From the Editor's Desk

Dr. N. Rama Murthy

Digital Forensics is the process of uncovering and interpreting electronic data. The goal of the process is to preserve any evidence in its most original form while performing a structured investigation by collecting, identifying, and validating the digital information to reconstruct past events. The first rule of Digital Forensics is to preserve the original evidence. During the analysis phase, the Digital Forensics analyst or Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) recovers evidence material using a variety of different tools and strategies.

Technically, the term computer forensics refers to the investigation of data residing in computers. Digital Forensics includes not only analyzing data stored in computers, but also any digital device, such as digital networks, cell phones, flash drives and digital cameras. Accordingly, Digital Forensics can be broadly divided into computer forensics, mobile device forensics, network forensics, database forensics and the final arena of forensic data analysis.

In the article, titled “Digital Forensics”, the author lists several scenarios such as Homeland Security,  Counter-terrorism,  Collection & Examination of Digital Evidences,  Support Law Enforcement Agencies,  Crime Scene Investigation,  Financial Crime  Cyber Security,  Computer & Mobile Phone Forensics,  Video & Audio Forensics,  Cyber Crime Investigation,  and Dark Net Monitoring & Tracking where it finds application.

The author points out that with 98% of documented transactions being digital, Digital Forensics is the key to gather evidence of crime, breach of security, etc. He expresses the concern that current tools used in Digital Forensics falls short of requirements. Existing tools are ex-post facto tools and mostly of foreign origin. In the light of Digital Forensics expanse expanding at an exponential pace, existing tools are inadequate to meet the goals.

The author identifies six research areas that need to be focused upon by practitioners in this field that includes attacks on IoT and AI enabled devices, attacks on applications using Block Chain technology, attacks on secure cloud, creation of effective forensic tools. In concluding, the author stresses on the need for preventive Digital Forensics which would lead to a paradigm shift in the use and utility of Digital Forensics.

The next article dwells on aircraft control systems which have evolved exponentially over the last century. Control systems in a modern aircraft are characterized by increased sophistication due to demands on aircraft speed that breaks sound barrier. These have led aircraft designers to come up with more robust and better responsive aircraft flight control methods.

In their article titled “Real Time Control Systems of a Fighter Aircraft”, the authors describe computations performed in real time for flight control systems onboard India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). LCA is a single-engine, tail-less, delta-wing aircraft, which is longitudinally unstable. Being a modern fighter aircraft LCA is designed for playing out multiple roles in battlefields ranging from reconnaissance to ground attack to air-to-air combat. Often these roles undergo a switch from one to another during a single operation itself. To enable these multiple roles, LCA depends heavily on several computer-controlled systems housed within it such as those for flight control, engine control, steering control, antiskid brakes control, fuel control, environment control, hydraulic control, radar control, weapon control etc. Each of these system not only has its own assigned role to play, but are also interconnected with other systems as well.

The authors have described three critical real time control systems implemented on Indian LCA viz., Flight Control System, Brake Management System and Environmental Control System that have gone through extensive and demanding reliability tests successfully.

In continuation of his series of articles on “Experiential Learning of Networking Technologies”, the author describes how a data packet Traverses along Internet. The author describes the processes that take place from network perspective when a user enters say, google.com for example, in the URL bar of a web browser. From the perspective of user, web page of Google’s search interface is displayed in the browser window, but inside the network both at the user’s local network and at the internet a lot of network activity takes place. The focus of this article is to understand the traversal of packets in the network triggered by any such user activity.

In the column section titled “Software to Make Highways Safe”, the author offers suggestions for developing application software to reduce the fatalities on our roads, particularly those on highways. This includes detection of over speeding, creation and usage of a database of potentially fatal sites along the road, and making every road user, a safety warden. He believes that our engineering colleges should do R & D in this area. In conclusion, the author foresees that usage of technology can reduce road deaths by at least 25% within the next two years.

Finally, ACC bids adieu for the disastrous 2020 and wishes our readers a happy and healthy 2021.