So after a period of ‘lesser technical times’ I finally got a chance to play around with bits, bytes and other subjects of the information security world. A while back I got involved in a forensic investigation and participated with the team to answer the investigative questions. This was an interesting journey since a lot of things peeked my interest or ended up on one of my todo lists.
One of the reasons that my interest was peeked is that yes, you can use a lot of pre-made tools to process the disk images and after that processing is done you can start your investigation. However, there are still a lot of questions you could answer much quicker if you had a subset of that data available ‘instantly’. The other reason is that not all the tools understand all the filesystems out there, which means that if you encounter an exotic file system your options are heavily reduced. One of the tools I like and which inspired me for these quick & dirty scripts is ‘mac-robber‘ (be aware that it changes file times if the destination is not mounted read-only) since it’s able to process any file system as long as it’s mounted on an operating system on which mac-robber is able to run. An example of running mac-robber:
sudo mac-robber mnt/ | head
You can even timeline the output if you want with mactime:
sudo mac-robber mnt/ | mactime -d | head
Thu Jan 01 1970 01:00:00,2048,…b,dr-xr-xr-x,0,0,0,”mnt/.disk”
Thu Jan 01 1970 01:00:00,0,…b,-r–r–r–,0,0,0,”mnt/.disk/base_installable”
Thu Jan 01 1970 01:00:00,37,…b,-r–r–r–,0,0,0,”mnt/.disk/casper-uuid-generic”
Thu Jan 01 1970 01:00:00,15,…b,-r–r–r–,0,0,0,”mnt/.disk/cd_type”
Thu Jan 01 1970 01:00:00,60,…b,-r–r–r–,0,0,0,”mnt/.disk/info”
Now that’s pretty useful and quick! One of the things I missed however was the ability to quickly extend the tools as well as focus on just files. From a penetration testing perspective I find files much more interesting in an forensic investigation than directories and their meta-data. This is of course tied to the type of investigation you are doing, the goal of the investigation and the questions you need answered.
I decided to write a mac-robber(ish) python version to aid me in future investigations as well as learning a thing or two along the way. Before you continue reading please be aware that:
- The scripts have not gone through extensive testing
- Thus should not be blindly trusted to produce forensically sound output
- The regular ‘professional’ tools are not perfect either and still contain bugs ;)
That being said, let’s have a look at the type of questions you can answer with a limited set of data and how that could be done with custom written tools. If you don’t care about my ramblings, just access the Github repo here. It has become a bit of a long article, so here are the ‘chapters’ that you will encounter:
- What data do we want?
- How do we get the data?
- Working with the data, answering questions
- Converting to body file format
- Finding duplicate hashes
- Permission issues
- Entropy / file type issues
- Final thoughts