Forensic Focus prize awarded at Cranfield University

An annual award sponsored by Forensic Focus available to those studying at the Centre for Forensic Computing at Cranfield University was recently awarded for the first time. The prize, consisting of a trophy and cash sum, is awarded to the student whose project makes the best contribution to the digital forensics community as part of Cranfield’s MSc in Forensic Computing course.

The award was presented at Cranfield’s graduation ceremony on the 16th July 2010 to Mark McConnell from the Forensic Science Service Northern Ireland. Mark completed the final year of his MSc with a thesis titled “Forensic Extraction of SMS Messages from Embedded Mobile Phone Memory”. The award takes its place amongst other annual prizes sponsored by NTAC and SOCA. Further information on the award will be published at the Forensic Focus site next month.

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Learn more: https://dfrws.org/presentation/a-systematic-approach-to-understanding-macb-timestamps-on-unixlike-systems/

File timestamps are used by forensics practitioners as a fundamental artifact. For example, the creation of user files can show traces of user activity, while system files, like configuration and log files, typically reveal when a program was run.

Despite timestamps being ubiquitous, the understanding of their exact meaning is mostly overlooked in favor of fully-automated, correlation-based approaches. Existing work for practitioners aims at understanding Windows and is not directly applicable to Unix-like systems.

In this paper, we review how each layer of the software stack (kernel, file system, libraries, application) influences MACB timestamps on Unix systems such as Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD and macOS.

We examine how POSIX specifies the timestamp behavior and propose a framework for automatically profiling OS kernels, user mode libraries and applications, including compliance checks against POSIX.

Our implementation covers four different operating systems, the GIO and Qt library, as well as several user mode applications and is released as open-source.

Based on 187 compliance tests and automated profiling covering common file operations, we found multiple unexpected and non-compliant behaviors, both on common operations and in edge cases.

Furthermore, we provide tables summarizing timestamp behavior aimed to be used by practitioners as a quick-reference.

Learn more: https://dfrws.org/presentation/a-systematic-approach-to-understanding-macb-timestamps-on-unixlike-systems/

YouTube Video UCQajlJPesqmyWJDN52AZI4Q_i0zd7HtluzY

A Systematic Approach to Understanding MACB Timestamps on Unixlike Systems

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