Fool me once: A systematic review of techniques to authenticate digital artefacts

Neale, Christopher (2023). Fool me once: A systematic review of techniques to authenticate digital artefacts. Forensic Science International: Digital Investigation, 45, article no. 301516.



When conducting digital forensic investigations, practitioners are concerned with understanding whether the digital artefacts they encounter are authentic and have not been the subject of tampering activity. This is one factor of investigations which could potentially impact of the reliability of any subsequent findings. Some research into this problem has already been undertaken, however there is currently very little understanding of how effective current technique are. In this paper, a Systematic Review (SR) of existing literature will be undertaken to identify the techniques that currently exist to authenticate digital artefacts. Furthermore, consideration will be given to understanding whether existing techniques are effective in solving the problem of digital artefact authentication and whether they are accessible by the practitioner community. The results of the SR will show that while research effort has been devoted to this problem, there are relatively few techniques which can be generally applied. Additionally, very little effort has been devoted to understanding the effectiveness of these techniques. Furthermore, the lack of standardised datasets for evaluation makes comparison between techniques impossible and none of the identified papers provided publicly available implementations. The shortcomings identified in this SR show that further research effort in this area could benefit the community in its aim to produce more reliable findings in forensic investigations.

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