Difference between pages "Forensic Live CD issues" and "Windows Shadow Volumes"

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(Shadow Volumes in depth)
 
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== The problem ==
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==Volume Shadow Copy Service==
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Windows has included the Volume Shadow Copy Service in it's releases since Windows XP.  The Shadow Copy Service creates differential backups periodically to create restore points for the user.  Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions include tools to work with and manage the Volume Shadow Copy Service, including the ability to [[mount shadow volumes on disk images]].
  
[[Tools#Forensics_Live_CDs | Forensic Linux Live CD distributions]] are widely used during computer forensic investigations. Currently, many vendors of such Live CD distributions spread false claims that their distributions "do not touch anything", "write protect everything" and so on. Community-developed distributions are not exception here, unfortunately. Finally, it turns out that many forensic Linux Live CD distributions are not tested properly and there are no suitable test cases developed.
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In Windows 8 the shadow volumes seem to have been superseded by File History. For now it looks like it uses similar structures as its predecessors.
  
== Another side of the problem ==
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== Also see ==
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* [[Windows]]
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* How to: [[Mount shadow volumes on disk images]]
  
Another side of the problem of insufficient testing of forensic Live CD distributions is that many users do not know what happens "under the hood" of such distributions and cannot adequately test them.
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== External Links ==
  
=== Example ===
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=== How to analyze Shadow Volumes ===
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* [http://computer-forensics.sans.org/blog/2008/10/10/shadow-forensics/ VISTA and Windows 7 Shadow Volume Forensics], by [[Rob Lee]], October 2008
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* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2011/01/accessing-volume-shadow-copies.html Accessing Volume Shadow Copies], by [[Harlan Carvey]], January 2011
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* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2011/01/more-vscs.html More VSCs], by [[Harlan Carvey]], January 2011
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* [http://journeyintoir.blogspot.ch/2011/04/little-help-with-volume-shadow-copies.html A Little Help with Volume Shadow Copies], by [[Corey Harrell]], April 2011
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* [http://toorcon.techpathways.com/uploads/VolumeShadowCopyWithProDiscover-0511.pdf Volume Shadow Copy with ProDiscover], May 2011
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* [http://computer-forensics.sans.org/blog/2011/09/16/shadow-timelines-and-other-shadowvolumecopy-digital-forensics-techniques-with-the-sleuthkit-on-windows/ Shadow Timelines And Other VolumeShadowCopy Digital Forensics Techniques with the Sleuthkit on Windows], by [[Rob Lee]], September 2011
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* [http://windowsir.blogspot.ch/2011/09/howto-mount-and-access-vscs.html HowTo: Mount and Access VSCs], by [[Harlan Carvey]], September 2011
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* [http://journeyintoir.blogspot.ch/2012/01/ripping-volume-shadow-copies.html Ripping Volume Shadow Copies – Introduction], by [[Corey Harrell]], January 2012
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* [http://encase-forensic-blog.guidancesoftware.com/2012/06/examining-volume-shadow-copies-easy-way.html Examining Volume Shadow Copies – The Easy Way!], by [[Simon Key]], June 2012
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* [http://justaskweg.com/?p=351 Getting Ready for a Shadow Volume Exam], by [[Jimmy Weg]], June 2012
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* [http://justaskweg.com/?p=466 Mounting Shadow Volumes], by [[Jimmy Weg]], July 2012
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* [http://justaskweg.com/?p=518 Examining the Shadow Volumes with X-Ways Forensics], by [[Jimmy Weg]], July 2012
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* [http://justaskweg.com/?p=710 “Weg, I’m afraid that I don’t have VMware. How do I Examime Shadow Volumes?”], by [[Jimmy Weg]], August 2012
  
For example, [http://forensiccop.blogspot.com/2009/10/forensic-cop-journal-13-2009.html ''Forensic Cop Journal'' (Volume 1(3), Oct 2009)] describes a test case when an Ext3 file system was mounted using "-o ro" mount flag as a way to write protect the data. The article says that all tests were successful (i.e. no data modification was found after unmounting the file system), but it is known that damaged (i.e not properly unmounted) Ext3 file systems cannot be write protected using only "-o ro" mount flags (write access will be enabled during file system recovery).
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=== Shadow Volumes in depth ===
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* [http://www.qccis.com/docs/publications/WP-VSS.pdf Reliably recovering evidential data from Volume Shadow Copies in Windows Vista and Windows 7], by [[James Crabtree]] and [[James Crabtree]], 2010
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* [http://forensic4cast.com/2010/04/19/into-the-shadows/ Into The Shadows] and [http://www.forensic4cast.com/2010/04/presentation-into-the-shadows/ Presentation], by [[Lee Whitfield]], April 2010
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* [http://code.google.com/p/libvshadow/downloads/detail?name=Volume%20Shadow%20Snapshot%20%28VSS%29%20format.pdf Volume Shadow Snapshot format], by the [[libvshadow|libvshadow projects]], March 2011
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* [https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3HVXW6sJsoCS09qZjFOUTdvTjg/edit?pli=1 File History Services], by [[Kenneth Johnson]], June 2012
  
And the question is: will many users test damaged Ext3 file system (together with testing the clean one) when validating their favourite forensic Live CD distribution? My answer is "no", because many users are unaware of such traits.
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== Tools ==
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* [[EnCase]] with VSS Examiner Enscript (available from the downloads section of the GSI Support Portal)
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* [[libvshadow]]
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* [[ProDiscover]]
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* [http://www.shadowexplorer.com/ ShadowExplorer]
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* [http://dfstream.blogspot.ch/p/vsc-toolset.html VSC Toolset]
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* [[X-Ways AG|X-Ways Forensics]]
  
