SANS Digital Forensics and Incident Response Blog: Category - Evidence Acquisition

Digital Forensics Case Leads: Free tools, Treasure Hunts, Drive-by Attacks and Spying

This week's Case Leads features two free tools from AccessData and Paraben Corporation, a digital (forensics) treasure hunt to test your skills, spying, drive-by (browser) attacks and consequences resulting from Stuxnet.

As always, if you have an interesting item you think should be included in the Digital Forensics Case Leads posts, you can send it to


  • Earlier this month AccessData released a new version of their popular (and free) utility, the FTK Imager. Version 3 has a number of useful features such as the ability to boot forensic images in VMWare and the ability to mount AFF, DD, E01, and S01 image formats as physical devices or logical drive letters. The latest version of the application also supports HFS+, VxFS (Veritas File System), exFAT, EXT4, Microsoft's VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) and compressed and uncompressed DMG


Affidavit as Support for an Investigation

An affidavit can be a vital tool in any type of investigation, whether the investigation be forensic, internal, criminal, regulatory, incident response or otherwise. As an investigator gathers facts, he will often interview witnesses, and obviously the investigator is wise to make records of the interviews (written notes or even audio/video records). But sometimes it is prudent to take an additional step in securing what a witness has to say.

I recently advised an investigation where numerous witnesses had much to say. But as I assessed all that was being said, a particular statement of one certain witness stood out as crucial to the outcome of the case. I recommended that witness record her statement in an affidavit.

An affidavit is a formal, written document that memorializes a declaration of facts by a witness. The preparation and execution of an affidavit can help to lock down a complete and careful statement of what the witness has to say. An affidavit

... Continue reading Affidavit as Support for an Investigation

Images and dm-crypt and LVM2... Oh my!

Hal Pomeranz, Deer Run Associates

Disk layouts using the Linux Logical Volume Manager (LVM2) are increasingly becoming the norm for new Linux installs. And very often the physical volume used by LVM2 has been encrypted via dm-crypt. A recent email from a Sec508 student asking for a procedure for mounting these images prompted me to codify this information into a blog posting.

Investigating the Image

When initially presented with the image, you may not know whether LVM2 or dm-crypt has been employed. So let's start from scratch:

# md5sum sda.dd
f4c7a8d54b9b0b0b73ec03ef4cf52f42 sda.dd
# mmls -t dos sda.dd
DOS Partition Table
Offset Sector: 0
Units are in 512-byte sectors

Slot Start End Length Description
00: Meta


How To - Digital Forensic Imaging In VMware ESXi

Paul A. Henry Forensics and Follow me on Twitter

As a follow up to my recent SANS Forensic Blog post "How To - Digital Forensics Copying A VMware VMDK" that provided insight in to making a "GUI tool" based copy of a VMware VMDK, I have put together a How To that addresses creating a forensically sound image of a VMware VMDK on the ESXi console, that is able to provide the "chain of custody" needed in a digital forensics investigation.

Important note: In the simplest of terms a VMDK is an abstraction of a physical disk for a VM contained within a file (VMDK-flat). We are making a bit by bit


How To - Digital Forensics Copying A VMware VMDK

Having recently seen a number of requests on the security and forensic list servers that I participate in requesting recommendations / procedures for copying the disk (VMDK) for a specific Virtual Machine (VM) within a VMware environment for analysis in an incident response, I put together a quick How To in effort to provide some insight in to a few of the methods that I have used.

The Game Has Clearly Changed With Virtualization

Most often the files associated with a given VM are not stored locally on the physical server running ESX or ESXi and the respective VM. It is important to understand that in order to use many of the more powerful features of VMware such as vMotion and DRS the files for the VM's must reside on shared storage that is reachable from each ESX or ESXi server that needs to interact with it. Hence, when