Difference between pages "Forensic 408-Windows in Depth" and "New Technology File System (NTFS)"

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FOR408: COMPUTER FORENSIC INVESTIGATIONS - WINDOWS IN-DEPTH focuses on the critical knowledge of the Windows Operating System that every digital forensic analyst needs to investigate computer incidents successfully. You will learn how computer forensic analysts focus on collecting and analyzing data from computer systems to track user-based activity that can be used in internal investigations or civil/criminal litigation.
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The '''New Technology File System''' ('''NTFS''') is a [[file system]] developed and introduced by [[Microsoft]] in 1995 with [[Windows]] NT. As a replacement for the [[FAT]] file system, it quickly became the standard for [[Windows 2000]], [[Windows XP]] and [[Windows Server 2003]].
  
This course covers the methodology of in-depth computer forensic examinations, digital investigative analysis, and media exploitation so each student will have complete qualifications to work as a computer forensic investigator helping to solve and fight crime. In addition to in-depth technical knowledge of Windows Digital Forensics (Windows XP through Windows 8 and Server 2012), you will learn about well-known computer forensic tools such as Access Datas Forensic Toolkit (FTK), Guidance Softwares EnCase, Registry Analyzer, FTK Imager, Prefetch Analyzer, and much more. Many of the tools covered in the course are freeware, comprising a full-featured forensic laboratory that students can take with them.
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The features of NTFS include:
  
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* [[Hard-links]]
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* Improved performance, reliability and disk space utilization
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* Security [[access control lists]]
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* File system journaling
  
'''COMPUTER FORENSIC INVESTIGATIONS - WINDOWS IN-DEPTH COURSE TOPICS'''
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== Time Stamps ==
  
Windows File System Foundations
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NTFS keeps track of lots of time stamps. Each file has a time stamp for 'Create', 'Modify', 'Access', and 'Entry Modified'. The latter refers to the time when the MFT entry itself was modified. These four values are commonly abbreviated as the 'MACE' values. Note that other attributes in each MFT record may also contain timestamps that are of forensic value.
  
Evidence Acquisition Tools and Techniques
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Additional information on how NTFS timestamps work when files are moved or copied is available here: [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/299648 Microsoft KB 299648]
  
Law Enforcement Bag and Tag
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=== Changes in Windows Vista  ===
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In Windows Vista, NTFS no longer tracks the Last Access time of a file by default. This feature can be enabled by setting the NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate value to '0' in the Registry key:
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<pre>HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem</pre>
  
Evidence Integrity
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Note that this feature has been around since as early as Windows 2000 [http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc959914.aspx].
  
Registry Forensics
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== Alternate Data Streams ==
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The '''NTFS''' file system includes a feature referred to as Alternate Data Streams (ADSs).  This feature has also been referred to as "multiple data streams", "alternative data streams", etc.  ADSs were included in '''NTFS''' in order to support the resource forks employed by the Hierarchal File System ([[HFS]]) employed by Macintosh systems. 
  
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As of [[Windows XP]] SP2, files downloaded via Internet Explorer, Outlook, and Windows Messenger were automatically given specific "zoneid" ADSs.  The [[Windows]] Explorer shell would then display a warning when the user attempted to execute these files (by double-clicking them).
  
'''Windows Artifact Analysis'''
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Sysadmins should be aware that prior to Vista, there are no tools native to the [[Windows]] platform that would allow you to view the existence of arbitrary ADSs.  While ADSs can be created and their contents executed or viewed, it wasn't until the "/r" switch was introduced with the "dir" command on Vista that arbitrary ADSs would be visible.  Prior to this, tools such as [http://www.heysoft.de/Frames/f_sw_la_en.htm LADS] could be used to view the existence of these files.
  
Facebook, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Chat and Webmail Analysis
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Microsoft FSRM (File System Resource Manager) also uses ADS as part of 'file classification'.
  
E-Mail Forensics (Host, Server, Web)
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Examiners should be aware that most forensic analysis applications, including [[EnCase]] and ProDiscover, will display ADSs found in acquired images in red.
  
Microsoft Office Document Analysis
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== Advanced Format (4KB Sector) Hard Drives ==
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NTFS does not natively handle drives that use the new standard of 4KB sectors. For information on this, see [[Advanced Format]].
  
Windows Link File Investigation
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== Transactional NTFS (TxF) ==
  
Windows Recycle Bin Analysis
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According to MSDN Transactional NTFS (TxF) allows file operations on an NTFS file system volume to be performed in a transaction.
  
File and Picture Metadata Tracking and Examination
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Several TxF related file-system-metadata files can be found in the file-system-metadata directory: \$Extend\$RmMetadata\. TxF also uses the MFT attribute $LOGGING_UTILITY_STREAM with the name $TXF_DATA.
  
