Digital behavioral-fingerprint for user attribution in digital forensics : are we there yet?

06 Feb 2020

The need for a reliable and complementary identifier mechanism in a digital forensic analysis is the focus of this study. Mouse dynamics have been applied in information security studies, particularly, continuous authentication and authorization. However, the method applied in security is void of specific behavioral signature of a user, which inhibits its applicability in digital forensic science. This study investigated the likelihood of the observation of a unique signature from mouse dynamics of a computer user. An initial mouse path model was developed using non-finite automata. Thereafter, a set-theory based adaptive two-stage hash function and a multi-stage rule-based semantic algorithm were developed to observe the feasibility of a unique signature for forensic usage. An experimental process which comprises three existing mouse dynamics datasets were used to evaluate the applicability of the developed mechanism. The result showed a low likelihood of extracting unique behavioral signature which can be used in a user attribution process. Whilst digital forensic readiness mechanism could be a potential approach that can be used to achieve a reliable behavioral biometrics modality, the lack of unique signature presents a limitation. In addition, the result supports the logic that the current state of behavioral biometric modality, particularly mouse dynamics, is not suitable for forensic usage. Hence, the study concluded that whilst mouse dynamics-based behavioral biometrics may be a complementary modality in security studies, more will be required to adopt it as a forensic modality in litigation. Furthermore, the result from this study finds relevance in other human attributional studies such as user identification in recommender systems, e-commerce, and online profiling systems, where the degree of accuracy is not relatively high.