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The best digital forensics tool in 2023, as found in our independent testing, is ProDiscover Forensic!
The significance of digital forensics has been increasing a lot lately, mainly because of the rising possibilities of cyber-attacks getting their systems infiltrated.
There has been a lot of improvement and evolution in the forensic investigation tools, which has led to the progress of organizations in identifying malicious actors and whatnot.
What Is Digital Forensics?
Digital forensics, a branch of forensic science, is concerned with the recovery of data and the use of analysis techniques to provide complete reports on security investigations.
The extraction, preservation, analysis and documentation of computer-related data are done by the use of established protocols and forensic procedures of digital forensics.
The frequent use of forensic results lies in the determination of any possible illegal activities.
In simple words, digital forensics is all about discovering, recovering and documenting electronically stored information (ESI) from cell phones and computers legally.
It won’t be wrong to regard digital forensics as a vital link between today’s criminal investigations and high tech crimes.
What Are Digital Forensics Tools?
The software applications that are used for the investigation of digital devices and documentation of computer evidence are called digital forensics tools.
Mostly these tools are associated with law enforcement, but a whole lot of IT professionals and network administrators also use them.
Following an investigation case, computer forensics investigators log into the system and collect evidence.
In order to analyze the data for discrepancies, its comparison is set with the other evidence. In this way, investigators know about whatever happened on the device at a given time.
Our daily lives are incomplete without so much involvement of software, including computers and laptops at home and work, smartphones, smartwatches, activity trackers and whatnot.
This is why the popularity of digital forensics tools over all these years is not quite surprising.
Best Digital Forensics Tools & Computer Software 2023
There is a plethora of digital forensics tools and software to choose from, which differ from one another in terms of specialities offered to them.
This article concerns the description of the most common forensics tools used for computer forensics investigation.
So, let’s study them one by one.
- ProDiscover Forensic – 🏆 Winner!
- The Sleuth Kit (+Autopsy)
- IBM Security QRadar
- PDF To Excel Converter
- Registry Recon
- SIFT Workstation
1. ProDiscover Forensic
ProDiscover Forensic is one of the most widely used computer forensics tools that perform the task of locating data on the computer disk.
Not only does it protect evidence, but it also makes quality reports that can be used in legal procedures.
The best thing about ProDiscover forensic is that it analyzes JPEG files and carries out the extraction of EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) information from them.
As far as the support from this forensics software is concerned, Linux file systems, Mac and Windows are supported pretty well.
It allows the fast search and preview of files that you are suspicious about.
The original evidence is totally safe with ProDiscover forensic as it copies the entire suspected disk. You can also see the internet history of the user.
Talking about the .dd images, their export and import are also done by this reliable digital forensics software.
Whenever there is a need to run a captured image, ProDiscover forensic tool supports VMware.
2. The Sleuth Kit (+Autopsy)
On the list of the most well-known digital investigation tools, the Sleuth Kit and Autopsy stand on the top. This Windows-based utility tool makes the volume system forensic analysis easier.
With the help of this software, you can do an examination of your smartphone and hard drive.
The use of modular architecture in the design of this tool ensures the easy incorporation of additional functionality by the users.
TSK is an open-source tool, but it is also accompanied by commercial support and training.
There is a library of command-line tools through which administrators can do the analysis of the file system data and invest in disk images.
The performance of TSK is totally reliable whether the computer system investigations are public or private.
The extensible and user-friendly digital forensics software of TSK and autopsy has appealed to a large number of users and devices.
It is capable of completing tasks like timeline analysis, folder flagging, multimedia extraction, and hash filtering.
TSK and autopsy are one of the best digital forensics tools when it comes to the use of the graphical interface for the identification of activity. You can also analyze emails.
The access to all the images and documents is commendable. The forensics software of TSK and autopsy has a feature of displaying a thumbnail of images so that you can view the pictures quickly.
It also enables you to use arbitrary tag names for tagging the files. That’s not it.
The extraction of data from contacts, call logs, SMS, etc., is also done by TSK. On the basis of path and name, you can flag folders and files.
Caine, Computer-Aided Investigative Environment, is one of the top-notch computer forensics tools that is used for digital forensic investigations.
Italian developers have used interoperable software in this tool for its smooth integration with existing security tools. In this way, a user-friendly GUI is provided.
The open-source nature of this digital forensics software gives the flexibility to the organizations for the redistribution and modification of their needs for Windows, Unix and Linux systems.
There are a bunch of useful features that Caine flaunts, including automatic extraction of timeline from RAM and a user-friendly interface.
4. IBM Security QRadar
Security professionals can completely trust QRadar in giving them centralized access to actionable insights and security data whenever critical threats are concerned.
QRadar is one of the best forensics tools as it enables security analysts to evaluate their security posture and dig important information on the most serious risks.
With the help of this forensics software, the investigation process is investigated, and you don’t have to switch between the tools.
The best thing about QRadar is its anomaly detection capability, through which the identification of changes in user behavior is possible. You might catch the user before it poses any threat.
QRadar can successfully retrace the actions taken by the suspected cybercriminals.
Regardless of what the security incident is, the data and evidence related to it can be efficiently rebuilt by QRadar.
The threat-prevention management of this computer forensics software is exemplary.
The forensics software of ExtraHop Reveal(x) uses the defense technology that not only detects the security threats but also responds to them in a manner that they are unable to undermine the business security.
With the use of cloud-scale Al, ExtraHop processes petabytes of data on a daily basis.
In this way, the decryption and analysis of all the workloads and infrastructure are done remarkably.
The incredible visibility of ExtraHop for hunting advanced threats is the basic reason behind this tool being a successful computer forensics software.
