Good Reads

Reviewing the latest books in the field

By Cathy Hale

Fraud knowledge is growing rapidly. Online anti-fraud material is abundant but new professional reference books are still added every week. Good Reads will provide reviews on some of the latest books in the field.

Book: "Guide to Computer Forensics and Investigations," 2nd Edition
Authors: Bill Nelson, Amelia Phillips, Frank Enfinger, and Christopher Steuart
Publisher: Thomson Course Technology
Publication date: 2006
Reviewer: Dr. John H. Nugent, CFE, CPA, CISM, Director of the Center for Information Assurance, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Management, University of Dallas, Irving, Texas

With the increasing use of digital communications and processing systems, the world is becoming ever more reliant on computer systems. These systems are increasingly becoming more interconnected via the Internet thereby transcending the first essential of good security: boundaries. And just as Metcalfe has postulated that the value of the "Net" grows at a square of the number of nodes on the Net, so do threats, vulnerabilities, risks, misuse, and compromises increase with more use and interconnectivity.

"Guide to Computer Forensics and Investigations" addresses the growing need for digital examinations and presents the issues of examining digital breaches or crimes. The book takes the complex subject matter of examining digital systems, disk systems, and operating systems, and presents it in a straightforward and easily understood manner. The step-by-step text introduces readers to digital systems and forensic examinations and presents the tools, techniques, steps, methods, processes, procedures, laws, standards, certifications, and training to be followed or obtained to complete a professional digital examination.

The authors present substantial comparisons of digital forensic tools that permit readers to make decisions based on their needs. Fundamentals of good practice from disabling power sources to imaging disk files, to photographing screen shots of open windows before powering down the equipment, to running multiple hash functions with different tools to ensure validity of data capture, all assist both novices and professionals to learning or refresh best digital forensic examination practices.

The authors extensively use comparative tables to summarize data and make the material more useful and offer detailed and understandable guidance on specific codes for imaging disks and data files.

They not only excellently present digital forensic tools, practices, and procedures but also the legal and administrative issues involved in forensic examinations. The authors review U.S. laws from federal and state levels and present privacy constraints in a clear and understandable manner.

The text is accompanied with an excellent CD-ROM that contains two full case studies, which permit the reader to learn the essentials of digital forensic examination firsthand. The cases simulate real-world, computer-based crimes and facilitate the development of best practices in the digital examination process.




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