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A practical guide to digital forensics investigations (2nd ed.)
Hayes D., Pearson, Boston, MA, 2021. 677 pp.  Type: Book (978-7-897599-18-3)
Date Reviewed: Jul 28 2021

Digital forensics has gained much interest in recent decades. Computing devices are widespread and used for countless applications. As a result, a huge number of digital traces can be fetched, analyzed, and, in case of a crime, used as evidence. A practical guide to digital forensics investigations, by Darren Hayes, aims at providing a complete tutorial on digital forensics.

There are many myths and misconceptions about computer forensics investigations, for example, they are about computer crime, restoring deleted files, and so on. Chapter 1 aims at debunking all these myths. It also details the different types of digital evidence and the skillset needed by a digital forensics investigator. It also contains a brief history of the field and lists possible training and job opportunities.

Chapters 2 and 3 cover the Windows operating and file systems, and computer hardware handling, respectively. Chapter 4 then explains how to set up a computer forensics laboratory in order to extract evidence.

Chapter 5 focuses on online investigations, including website evidence and online crime. An important part of an investigator’s job is documentation and reporting. Chapter 6 details how to do it in the context of digital investigations. Not all digital evidence is admissible, as it should follow the legal system in place. Chapter 7 discusses the legal system in the US, the principles of search and seizure with regards to computers and other digital devices, and the rules for the admissibility of evidence. The chapter concludes with a discussion of privacy legislation in both the European Union (EU) and Asia.

Chapter 8 focuses on network attack investigations. Chapter 9 provides a detailed explanation of mobile forensics, followed by mobile app investigations in chapter 10. Digital photograph forensics plays a major role in several investigations, including cases of missing and exploited children. This topic is covered in chapter 11, which contains a set of case studies.

Chapter 12 covers Mac forensics. A set of case studies--some of them quite recent--is detailed in chapter 13. Finally, digital forensics for emerging technologies and devices is covered in the last chapter (14). This includes fitness trackers, smart watches, cryptocurrency mining, and vehicle forensics.

Written in a simple language, the book targets a large audience of computer science practitioners. It is self-contained, detailed, and up to date. Every chapter concludes with a set of questions for assessing the reader’s understanding, as well as classroom discussions in order to encourage further research. Some chapters, such as chapter 2 on the Windows operating system, contain practical hands-on exercises. The book provides readers with the right toolset to become a digital forensics investigator.

A practical guide to digital forensics investigations is an excellent book: clear, complete, and useful. I highly recommend it to both beginners in the field and experienced practitioners, as it contains insights into the most important questions raised when completing a digital investigation.

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Reviewer:  Ghita Kouadri Review #: CR147319 (2111-0266)
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