Encase hash files

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The EnCase forensics suite uses a proprietary file format to store sets of known hashes called the EnCase hash file format. The format stores a set of MD5 hashes and metadata about the set as a whole. That is, individual hashes do not contain any information specific to them, but the set as a whole can contain some information. In particular, the filename corresponding to each hash is not stored.

Version 3 of EnCase used a slightly different format than versions 4 and 5. Both versions start with the header, in hexadecimal:

48 41 53 48 0d 0a ff 00

In ASCII, this looks like HASH followed by a newline.

The hashes begin at offset 0x480 in the file.

A quick look at a hash file created by Encase 6.8.1.8 revealed the following structure (to be verified):

Offset 0x0000

A header that consists of the following 16 bytes:

48 41 53 48 0D 0A FF 00 02 00 00 00 01 00 00 00

Offset 0x0010

Count: The number of MD5 sums contained in this file, written as a 4 byte integer in Intel litle endian format (i.e. least significant byte first).


Offset 0x0014

The range from 0x0014 to 0x0457 is filled by zero-bytes. The purpose of this area is unknown.


Offset 0x0458

Category: The text that Encase shows in its column "category". The maximum string length is 19 characters. Each character is written as a 2-byte-Unicode-number. Examples:

The latin letter A is represented by the 2 bytes
41 00
The cyrillic letter Д is represented by the 2 bytes
14 04

Again, Intel little endian format is used. The unused space is filled up by zero-bytes.


Offset 0x047E

Two zero-bytes.


Offset 0x0480

Start of the hash entries. Each entry occupies 18 bytes: The hash value itself (16 bytes) followed by 2 zero-bytes. The next entry follows immediately.

The file ends with the last hash entry.


See also