The identification of threats is easy with ExtraHop, thanks to the behavior-based analytics that it offers. This tool is so advanced that it takes no such time to address exposed resources and rogue instances.
The feature that sets ExtraHop apart from the other digital forensics tools is its ability to classify the devices that are interacting on the same network.
Thus, it is a great help for the security teams in detecting malicious actors.
6. PDF To Excel Converter
Acrobat PDF to Excel Converter is a forensics software that comes with a lot of features. The PDF data is transferred through this convertor into an Excel spreadsheet.
No matter where the cybercriminals are, security officers can smoothly track them down with the help of this converted file.
Not only does the partial conversion, but the batch conversion also gets its support from this computer forensics software.
You don’t have to worry about the distortion of the original layout and formatting, as the PDF to Excel converter retains that.
You can work with this tool from anywhere in the world. Its fast speed and high-quality input add more to its features.
Volatility had its first version launched in 2007.
The purpose of Volatility forensics software is to carry out memory analysis and advanced forensics.
It is an imaging tool that uses the data found in RAM for the testing runtime state of a system. With the help of Volatility, your collaboration with your teammates is also possible.
The open-source framework of Volatility uses volatile memory (RAM) forensics for detecting malware in the system.
It is a useful forensics software that preserves the evidence in memory and prevents its loss during a system shutdown.
The innovative memory forensics technology is the reason behind the top position of Volatility Foundation on the list of most reliable digital forensics vendors.
The compatibility of Volatility with Windows, macOS and Linux is yet another feature that this tool flaunts. It uses in-depth research to get access to the malicious codes and OS internals.
Wireshark has been one of the most popular digital forensics tools ever since its launch in 1998. The specialization of Wireshark is in the department of forensic investigation of the entire network.
It is a network protocol analyzer that carries out the analysis of network packets by conducting troubleshooting and testing.
The focus of most of the forensics tools is on the endpoint. However, forensics investigation doesn’t rely on the endpoint as the only source of useful data.
Talking about the cyber attacks, most of them occur over the network.
Wireshark is a forensics software that analyzes network traffic captures so that malware can be identified. Not only that, but it also gets you access to the data overwritten on the endpoint.
Hundreds of protocols are inspected in a three-pane packet browser by Wireshark.
It is compatible with a number of platforms, including Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, Linus, Solaris and NetBSD.
Wireshark is an open-source tool that has a substantive list of features to offer, including network analysis with VoIP(Voice over internet protocol) analysis, exporting outputs to XML (Extensible Markup Language) and capturing files compressed with gzip.
It allows the security investigators to read the live data from the network, ATM, Bluetooth, USB, etc.
There are a number of protocols that get their decryption support from Wireshark, including IPsec(Internet Protocol Security), WEP(Wired Equivalent Privacy) and SSL(Secure Sockets Layer).
The application of coloring rules and intuitive analysis to the packet is also possible. Besides, no matter what the format the files are in, you can read and write them.
With Wireshark, you can successfully keep a check on which traffic your computer system lets go through.
9. Registry Recon
Windows OS has a database of its configuration information in the form of the windows registry. The information and data of applications running on Windows are also stored in the registry.
Therefore, persistence mechanisms of malware mostly attack the windows registry.
The built-in Windows application Regedit allows the opening and viewing of the Windows registry. There are some forensics platforms that the registry analysis is built into.
However, a digital forensics software like Registry Recon can use a forensic image and rebuild Windows registries.
With this efficient program, you can have information on the external devices that any PC has connected to.
Multiple operating systems get supported by Registry Recon, including Windows XP and Vista 7,8,10.
The automatic recovery of NTFS data through Registry Recon has gathered a lot of customers. The integration of this program with the Microsoft Disk Manager utility tool is also possible.
EnCase is a popular name in forensic cyber security investigations. For ten consecutive years, it has won the SC Magazine’s “Best Computer Forensic Solution” award.
It is a digital forensics software that helps professionals in recovering evidence on hard drives and mobile phones.
Whether the evidence is in the form of pictures or documents, you can get it after conducting an in-depth analysis of the files.
EnCase has been a potential help in cases concerning cyber security breaches since 1998.
With EnCase, there are a number of devices that you can acquire data from. The maintenance of evidence integrity cannot get any better as EnCase gives complete reports.
Apart from the fast search and identification of the evidence, you can prioritize it. There is also a possibility of the evidence being encrypted.
EnCase can unlock that evidence and ensure a smooth recovery. The software life cycle package of EnCase extends from triage to final reports.
The best feature of EnCase is its platform, OpenText Media Analyzer, which enables the investigators to review the cases faster manually by summarizing the content.
It’s not just the local law enforcement that gets benefits from the services of EnCase but also the small companies, schools, universities, consulting organizations and federal state.
11. SIFT Workstation
SIFT stands for the SANS Investigative Forensics Toolkit. Equipped with a plethora of forensic tools, There are a lot of settings where a detailed digital investigation is possible, thanks to the innovative forensics technologies used in the making of this forensics software.
Without altering the discovered evidence, the SIFT tool kit uses the read-only manner to carry out the examination of raw disks and file formats.
It’s not just the raw evidence for mates that the SIFT is compatible with but also with advanced forensic format (AFF) and expert witness format (E01).
The working of SIFT is possible in a 64-bit operating system.
With a computer forensics software like SIFT, the utilization of memory is done in a better way. The installation of this tool can be done from the SIFT-CLI (Command Line Interface) installer.
SIFT is also popular for the incorporation of separate tools, including Volatility and Autopsy.
The free availability of SIFT marks it as one of the most used forensics tools. In addition, it keeps getting updated on a regular basis.