Difference between pages "Research Topics" and "Mac OS X"

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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.
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Apple Inc.'s Macintosh OS X (pronounced "'''OS Ten'''") is the operating system distributed with Apple computers. It includes heavily used several programs by default, including [[Apple Mail]], a web browser called [[Apple Safari | Safari]], and an [[Apple Address Book]], and [[iCal]].  
  
=Programming/Engineering Projects=
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== Disk image types ==
  
==Small-Sized Projects==
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Mac OS X has support for various disk image types build-in, some of which are:
; Sleuthkit:
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* read-write disk image (.dmg) some of which use the [[Raw Image Format]]
* Rewrite SleuthKit '''sorter''' in C++ to make it faster and more flexible.
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* [[Sparse Image format|Sparse disk image (.spareimage)]]
; tcpflow:
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* [[Sparse Bundle Image format|Sparse bundle disk image (.sparsebundle)]]
* Modify [[tcpflow]]'s iptree.h implementation so that it only stores discriminating bit prefixes in the tree, similar to D. J. Bernstein's [http://cr.yp.to/critbit.html Crit-bit] trees.
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* Determine why [[tcpflow]]'s iptree.h implementation's ''prune'' works differently when caching is enabled then when it is disabled
+
  
==Medium-Sized Projects==
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== Burn Folder ==
===Forensic File Viewer ===
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* Create a program that visualizes the contents of a file, sort of like hexedit, but with other features:
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** Automatically pull out the strings
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** Show histogram
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** Detect crypto and/or stenography.
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* Extend SleuthKit's [[fiwalk]] to report the NTFS alternative data streams.
+
  
===Data Sniffing===
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Mac OS X Burn Folder:
* 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.
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<pre>
 +
$NAME.fpbf
 +
</pre>
  
 +
This folder normally contains [[Mac OS X Alias Files|alias files]] (similar to LNK files under Windows). Which should have the following signature.
 +
<pre>
 +
00000000  62 6f 6f 6b 00 00 00 00  6d 61 72 6b 00 00 00 00  |book....mark....|
 +
</pre>
  
===SleuthKit Modifications===
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These [[Mac OS X Alias Files|alias files]] contain additional date and time values.
* Write a FUSE-based mounter for SleuthKit, so that disk images can be forensically mounted using TSK.
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* Modify SleuthKit's API so that the physical location on disk of compressed files can be learned.
+
  
===Anti-Frensics Detection===
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Also check the following files for references to deleted .fpbf paths:
* A pluggable rule-based system that can detect the residual data or other remnants of running a variety of anti-forensics software
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<pre>
 +
/Users/$USERNAME/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist
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/Users/$USERNAME/Library/Preferences/com.apple.sidebarlists.plist
 +
</pre>
  
===Carvers===
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Actual burning of optical media is logged in:
Develop a new carver with a plug-in architecture and support for fragment reassembly carving. Take a look at:
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<pre>
* [[Carver 2.0 Planning Page]]
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/var/log/system.log
* ([mailto:rainer.poisel@gmail.com Rainer Poisel']) [https://github.com/rpoisel/mmc Multimedia File Carver], which allows for the reassembly of multimedia fragmented files.
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/Users/$USERNAME/Library/Logs/DiscRecording.log
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/private/var/.logs_exporter/cache/Users/$USERNAME/Library/Logs/DiscRecording.log
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</pre>
  
===Correlation Engine===
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== HFS/HFS+ date and time values ==
* Logfile correlation
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* Document identity identification
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* Correlation between stored data and intercept data
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* Online Social Network Analysis
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===Data Snarfing/Web Scraping===
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In HFS+ date and time values are stored in an unsigned 32-bit integer containing the number of seconds since January 1, 1904 at 00:00:00 (midnight) UTC (GMT). This is slightly different from HFS where the date and time value are stored using the local time. The maximum representable date is February 6, 2040 at 06:28:15 UTC (GMT). The date values do not account for leap seconds. They do include a leap day in every year that is evenly divisible by four. This is sufficient given that the range of representable dates does not contain 1900 or 2100, neither of which have leap days. Also see: [http://web.archive.org/web/20090214212148/http://developer.apple.com/technotes/tn/tn1150.html Technical Note TN1150 - HFS Plus Volume Format]
* 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.
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* 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.
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* Automated grouping/annotation of low-level events, e.g. access-time, log-file entry, to higher-level events, e.g. program start, login
+
  
=== Timeline analysis ===
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Converting HFS/HFS+ date and time values with Python:
* Mapping differences and similarities in multiple versions of a system, e.g. those created by [[Windows Shadow Volumes]] but not limited to
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<pre>
* Write a new timeline viewer that supports Logfile fusion (with offsets) and provides the ability to view the logfile in the frequency domain.
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import datetime
  
