An offline audit log contains the source IP address of a session suspected to have exploited a vulnerability resulting in system compromise.
Which kind of evidence is this IP address?
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The IP address found in the offline audit log is considered as indirect evidence.
Indirect evidence is any type of evidence that provides an inference or presumption about the existence or non-existence of a fact that is relevant to a legal investigation or a cybersecurity incident. Indirect evidence does not provide a direct observation of the fact in question but rather provides a basis for inferring that the fact occurred based on circumstantial evidence or the inference drawn from other pieces of evidence.
In this case, the IP address found in the offline audit log is not a direct observation of the system compromise, but rather it is circumstantial evidence that suggests that the system may have been compromised by a session that originated from the IP address. This inference is based on the fact that the session is suspected to have exploited a vulnerability that led to the system compromise.
Forensic evidence, on the other hand, refers to any type of evidence that is collected, preserved, and analyzed for the purpose of supporting or refuting a hypothesis about the events that occurred during a cybersecurity incident. Forensic evidence is typically gathered by following strict chain-of-custody procedures to ensure that the evidence is not tampered with or contaminated in any way.
Therefore, while the IP address found in the offline audit log may be helpful in identifying the potential source of the compromise, it would not be considered as forensic evidence unless it is collected and analyzed according to strict forensic procedures. The IP address can be used as corroborative evidence, however, to support other pieces of evidence that provide a more direct observation of the system compromise.