Cloud log forensics: foundations, state of the art, and future directions

Suleman Khan, Abdullah Gani, Ainuddin Wahid Abdul Wahab, Mustapha Aminu Bagiwa, Muhammad Shiraz, Samee U Khan, Rajkumar Buyya, Albert Y Zomaya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Cloud log forensics (CLF) mitigates the investigation process by identifying the malicious behavior of attackers through profound cloud log analysis. However, the accessibility attributes of cloud logs obstruct accomplishment of the goal to investigate cloud logs for various susceptibilities. Accessibility involves the issues of cloud log access, selection of proper cloud log file, cloud log data integrity, and trustworthiness of cloud logs. Therefore, forensic investigators of cloud log files are dependent on cloud service providers (CSPs) to get access of different cloud logs. Accessing cloud logs from outside the cloud without depending on the CSP is a challenging research area, whereas the increase in cloud attacks has increased the need for CLF to investigate the malicious activities of attackers. This paper reviews the state of the art of CLF and highlights different challenges and issues involved in investigating cloud log data. The logging mode, the importance of CLF, and cloud log-as-a-service are introduced. Moreover, case studies related to CLF are explained to highlight the practical implementation of cloud log investigation for analyzing malicious behaviors. The CLF security requirements, vulnerability points, and challenges are identified to tolerate different cloud log susceptibilities. We identify and introduce challenges and future directions to highlight open research areas of CLF for motivating investigators, academicians, and researchers to investigate them.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Number of pages42
JournalACM Computing Surveys
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


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