===Enhancements for Guidance Softwaren's Encase===
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print datetime.datetime( 1904, 1, 1 ) + datetime.timedelta( seconds=0xCBDAF25B )
* 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.)
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</pre>
  
==Reverse-Engineering Projects==
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== Launch Agents ==
=== Application analysis ===
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<pre>
* Reverse the on-disk structure of the [[Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) Database File (EDB) format]] to learn:
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/System/Library/LaunchAgents/
** Fill in the missing information about older ESE databases
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</pre>
** Exchange EDB (MAPI database), STM
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** Active Directory (Active Directory working document available on request)
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* Reverse the on-disk structure of the Lotus [[Notes Storage Facility (NSF)]]
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* Reverse the on-disk structure of Microsoft SQL Server databases
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=== Volume/File System analysis ===
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== Launch Daemons ==
* Analysis of inter snapshot changes in [[Windows Shadow Volumes]]
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System-wide:
* Modify SleuthKit's NTFS implementation to support NTFS encrypted files (EFS)
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<pre>
* Extend SleuthKit's implementation of NTFS to cover Transaction NTFS (TxF) (see [[NTFS]])
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/Library/LaunchDaemons
* Physical layer access to flash storage (requires reverse-engineering proprietary APIs for flash USB and SSD storage.)
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/System/Library/LaunchDaemons
* Add support to SleuthKit for [[Resilient File System (ReFS)|ReFS]].
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</pre>
  
 +
These directories contain [[Property list (plist)]] files.
  
 +
== Startup Items ==
 +
<pre>
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/Library/StartupItems/
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/System/Library/StartupItems/
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</pre>
  
==Error Rates==
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== Crash Reporter ==
* Develop improved techniques for identifying encrypted data. (It's especially important to distinguish encrypted data from compressed data).
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<pre>
* Quantify the error rate of different forensic tools and processes. Are these rates theoretical or implementation dependent? What is the interaction of the error rates and the [[Daubert]] standard?
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/Library/Application Support/CrashReporter
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</pre>
  
==Research Areas==
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== Diagnostic Reports ==
These are research areas that could easily grow into a PhD thesis.
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<pre>
* General-purpose detection of:
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/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports
** Stegnography
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</pre>
** Sanitization attempts
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** Evidence Falsification (perhaps through inconsistency in file system allocations, application data allocation, and log file analysis.
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* Visualization of data/information in digital forensic context
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* SWOT of current visualization techniques in forensic tools; improvements; feasibility of 3D representation;
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==See Also==
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== Quarantine event database ==
* [http://itsecurity.uiowa.edu/securityday/documents/guan.pdf Digital Forensics: Research Challenges and Open Problems, Dr. Yong Guan, Iowa State University, Dec. 4, 2007]
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See [http://menial.co.uk/blog/2011/06/16/mac-quarantine-event-database/]
  
__NOTOC__
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Snow Leopard and earlier
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<pre>
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/Users/$USER/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.QuarantineEvents
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</pre>
  
[[Category:Research]]
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<pre>
 +
SELECT datetime(LSQuarantineTimeStamp + 978307200, "unixepoch") as LSQuarantineTimeStamp, LSQuarantineAgentName, LSQuarantineOriginURLString, LSQuarantineDataURLString from LSQuarantineEvent;
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</pre>
 +
 
 +
Lion and later
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<pre>
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/Users/$USER/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.QuarantineEventsV2
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</pre>
 +
 
 +
== sleepimage ==
 +
This file is similar to the hibernation file on Windows.
 +
<pre>
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/private/var/vm/sleepimage
 +
</pre>
 +
 
 +
Also see: [http://osxdaily.com/2010/10/11/sleepimage-mac/]
 +
 
 +
== Package Files (.PKG) ==
 +
Package Files (.PKG) are XAR archives [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xar_(archiver)] that contain a cpio archive and metadata [http://s.sudre.free.fr/Stuff/Ivanhoe/FLAT.html].
 +
 
 +
== Also see ==
 +
* [[MacOS Process Monitoring]]
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* [[Acquiring a MacOS System with Target Disk Mode]]
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* [[Converting Binary Plists]]
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* [[FileVault Disk Encryption]]
 +
* [[File Vault]]
 +
 
 +
=== Formats ===
 +
* [[Basic Security Module (BSM) file format]]
 +
* [[Property list (plist)]]
 +
 
