Title page for ETD etd-09262012-123014

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Reddy, Kamil
URN etd-09262012-123014
Document Title On digital forensic readiness for information privacy incidents
Degree PhD
Department Computer Science
Advisor Name Title
Prof H S Venter Supervisor
  • information privacy
  • information privacy management
  • digital forensics
  • digital forensic readiness
  • digital forensic readiness management
  • privacy
  • time-driven activity-based costing
  • digital forensic readiness management system
Date 2012-09-06
Availability unrestricted
The right to information privacy is considered a basic human right in countries that recognise the right to privacy. South Africa, and other countries that recognise this right, offer individuals legal protections for their information privacy. Individuals, organisations and even governments in these countries often have an obligation under such laws to protect information privacy. Large organisations, for example, multinational companies and government departments are of special concern when it comes to protecting information privacy as they often hold substantial amounts of information about many individuals. The protection of information privacy, therefore, has become ever more significant as technological advances enable information privacy to be breached with increasing ease. There is, however, little research on holistic approaches to protecting information privacy in large organisations. Holistic approaches take account of both technical and non-technical factors that affect information privacy. Nontechnical factors may include the management of information privacy protection measures and other factors such as manual business processes and organisational policies.

Amongst the protections that can be used by large organisations to protect information privacy is the ability to investigate incidents involving information privacy. Since large organisations typically make extensive use of information technology to store or process information, such investigations are likely to involve digital forensics. Digital forensic investigations require a certain amount of preparedness or readiness for investigations to be executed in an optimal fashion. The available literature on digital forensics and digital forensic readiness (DFR), unfortunately, does not specifically deal with the protection of information privacy, which has requirements over and above typical digital forensic investigations that are more concerned with information security breaches.

The aim of this thesis, therefore, is to address the lack of research into DFR with regard to information privacy incidents. It adopts a holistic approach to DFR since many of the necessary measures are non-technical. There is, thus, an increased focus on management as opposed to specific technical issues. In addressing the lack of research into information privacy-specific DFR, the thesis provides large organisations with knowledge to better conduct digital forensic investigations into information privacy incidents. Hence, it allows for increased information privacy protection in large organisations because investigations may reveal the causes of information privacy breaches. Such breaches may then be prevented in future. The ability to conduct effective investigations also has a deterrent effect that may dissuade attempts at breaching information privacy.

This thesis addresses the lack of research into information privacy-specific DFR by presenting a framework that allows large organisations to develop a digital forensic readiness capability for information privacy incidents. The framework is an idealistic representation of measures that can be taken to develop such a capability. In reality, large organisations operate within cost constraints. We therefore also contribute by showing how a cost management methodology known as time-driven activity-based costing can be used to determine the cost of DFR measures. Organisations are then able to make cost versus risk decisions when deciding which measures in the framework they wish to implement. Lastly, we introduce the concept of a digital forensics management system. The management of DFR in a large organisation can be a difficult task prone to error as it involves coordinating resources across multiple departments and organisational functions. The concept of the digital forensics management system proposed here allows management to better manage DFR by providing a central system from which information is available and control is possible. We develop an architecture for such a system and validate the architecture through a proof-of-concept prototype.

2012 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Reddy, K 2012, On digital forensic readiness for information privacy incidents, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09262012-123014/ >


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