Difference between pages "Research Topics" and "Windows"

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Interested in doing research in computer forensics? Looking for a master's topic, or just some ideas for a research paper? Here is our list. Please feel free to add your own ideas.
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{{Expand}}
  
Many of these would make a nice master's project.
+
'''Windows''' is a widely-spread [[operating system]] from [[Microsoft]].
  
=Programming Projects=
+
There are 2 main branches of Windows:
 +
* the DOS-branch: i.e. Windows 95, 98, ME
 +
* the NT-branch: i.e. Windows NT 4, XP, Vista
  
==Small-Sized Programming Projects==
+
== Features ==
* Modify [[bulk_extractor]] so that it can directly acquire a raw device under Windows. This requires replacing the current ''open'' function call with a ''CreateFile'' function call and using windows file handles.
+
* Basic and Dynamic Disks, see: [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa363785(v=vs.85).aspx]
* Rewrite SleuthKit '''sorter''' in C++ to make it faster and more flexible.
+
  
==Medium-Sized Programming Projects==
+
=== Introduced in Windows NT ===  
* Create a program that visualizes the contents of a file, sort of like hexedit, but with other features:
+
* [[NTFS]]
** Automatically pull out the strings
+
** Show histogram
+
** Detect crypto and/or stenography.
+
* Extend [[fiwalk]] to report the NTFS alternative data streams.
+
* Create a method to detect NTFS-compressed cluster blocks on a disk (RAW data stream). A method could be to write a generic signature to detect the beginning of NTFS-compressed file segments on a disk. This method is useful in carving and scanning for textual strings.
+
* Write a FUSE-based mounter for SleuthKit, so that disk images can be forensically mounted using TSK.
+
* Modify SleuthKit's API so that the physical location on disk of compressed files can be learned.
+
  
 +
=== Introduced in Windows 2000 ===
  
==Big Programming Projects==
+
=== Introduced in Windows XP ===
* Develop a new carver with a plug-in architecture and support for fragment reassembly carving (see [[Carver 2.0 Planning Page]]).
+
* [[Prefetch]]
* Write a new timeline viewer that supports Logfile fusion (with offsets) and provides the ability to view the logfile in the frequency domain.
+
* System Restore (Restore Points); also present in Windows ME
  
* Correlation Engine:
+
==== SP2 ====
** Logfile correlation
+
* Windows Firewall
** Document identity identification
+
** Correlation between stored data and intercept data
+
** Online Social Network Analysis
+
  
* Find and download in a forensically secure manner all of the information in a social network (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) associated with a targeted individual.
+
=== Introduced in Windows 2003 (Server) ===
** Determine who is searching for a targeted individual. This might be done with a honeypot, or documents with a tracking device in them, or some kind of covert Facebook App.
+
* Volume Shadow Copies
** Automated grouping/annotation of low-level events, e.g. access-time, log-file entry, to higher-level events, e.g. program start, login
+
  
=Reverse-Engineering Projects=
+
=== Introduced in Windows Vista ===  
==Reverse-Engineering Projects==
+
* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker]]
=== Application analysis ===
+
* [[Windows Desktop Search | Search]] integrated in operating system
* Reverse the on-disk structure of the [[Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) Database File (EDB) format]] to learn:
+
* [[SuperFetch]]
** Fill in the missing information about older ESE databases
+
* [[NTFS|Transactional NTFS (TxF)]]
** Exchange EDB (MAPI database), STM
+
* [[Windows NT Registry File (REGF)|Transactional Registry (TxR)]]
** Active Directory (Active Directory working document available on request)
+
* [[Windows Shadow Volumes|Shadow Volumes]]; the volume-based storage of the Volume Shadow Copy data
* Reverse the on-disk structure of the Lotus [[Notes Storage Facility (NSF)]]
+
* $Recycle.Bin
* Reverse the on-disk structure of Microsoft SQL Server databases
+
* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
 +
* [[User Account Control (UAC)]]
  
=== Volume/File System analysis ===
+
=== Introduced in Windows 2008 (Server) ===
* Analysis of inter snapshot changes in [[Windows Shadow Volumes]]
+
* Add support to SleuthKit for [[FAT|eXFAT]], Microsoft's new FAT file system.
+
* Add support to SleuthKit for [[Resilient File System (ReFS)|ReFS]].
+
* Modify SleuthKit's NTFS implementation to support NTFS encrypted files (EFS)
+
* Extend SleuthKit's implementation of NTFS to cover Transaction NTFS (TxF) (see [[NTFS]])
+
* Physical layer access to flash storage (requires reverse-engineering proprietary APIs for flash USB and SSD storage.)
+
  
