New download: A National Research and Development Agenda (ISTS)

Law Enforcement Tools and Technologies for Investigating Cyber Attacks: A National Research and Development Agenda. This study is the culmination of a multi-year research effort by the Technical Analysis Group at the Institute for Security Technology Studies (ISTS). In this document we present the top band of critical problem areas encountered during cyber attack investigations that may be addressed through research and development. Solving the needs outlined in this work would significantly increase law enforcement’s ability to investigate and prosecute cyber attack cases. We offer this agenda to serve as a resource for decision makers, developers, and researchers, in government, industry, and academic institutions across the country.

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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. 

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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.

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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

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