 +
== External Links ==
 +
* [http://www.apple.com/macosx/ Official website]
 +
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS_X Wikipedia entry on OS X]
 +
* [http://menial.co.uk/blog/2011/06/16/mac-quarantine-event-database/ Quarantine event database]
 +
* [http://www2.tech.purdue.edu/cit/Courses/cit556/readings/MacForensicsCraiger.pdf Mac Forensics: Mac OS X and the HFS+ File System] by P. Craiger
 +
* [http://web.me.com/driley/iWeb/Previous_files/Directory_Services_Overview.pdf Mac OS X Directory Services Integration including Active Directory]
 +
* [http://digitalinvestigation.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/geek-post-nskeyedarchiver-files-what-are-they-and-how-can-i-use-them/ NSKeyedArchiver files – what are they, and how can I use them?]
 +
* [http://krypted.com/mac-os-x/command-line-alf-on-mac-os-x/ Command Line ALF on Mac OS X]
 +
* [http://newosxbook.com/DMG.html Demystifying the DMG File Format]
 +
* [https://code.google.com/p/mac-security-tips/wiki/ALL_THE_TIPS mac-security-tips]
 +
 
 +
=== Apple Examiner ===
 +
* [http://www.appleexaminer.com/ The Apple Examiner]
 +
* [http://www.appleexaminer.com/MacsAndOS/Analysis/USBOSX/USBOSX.html USB Entries on OS X]
 +
* [http://www.appleexaminer.com/Downloads/MacForensics.pdf Macintosh Forensics - A Guide for the Forensically Sound Examination of a Macintosh Computer] by Ryan R. Kubasiak
 +
 
 +
=== iCloud ===
 +
* [http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4865?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US iCloud: iCloud security and privacy overview]
 +
 
 +
[[Category:Mac OS X]]
 +
[[Category:Operating systems]]

Revision as of 14:08, 12 June 2014

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

Apple Inc.'s Macintosh OS X (pronounced "OS Ten") is the operating system distributed with Apple computers. It includes heavily used several programs by default, including Apple Mail, a web browser called Safari, and an Apple Address Book, and iCal.

Disk image types

Mac OS X has support for various disk image types build-in, some of which are:

Burn Folder

Mac OS X Burn Folder:

$NAME.fpbf

This folder normally contains alias files (similar to LNK files under Windows). Which should have the following signature.

00000000  62 6f 6f 6b 00 00 00 00  6d 61 72 6b 00 00 00 00  |book....mark....|

These alias files contain additional date and time values.

Also check the following files for references to deleted .fpbf paths:

/Users/$USERNAME/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist
/Users/$USERNAME/Library/Preferences/com.apple.sidebarlists.plist

Actual burning of optical media is logged in:

/var/log/system.log
/Users/$USERNAME/Library/Logs/DiscRecording.log
/private/var/.logs_exporter/cache/Users/$USERNAME/Library/Logs/DiscRecording.log

HFS/HFS+ date and time values

In HFS+ date and time values are stored in an unsigned 32-bit integer containing the number of seconds since January 1, 1904 at 00:00:00 (midnight) UTC (GMT). This is slightly different from HFS where the date and time value are stored using the local time. The maximum representable date is February 6, 2040 at 06:28:15 UTC (GMT). The date values do not account for leap seconds. They do include a leap day in every year that is evenly divisible by four. This is sufficient given that the range of representable dates does not contain 1900 or 2100, neither of which have leap days. Also see: Technical Note TN1150 - HFS Plus Volume Format

Converting HFS/HFS+ date and time values with Python:

import datetime

print datetime.datetime( 1904, 1, 1 ) + datetime.timedelta( seconds=0xCBDAF25B )

Launch Agents

/System/Library/LaunchAgents/

Launch Daemons

System-wide:

/Library/LaunchDaemons
/System/Library/LaunchDaemons

These directories contain Property list (plist) files.

Startup Items

/Library/StartupItems/
/System/Library/StartupItems/

Crash Reporter

/Library/Application Support/CrashReporter

Diagnostic Reports

/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports

Quarantine event database

See [1]

Snow Leopard and earlier

/Users/$USER/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.QuarantineEvents
SELECT datetime(LSQuarantineTimeStamp + 978307200, "unixepoch") as LSQuarantineTimeStamp, LSQuarantineAgentName, LSQuarantineOriginURLString, LSQuarantineDataURLString from LSQuarantineEvent;

Lion and later

/Users/$USER/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.QuarantineEventsV2

sleepimage

This file is similar to the hibernation file on Windows.

/private/var/vm/sleepimage

Also see: [2]

Package Files (.PKG)

Package Files (.PKG) are XAR archives [3] that contain a cpio archive and metadata [4].

Also see

Formats

External Links

Apple Examiner

iCloud