SANS Digital Forensics and Incident Response Blog: Author - jmbutler1

The Failed Hard Drive, the Toaster Oven, and a Little Faith

OK, everyone knows that heat kills electronic components, right? Never subject any electronic component to heat. Unless that makes the component work, that is''

Confession is good for the soul, they say, but bad for the reputation. So I'll tell the story this way. You see, there was this "friend of mine" whose hard drive failed. I mean, it was working fine the night before when I, er, he shut down his computer. But the next morning he turned it on and all he got was "shicka, shicka, shicka, shicka, shicka," then a pause, then five more attempts, then five more, and so on until the drive finally said "sorry''" and shut itself off. Now this guy hasn't been taking his own advice about backups for a while and - you guessed it - he hadn't backed up his Quicken off drive

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Decrypting a PointSec Encrypted Drive Using Live View, VMWare, and Helix

Doing it the HARD way!

Perhaps you remember my previous blog on EnCase and PointSec, which included my plea for Guidance Software and CheckPoint to work together to create a seamless way to decrypt drives without having to go through 20 or 30 steps to get there. I even wrote, out of desperation, A Case for Decryption of the Original, because it would save time consuming steps and not change the data relevant to an investigation.

Time for an update. As noted in my last blog on decrypting the original, VMWare no longer recognizes a raw disk as a valid disk image. Images have to be converted before

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Block Pornography - The Bane of Computer Forensics

By J. Michael Butler

What is more important? Searching for porn on an organization owned asset, or looking for misuse of organization owned data? Not even a trick question. Too easy. So why do organization's computer forensic experts still find themselves searching for porn? Because it is there.

New problem? I think not. In T.h.e. Journal, there is an article written in 1997 addressing this same issue and suggesting a product called "Little Brother" to fix it.[1] Today there are a plethora of software products for home and office use, ranging from free to more than $100 per workstation. Some are more effective than others, but evaluation is outside the scope of this article. Just know that

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PointSec Decryption - A Case for Decryption of the Original

By J. Michael Butler

A while back, I posted about EnCase and PointSec — "Encase and PointSec - I'm Not Feeling the Love". I wrote about my frustrations with the difficulties of decryption for a forensic exam. My main point was that EnCase and PointSec need to work together to provide forensic examiners a way to view the PointSec drive in EnCase simply by entering the PointSec password. I also detailed my process for decryption which involved the use of VMWare and a virtual image of the encrypted drive.


Robocopy - a Computer Forensics tool?

The usual practice for obtaining potential evidence would be to acquire a bit for bit forensic image of the drive and to lock the image up in an evidence safe. Depending upon the legal team's request, one may also replace the original hard drive and keep it in the safe instead of just an image. Another option I like is having a third party acquire the drive on our behalf and keep it in their secure area for us. Sometimes, however, for various reasons, a forensic image may not be feasible. So, then, what is another option?

In a recent e-mail exchange with Rob Lee, I asked him what he thought about using