Interview With Kim Smith, MSc Student, University Of South Wales

Kim, you're currently studying at the University of South Wales. Tell us about your course and what you're learning.

I am currently studying an MSc in Computer System Security; however, I have just completed an MSc in Forensic Audit and Accounting. My current course concentrates on several different aspects of Information Security. Both the practical application of network and systems security as well as security at a strategic level. It is accredited by the Tiger Scheme, and is a mix of lectures, self-study and practical.

What was it that first sparked your interest in digital forensics?

In my studies in Forensic Audit and Accounting I completed a module in Computer Forensics and Crime Investigation.

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Latest Videos

Quantifying Data Volatility for IoT Forensics With Examples From Contiki OS

Forensic Focus 22nd June 2022 5:00 am

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/

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

Forensic Focus 21st June 2022 5:00 am

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