Taking the time to look at a computer in a live manner will allow you to discover things that may not be discovered by looking at an image of a dead box. One way to do this, would be clone the original drive and place it back into the computer. Another, would be to convert your forensic image into a virtual hard disk and then run it in a Virtual Machine (VM). But did you know that you can go straight from a write blocked drive to a VM?
You have just received an image of a dual-boot. You add the image to your preferred forensic suite only to discover that the linux partition of the image is not being recognized. You immediately wonder.. “I know so and so can read extended 4! The other volume is not encrypted! What's going on?”
I was recently given the opportunity to attend an advanced mobile forensics course taught by Joe Church from Digital Shield. As part of the rite of passage certification process, Joe handed us an image of an infected Android device and challenged us to find the malware.
While examining an image of a Windows 7 computer, I struggled to find specific files that I knew at one point resided on the computer. After hours of searching through both the allocated and unallocated area, I found the files in question on the shadow volumes.
Recently while examining an image of a computer, I came across the need to determine if the image contained a set of specific files. For me those specific files were a series of pictures. I was faced with two options, I can either manually go through all of the folders to search for the pictures, or I can search for those specific pictures using some sort of automated way. I chose the automated way.
Whether you need to make a forensic copy of an evidence drive for analysis, or restore a drive to look at the computer in a live manner, at one point or another you are probably going to find yourself needing to clone a drive. Cloning a drive differs from imaging, in which cloning uses a target drive to make an exact duplicate of the original drive.
While examining the contents of an external hard drive in a recent case, I came across the need to recover videos from the unallocated area of the drive. Interestingly enough, the videos in question were in the form of ISO images. When my preferred commercial carving tool didn’t offer an option to carve for ISO’s, PhotoRec did.
The E01 image format, also known as the Expert Witness Format or the EnCase Image Format is perhaps the de facto standard for forensic analysis. Is it a format owned by Guidance Software containing a bitstream of an acquired disk, case information, checksums for every block of 64 sectors, and a footer with an MD5 hash for the entire bitstream.
When it comes to media acquisition using Linux, tools like Raptor and Paladin are hard to beat. These tools are able to boot the computer and acquire the internal devices all while write-blocking the devices. If a GUI acquisition tool for Linux is what you need then look no further, Guymager is it.