Anwer Reyaz J is working as the Principal Engineer at the Resource Centre for Cyber Forensics (RCCF) (set up by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India), C-DAC, and Thiruvananthapuram.

He is a B. Tech graduate in Computer Science & Engineering and has 12 years of experience in the domain of cyber forensics. He has expertise in file system forensics and CDR Analysis. He is part of the development of various cyber forensics tools in the area of disk forensics and has provided talks on cyber forensics & cybercrimes to law enforcement agencies such as IB, CBI, Indian Army, Indian Navy, Kerala Police etc.

Currently, he is leading a team of engineers in research and development activities in Multimedia forensics, CDR Analysis and Big Data Analytics. He is here to answer all your questions.

Discussion

33 Comments
  • Mango Education

    Data is the new gold today. How important is it to secure our data? Could you recommend the most foolproof routine and standard tools to backup and encrypt data?

    Guess, these are the common questions anyone would want to ask a cyber forensic expert like you.

    • Anwer Reyaz
      Anwer Reyaz

      Like you said data is gold and IMO more valuable than that. Today’s world drives on data. Data gives you information. Information gives you power.And with power you achieve what u want. Your hard work, your personal information, your knowledge is all saved as data. When your data is lost due to physical threat such as flood etc may be painful but landing into wrong hands,hackers or malware can have greater consequences. So it is very important to secure your data.

      Regarding the foolproof routines…

      I don’t think there is a foolproof routine. However i will share some of the ways I handle data.
      1. Take regular backups on removable device(I don’t store my data on cloud.)
      2. I use Truecrypt (now veracrypt) to encrypt data on removable device and Bit-locker for my windows PC.
      3. Shred important files instead of deleting.
      4. I use CCleaner to delete temporary files and cache data.
      5. Regularly defragment the drives and shred free disk space.
      6. Protect System with a firewall and an antivirus.I use Microsoft Security Essentials,AVG and Glasswire.

      For Mobile Phone
      1. Use ESExplorer to
      ->Scan any new app to examine the permissions after installing.
      ->Scan and delete junk data left by the apps regularly.
      2. Use EDS to view files from my encrypted removable pen drive.
      3. Use an app locker.
      4. Phone is encrypted.

      We only think of securing the data stored on computers but what about the trail that we leave on the internet? We need to think twice before using “THAT APP” on your smartphone or post a status update on the social media or giving away your mobile number on a site.

        • Anwer Reyaz
          Anwer Reyaz

          Yeah. Shredding refers to overwriting your data (the one you are trying to delete) with zeroes or random values and then deleting the file. This way we make sure that the data cannot be recovered. There are many tools available that does this for you.

            • Anwer Reyaz
              Anwer Reyaz

              I don’t think so. However recently it was reported (2 days back) that a malware was fused into it. However it was taken care.

              If I’m right the infected version was 5.33. Update it and you are fine. However the malware did not cause any damage. This is always a problem with software applications. we have to be diligent!

    • Anwer Reyaz
      Anwer Reyaz

      Yes! There was this case reported by a leading broadband services provider who told us that their 3 users complained to them about their account being misused and that they are receiving bills with huge amounts. And that they haven’t used the internet during the billing period.

      This has been going on for 3 months.

      It was also noted from the service provider that the provider generates a bill based on the usage, where the user-id is tied to the MAC ID of the router.

      So how was this possible? There’s no way we can manipulate the MAC id of the router.

      From the internet we were able to find that there is one brand(only this brand could do) which allows you to modify the MAC ID. Hence we started the investigation from the service provider and with their help we were able to spot the location. To prove that the person uses such router, we needed to catch him red handed.

      We went into the house and we found the same router there. We identified the MAC ID and the IP used and matched with the log from the provider.

      On questioning the parents we came to know the kid is a computer geek and their parents were so proud.They told us that he would always be in front of his computer but never know what he did. After interviewing the kid we came to know that he had programmed to identify those logins which were easy to bypass. He then prepared a list and found out the days when they were inactive and used to download video the whole time using those ids. A case was filed against him.

      There are many cases but i think this is not the right medium. πŸ™‚

      • Mango Education

        Haha! A kid? cool! But tbh, it’s part ISP’s fault. Most of the ISP router has default id and pass. Besides that, they also leave the main user accounts under the default ‘password’ as well. And in the end, even kids can deduce the user account id with a phone number! Really an interesting one. Thanks for sharing.

        • Anwer Reyaz
          Anwer Reyaz

          Yes. It’s a lesson for the users as well. So here on make sure you don’t put the password as your name+123.

  • Mango Education

    This one is from the kids! If someone would want to get into cyber forensics, what would be the course of learning? And what are the less known but interesting subfields of digital forensics?

    • Anwer Reyaz
      Anwer Reyaz

      A masters in Cyber Security & forensics can open gates for opportunities in both Cyber security and cyber forensics.

      Cyber-forensics can be broadly classified into Disk Forensics,Network forensics,Mobile Forensics and Live forensics. Some interesting areas here also include Incident Response, Memory forensics and Multimedia forensics.

  • Mango Education

    You’ve said that you are encrypting your drives. As you are a professional, you need to do that and is essential. But what about home users? For a common home user, do you suggest encrypting the hard disk?

    • Anwer Reyaz
      Anwer Reyaz

      It depends on the data and if its connected to the internet or any other system or If you think your own data can be misused then by all means encrypt.

      • Mango Education

        True. I guess most of the home users, especially kids here, don’t do that. In fact, many of you have that tendency to dump all your personal info on social media. Perhaps this is the time you all should re-think how valuable your data is. πŸ™‚

    • Anwer Reyaz
      Anwer Reyaz

      I always like to carry a Live Linux distribution CD. Helix and Kali Linux are my preferred Distros. They have a collection of open source tools for Data Recovery, analysis and penetration testing tools. I also use our indigenous developed tools for recovery and analysis.

      Languages:
      It depends upon the type of evidence to be handled. C,C++ and C# most of the time.

      C# (our users are Law Enforcement agencies, they like Microsoft ecosystem :))

    • Anwer Reyaz
      Anwer Reyaz

      To my knowledge we do not have a mass surveillance system. The CMS was launched way back in 2013 to automate the already existing Lawful Interception. Information on the same is sparse. But the traditional manual method still continues.

    • Anwer Reyaz
      Anwer Reyaz

      Well my interest in books are limited to my work and sometimes Psychology. I guess may be I can suggest some interesting and useful Android apps?

        • Anwer Reyaz
          Anwer Reyaz

          1->Curiosity
          Have Interest in science and technology? Select your interested area and the app will show you 5 interesting facts in those areas.
          2->Elevate
          The app has a wide variety of games or tasks that stimulates your brain.
          3->Mind Games
          As the name says, a set of games to squeeze your brain.
          4-> Mathway-Math problem solver
          Solve your Math problems.
          5->Habithub
          Habbit and goal tracker
          6->Duolingo
          Learn foreign language.

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