Formalising Investigative Decision Making in Digital Forensics: Proposing the Digital Evidence Reporting and Decision Support (DERDS) framework

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Abstract

In the field of digital forensics it is crucial for any practitioner to possess the ability to make reliable investigative decisions which result in the reporting of credible evidence. This competency should be considered a core attribute of a practitioner's skill set and it is often taken for granted that all practitioners possess this ability; in reality this is not the case. A lack of dedicated research and formalisation of investigative decision making models to support digital forensics practitioner's is an issue given the complexity of many digital investigations. Often, the ability to make forensically sound decisions regarding the reliability of any findings is arguably an assumed trait of the practitioner, rather than a formally taught competency. As a result, the digital forensic discipline is facing increasing recent scrutiny with regards to the quality and validity of evidence it’s practitioners are producing. This work offers the Digital Evidence Reporting and Decision Support (DERDS) framework, designed to help the practitioner assess the reliability of their ‘inferences, assumptions of conclusions’ in relation to any potentially evidential findings. The structure and application of the DERDS framework is discussed, demonstrating the stages of decision making a practitioner must undergo when evaluating the accuracy of their findings, whilst also recognising when content may be deemed unsafe to report.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-151
JournalDigital Investigation
Volume28
Early online date25 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

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