==EnCase Enhancement==
+
=== Introduced in Windows 7 ===
* Develop an EnScript that allows you to script EnCase from Python. (You can do this because EnScripts can run arbitrary DLLs. The EnScript calls the DLL. Each "return" from the DLL is a specific EnCase command to execute. The EnScript then re-enters the DLL.)
+
* [[BitLocker Disk Encryption | BitLocker To Go]]
 +
* [[Jump Lists]]
 +
* [[Sticky Notes]]
  
= Timeline analysis =
+
=== Introduced in Windows 8 ===
* Mapping differences and similarities in multiple versions of a system, e.g. those created by [[Windows Shadow Volumes]] but not limited to
+
* [[Windows Shadow Volumes | File History]]
 +
* [[Windows Storage Spaces | Storage Spaces]]
 +
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS)]]; server edition will likely be available in Windows Server 2012
  
=Research Areas=
+
== Forensics ==
These are research areas that could easily grow into a PhD thesis.
+
* General-purpose detection of:
+
** Stegnography
+
** Sanitization attempts
+
** Evidence Falsification (perhaps through inconsistency in file system allocations, application data allocation, and log file analysis.
+
* Visualization of data/information in digital forensic context
+
* SWOT of current visualization techniques in forensic tools; improvements; feasibility of 3D representation;
+
  
__NOTOC__
+
=== Partition layout ===
 +
Default partition layout, first partition starts:
 +
* at sector 63 in Windows 2000, XP, 2003
 +
* at sector 2048 in Windows Vista, 2008, 7
  
[[Category:Research]]
+
=== Filesystems ===
 +
* [[FAT]], [[FAT|exFAT]]
 +
* [[NTFS]]
 +
* [[Resilient File System (ReFS) | ReFS]]
 +
 
 +
=== Recycle Bin ===
 +
 
 +
==== RECYCLER ====
 +
Used by Windows 2000, XP.
 +
Uses INFO2 file.
 +
 
 +
See: [http://www.cybersecurityinstitute.biz/downloads/INFO2.pdf]
 +
 
 +
==== $RECYCLE.BIN ====
 +
Used by Windows Vista.
 +
Uses $I and $R files.
 +
 
 +
See: [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-vista-recycle-bin.pdf]
 +
 
 +
=== Registry ===
 +
 
 +
The [[Windows Registry]] is a database of keys and values that provides a wealth of information to forensic [[investigator]]s.
 +
 
 +
=== Thumbs.db Files ===
 +
 
 +
[[Thumbs.db]] files can be found on many Windows systems. They contain thumbnails of images or documents and can be of great value for the [[investigator]].
 +
 
 +
See also: [[Vista thumbcache]].
 +
 
 +
=== Browser Cache ===
 +
 
 +
=== Browser History ===
 +
 
 +
The [[Web Browser History]] files can contain significant information. The default [[Web browser|web browser]] that comes with Windows is [[Internet Explorer|Microsoft Internet Explorer]] but other common browsers on Windows are [[Apple Safari]], [[Google Chrome]], [[Mozilla Firefox]] and [[Opera]].
 +
 
 +
=== Search ===
 +
See [[Windows Desktop Search]]
 +
 
 +
=== Setup log files (setupapi.log) ===
 +
Windows Vista introduced several setup log files [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927521].
 +
 
 +
=== Sleep/Hibernation ===
 +
 
 +
After (at least) Windows 7 recovers from sleep/hibernation there often is a system time change event (event id 1) in the event logs.
 +
 
 +
=== Users ===
 +
Windows stores a users Security identifiers (SIDs) under the following registry key:
 +
<pre>
 +
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
The %SID%\ProfileImagePath value should also contain the username.
 +
 
 +
=== Windows Error Reporting (WER) ===
 +
 
 +
As of Vista, for User Access Control (UAC) elevated applications WER reports can be found in:
 +
<pre>
 +
C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\WER\
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
As of Vista, for non-UAC elevated applications (LUA) WER reports can be found in:
 +
<pre>
 +
C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
Corresponding registry key:
 +
<pre>
 +
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
== Advanced Format (4KB Sector) Hard Drives ==
 +
Windows XP does not natively handle drives that use the new standard of 4KB sectors. For information on this, see [[Advanced Format]].
 +
 
 +
== %SystemRoot% ==
 +
The actual value of %SystemRoot% is store in the following registry value:
 +
<pre>
 +
Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\
 +
Value: SystemRoot
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
== See Also ==
 +
* [[Windows Event Log (EVT)]]
 +
* [[Windows XML Event Log (EVTX)]]
 +
 
