Network forensics definition
Network forensics is a field of digital forensics focusing on the collection and analysis of network data to understand cybersecurity incidents. By capturing and analyzing network traffic with special tools, network forensics experts are able to detect and investigate suspicious events on a computer network.
Types of network forensics techniques
- Packet capture: Packet capture tools record and provide detailed information about network traffic, such as the source and destination IP addresses, protocol information, and payload data. These tools can capture packets in real-time or extract them from saved capture files.
- Traffic analysis: Traffic analysis tools seek to identify patterns and anomalies in network traffic. Traffic analysis tools may be based on statistical analysis, signature-based detection, or behavioral analysis.
- Intrusion detection and prevention (IDP): The primary purpose of IDP tools is detecting and preventing network attacks in real time, but the data they gather can be useful for network forensics. IDP tools constantly monitor network traffic using rule-based detection or machine learning algorithms.
- Protocol analyzers: Protocol analyzers identify potential security issues by examining the behavior and characteristics of network protocols — for example, identifying potential vulnerabilities or signs of protocol misuse.
- Visualization: Visualization tools create visual representations of network activity to help forensics experts identify patterns and anomalies.