(also backtracking attack)
Backtracking is a cybersecurity term that refers to the process of tracing a cyberattacker’s steps by analyzing the digital footprints left during an attack. This method helps security experts and law enforcement agencies identify the attacker’s identity, location, and techniques used as well as prevent future attacks by uncovering vulnerabilities exploited by the attacker.
- Analyzing server logs: By examining server logs, investigators can identify IP addresses, time stamps, and user agents associated with the attack, which can lead to identifying the attacker’s location and the devices used.
- Studying malware signatures: Security experts can analyze the code and behavior of the malware used in an attack to identify the attacker’s tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and compare them to known threat actors.
Backtracking vs. digital forensics
Backtracking focuses on tracing the steps of a cyberattacker, while digital forensics encompasses a broader range of activities, including the collection, preservation, analysis, and presentation of digital evidence in legal cases.