Security Research Institute, Edith Cowan University
Place of Publication
Joondalup, Western Australia
Professor Craig Valli
Spontaneous ad hoc networks are distinguished by rapid deployment for a specific purpose, with no forward planning or pre-design in their topology. Often these networks will spring up through necessity whenever a network is required urgently but briefly. This may be in a disaster recovery setting, military uses where often the network is unplanned but the devices are pre-installed with security settings, educational networks or networks created as a one-off for a meeting such as in a business organisation. Generally, wireless networks pose problems for forensic investigators because of the open nature of the medium, but if logging procedures and pre-planned connections are in place, past messages, including nefarious activity can often be easily traced through normal forensic practices. However, the often urgent nature of the spontaneous ad hoc communication requirements of these networks leads to the acceptance onto the network of anyone with a wireless device. Additionally, the identity of the network members, their location and the numbers within the network are all unknown. With no centre of control of the network, such as a central server or wireless access point, the ability to forensically reconstruct the network topology and trace a malicious message or other inappropriate or criminal activity would seem impossible. This research aims to demonstrate that forensic reconstruction is possible in these types of networks and the current research provides initial results for how forensic investigators can best undertake these investigations.