File Format Identification

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File Format Identification is the process of figuring out the format of a sequence of bytes. Operating systems typically do this by file extension or by embedded MIME information. Forensic applications need to identify file types by content.

Tools

libmagic

  • Written in C.
  • Rules in /usr/share/file/magic and compiled at runtime.
  • Powers the Unix “file” command, but you can also call the library directly from a C program.
  • http://sourceforge.net/projects/libmagic

DROID

TrID

Stellent/Oracle Outside-In

Bibliography

Current research papers on the file format identification problem. Most of these papers concern themselves with identifying file format of a few file sectors, rather than an entire file.

Predicting the Types of File Fragments, William Calhoun, Drue Coles, DFRWS 2008 [slides]
File type identification of data fragments by their binary structure. , Karresand Martin, Shahmehri Nahid. Proceedings of the IEEE workshop on information assurance; 2006b. p. 140–7. [slides]
Fileprints: identifying file types by n-gram analysis, LiWei-Jen, Wang Ke, Stolfo SJ, Herzog B.., IProceeding of the 2005 IEEEworkshop

on information assurance; 2005 [slides]

Content Based File Type Detection Algorithms, hicss,pp.332a, 36th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS'03) - Track 9, 2003.