon Copy Cloner or the Disk Utility to create an image is a good move. It is best to get a copy of your system as soon after a security incident as possible.
On local systems, there are some valuable pieces of information that can be obtained about the identity of the person stealing data. This can be anything from the IP address of the attacker to the name of the drive theyâ€™re transferring data to. On many Operating Systems valuable logs or cached files are overwritten on a routine basis. If a clone is made, it is often best to create a clone, or a replica of the system in its current state, as soon as possible.
If itâ€™s a server, then the logs of the server provide good clues as to where to look for the perpetrator. Once again it is helpful to create a clone of the system. However, this is not always possible on production servers. Copying the log files is the next best thing.
Firewalls can provide good clues as well. The logging cycles on firewalls typically store data for a shorter period of time than on workstations or servers. Creating a screen shot in PDF format of the firewalls logs or exporting the logs into a text file is a good starting point. Firewalls typically provide good information on what addresses are communicating with a network. This makes them good at specifically determining the identity of the attacker and according to logging levels, the attacks used.
No matter what the issue, time is of the essence. Contacting a professional to help is a good idea. Getting the FBI or the LA County District Attorneys office involved can take time and this can cause clues to be damaged, lost or destroyed. IT professionals can also assist in creating a chain of custody on the equipment that can later be used in court when and if the person whoâ€™s invaded your privacy is apprehended and put to trial.