Implementing Chain of Custody

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If you’re planning on taking the Security+ exam, chain of custody is an important topic for the exam. This post should help on having a basic understanding of it.

For example, can you answer this question?

Q. A security analyst tagged a computer stating when he took possession of it. What is the BEST explanation for this?

A. To calculate time offset

B. To ensure the system is decommissioned

C. To begin a chain of custody

D. To implement separation of duties

More, do you know why the correct answer is correct and the incorrect answers are incorrect? Answer and explanation at end of this post.

Performing a Forensic Evaluation

A forensic evaluation helps the organization collect and analyze data as evidence it can use in the prosecution of a crime. In general, forensic evaluations proceed with the assumption that the data collected will be used as evidence in court. Because of this, forensic practices protect evidence to prevent modification and control evidence after collecting it.

Once the incident has been contained or isolated, the next step is a forensic evaluation. What do you think of when you hear forensics? Many people think about the TV program CSI (short for “crime scene investigation”) and all of its spin-offs. These shows demonstrate the phenomenal capabilities of science in crime investigations.

Computer forensics analyzes evidence from computers to determine details on computer incidents, similar to how CSI personnel analyze evidence from crime scenes. It uses a variety of different tools to gather and analyze computer evidence. Computer forensics is a growing field, and many educational institutions offer specialized degrees around the science. Although you may not be the computer forensics expert analyzing the evidence, you should know about some of the basic concepts related to gathering and preserving the evidence.

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Forensic experts use a variety of forensic procedures to collect and protect data after an attack. A key part of this process is preserving the evidence. In other words, they ensure that they don’t modify the data as they collect it, and they protect it after collection. A rookie cop wouldn’t walk through a pool of blood at a crime scene, at least not more than once. Similarly, employees shouldn’t access systems that have been attacked or power them down.

For example, files have properties that show when they were last accessed. However, in many situations, accessing the file modifies this property. This can prevent an investigation from identifying when an attacker accessed the file. Additionally, data in a system’s memory includes valuable evidence, but turning a system off deletes this data. In general, first responders do not attempt to analyze evidence until they have taken the time to collect and protect it.

Forensic experts have specialized tools they can use to capture data. For example, many experts use EnCase by Guidance Software or Forensic Toolkit by AccessData. These tools can capture data from memory or disks. This includes documents, images, email, webmail, Internet artifacts, web history, chat sessions, compressed files, backup files, and encrypted files. They can also capture data from smartphones and tablets.

CompTIA Security+ Study Guide (SY0-401)

The 401 Version of the Study Guide is Now Available

SY0-401 Study GuideThe CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide is an update to the top-selling SY0-201 and SY0-301 study guides, which have helped thousands of readers pass the exam the first time they took it.

CompTIA Authorized Quality Content (CAQC)After a comprehensive review by ProCert Labs, the SY0-401 version has been certified as CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) and covers every aspect of the SY0-401 exam.

It includes the same elements readers raved about in the previous two versions.

Each of the eleven chapters presents topics in an easy to understand manner and includes real-world examples of security principles in action.

You’ll understand the important and relevant security topics for the Security+ exam, without being overloaded with unnecessary details. Additionally, each chapter includes a comprehensive review section to help you focus on what’s important.


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Over 400 realistic practice test questions with in-depth explanations will help you test your comprehension and readiness for the exam. The book includes:

  • A 100 question pre-test
  • A 100 question post-test
  • Practice test questions at the end of every chapter.

Each practice test question includes a detailed explanation to help you understand the content and the reasoning behind the question. You’ll be ready to take and pass the exam the first time you take it.

If you plan to pursue any of the advanced security certifications, this guide will also help you lay a solid foundation of security knowledge. Learn this material, and you’ll be a step ahead for other exams. This SY0-401 study guide is for any IT or security professional interested in advancing in their field, and a must read for anyone striving to master the basics of IT security.

Kindle edition also available.

Chain of Custody as a Process

A key part of incident response is collecting and protecting evidence. A chain of custody is a process that provides assurances that evidence has been controlled and handled properly after collection. Forensic experts establish a chain of custody when they first collect evidence.

Security professionals use a chain-of-custody form to document this control. The chain-of-custody form provides a record of every person who was in possession of a physical asset collected as evidence. It shows who had custody of the evidence and where it was stored the entire time since collection. Additionally, personnel often tag the evidence as part of a chain-of-custody process. A proper chain-of-custody process ensures that evidence presented in a court of law is the same evidence that security professionals collected.