Prefetch Analysis
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TxF uses the [[Common Log File System (CLFS)]]
  
Event Log File Analysis
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== External links ==
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* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS Wikipedia: NTFS]
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* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb968806%28v=VS.85%29.aspx MSDN on Transactional NTFS]
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* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transactional_NTFS Wikipedia on Transactional NTFS]
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* [http://www.tzworks.net/prototype_page.php?proto_id=12  Windows NTFS Metadata Extractor Utility] Free tool that can be run on Windows, Linux or Mac OS-X
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* [http://www.tzworks.net/prototype_page.php?proto_id=28 Graphic Engine for NTFS Analysis (gena)] (GUI to view NTFS internals/extract data on live systems)
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* [http://sourceforge.net/projects/linux-ntfs/files/NTFS%20Documentation/ Linux-ntfs Documentation] Detailed documentation of the NTFS format by the Linux-NTFS driver creators.
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* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/140365 Default cluster size for NTFS, FAT, and exFAT]
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* [http://code.google.com/p/libfslibs/downloads/detail?name=New%20Technologies%20File%20System%20%28NTFS%29.pdf New Technologies File System (NTFS)], by the [[libfslibs|libfslibs project]], August 2009
  
Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer Browser Forensics
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[[Category:File Systems]]
 
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Deleted File Recovery
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String Searching and Data Carving
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Examination of Cases involving Windows XP, VISTA, and Windows 7, and Windows 8
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'''Media Analysis And Exploitation involving:'''
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Tracking user communications using a Windows PC (e-mail, chat, IM, webmail)
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Identifying if and how the suspect downloaded a specific file to the PC
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Determining the exact time and number of times a suspect executed a program
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Showing when any file was first and last opened by a suspect
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Determining if a suspect had knowledge of a specific file
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Showing the exact physical location of the system
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Tracking and analysis of USB devices
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Showing how the suspect logged on to the machine via the console, RDP, or network
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Recovering and examining browser artifacts, even those used in private browsing mode
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Forensic Analysis Report Writing
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Fully Updated to include Windows 8 and Server 2012 Examinations
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Revision as of 08:33, 14 September 2013

The New Technology File System (NTFS) is a file system developed and introduced by Microsoft in 1995 with Windows NT. As a replacement for the FAT file system, it quickly became the standard for Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

The features of NTFS include:

Time Stamps

NTFS keeps track of lots of time stamps. Each file has a time stamp for 'Create', 'Modify', 'Access', and 'Entry Modified'. The latter refers to the time when the MFT entry itself was modified. These four values are commonly abbreviated as the 'MACE' values. Note that other attributes in each MFT record may also contain timestamps that are of forensic value.

Additional information on how NTFS timestamps work when files are moved or copied is available here: Microsoft KB 299648

Changes in Windows Vista

In Windows Vista, NTFS no longer tracks the Last Access time of a file by default. This feature can be enabled by setting the NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate value to '0' in the Registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem

Note that this feature has been around since as early as Windows 2000 [1].

Alternate Data Streams

The NTFS file system includes a feature referred to as Alternate Data Streams (ADSs). This feature has also been referred to as "multiple data streams", "alternative data streams", etc. ADSs were included in NTFS in order to support the resource forks employed by the Hierarchal File System (HFS) employed by Macintosh systems.

As of Windows XP SP2, files downloaded via Internet Explorer, Outlook, and Windows Messenger were automatically given specific "zoneid" ADSs. The Windows Explorer shell would then display a warning when the user attempted to execute these files (by double-clicking them).

Sysadmins should be aware that prior to Vista, there are no tools native to the Windows platform that would allow you to view the existence of arbitrary ADSs. While ADSs can be created and their contents executed or viewed, it wasn't until the "/r" switch was introduced with the "dir" command on Vista that arbitrary ADSs would be visible. Prior to this, tools such as LADS could be used to view the existence of these files.

Microsoft FSRM (File System Resource Manager) also uses ADS as part of 'file classification'.

Examiners should be aware that most forensic analysis applications, including EnCase and ProDiscover, will display ADSs found in acquired images in red.

Advanced Format (4KB Sector) Hard Drives

NTFS does not natively handle drives that use the new standard of 4KB sectors. For information on this, see Advanced Format.

Transactional NTFS (TxF)

According to MSDN Transactional NTFS (TxF) allows file operations on an NTFS file system volume to be performed in a transaction.

Several TxF related file-system-metadata files can be found in the file-system-metadata directory: \$Extend\$RmMetadata\. TxF also uses the MFT attribute $LOGGING_UTILITY_STREAM with the name $TXF_DATA.

TxF uses the Common Log File System (CLFS)

External links