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Computer Forensics Analysis

Computer Forensics Analysis (sometimes known as Computer Forensic Science) is a branch of digital forensic science pertaining to legal evidence found in computers and digital storage media. The goal of computer forensics is to examine digital media in a forensically sound manner with the aim of identifying, preserving, recovering, analyzing and presenting facts and opinions about the information.

 

Forensic Process

Computer forensic investigations usually follow the standard digital forensic process (acquisition, analysis and reporting). Investigations are performed on static data (i.e. acquired images) rather than "live" systems. This is a change from early forensic practices where a lack of specialist tools led to investigators commonly working on live data.

A number of techniques are used during computer forensics investigations:

  • Cross-drive analysis - A forensic technique that correlates information found on multiple hard drives. The process, still being researched, can be used to identify social networks and perform anomaly detection.
  • Live analysis - The examination of computers from within the operating system using custom forensics or existing system administrator tools to extract evidence. The practice is useful when dealing with Encrypting File System, for example, where the encryption keys may be collected and, in some instances, the logical hard drive volume may be imaged (known as a live acquisition) before the computer is shut down.
  • Deleted files - A common technique used in computer forensics is the recovery of deleted files. Modern forensic software have their own tools for recovering or carving out deleted data. Most operating systems and file systems do not always erase physical file data, allowing investigators to reconstruct it from the physical disk sectors. File carving involves searching for known file headers within the disk image and reconstructing deleted materials.
  • Steganography - One of the techniques used to hide data is via steganography, the process of hiding data inside of a picture or digital image. This process is often used to hide pornographic images of children, as well as information that a given criminal does not want to be discovered. Computer forensics professionals can fight this by looking at the hash of the file and comparing it to the original image (if available). While the image appears exactly the same, the hash changes as the data changes.
  • CFS Cybercrime Forensic Specialists working with digital and information systems have access to a wide range of different high level security grade software, toolkits and techniques. Our staff is fully trained, experienced and certified. If the information is there, we’ll find it.

 

Volatile Data


When seizing evidence, if the machine is still active, any information stored solely in RAM that is not recovered before powering down may be lost. One application of "live analysis" is to recover RAM data (for example, using Microsoft's COFEE tool, windd, WindowsSCOPE) prior to removing an exhibit. CaptureGUARD Gateway bypasses Windows login for locked computers, allowing for the analysis and acquisition of physical memory on a locked computer.

RAM can be analyzed for prior content after power loss, because the electrical charge stored in the memory cells takes time to dissipate, an effect exploited by the cold boot attack. The length of time that data is recoverable is increased by low temperatures and higher cell voltages. Holding unpowered RAM below −60 °C helps preserve residual data by an order of magnitude, improving the chances of successful recovery. However, it can be impractical to do this during a field examination.

Some of the tools needed to extract volatile data, however, require that a computer be in a forensic lab, both to maintain a legitimate chain of evidence, and to facilitate work on the machine. If necessary, law enforcement applies techniques to move a live, running desktop computer. These include a mouse jiggler, which moves the mouse rapidly in small movements and prevents the computer from going to sleep accidentally. Usually, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provides power during transit.

However, one of the easiest ways to capture data is by actually saving the RAM data to disk. Various file systems that have journaling features such as NTFS and ReiserFS keep a large portion of the RAM data on the main storage media during operation, and these page files can be reassembled to reconstruct what was in RAM at that time.

 

Analysis Tools


A number of open source and commercial tools exist for computer forensics investigation. Typical forensic analysis includes a manual review of material on the media, reviewing the Windows registry for suspect information, discovering and cracking passwords, keyword searches for topics related to the crime, and extracting e-mail and pictures for review.

CORE Impact Professional

Logo Core ImpactCORE Impact Professional is the most comprehensive software solution for assessing and testing security vulnerabilities throughout your organization.

 
 

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IBM Security AppScan

Logo IBM Rational AppScanIBM Rational AppScan Enterprise is a scalable solution to help resolve application security vulnerabilities, offering recommendations to simplify remediation.

 

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HP WebInspect

Logo - HP WebInspectHP WebInspect gives security professionals and security novices alike the power and knowledge to quickly identify and validate critical, high-risk security vulnerabilities.

 

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Acunetix WVS

logo acunetix web application securityAcunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner (WVS) is an automated web application security testing tool that audits web applications by checking for hacking vulnerabilities. 

 

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w4rri0r - Hacking Is Not A Crime - It's an art of Awareness

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\/ w4rri0r mission \/ are to make the information systems more secure, more aware, more reliable and protect against possible security breaches.