Forensics Analyst

Forensics Analyst Work Role ID: 211 (NIST: IN-FO-001) Category/Specialty Area: Investigate / Digital Forensics Workforce Element: Cyberspace Enablers / Legal/Law Enforcement

Conducts deep-dive investigations on computer-based crimes establishing documentary or physical evidence, to include digital media and logs associated with cyber intrusion incidents.


Items denoted by a * are CORE KSATs for every Work Role, while other CORE KSATs vary by Work Role.

Core KSATs

KSAT ID Description KSAT
22

* Knowledge of computer networking concepts and protocols, and network security methodologies.

Knowledge
24

Knowledge of concepts and practices of processing digital forensic data.

Knowledge
25A

Knowledge of encryption algorithms, stenography, and other forms of data concealment.

Knowledge
61

Knowledge of incident response and handling methodologies.

Knowledge
90

Knowledge of operating systems.

Knowledge
108

* Knowledge of risk management processes (e.g., methods for assessing and mitigating risk).

Knowledge
217

Skill in preserving evidence integrity according to standard operating procedures or national standards.

Skill
264

Knowledge of basic physical computer components and architectures, including the functions of various components and peripherals (e.g., CPUs, Network Interface Cards, data storage).

Knowledge
287

Knowledge of file system implementations (e.g., New Technology File System [NTFS], File Allocation Table [FAT], File Extension [EXT]).

Knowledge
302

Knowledge of investigative implications of hardware, Operating Systems, and network technologies.

Knowledge
310

Knowledge of legal governance related to admissibility (e.g., Federal Rules of Evidence).

Knowledge
316

Knowledge of processes for collecting, packaging, transporting, and storing electronic evidence to avoid alteration, loss, physical damage, or destruction of data.

Knowledge
350

Skill in analyzing memory dumps to extract information.

Skill
381

Skill in using forensic tool suites (e.g., EnCase, Sleuthkit, FTK).

Skill
389

Skill in physically disassembling PCs.

Skill
447

Conduct analysis of log files, evidence, and other information in order to determine best methods for identifying the perpetrator(s) of a network intrusion.

Task
480

Create a forensically sound duplicate of the evidence (i.e., forensic image) that ensures the original evidence is not unintentionally modified, to use for data recovery and analysis processes. This includes, but is not limited to, hard drives, floppy diskettes, CD, PDA, mobile phones, GPS, and all tape formats.

Task
482A

Detect and analyze encrypted data, stenography, alternate data streams and other forms of concealed data.

Task
541

Provide technical summary of findings in accordance with established reporting procedures.

Task
564A

Document original condition of digital and/or associated evidence (e.g., via digital photographs, written reports, hash function checking).

Task
573

Ensure chain of custody is followed for all digital media acquired in accordance with the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Task
613

Examine recovered data for information of relevance to the issue at hand.

Task
636

Identify digital evidence for examination and analysis in such a way as to avoid unintentional alteration.

Task
749

Perform dynamic analysis to boot an “image” of a drive (without necessarily having the original drive) to see the intrusion as the user may have seen it, in a native environment.

Task
752

Perform file signature analysis.

Task
753

Perform hash comparison against established database.

Task
768

Perform static media analysis.

Task
786

Prepare digital media for imaging by ensuring data integrity (e.g., write blockers in accordance with standard operating procedures).

Task
817

Provide technical assistance on digital evidence matters to appropriate personnel.

Task
839A

Review forensic images and other data sources (e.g., volatile data) for recovery of potentially relevant information.

Task
871

Use specialized equipment and techniques to catalog, document, extract, collect, package, and preserve digital evidence.

Task
888

Knowledge of types of digital forensics data and how to recognize them.

Knowledge
890

Skill in conducting forensic analyses in multiple operating system environments (e.g., mobile device systems).

Skill
982

Knowledge of electronic evidence law.

Knowledge
1081

Perform virus scanning on digital media.

Task
1082

Perform file system forensic analysis.

Task
1083

Perform static analysis to mount an “image” of a drive (without necessarily having the original drive).

Task
1085

Utilize deployable forensics tool kit to support operations as necessary.

Task
1086

Knowledge of data carving tools and techniques (e.g., Foremost).

Knowledge
1092

Knowledge of anti-forensics tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Knowledge
1093

Knowledge of common forensics tool configuration and support applications (e.g., VMWare, WIRESHARK).

Knowledge
1157

* Knowledge of national and international laws, regulations, policies, and ethics as they relate to cybersecurity.

Knowledge
1158

* Knowledge of cybersecurity principles.

Knowledge
1159

* Knowledge of cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

Knowledge
6900

* Knowledge of specific operational impacts of cybersecurity lapses.

Knowledge

Additional KSATs

KSAT ID Description KSAT
29

Knowledge of data backup, types of backups (e.g., full, incremental), and recovery concepts and tools.