 +
== External Links ==
 +
 
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Windows Wikipedia: Microsoft Windows]
 +
* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927521 Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Vista setup log file locations]
 +
* [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/forensic-analysis-vista-recycle-bin.pdf The Forensic Analysis of the Microsoft Windows Vista Recycle Bin], by [[Mitchell Machor]], 2008
 +
* [http://www.ericjhuber.com/2013/02/microsoft-file-system-tunneling.html?m=1 Microsoft Windows File System Tunneling], by [[Eric Huber]], February 24, 2013
 +
* [http://www.nsa.gov/ia/_files/app/Spotting_the_Adversary_with_Windows_Event_Log_Monitoring.pdf Spotting the Adversary with Windows Event Log Monitoring], by National Security Agency/Central Security Service, February 28, 2013
 +
 
 +
=== Under the hood ===
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366533(v=vs.85).aspx MSDN: Comparing Memory Allocation Methods], by [[Microsoft]]
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ntdebugging/archive/2007/06/28/how-windows-starts-up-part-the-second.aspx How Windows Starts Up (Part the second)]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa375142.aspx DLL/COM Redirection]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ms682586(v=vs.85).aspx Dynamic-Link Library Search Order]
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2004/04/28/121871.aspx Image File Execution Options]
 +
 
 +
=== MSI ===
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/heaths/archive/2009/02/02/changes-to-package-caching-in-windows-installer-5-0.aspx?Redirected=true Changes to Package Caching in Windows Installer 5.0], by Heath Stewart, February 2, 2009
 +
* [http://blog.didierstevens.com/2013/07/26/msi-the-case-of-the-invalid-signature/ MSI: The Case Of The Invalid Signature], by Didier Stevens, July 26, 2013
 +
 
 +
=== Side-by-side (WinSxS) ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side-by-side_assembly Wikipedia: Side-by-side assembly]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa374224.aspx Assembly Searching Sequence]
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2007/06/26/rt-manifest-resource-and-isolation-aware-enabled.aspx RT_MANIFEST resource, and ISOLATION_AWARE_ENABLED]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd408052(v=vs.85).aspx Isolated Applications and Side-by-side Assemblies]
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2006/01/24/517221.aspx#531208 DotLocal (.local) Dll Redirection], by [[Junfeng Zhang]], January 24, 2006
 +
* [http://blogs.msdn.com/b/junfeng/archive/2006/04/14/576314.aspx Diagnosing SideBySide failures], by [[Junfeng Zhang]], April 14, 2006
 +
* [http://omnicognate.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/winsxs/ EVERYTHING YOU NEVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WINSXS]
 +
 
 +
=== Application Compatibility Database ===
 +
* [http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd837644(v=ws.10).aspx Technet: Understanding Shims], by [[Microsoft]]
 +
* [http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb432182(v=vs.85).aspx MSDN: Application Compatibility Database], by [[Microsoft]]
 +
* [http://www.alex-ionescu.com/?p=39 Secrets of the Application Compatilibity Database (SDB) – Part 1], by [[Alex Ionescu]], May 20, 2007
 +
* [http://www.alex-ionescu.com/?p=40 Secrets of the Application Compatilibity Database (SDB) – Part 2], by [[Alex Ionescu]], May 21, 2007
 +
* [http://fred.mandiant.com/Whitepaper_ShimCacheParser.pdf Leveraging the Application Compatibility Cache in Forensic Investigations], by [[Andrew Davis]], May 4, 2012
 +
 
 +
=== System Restore (Restore Points) ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Restore Wikipedia: System Restore]
 +
* [http://www.stevebunting.org/udpd4n6/forensics/restorepoints.htm Restore Point Forensics], by [[Steve Bunting]]
 +
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2007/06/restore-point-analysis.html Restore Point Analysis], by [[Harlan Carvey]],  June 16, 2007
 +
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2006/10/restore-point-forensics.html Restore Point Forensics], by [[Harlan Carvey]], October 20, 2006
 +
* [http://www.ediscovery.co.nz/wip/srp.html System Restore Point Log Decoding]
 +
 
 +
=== Tracking removable media ===
 +
* [http://www.swiftforensics.com/2012/08/tracking-usb-first-insertion-in-event.html Tracking USB First insertion in Event logs], by Yogesh Khatri, August 18, 2012
 +
 
 +
=== Crash dumps ===
 +
* [http://blogs.technet.com/b/yongrhee/archive/2010/12/29/drwtsn32-on-windows-vista-windows-server-2008-windows-7-windows-server-2008-r2.aspx Technet: Drwtsn32 on Windows Vista/Windows Server 2008/Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2], by Yong Rhee, December 29, 2010
 +
* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315263 MSDN: How to read the small memory dump file that is created by Windows if a crash occurs], by [[Microsoft]]
 +
 
