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5 digital forensics tools experts use in 2023

A data breach prompts law enforcement and affected organizations to investigate. These five digital forensics tools help with evidence collection and incident response.

Digital forensics tools have become vitally important to data breach investigations. Experts need them to uncover, analyze and interpret digital evidence.

Law enforcement uses digital forensics tools when solving crimes. Businesses also use them to conduct incident response and recover data. For example, organizations can use digital forensics tools to analyze how a breach occurred, whether attackers accessed or exfiltrated data, and how the malicious actors moved through the network.

With this information, organizations can accurately describe an attack to affected stakeholders and law enforcement. The tools' widespread use provides information on the tactics, techniques and procedures of cybercriminal groups.

Digital forensics products range from all-encompassing suites of tools to dedicated single products designed for specific tasks. Listed below and arranged alphabetically are five tools used and respected by digital forensics experts for either criminal investigations, incident response or both.

Many digital forensics experts use multiple tools to handle different aspects of the forensics process, depending on the requirements of the investigation.

1. Cellebrite

Cellebrite is the go-to tool provider for mobile forensics, offering broad support of mobile devices and advanced data exfiltration. Cellebrite offers multiple mobile device forensics platforms, including Cellebrite Universal Forensic Extraction Device, Cellebrite Premium Enterprise, Cellebrite Premium as a Service and Cellebrite Inspector. Its products can be used in concert with other digital forensics tools. For example, a cybersecurity investigator can do computer forensics with Magnet Axiom and then switch to Cellebrite for mobile data extraction and analysis.

Organizations can contact Cellebrite for information on which digital forensics platform suits their needs and for pricing.

For more information on the vendor's various digital forensics tools, visit Cellebrite's page.

2. Magnet Axiom

Magnet Axiom is commonly used for high-level analysis. It supports investigation and analysis of computer, mobile, cloud and vehicle data. Beneficial features include automation and an accessible UI designed to be simple to use. Axiom offers a less clunky display and formats investigation results in a cleaner manner, making it a useful tool for less-technical investigators.

Organizations can try a free 30-day trial of Magnet Axiom. For demo and pricing information, visit Magnet Axiom's page.

3. Velociraptor

Velociraptor is an open source tool designed for internal security teams to gather evidence across all endpoints. It can rapidly gather and store event logs from an organization's endpoints so security teams can examine them for suspicious activity. The lightweight digital forensics tool is still relatively new to the market but boasts consistent development and an active community on Discord for troubleshooting and more.

For more information, visit Velociraptor's page.

4. Wireshark

Wireshark is an open source tool for network analysis that has been in use for more than 20 years. It can show every network packet sent from and received by a device, enabling an investigator to break down the type of traffic, as well as its source and destination. It suits analyzing a potential data breach to see where the attacker is sending compromised data. Wireshark can examine wired and wireless network traffic for connection information and even what a single packet contains.

For more information, visit Wireshark's page.

5. X-Ways Forensics

X-Ways Forensics is a tool for investigators who like to manually dig deep for analysis, rather than rely on automation. It boasts advanced technical features for disk analysis, such as capturing and detailing drive contents, slack space and interpartition space. It can operate even on limited hardware. Forensics experts can start their analysis with other tools, such as Magnet Axiom, and then delve into in-depth analysis using X-Ways.

X-Ways offers nonperpetual and perpetual licenses starting at $1,339 and $3,189, respectively. The vendor also offers WinHex, Investigator and Imager licenses.

For more information, visit X-Ways' Forensics page.

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