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

Stop, Children, What's That Sound?

Making Use of a Super Timeline

I won't go over how to create a Super Timeline since Rob has already covered that as a high level in on the SANS Digital Forensics Blog. What I've been working on recently is how to best make use of the resulting timeline. I have also discovered some interesting artifacts that never occurred to me to consider as part of a timeline.

What I've learned is that creating a Super Timeline is only the beginning of timeline analysis. Because the Super Timeline method captures so many time stamps, it islikely that a SuperTimeline will contain too many entries to manually review line by line especially if an examiner creates a timeline for an entire drive image.The challenge is to be able to pin down what portions of that timeline are relevant to the examination at hand.

What I recommend

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exFAT File System Time Zone Concerns

exFAT Time Zone Concerns

The exFAT file system tracks the time zone offset of all MAC time's stored for the respective file. The file system uses 32-bit time stamps (and another byte tracking 10ms increments). Additionally, all time stamps are recorded to the file system as local machine time while applying a time zone offset that is also stored when a file is changed/modified/accessed. The implications of this include being able to track removable media across several time zones without the need for the system they were used in. (For a more detailed look at the exFAT file system, see Robert Shullich's paper on SANS Computer Forensics Resources).

exFAT stores time zone offsets in a one byte value. Vista SP1 (the first desktop release of exFAT) did NOT utilize the time zone byte. In this case, the time zone bytes will be 0x00. Since the OS

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Timestamped Registry & NTFS Artifacts from Unallocated Space

Frequently, while following up a Windows investigation, I will add certain filenames or other string values to my case wordlist and subsequently find these strings embedded in binary data of one type or another in unallocated space. Close examination of the surrounding data structures has shown that these are often old MFT entries, INDX structures, or registry keys or values. The thing that makes these things very interesting from a forensic perspective is that all of them but registry values incorporate Windows timestamps. (All timestamps referenced in this article are 64bit Windows filetime values.) Even registry values often follow closely after their parent keys in the registry, which do have associated timestamps. Once I'd noticed these key facts, it occurred to me that it would be useful to use the timestamp values to work backward to other associated data, and hence the genesis of this

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Digital Forensics Case Leads: The SIFT Workstation 2.0 Edition

Rob Lee recently brought us version 2.0 of the SANS Investigative Forensics Toolkit (SIFT), Into the Boxes Issue 0x1 was released, along with some interesting new tools by Harlan Carvey, and the New Jersey Supreme Court makes a ruling that could have significant impact on employer policies and employee expectations of privacy. Those in or near the Toronto area should also check out SANS Computer Forensic Essentials taught by SANS Computer Forensics blog contributor Chad Tilbury. There's a lot of good stuff linked below, so explore and enjoy. And, as always, thanks to all who make such excellent information and tools available to the community.

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