Chain of Custody

As an example, imagine that Homer collected a hard drive as part of an investigation. However, instead of establishing a chain of custody, he simply stores the drive on his desk with the intention of analyzing it the next day. Is it possible that someone could modify the contents of the drive overnight? Absolutely. Instead, he should immediately establish a chain of custody and lock the drive in a secure storage location.

If evidence is not controlled, someone can modify, tamper, or corrupt it. Courts will rule the evidence inadmissible if there is a lack of adequate control, or even a lack of documentation showing that personnel maintained adequate control. However, the chain of custody provides proof that personnel handled the evidence properly.

Remember this

A chain of custody provides assurances that evidence has been controlled and handled properly after collection. It documents who handled the evidence and when they handled it.


 

Q. A security analyst tagged a computer stating when he took possession of it. What is the BEST explanation for this?

A. To calculate time offset

B. To ensure the system is decommissioned

C. To begin a chain of custody

D. To implement separation of duties

Answer is C. A chain of custody identifies who controlled evidence after it was confiscated. It can start with a tag when a person collects the evidence. Security analysts later create a chain-of-custody log to detail who controlled the evidence at different times.

Time offset is related to different time zones or times recorded on a video recorder.

A security analyst would confiscate a computer to analyze it, not decommission it.

Separation of duties is related to people, not computers.

See Chapter 11 of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide for more information on basic forensic procedures.

Security+ Practice Test Questions

SYO-401 Practice Test Questions Now Available

Over 440 realistic Security+ practice test questions

All questions include explanations so you'll know why the correct answers are correct,

and why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

Pass the Security+ Exam

the First Time You Take It

Multiple quiz formats to let you use these questions based on the way you learn.
  • Learn mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Learn mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. Use this if you want to make sure that you see all of the questions. Learn mode allows you to keep selecting answers until you select the correct answer. Once you select the correct answer, you'll see the explanation. Click here to see how learn mode works.
  • Test mode - randomized. View each of the questions in random order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - not randomized. View each of the questions in the same order. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.
  • Test mode - 100 random questions. View 100 random questions from the full test bank similar to how the Security+ exam has a potential maximum of 100 multiple choice questions. In test mode, you can only see the correct answers and explanations after you complete the test. Click here to see how test mode works.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

 SYO-401 Practice Test Questions Now Available


INCLUDES QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU PREPARE

FOR THE NEW PERFORMANCE BASED QUESTIONS 

Bonus - Performance Based Questions

Additional Security+ questions to help you prepare for the new performance based questions. These are included with the full bank of Security+ practice test questions and are divided into different sections. For example, you'll have access to the following links:

- Performance Based Question - Set 1

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of security to mobile devices and servers in a data center. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 2

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 3

You'll see a graphic showing a network with computers and servers separated by a firewall. The firewall is used to control traffic between the computers and users using rules within an access control list (ACL).  You'll have three questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly identify the relevant components of the rule. The incorrect answers and explanation provide you with insight into how to correctly answer this type of question on the actual exam.

- Performance Based Question - Set 4

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam related to what a forensic analyst would do during an investigation. You'll then have two questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 5

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match protocols and ports. You'll then have seven questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 6

You'll see a list of security controls along with a graphic showing devices and locations within an organization, along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the controls with the devices and locations. You'll then have four questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This question also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 7

You'll see a list of authentication methods and authentication factors along with instructions on what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match the authentication methods with the authentication factors. You'll then have six questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This set also includes a link to a graphic showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

- Performance Based Question - Set 8

You'll see a graphic explaining what you might be required to do on the actual exam to match different types of attacks with the name of the attack type. You'll then have five questions that test your knowledge and ability to correctly answer the questions. This is similar to Set 2 but expands on the possibilities. The set also includes a link to a page showing the end solution for the overall performance based question simulation.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 9

New questions recently added using a different testing engine. See a demo here. This set includes drag and drop and matching questions on ports.

New - Performance Based Question - Set 10

A random set of 20 performance-based questions using drag and drop, matching, sorting, and fill in-the blank. This set includes performance-based questions on RAID.

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions Here

Get the full bank of Security+ Practice Test Questions

You might also like to view an example of Security+ Forensic Performance Based Question.

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CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-401 Study Guide

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