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

Computer Forensics: Identifying Disk Differences — Broken Mirrors

One Friday afternoon I was greeted by a large package from FedEx. Inside the giant box was supposed to be a hard disk drive on which I was to conduct digital forensic analysis. Opening the box and removing a few handfuls of packing peanuts revealed a bubble-wrapped Dell Tower. Obviously, the clients, like most non-computer folks, didn't know they could remove the actual hard disk drive from the tower and send those my way.

After grabbing the paperwork for this job, filling out my own chain-of-custody documentation and evidence receipt, I cracked open the tower and saw the following inside:

Image 1: Double SATA, double fun

Review: Access Data Forensic Toolkit (FTK) Version 3 — Part 2

Welcome to part two of my FTK v3 review. If you have not read the first post, it can be found here. Forensic suites are notoriously difficult to review because of the sheer number of features they include. We are lucky within the computer forensic community to have multiple vendors operating in a highly competitive environment. As such, the core forensic suites continue to add functionality. I have chosen to highlight a few of the new(er) features within Access Data's Forensic Toolkit (FTK). I interact with a lot of folks who are building forensic capabilities within their organizations, often with a limited budget. With the new additions to FTK, I find myself recommending it more and more. For the typical forensic shop it really does have a lot of bang


Internet Evidence Finder Part II: Intro to IEF v3.3

I had an opportunity earlier this year to interview Jad Saliba of discussing his Internet Evidence Finder tool. You can view that interview here. Hopefully, SANS Computer Forensic Blog readers enjoyed the 15% discount that Jad offered exclusively to SANS CF blog readers and have taken the time to implement this tool into your forensic toolkit. This post is part of a series and will introduce functionality of IEF v3.3. You can download the most recent version (v3.5.1 at time of this article) from a brief recap of what IEF will search for on a mounted drive/folder. Facebook chat, Yahoo! chat (IEF must have chat username to decode), Windows Live Messenger chat, Google Talk chat, AIM logs, hotmail webmail fragments, yahoo! webmail fragments, etc. For a full listing of supported artifacts and limitations visit


Trusting Your Tools

"A trusted tool is one that you understand what it does"- Chris Pogue

I recently heard Chris make that statement during his "Sniper Forensics" presentation at the 2010 SANS Forensics & Incident Response Summit. It was that statement that inspired me to put together this post. As digital forensic examiners, we rely on various applications/programs (tools) to aid us during our investigations. I want to take Chris' statement and flesh it out a bit''

"A trusted tool is one that you understand what it does, where it came from, what flaws it has and what results it gives you."

This post is aimed at those that are new to digital forensics, but will also help those that may not have been given a push in the right direction or those that are experienced who might have lost their way. So let's get started.

There may be a tool you are interested in using that you heard about somewhere. Let's face it, forensic examiners need tools to assist them with their

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Windows MBR and Advanced Format Drives (e512)

Advanced Format Drives (e512)

Advanced format drives are now on the market in full force. These drives are also known as e512 drives. They include the new Long Data Sector standards recommended by International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA). These are also known as the 4k - or 4096 - byte sector drives. Fortunately for legacy reasons, the drives are handling the sectors with drive controllers and electronics by emulating 512 byte sectors (hence the term e512). The various OSes and applications out there are going to see sector sizes as 512 bytes. It turns out this is not a major game changer for forensic examiners - unless you're really getting into rebuilding a drive physically.

That said, there is an area of change that should be noted. Some legacy artifacts have changed with the way these drives are now formatted. Specifically, the Master Boot Record (MBR) method of partitioning a drive has changed with Windows 7. Until

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