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Digital Forensics Collection Tools by Martin Plough

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Digital Forensics Collection Tools by
Article Posted: 11/11/2013
Article Views: 80
Articles Written: 1
Word Count: 844
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Digital Forensics Collection Tools

Digital forensics are necessary during any civil litigation. It involves collection of evidence through computer and mobile phone forensics. In some situations, it is not possible to collect all this forensics data. Nonetheless, there are still some things have to be done when handling these data.

To assist in this, there are a couple of computer forensics tools that can be used to get data from any device. Some of these tools are:

FTK Imager – A lightweight collection tool that can be used to create both full (physical) acquisitions and targeted (logical) acquisitions of data, from both servers and computers.

EnCase Enterprise – A collection tool that enables us to make targeted forensic copies of data remotely over a corporate network without the knowledge of the target custodians.

XRY – XRY is a reliable and highly respected forensic tool which supports a wide variety of mobile devices including mobile phones, Sat Navs and tablets. The software supports the recovery of ‘live’ and ‘deleted’ data from devices and is presented in a user friendly and clear format.

Cellebrite – Cellebrite can perform ‘live’ and ‘deleted’ analysis of a number of mobile devices including mobile phones and tablets. One of the main features of Cellebrite is that it can extract a ‘file system/file structure’ read from a device and will then display the evidence in the exact same way that it is stored on the device. Cellebrite is also an excellent tool for recovering ‘deleted’ data from mobile devices.

Pre-Processing Tools For Digital Computer Forensics

Pre-processing tools are designed to quickly reduce data volumes prior to loading into an e-disclosure platform. Some pre-processing tools on the market are charged on a per GB basis, or a per day pricing model. The per day pricing allows us to undertake high data volume projects at a lower cost than had per GB pricing been applied.

We were asked to undertake an e-disclosure exercise across 5TB (5,000,000MB) of data. Had all of this data been loaded straight into a review platform the cost would have been approaching £1 million in processing costs alone. By utilizing a pre-processing engine we were able to undertake the exercise for tens of thousands instead.

Pre-processing tools includes the following:

Nuix – Excellent for large volumes of data, Nuix is able quickly to index and search almost all commonly encountered data types, allowing us to rapidly cull out irrelevant data. Nuix is capable of loading all data sources at once enabling us to de-duplicate across exhibits. In a recent exercise we were able to reduce the volume of data that needed to be loaded into the review platform from over 11TB to less than 50GB using Nuix.

EnCase – Historically a tool for forensic practitioners, EnCase can be used for e-disclosure to reduce data volumes and recover previously deleted information if required. EnCase is an ideal pre-processing tool for smaller cases with fewer data sources, but can become labor-intensive on larger cases. Recently, we used EnCase to recover deleted information for inclusion in document review, in total over 1,000 previously deleted files were recovered.

FTK – Can be used in a similar capacity to EnCase for e-disclosure. FTK indexes all data on adding to a case allowing fast keyword searching. FTK is ideal for use on cases with large volumes of emails as it is effective at maintaining document families such as emails and their attachments, which is often vital for the e-disclosure process.

Processing and Review Tools For Digital Computer Forensics

A suite of processing and review tools will initially process the data to enable de-duplication (where not undertaken at a pre-processing phase) and indexing of the data to make it fully searchable for review. This allows us to omit the pre-processing phase where data volumes are small, saving time and effort.

The administration of the system is fully our responsibility and we host all our review platforms. This means that the client should only concentrate on reviewing their document. In case of any problem there are analysts available to offer technical support and counsel. Here are two of the tools that can be used when handling digital forensics data:

Clearwell- It is one of the top e-disclosure handling platforms available in the industry currently. It was termed the “leader” in e-disclosure software by the 2013 Gartner Magic Quadrant. Clearwell has a user interface that is easy to operate and quite intuitive. It is billed on a GB basis and can be accessed from any computer using a secure portal.

FTK- Is a better option for those working on smaller cases. Clients can access it from our reviews consoles which have been specially made at our laboratory in Startford-upon-Avon. Clearwell has more functionality than it and only one person can use it for review at any given time. It is considered cheap in some cases since it is not charged per GB.

Paul Bromby is the author of this article on Mobile Phone Analysis. Find more information, about Mobile Phone Forensics here

Related Articles - Computer Forensics, Mobile Phone Analysis, Digital Forensics, e-disclosure,

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