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What is Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR)?

As a highly specialized branch of cybersecurity, digital forensics and incident response (DFIR) plays a crucial role in determining the impact of a cyberattack and conducting a thorough investigation — all while it is happening. It involves a forensic process conducted by seasoned digital security experts and a simultaneous process that handles attack containment and recovery of normal business operations. The insights gained from DFIR investigations often serve as evidence in legal proceedings against the perpetrators.

The Importance of DFIR

Every day, the methods and tactics of cyberattackers grow in sophistication. So do the security tools used for preventing those cyberattacks. Given this relentless arms race, a common consensus among cybersecurity experts is that becoming the victim of a cyberattack is not a matter of if , but when. Even software companies with world-class technical staff on their payroll have suffered serious breaches. The immediate aftermath of a cyberattack presents one of the most challenging periods for a company and its entire workforce. The outcome of the attack directly impacts the future of the company. This is where the techniques of DFIR prove their value. DFIR empowers organizations to respond to and recover from cyber incidents and gather comprehensive digital evidence to deepen their understanding and learn from the attack. By allowing organizations to meticulously investigate breaches, preserve digital evidence, and piece together the puzzle left by cyber criminals, the capabilities of DFIR enable companies to strengthen their defenses while relentlessly working to restore IT systems to their normal state.

Considerations when choosing a DFIR tool

When choosing a DFIR solution, understanding the specific nature of this field is important. Although many DFIR tools are used to prevent attacks proactively, they are also used after a security incident has already occurred — a time when rapid response is crucial for containing the damage. With this in mind, let’s consider the following list of key DFIR features:

Support for a variety of data sources

Confirm that the DFIR tool is compatible with the types of data sources and platforms used in your organization. This includes support for various operating systems, file formats, and devices (including mobile devices). This support allows you to cover a broad range of potential evidence sources.

Support for a wide range of deployment options

Organizations have different requirements for data privacy and regulatory compliance. The flexibility in deployment capabilities allows you to configure a setup that aligns with your specific privacy and compliance needs while seamlessly scaling when required.

Data integrity and legal compliance

Data integrity is crucial. Many industries are subject to data protection laws and regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA. Ensure the tool or service preserves the integrity of digital evidence and complies with legal and regulatory requirements.

Automated data enrichment and analysis

To comprehensively understand the ongoing situation, security professionals must ensure the collected data is automatically correlated with other relevant information sources. Automated data enrichment and analysis save valuable time and enable security teams to discover hidden clues and patterns about the attack.

Best DFIR Tools

When an organization suffers a security breach, time is of the essence. Contacting a DFIR provider is necessary to guarantee that systems are restored as soon as possible and that the evidence required for attribution of an adversary is securely preserved. To help you prepare, this section explores the best DFIR solutions available now for your organization.

CrowdStrike Falcon Insight XDR and CrowdStrike Falcon Forensics by CrowdStrike

Austin, TX | 2011 | www.crowdstrike.com

The CrowdStrike Falcon® platform is an AI-native cybersecurity solution that fuses detection and response (CrowdStrike Falcon® Insight XDR) with historical forensic artifacts (CrowdStrike Falcon® Forensics) to gain the visibility needed to understand the full threat context of malicious actions executed by a threat actor. CrowdStrike offers a variety of DFIR services for expert investigation, response, and recovery using the full power of the Falcon platform to help organizations get back to normal business operations faster.

The key features of Falcon Forensics are:

  • Automated data collection.
  • Enrichment of forensic data for simplified analysis.
  • Advanced query capabilities for Tier III threat hunting.
  • Forensic artifact capture, including MFT, shimcache, shellbags, and others.
  • Large-scale deployment capabilities.

DFIR services for response, recovery, and strategic guidance.

FTK Forensic Toolkit by Exterro

Portland, OR | 2008 | www.exterro.com

Exterro is a software company that focuses on data privacy, compliance, and information governance solutions. Its DFIR tool, FTK Forensic Toolkit, offers the following features:

  • Automatic categorization of digital artifacts.
  • Smart Grid feature that enables users of all skill levels to build complex compound filters to locate valuable evidence faster.
  • Super Timeline View that integrates timestamps, logs, actions, and other artifacts in a single view.

Group-IB Digital Forensics by Group-IB

Singapore | 2003 | www.group-ib.com

Group-IB is a cybersecurity company specializing in threat intelligence, fraud prevention, and incident response. Its Digital Forensics service offers:

  • Detailed forensics reports to serve as evidence in a court of law.
  • Effective recovery of deleted and hidden data.
  • Mobile device forensics, including data extraction and recovery.

DFIR Services by Kroll

New York, NY | 1932 | www.kroll.com 

Kroll is a global risk management company known for its expertise in cyberattack investigation and risk mitigation services. Kroll’s digital forensics solution provides the following services and features:

  • 24/7 incident response to ensure rapid and effective mitigation of cyberattacks.
  • Expert testimony and reporting from Kroll’s cybersecurity team.
  • Complete forensic coverage to ensure no evidence is overlooked or lost.

Magnet AXIOM Cyber by Magnet Forensics

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada | 2011 | www.magnetforensics.com

Magnet Forensics is a software company that provides cybersecurity tools and services to many industries, from military and government to enterprise and small business.

Magnet AXIOM Cyber offers the following capabilities:

  • Powerful analytics features (such as Timeline, Connections, YARA rules, and Magnet.AI) that create actionable intelligence.
  • Deployment possibilities for various public cloud providers.
  • Features designed for time efficiency so DFIR teams can direct their expertise toward tasks demanding their specialized skills.

ProDiscover Pro by ProDiscover Computer Forensics

Hyderabad, India | 2001 | www.prodiscover.com

ProDiscover is a cybersecurity company focused on remote forensic capabilities and cybercrime investigations. ProDiscover Pro is a DFIR solution that offers:

  • A RemoteAgent feature that captures disks from remote locations over a network.
  • Thorough forensic analysis with GUI automation and scripting tools support.
  • Identification of hidden and deleted files and partitions.

Digital Forensics and Incident Response Services by Blackpanda

Singapore, Singapore | 2015 | www.blackpanda.com 

Blackpanda is a technology company that provides cybersecurity services, such as digital forensics compromise assessments and loss adjustments. As part of its DFIR services, Blackpanda offers:

  • Concise briefings tailored for top-level executives, covering all facets of the incident and highlighting essential follow-up actions.
  • Thorough evaluation of the nature and extent of the incident, along with a strategy for limiting its impact.
  • Incident containment to prevent further damage and facilitate data recovery.

Incident Response and Digital Forensics Services by Sygnia

Tel Aviv, Israel | 2015 | www.sygnia.co 

Sygnia is a technology company that provides incident response and consulting services to help organizations strengthen their cyber resilience. Its DFIR platform provides the following services:

  • Immediate support across five key workstreams: investigation, containment, monitoring, recovery, and tactical negotiation.
  • On-call teams with significant expertise in leading-edge cybersecurity and exceptional technological proficiency.
  • Continuous assistance for legal matters to ensure comprehensive resolution with the essential technical evidence and proficiency.


Experiencing a cybersecurity breach is often described as a turning point for a company. How the organization handles the attack and restores business normalcy will determine its future. Choosing the appropriate DFIR tools and services may be one of the most important decisions a company’s leadership must make, but waiting too long to take action — or opting for the wrong solution — can result in catastrophic consequences.

In summary, consider the support, compliance requirements, and automation that your organization needs when shopping around for a DFIR solution. The best DFIR options can prepare your organization well in the event of a cyberattack.