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Reconstruction of falsified computer logs for digital forensics investigations

Tang, Maolin & Fidge, Colin J. (2010) Reconstruction of falsified computer logs for digital forensics investigations. In Proceedings of the 8th Australasian Information Security Conference (AISC 2010), Australian Computer Society, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland.

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Abstract

Digital forensics investigations aim to find evidence that helps confirm or disprove a hypothesis about an alleged computer-based crime. However, the ease with which computer-literate criminals can falsify computer event logs makes the prosecutor's job highly challenging. Given a log which is suspected to have been falsified or tampered with, a prosecutor is obliged to provide a convincing explanation for how the log may have been created. Here we focus on showing how a suspect computer event log can be transformed into a hypothesised actual sequence of events, consistent with independent, trusted sources of event orderings. We present two algorithms which allow the effort involved in falsifying logs to be quantified, as a function of the number of `moves' required to transform the suspect log into the hypothesised one, thus allowing a prosecutor to assess the likelihood of a particular falsification scenario. The first algorithm always produces an optimal solution but, for reasons of efficiency, is suitable for short event logs only. To deal with the massive amount of data typically found in computer event logs, we also present a second heuristic algorithm which is considerably more efficient but may not always generate an optimal outcome.

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ID Code: 31102
Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Digital forensics, Computer logs, Event correlation
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > COMPUTER SOFTWARE (080300) > Computer System Security (080303)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Institutes > Information Security Institute
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Australian Computer Society and the authors
Deposited On: 03 Mar 2010 10:20
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2010 00:56

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