== Problems ==
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[[Category:Volume Systems]]
 
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Here is a list of common problems of forensic Linux Live CD distributions that can be used by developers and users for testing purposes. Each problem is followed by an up to date list of distributions affected.
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=== Journaling file systems updates ===
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When mounting (and unmounting) several journaling file systems with only "-o ro" mount flag a different number of data writes may occur. Here is a list of such file systems:
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{| class="wikitable" border="1"
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|-
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!  File system
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!  When data writes happen
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!  Notes
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|-
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|  Ext3
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|  File system requires journal recovery
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|  To disable recovery: use "noload" flag, or use "ro,loop" flags, or use "ext2" file system type
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|-
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|  Ext4
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|  File system requires journal recovery
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|  To disable recovery: use "noload" flag, or use "ro,loop" flags, or use "ext2" file system type
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|-
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|  ReiserFS
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|  File system has unfinished transactions
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|  "nolog" flag does not work (see ''man mount''). To disable journal updates: use "ro,loop" flags
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|-
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|  XFS
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|  Always
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|  "norecovery" flag does not help. To disable data writes: use "ro,loop" flags. The bug was fixed in recent 2.6 kernels.
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|}
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Incorrect mount flags can be used to mount a file system on evidentiary media during the boot process or during the file system preview process. As described above, this may result in data writes to evidentiary media. For example, several Ubuntu-based forensic Linux Live CD distributions mount Ext3/4 file systems on fixed media (e.g. hard drives) during execution of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initrd ''initrd''] scripts (these scripts mount every supported file system type on every supported media type using only "-o ro" flag in order to find a root file system image).
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[[Image:ext3 recovery.png|thumb|right|[[Helix3]]: damaged Ext3 recovery during the boot]]
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List of distributions that recover Ext3 (and sometimes Ext4) file systems during the boot:
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{| class="wikitable" border="1"
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|-
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!  Distribution
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!  Version
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|-
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|  Helix3
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|  2009R1
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|-
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|  SMART Linux (Ubuntu)
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|  2010-01-20
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|-
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|  FCCU GNU/Linux Forensic Boot CD
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|  12.1
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|-
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|  SPADA
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|  4
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|}
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=== Root file system spoofing ===
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Most Ubuntu-based forensic Live CD distributions use Casper (set of scripts used to complete initialization process during early stage of boot). Casper is responsible for searching for a root file system (typically, an image of live environment) on all supported devices (because a bootloader does not pass any information about device used for booting to the kernel), mounting it and executing ''/sbin/init'' program on a mounted root file system that will continue the boot process. Unfortunately, Casper was not designed to meet computer forensics requirements and is responsible for damaged Ext3/4 file systems recovery during the boot (see above) and root file system spoofing.
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[[Image:Grml.png|thumb|right|[[grml]] mounted root file system from the [[hard drive]]]]
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Currently, Casper may select fake root file system image on evidentiary media (e.g. [[HDD]]), because there are no authenticity checks performed (except optional UUID check for a possible live file system), and this fake root file system image may be used to execute malicious code during the boot with root privileges. Knoppix-based forensic Live CD distributions are vulnerable to the same attack.
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List of Ubuntu-based distributions that allow root file system spoofing:
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{| class="wikitable" border="1"
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|-
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!  Distribution
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!  Version
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!  Notes
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|-
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|  Helix3
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|  2009R1
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|
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|-
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|  Helix3 Pro
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|  2009R3
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|
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|-
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|  CAINE
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|  1.5
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|
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|-
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|  DEFT Linux
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|  5
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|
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|-
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|  Raptor
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|  20091026
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|
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|-
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|  grml
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|  2009.10
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|  Actually, [[grml]] uses live-initramfs scripts (Casper fork)
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|-
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|  BackTrack
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|  4
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|
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|-
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|  SMART Linux (Ubuntu)
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|  2010-01-20
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|
+
|-
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|  FCCU GNU/Linux Forensic Boot CD
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|  12.1
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|
+
|}
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Vulnerable Knoppix-based distributions include: SPADA, LinEn boot CD, BitFlare.
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=== Swap space activation ===
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=== Incorrect automount policy for removable media ===
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=== Incorrect write-blocking approach ===
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== See also ==
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* [http://www.computer-forensics-lab.org/pdf/Linux_for_computer_forensic_investigators_2.pdf Linux for computer forensic investigators: problems of booting trusted operating system]
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* [http://www.computer-forensics-lab.org/pdf/Linux_for_computer_forensic_investigators.pdf Linux for computer forensic investigators: «pitfalls» of mounting file systems]
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Revision as of 00:20, 17 September 2012

Contents

Volume Shadow Copy Service

Windows has included the Volume Shadow Copy Service in it's releases since Windows XP. The Shadow Copy Service creates differential backups periodically to create restore points for the user. Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions include tools to work with and manage the Volume Shadow Copy Service, including the ability to mount shadow volumes on disk images.

In Windows 8 the shadow volumes seem to have been superseded by File History. For now it looks like it uses similar structures as its predecessors.

Also see

External Links

How to analyze Shadow Volumes

Shadow Volumes in depth

Tools