growing implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) is continually changing the
way we live and work. It is projected to lead to the connection of tens of
billions of data-spouting devices to the internet, forming intelligent networks
that impact on nearly all aspects of life. Essentially, the IoT is a system of
interrelated computing devices and digital objects served with unique
identifiers and the ability to transfer data over the network without direct
communication between an individual and a computer.
Hitherto, the IoT has had a profound impact on
a couple of systems ranging from advanced city management systems to computer
forensics. In computer forensics, for instance, interconnected devices can
communicate individually and collectively with each other to provide access to
useful digital evidence for solving crimes (Zawoad & Hasan 279). The
purpose of this article is to explain the impacts of IoT on computer forensics.
The paper concludes by discussing some of the major concerns in the
investigation of IoT crimes.
The Internet of Things and Computer
IoT is slowly developing into a
solution in digital forensics investigations. IoT data and information from its
various forms can be used by investigators to decipher its content for
investigation purposes. With some common IoT devices having customizable
applications which can be reviewed and analyzed during investigations, the
process is virtually easy and efficient. The main impact of IoT in forensics
can be described as ensuring the efficiency of computer forensic
investigations. The technology may, however, expose the investigations to
vulnerability in case the data is compromised through deletion or hacking.
Improved Efficiency of
is made of areas such as fixed computing, virtualization, cloud computing,
artificial intelligence, RFID technologies, and sensors. IoT forensics,
therefore, encompasses all these areas. Typically, IoT uses the Radio Frequency
Identification (RFID) and other technologies like sensors and similar forms of
embedded computing to transform objects to have communication capabilities and
smartness (Oriwoh et al. 608). Through the control of other smart devices,
these objects can communicate both directly and remotely. A good example is the
recent use of the Amazon’s Echo and the Echo Dot, its counterpart. The devices
work by sending voice recordings to the provider’s data center for analysis if
there is a need (Nuncic n.p). The data can in many ways, including the
investigation of a murder case. Such data was, for instance, used in a murder
case in which an individual was found dead after a house party. In the case,
data from the device is being used as evidence to unravel the real cause of the
devices previously have been used as credible sources of lawsuit evidence. Some
of the smart devices used in IoT include wearable devices, smoke/Co detectors,
alarm systems, and door sensors. All these are often equipped with wireless
communication for remote transfer of data to other central servers. If the data
from these devices is properly represented during a lawsuit, it turns out to be
very powerful for forensic investigation. The available digital evidence is
good provided it can be associated with a user behind the information. For
instance, a Canadian personal injury lawyer presented evidence in a civil
lawsuit using data from a wearable device Fitbit. In the investigation,
forensic analysis is performed on the device to show all the activities that
depict the use of the wearable. This could be either a phone call or a certain
activity made and recorded in the device (Tripwire n.p)
Aziz, and Young (750) point out that with the use of IoT smart devices, timely
detection and reduction of crimes can be achieved. They propose that attaching
wearable sensing devices to potentially danger-vulnerable individual and
performing emotion mining on the user can have a profound impact on their
security since we can identify when the person is in a dangerous situation.
It is evident that with the use of
data from the multiple IoT devices, security can be beefed up. Providing
evidence from the digital storage media can be used as a deterrent to crimes.
With the possibility of having evidence from the smart devices, those in
engagement with the devices would always be wary of what may befall them in
case a crime is committed. For instance, a driver operating a smart car always
feels at risk when manipulating their speed. However, with the increasing
vulnerability of these IoT systems, hackers might access the software through
malicious means and control the speed, steering, and brakes.
Potentiality of Data
also posed some challenges to digital forensics investigations. Just as the use
of IoT has facilitated efficient digital forensic investigations, it has
brought issues in the process as well. As is the case with any other digital
computing system, IoT is subject to misappropriation and misuse. With users
bearing the right to turn off their devices, the use of IoT can lead to a
compromised forensic investigation. It is possible for users to delete their
recordings if they do not wish to store them. This would mean that the data recorded
would be compromised therefore diminishing the credibility of any forensic
information that would rely on the data.
Additionally, IoT systems can be
hacked, or infected with malware to inflict damage on them. Often, the IoT
technology is often accused of employing low-security mechanisms. The
vulnerability of this technology to fraud, malicious attacks, phishing,
ransomware, and SQL injection has been a major issue of concern for forensics
professionals and organizations. In case
of an attack on an IoT device, it can be exploited by the criminals in a manner
that would lead to compromise of data. Cyber criminals can manipulate the data
contained in the smart devices, leading to the wrong information which can lead
to imprecise interpretation (Zulkipli, Huda, Ahmed, and Gary 315). This is
potentially a nightmare for the digital forensics organizations.
no doubt changing the way we live and work, notably in computer forensics.
However, mechanisms ought to be put in place to deal with the major security
and privacy issues that it poses- the vulnerability of the IoT devices to
compromise by hackers or the users of such devices. Shortly, the number of
cybercrime cases related to IoT technology is yet expected to be on the rise.
With these incidences increasingly alarming, there is a need for a new approach
to handle crimes related to IoT devices. This also means proper handling and
real-time investigations in doing the IoT forensics.
In conclusion, Internet of Things has
much to offer in the area of computer forensics considering the way it is
continually changing the way we live and work. We are likely to witness even
more from IoT forensics in the future. This will be a benefit to not only the
criminal investigators, but also to organizations and individuals to whom a
crime is committed.