Knowledge
105

Knowledge of system and application security threats and vulnerabilities (e.g., buffer overflow, mobile code, cross-site scripting, Procedural Language/Structured Query Language [PL/SQL] and injections, race conditions, covert channel, replay, return-oriented attacks, malicious code).

Knowledge
113

Knowledge of server and client operating systems.

Knowledge
114

Knowledge of server diagnostic tools and fault identification techniques.

Knowledge
139

Knowledge of the common networking protocols (e.g., TCP/IP), services (e.g., web, mail, Domain Name Server), and how they interact to provide network communications.

Knowledge
193

Skill in developing, testing, and implementing network infrastructure contingency and recovery plans.

Skill
214

Skill in performing packet-level analysis using appropriate tools (e.g., Wireshark, tcpdump).

Skill
290

Knowledge of processes for seizing and preserving digital evidence (e.g., chain of custody).

Knowledge
294

Knowledge of hacking methodologies in Windows or Unix/Linux environment.

Knowledge
340

Knowledge of types and collection of persistent data.

Knowledge
345

Knowledge of web mail collection, searching/analyzing techniques, tools, and cookies.

Knowledge
346

Knowledge of which system files (e.g., log files, registry files, configuration files) contain relevant information and where to find those system files.

Knowledge
360

Skill in identifying and extracting data of forensic interest in diverse media (i.e., media forensics).

Skill
364

Skill in identifying, modifying, and manipulating applicable system components within Windows, Unix, or Linux (e.g., passwords, user accounts, files).

Skill
369

Skill in collecting, processing, packaging, transporting, and storing electronic evidence to avoid alteration, loss, physical damage, or destruction of data.

Skill
374

Skill in setting up a forensic workstation.

Skill
386

Skill in using virtual machines.

Skill
438A

Collect and analyze intrusion artifacts (e.g., source code, malware, and system configuration) and use discovered data to enable mitigation of potential cyber defense incidents within the enterprise.

Task
463

Confirm what is known about an intrusion and discover new information, if possible, after identifying intrusion via dynamic analysis.

Task
649

Identify, collect, and seize documentary or physical evidence, to include digital media and logs associated with cyber intrusion incidents, investigations, and operations.

Task
758

Perform real-time forensic analysis (e.g., using Helix in conjunction with LiveView).

Task
759

Perform timeline analysis.

Task
771

Perform tier 1, 2, and 3 malware analysis.

Task
792

Process crime scenes.

Task
825

Recognize and accurately report forensic artifacts indicative of a particular operating system.

Task
868

Extract data using data carving techniques (e.g., Forensic Tool Kit [FTK], Foremost).

Task
870

Capture and analyze network traffic associated with malicious activities using network monitoring tools.

Task
882

Write and publish cyber defense techniques, guidance, and reports on incident findings to appropriate constituencies.

Task
889

Knowledge of deployable forensics.

Knowledge
908

Ability to decrypt digital data collections.

Ability
923

Knowledge of security event correlation tools.

Knowledge
944

Conduct cursory binary analysis.

Task
983

Knowledge of legal rules of evidence and court procedure.

Knowledge
1033

Knowledge of basic system administration, network, and operating system hardening techniques.

Knowledge
1036

Knowledge of applicable laws (e.g., Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Protect America Act, search and seizure laws, civil liberties and privacy laws), statutes (e.g., in Titles 10, 18, 32, 50 in U.S. Code), Presidential Directives, executive branch guidelines, and/or administrative/criminal legal guidelines and procedures relevant to work performed.

Knowledge
1072

Knowledge of network security architecture concepts including topology, protocols, components, and principles (e.g., application of defense-in-depth).

Knowledge
1084

Perform static malware analysis.

Task
1087

Skill in deep analysis of captured malicious code (e.g., malware forensics).

Skill
1088

Skill in using binary analysis tools (e.g., Hexedit, command code xxd, hexdump).

Skill
1089

Knowledge of reverse engineering concepts.

Knowledge
1091

Skill in one way hash functions (e.g., Secure Hash Algorithm [SHA], Message Digest Algorithm [MD5]).

Skill
1094

Knowledge of debugging procedures and tools.

Knowledge
1095

Knowledge of how different file types can be used for anomalous behavior.

Knowledge
1096

Knowledge of malware analysis tools (e.g., Oily Debug, Ida Pro).

Knowledge
1097

Knowledge of virtual machine aware malware, debugger aware malware, and packing.

Knowledge
1098

Skill in analyzing anomalous code as malicious or benign.

Skill
1099

Skill in analyzing volatile data.

Skill
1100

Skill in identifying obfuscation techniques.

Skill
1101

Skill in interpreting results of debugger to ascertain tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Skill