 +
=== ReadyBoost ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost Wikipedia: ReadyBoost]
 +
* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2013/04/plugin-emdmgmt.html Plugin: EMDMgmt], by [[Harlan Carvey]], April 05, 2013
 +
* [http://hackingexposedcomputerforensicsblog.blogspot.ch/2013/08/daily-blog-65-understanding-artifacts.html Understanding the artifacts EMDMgmt], by [[David Cowen]], August 27, 2013
 +
 
 +
=== Windows Firewall ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Firewall Wikipedia: Windows Firewall]
 +
* [http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc737845(v=ws.10).aspx#BKMK_log Windows Firewall Tools and Settings]
 +
 
 +
=== Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit (WoW64) ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WoW64 Wikipedia: WoW64]
 +
 
 +
=== Windows XP ===
 +
* [http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q308549 Description of Windows XP System Information (Msinfo32.exe) Tool]
 +
 
 +
=== Windows 8 ===
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_new_to_Windows_8 Features new to Windows 8], Wikipedia
 +
* [http://computerforensics.champlain.edu/blog/windows-8-forensics Windows 8 Forensics - part 1]
 +
* [http://computerforensics.champlain.edu/blog/windows-8-forensics-part-2 Windows 8 Forensics - part 2]
 +
* [http://computerforensics.champlain.edu/blog/windows-8-forensics-part-3 Windows 8 Forensics - part 3]
 +
* [http://propellerheadforensics.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/thomson_windows-8-forensic-guide2.pdf Windows 8 Forensic Guide], by [[Amanda Thomson|Amanda C. F. Thomson]], 2012
 +
* [http://forensicfocus.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=9604/ Forensic Focus: Windows 8 Forensics - A First Look], [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhCooEz9FQs&feature=youtu.be Presentation], [http://www.forensicfocus.com/downloads/windows-8-forensics-josh-brunty.pdf Slides], by [[Josh Brunty]], August 2012
 +
* [http://dfstream.blogspot.ch/2013/03/windows-8-tracking-opened-photos.html Windows 8: Tracking Opened Photos], by [[Jason Hale]], March 8, 2013
 +
 
 +
[[Category:Operating systems]]

Revision as of 00:32, 3 September 2013

Information icon.png

Please help to improve this article by expanding it.
Further information might be found on the discussion page.

Windows is a widely-spread operating system from Microsoft.

There are 2 main branches of Windows:

  • the DOS-branch: i.e. Windows 95, 98, ME
  • the NT-branch: i.e. Windows NT 4, XP, Vista

Contents

Features

  • Basic and Dynamic Disks, see: [1]

Introduced in Windows NT

Introduced in Windows 2000

Introduced in Windows XP

  • Prefetch
  • System Restore (Restore Points); also present in Windows ME

SP2

  • Windows Firewall

Introduced in Windows 2003 (Server)

  • Volume Shadow Copies

Introduced in Windows Vista

Introduced in Windows 2008 (Server)

Introduced in Windows 7

Introduced in Windows 8

Forensics

Partition layout

Default partition layout, first partition starts:

  • at sector 63 in Windows 2000, XP, 2003
  • at sector 2048 in Windows Vista, 2008, 7

Filesystems

Recycle Bin

RECYCLER

Used by Windows 2000, XP. Uses INFO2 file.

See: [2]

$RECYCLE.BIN

Used by Windows Vista. Uses $I and $R files.

See: [3]

Registry

The Windows Registry is a database of keys and values that provides a wealth of information to forensic investigators.

Thumbs.db Files

Thumbs.db files can be found on many Windows systems. They contain thumbnails of images or documents and can be of great value for the investigator.

See also: Vista thumbcache.

Browser Cache

Browser History

The Web Browser History files can contain significant information. The default web browser that comes with Windows is Microsoft Internet Explorer but other common browsers on Windows are Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

Search

See Windows Desktop Search

Setup log files (setupapi.log)

Windows Vista introduced several setup log files [4].

Sleep/Hibernation

After (at least) Windows 7 recovers from sleep/hibernation there often is a system time change event (event id 1) in the event logs.

Users

Windows stores a users Security identifiers (SIDs) under the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

The %SID%\ProfileImagePath value should also contain the username.

Windows Error Reporting (WER)

As of Vista, for User Access Control (UAC) elevated applications WER reports can be found in:

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\WER\

As of Vista, for non-UAC elevated applications (LUA) WER reports can be found in:

C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WER\

Corresponding registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting

Advanced Format (4KB Sector) Hard Drives

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

 %SystemRoot%

The actual value of %SystemRoot% is store in the following registry value:

Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\
Value: SystemRoot

See Also

External Links

Under the hood

MSI

Side-by-side (WinSxS)

Application Compatibility Database

System Restore (Restore Points)

Tracking removable media

Crash dumps

ReadyBoost

Windows Firewall

Windows 32-bit on Windows 64-bit (WoW64)

Windows XP

Windows 8