MacQuisition From BlackBag

by Jade James

MacQuisition is a simple but effective tool used for imaging and data collection of iMacs, MacBooks, and Mac Pros & Minis. This tool is solely for the use with Macs, but although it is a niche product MacQuisition has many benefits.

The latest release of MacQuisition is 2018 R1.2, which is contained within a 120GB or 1TB dongle/drive. This in itself is extremely useful as it allows you to image directly to the dongle. It can also act as a collector and is ideal for data collection in situ. Booting into a dongle eliminates the need to dismantle the system to access drives, which could be problematic and could potentially result in the loss of data. The 120GB version comes with USB2.0 and USB C connector cables, allowing for use with the latest MacBook Pros and iMac Pros.

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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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