Document Type


Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Computer forensics, Data--Classification


Computer Engineering | Computer Sciences | Electrical and Computer Engineering | Forensic Science and Technology | Information Security


The term “artifact” currently does not have a formal definition within the domain of cyber/ digital forensics, resulting in a lack of standardized reporting, linguistic understanding between professionals, and efficiency. In this paper we propose a new definition based on a survey we conducted, literature usage, prior definitions of the word itself, and similarities with archival science. This definition includes required fields that all artifacts must have and encompasses the notion of curation. Thus, we propose using a new term e curated forensic artifact (CuFA) e to address items which have been cleared for entry into a CuFA database (one implementation, the Artifact Genome Project, abbreviated as AGP, is under development and briefly outlined). An ontological model encapsulates these required fields while utilizing a lower-level taxonomic schema. We use the Cyber Observable eXpression (CybOX) project due to its rising popularity and rigorous classifications of forensic objects. Additionally, we suggest some improvements on its integration into our model and identify higher-level location categories to illustrate tracing an object from creation through investigative leads. Finally, a step-wise procedure for researching and logging CuFAs is devised to accompany the model.


Dr. Baggili was appointed to the University of New Haven's Elder Family Endowed Chair in 2015.

© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC-BY-NC-ND license.



Publisher Citation

Harichandran, V. S., Walnycky, D., Baggili, I., & Breitinger, F. (2016). CuFA: A more formal definition for digital forensic artifacts. Digital Investigation, 18, S125-S137.

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