Need help? We are here

Digital forensics involves processing data from many different types of devices, ranging from desktops to laptops, tablets to smartphones, servers to cloud storage, and even devices embedded in automobiles and aircraft. In this project, you will focus on the architecture and imaging of desktop and laptop computers. You will be working in a virtual machine (VM) to image and verify the contents of the following:
a USB stick
the random access memory (RAM) and
swap space of a live computer
a networked computer hard drive
There are seven steps in this project. In the first step, you will review a technical manual containing information about where data of forensic value is typically found inside digital devices. The next two steps will guide you through the process of imaging a USB stick with both Linux and Windows tools. The next step will pose several questions that frequently come up in cases similar to this scenario. In the next step, you will be back to collecting forensic evidence; this time you will be imaging the RAM (memory) and swap space of a live, running computer. In the next step, you will image a computers hard drive over the network. In the final step, you will compile all lab notes and reports into one comprehensive report. The final assignment in this project is a forensic imaging lab report that can be presented in a court of law.
Before you can begin imaging the USB drive provided by your supervisor, you need to review your technical manual in order to prepare a memo to give to your companys legal team. Are you ready to get started?
S1
Before you have a chance to begin the imaging process, your supervisor calls to tell you that the organizations legal team has been asking questions about types, sources, and collection of digital information. Team members have also asked about file formats. Your supervisor asks you to prepare a brief explanatory memo. You use the departments technical manual to compose your memo on finding valuable forensic information and storing digital evidence. You also review image verification using hashing, an important component of digital forensics.
For the first step in this project, prepare a memo (one to two pages in length following this format) in plain language that summarizes where valuable digital forensic information resides in the device, as well as collection and storage options. The devices to be addressed are USB sticks, RAM and swap space, and operating system hard disks. You will need to research and cite reference sources for each answer contained your memo (e.g., NIST) For each electronic media device described, include a short description of the following:
identify the digital media device
examined
types of data that can be found
there
reasons why the data has potential
value to an investigation in general, and for this case in
particular
list the possible digital evidence
storage formats (raw, E01 (ewf), and AFF) and describe the advantages and
disadvantages of each format, and
how digital forensic images are
collected (local and remote, memory and disk) and verified.
Your memo will be included in the final forensic imaging lab report.
In the first step in this project, you reviewed technical information and imaging procedures and briefed your legal team on digital forensic basics. Now, its time to move forward with the investigation.
The USB stick may contain intellectual property that you can use to prove the suspects guilt, or at least establish intent. Security personnel recovered the stick from the suspects desk drawer the night before. You take possession of the stick, recording the physical exchange on the chain-of-custody document prepared by the security officers.
Your teams policy is, when practical, to use multiple tools when conducting digital forensic investigations, so you decide to image the USB stick using both Linux and Windows tools.
To get started, review the lab instructions in the box below, as well as methods of acquisition. Then go to the virtual lab to set up your evidence drive and proceed to enable write protection, sterilize the target media, perform a static acquisition of Linux data, and verify the USB stick on the sterilized media using Linux tools in preparation for the report and notes requested by your supervisor.
Windows Tools
After imaging the USB drive with Linux in the previous step, your next step is to image the USB drive again, this time using Windows tools. Review the lab instructions in the box below, and then go to the virtual lab. When you complete the activity, review your lab notes and report for accuracy and completeness; they will be included in your final forensic imaging lab report in the final step.
n previous steps, you imaged the USB drive using Linux and Windows tools. In this step, you will create a legal memorandum that responds to pointed questions from your organizations legal team. The legal team has been involved in cybercrime cases before, but team members want to make sure they are prepared for possible legal challenges. They have requested very specific information about imaging procedures based upon your review of reference sources in the field.
Research sources on digital forensics imaging and mounting procedures before writing your response. Then review Set Up Your Evidence Drive, Hash Functions, Imaging Programs, and Image Verification With Hashing as needed.
Questions from the legal team:
1. Assuming that this is a criminal case that will be heard in a court of law, which hashing algorithm will you use and why?
2. What if the hash of your original does not match your forensic copy? What kinds of issues could that create? What could cause this situation?
3. What if your OS automatically mounts your flash drive prior to creating your forensic duplicate? What kinds of problems could that create?
4. How will you be able to prove that your OS did not automatically mount your flash drive and change its contents prior to the creation of the forensic copy?
The legal team would like you to respond in the form of a brief memo (one to two pages following this format) written in plain, simple English. The memo will be included as an attachment to your final forensic imaging lab report in the final step, so review it carefully for accuracy and completeness.
You are hoping that you will be able to access the suspects local computer next.
n the previous step, you addressed the concerns of your companys legal team. While you were doing so, the suspects afternoon training session started, so now you can move to the next stage of your investigation.
Your organizations IT department backs up the hard drives of HQ computers on a regular basis, so you are interested only in the suspects RAM (referred to as volatile data storage) and swap space. The RAM and swap space may reveal programs used to hide or transmit intellectual property, in addition to the intellectual property itself (past or current). You have a four-hour window to acquire the RAM and swap space of his live computer. When you arrive at the suspects office, the computer is running, but locked. Fortunately, the company IT department has provided you with the administrator password, so you log on to the system. Review the lab instructions in the box below, and then go to the virtual lab. Follow the steps required to acquire and analyze the RAM and swap space and perform imaging of a live computer.
In the previous step, you acquired and analyzed the RAM and swap space from the suspects live, local computer. In this step, you perform a similar analysis on his networked, off-site computer. Take a minute to consider forensic evidence in networks.
Your supervisor confirms that the suspects remote office is closed for the weekend, so you are free to image his computer via the network to store the digital evidence. The remote computer is locked, but the company IT department has provided an administrator password for your investigation. Using your forensic workstation at headquarters, you log on to the remote system.
If the image were going to pass unencrypted over an untrusted network (such as the internet), youd would want to conduct the transfer over SSH, but since youre on the company network and connecting to the remote office via a VPN, you can use the dd command to transfer a copy of the remote hard drive to your local workstation using the netcat tool.
Review the lab instructions in the box below, and then go to the virtual lab. Follow the steps required to image the computer over the network.
Provide any information related to the issue that you are experiencing and attach any screenshot that you may be able to produce related to the issue.
Review your lab notes and report carefully for accuracy and completeness; they will be included in your final forensic imaging lab report.
Phew! You have conducted an exhaustive investigation of all the suspect’s computer devices in this possible insider cyber-crime. In the process, you have written up lab notes and four reports, as well as providing responses to questions from your legal team. The last step in the investigative process is to combine the information that youve gathered into a single forensic report that can be presented in a court of law.
Step 7
Now that youve completed the necessary acquisition and imaging tasks, youre ready to compile all your reports and lab notes into a single forensic imaging lab report that you will submit to your supervisor. Your supervisor reminds you that your report may be presented in a court case, so it needs to meet legal requirements. The report should include the following sections:
1. One- to two-page memo addressing the types, sources, collection of digital information, as well as file formats
2. Imaging of a USB drive using Linux tools (lab notes, report)
3. Imaging of a USB drive using Windows tools (lab notes, report)
4. One- to two-page memo responding to questions about imaging procedures
5. RAM and swap acquisition—live, local computer (lab notes, report)
6. Forensic imaging over a network (lab notes, report)
Submit your forensic imaging lab report to your supervisor (instructor) for evaluation