Investigating User Activity with Windows Artifacts in IEF

Sometimes when conducting forensic examinations, investigators can lose sight of the fact that they’re investigating the actions of a person, not a computer. Almost every event or action on a system is the result of a user either doing something (or not doing something) at a particular time to create that event. It’s important for an investigator to understand how those events on a system correlate to the actions of somebody in the real world.

New with the Business and OS artifacts module in Internet Evidence Finder (IEF) v6.4, Magnet Forensics has added a number of valuable Windows operating system artifacts that will help investigators gain insight into details about a system and its users. These artifacts can be broken down into two categories: system artifacts and artifacts focused around a user’s activity. This blog discusses artifacts based around user activity and how they are relevant to your investigation…

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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

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