Word Forensic Analysis And Compound File Binary Format

by Arman Gungor

Microsoft Word forensic analysis is something digital forensic investigators do quite often for document authentication. Because of the great popularity of Microsoft Office, many important business documents such as contracts and memoranda are created using Word. When things go south, some of these documents become key evidence and subject to forensic authentication.

My goal in this article is to review a sample Word document in Word Binary File Format, take a look at the underlying data in Compound File Binary (CFB) file format and see what we can find out beyond what mainstream tools show us.

I chose a sample in Word Binary Format (i.e., .doc) rather than in Word Extensions to the Office Open XML File Format (i.e., .docx) because many other file types in the Microsoft universe, such as MSG files, are also based on the CFB file format. I consider CFB to be a treasure trove of forensic artifacts.

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