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Automated Production of Predetermined Digital Evidence

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4 Author(s)
Aniello Castiglione ; Department of Computer Science, University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy ; Giuseppe Cattaneo ; Giancarlo De Maio ; Alfredo De Santis

Digital evidence is increasingly used in juridical proceedings. In some recent legal cases, the verdict has been strongly influenced by the digital evidence proffered by the defense. Digital traces can be left on computers, phones, digital cameras, and also on remote machines belonging to ISPs, telephone providers, companies that provide services via Internet such as YouTube, Facebook, Gmail, and so on. This paper presents a methodology for the automated production of predetermined digital evidence, which can be leveraged to forge a digital alibi. It is based on the use of an automation, a program meant to simulate any common user activity. In addition to wanted traces, the automation may produce a number of unwanted traces, which may be disclosed upon a digital forensic analysis. These include data remanence of suspicious files, as well as any kind of logs generated by the operating system modules and services. The proposed methodology describes a process to design, implement, and execute the automation on a target system, and to properly handle both wanted and unwanted evidence. Many experiments with different combinations of automation tools and operating systems are conducted. This paper presents an implementation of the methodology through VBScript on Windows 7. A forensic analysis on the target system is not sufficient to reveal that the alibi is forged by automation. These considerations emphasize the difference between digital and traditional evidence. Digital evidence is always circumstantial, and therefore it should be considered relevant only if supported by stronger evidence collected through traditional investigation techniques. Thus, a Court verdict should not be based solely on digital evidence.

Automated Production of Predetermined Digital Evidence. Automated Production of Predetermined Digital Evidence.

Published in:

IEEE Access  (Volume:1 )
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