Using The Content-Length Header Field In Email Forensics

by Arman Gungor

As forensic examiners, we often have to analyze emails in isolation without the benefit of server metadata, neighbor messages, or data from other sources such as workstations. When authenticating an email in isolation, every detail counts—we review a long list of data points such as formatting discrepancies within the message body, dates hidden in MIME boundary delimiters, and header fields.

One data point I often see being overlooked is the Content-Length header field. The value this field contains can be leveraged for a simple but powerful check to verify an email’s payload. In this post, I will discuss how we need to preserve emails to be able to utilize the Content-Length header field, how to utilize the data in this field, and a couple of use case scenarios. Let’s start by defining Content-Length.

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Alan Platt, Professional Services Consultant at MSAB, discusses his experience as a former UK police officer working in digital forensics. He talks about the different levels of digital forensics capabilities within police forces and how MSAB products like XAMN and XEC Director are used by frontline officers versus lab analysts.

The discussion covers how MSAB partners with law enforcement to develop custom workflows for mobile device acquisitions that facilitate ISO compliance. Alan explains MSAB's managed service offering, where approved MSAB staff can remotely access a customer's XEC Director server to assist with software updates and troubleshooting. He emphasizes the strict data segregation policies enforced by customers to prevent MSAB from accessing any sensitive case data.

Looking ahead, Alan mentions MSAB's new CEO and hints at some exciting developments coming down the pipeline. He spotlights recent enhancements to XEC Director's speed and database functionality for managing large estates of networked Kiosks. Alan also plugs the new XEC Director training he created to help users fully leverage the platform's capabilities.

00:00 – Introduction to Alan Platt
07:00 – Training
12:00 – Workflows
17:20 – Ensuring a secure environment
19:45 – Customer training
20:35 – Helping customers comply with ISO accreditation
25:00 – Validation and verification
27:30 – ISO standards
30:00 – MSAB’s pipeline plans
32:40 – XEC Director
43:45 – Privacy of user data

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