Building a Forensics Workstation

Define the computer forensics approach clearly before Building a Forensics Workstation. For developing a forensics laboratory, the total estimated cost incurred to meet the accreditation standards of a standardized body that certifies labs will be the deciding factor for fund allocation. Funding is important in order for a successful implementation of the computer forensics lab. Calculate the yearly budget allocation for a forensics lab, based on the previous year’s statistics as well as estimated trends for the next year. This includes the number of cases handled, the training required for staff, upgrading hardware and software tools in the lab, additional equipment required for enhancing the security of the lab premises, renovation of the lab, recruitment of additional certified personnel if needed, and many other deciding factors.

The computer forensics workstation should have facilities and tools to:

  • Support hardware-based local and remote network drive duplication
  • Validate the image and the file’s integrity
  • Identify the date and time of creation, access and modification of a file
  • Identify deleted files
  • Support removable media
  • Isolate and analyze free drive space

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Basic Workstation Requirements in a Forensics Lab

Forensic workstations are high-end computers with fast processing speed, high memory, and disk storage. These workstations can serve critical processes such as duplication of data, recovering data from deleted files, analyzing data over the network, and retrieving data from the slack. These workstations come with forensics tools that help the investigator in an investigation. The investigation includes various high-end and low-end processes; thus, the hardware configuration of forensic workstations used for extreme processing will be different from that of a workstation used for doing routine tasks.

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The hardware requirements for a basic forensic workstation are as follows:

  • Processor with high computing speed
  • 8 GB RAM for satisfying minimum processing requirements
  • DVD-ROM, Blu-ray with read/write facility
  • Motherboard, which supports IDE, SCSI, USB, slot for LAN/WAN card, and a fan attached for cooling the processor
  • Tape drive, USB drive, removable drive bays
  • Monitor, keyboard, and mouse according to comfort of investigator
  • A minimum of two hard drives for loading two different operating systems
    The two operating systems should preferably be Windows and Linux
  • Extra RAM and hard disk in case of any need

Build a Computer Forensics Toolkit

The investigator should have a collection of hardware and software tools for acquiring data during the investigation. If the investigator is familiar with the investigation toolkit, it can offer a quick response during the investigation of the incident. A sophisticated investigation toolkit can reduce the incident impact by stopping the incident from spreading through the systems. This will minimize the organization’s damage and aid the investigation process as well.

A computer investigation toolkit contains:
  • A laptop computer with relevant software tools
  • Operating systems and patches
  • Application media
  • Write-protected backup devices
  • Blank media
  • Basic networking equipment and cables

Also Read : Evidence Locker Recommendations

Create the toolkit before commencing an investigation, as the Investigating team needs to be familiar with these tools before performing the investigation.

Questions related to this topic

  1. What are computer forensic tools?
  2. What are the three best forensic tools?
  3. Which tool is needed for a computer forensics job?
  4. What is forensic workstation?

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