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What to Look for in Digital Forensics and Incident Response Experts

While it’s true that the lines between cybersecurity roles have become blurred, some have more significant barriers to entry. The field of digital forensics and incident response (DFIR), in particular, is an altogether different beast. DFIR experts’ job has legal undertones and calls for advanced project management skills. These strengths may not necessarily be part of, for example, a penetration tester’s training or background.

This post delves into the scope of DFIR and specialists’ unique tasks and the security data solutions they can use in their daily routine.

Who Are the So-Called DFIR Experts?

DFIR experts are senior-level security professionals that provide advisory and hands-on remediation services to cybercrime victims. Their main objectives are to contain an attack in the shortest time possible and protect the chain of custody for digital evidence.

DFIR professionals often lend their expertise to law enforcement agencies, multinational corporations, law offices, or DFIR service providers. Since this is no entry-level position, they are often enlisted to manage the remediation and mitigation strategies during a high-profile cyber attack. They also collaborate with a company’s senior-level officials or board of directors.

What Unique Functions Do DFIR Experts Perform?

DFIR professionals are in charge of pre- and post-attack investigations in the same way real-world criminal forensics examiners are. Another facet of their job is incident triage and management. Such tasks may come up across other infosec disciplines; however, the ones below are more specific to DFIR:

Digital Forensics

Digital forensics comprises the bulk of a DFIR expert’s day-to-day responsibilities. Using advanced computer forensic tools, they examine files from devices or disks for data capture, duplication, backup, and recovery. They then analyze file systems, volatile memory dumps, and databases as well as preserve the integrity of digital evidence.

Digital forensics also has a lot to do with examining browsing, email, and network access histories, which can benefit from the use of Reverse IP lookup tools. Should an unauthorized IP address attempting to access restricted files be spotted, for instance, it can be easily blocked to prevent possible attacks.

Incident Response

Incident response covers remediation and mitigation planning, threat hunting, risk assessment, and improving current processes. DFIR experts use a dizzying array of tools that include triage software to determine how wide the attack surface is and which threats to prioritize. They also employ threat intelligence to find untreated incidents and other indicators of compromise (IoCs) and enrich data.

DFIR practitioners monitor threat feeds to discover ongoing publicized attacks. In the event of phishing or denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, they can rely on reverse IP lookup tools to track down other related but unknown hostnames, domains, and IP addresses, which they may need to block. They can also use a domain reputation API to make sure none of the components of their clients’ domain have been compromised or rigged with malware.


E-discovery, in a nutshell, describes the formal process of producing data—in this case, electronically stored information (ESI), such as emails, before legal proceedings. E-discovery is the digital counterpart of discovery where legal parties can request information from each other or find other sources of viable evidence. It follows a model that legal participants should adhere to.

DFIR practitioners are involved in every step of e-discovery. Apart from auditing digital evidence, they also verify its legitimacy and admissibility in court. For instance, they may conduct additional investigations on corporate email sources to track linked server locations via their IP addresses with a reverse IP API.

Litigation Support

Legal teams hire DFIR experts to contribute to their legal research by analyzing technical and nontechnical evidence as facilitated by computer forensics software and reverse WHOIS API databases. They are called upon to offer their court and expert witness testimonies during trials.

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DFIR experts perform critical tasks that entry-level cybersecurity professionals may not be equipped to handle. The breadth of legal and incident handling know-how they possess cannot compare with their less senior counterparts. So, when dealing with large-scale attacks (e.g., involve ransomware or target the supply chain), the job is left to DFIR experts. Doing so, however, requires giving them tools and data to help them do the work.

By WhoisXML API, A Domain Research, Whois, DNS, and Threat Intelligence API and Data Provider

Whois API, Inc. (WhoisXML API) is a big data and API company that provides domain research & monitoring, Whois, DNS, IP, and threat intelligence API, data and tools to a variety of industries.

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