Difference between revisions of "Research Topics"

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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. ''Potential Sponsor,'' when present, indicates the name of a researcher who would be interested in lending support in the form of supervision or other resources to a project.
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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.
  
=Tool Development=
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Many of these would make a nice master's project.
==AFF Enhancement==
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[[AFF]] is the Advanced Forensics Format, developed by Simson Garfinkel and Basis Technology. The following enhancements would be very useful to the format:
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* Signing with X.509 or GPG keys data segments and metadata.
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* Encryption of data segments with an AES-256 key specified by a password
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* Encryption of the AES-256 key with a public key (and decryption with a corresponding private key)
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* Evaluation of the AFF data page size. What is the optimal page size for compressed forensic work?
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* Replacement of the AFF "BADFLAG" approach for indicating bad data with a bitmap.
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''Sponsor for these projects: [[User:Simsong Simson Garfinkel]]''
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=Programming/Engineering Projects=
  
==Flash Memory==
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; tcpflow:
Flash memory devices such as USB keys implement a wear leveling algorithm in hardware so that frequently rewritten blocks are actually written to many different physical blocks. Are there any devices that let you access the raw flash cells underneath the wear leveling chip? Can you get statistics out of the device? Can you access pages that have been mapped out (and still have valid data) but haven't been mapped back yet? Can you use this as a technique for accessing deleted information?
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* 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
  
''Sponsor: [[User:Simsong Simson Garfinkel]]''
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;SleuthKit
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* 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.
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=Digital Forensics Education=
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* Survey existing DFE programs and DF practitioners regarding which tools they use. Report if the tools being taught are the same as the tools that are being used.
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=Data Sniffing=
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* 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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=Anti-Frensics Detection=
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* 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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===Carvers===
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Develop a new carver with a plug-in architecture and support for fragment reassembly carving. Take a look at:
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* [[Carver 2.0 Planning Page]]
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* ([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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===Correlation Engine===
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* 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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* 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
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 +
 
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===Enhancements for Guidance Software's Encase===
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* 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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=== Volume/File System analysis ===
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* Analysis of inter snapshot changes in [[Windows Shadow Volumes]]
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* Modify SleuthKit's NTFS implementation to support NTFS encrypted files (EFS)
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* Extend SleuthKit's implementation of NTFS to cover Transaction NTFS (TxF) (see [[NTFS]])
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* Physical layer access to flash storage (requires reverse-engineering proprietary APIs for flash USB and SSD storage.)
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* Add support to SleuthKit for [[Resilient File System (ReFS)|ReFS]].
 +
 
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==Error Rates==
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* Develop improved techniques for identifying encrypted data. (It's especially important to distinguish encrypted data from compressed data).
 +
* 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?
 +
 
 +
==Research Areas==
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These are research areas that could easily grow into a PhD thesis.
 +
* General-purpose detection of:
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** Stegnography
 +
** Sanitization attempts
 +
** 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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* [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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* [http://www.forensicfocus.com/project-ideas Forensic Focus: Project Ideas for Digital Forensics Students]
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__NOTOC__
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[[Category:Research]]

Latest revision as of 21:33, 25 September 2014

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.

Many of these would make a nice master's project.

Programming/Engineering Projects

tcpflow
  • Modify tcpflow's iptree.h implementation so that it only stores discriminating bit prefixes in the tree, similar to D. J. Bernstein's Crit-bit trees.
  • Determine why tcpflow's iptree.h implementation's prune works differently when caching is enabled then when it is disabled
SleuthKit
  • 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.

Digital Forensics Education

  • Survey existing DFE programs and DF practitioners regarding which tools they use. Report if the tools being taught are the same as the tools that are being used.

Data Sniffing

  • 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.

Anti-Frensics Detection

  • A pluggable rule-based system that can detect the residual data or other remnants of running a variety of anti-forensics software

Carvers

Develop a new carver with a plug-in architecture and support for fragment reassembly carving. Take a look at:

Correlation Engine

  • Logfile correlation
  • Document identity identification
  • Correlation between stored data and intercept data
  • Online Social Network Analysis

Data Snarfing/Web Scraping

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Automated grouping/annotation of low-level events, e.g. access-time, log-file entry, to higher-level events, e.g. program start, login


Enhancements for Guidance Software's Encase

  • 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.)

Volume/File System analysis

  • Analysis of inter snapshot changes in Windows Shadow Volumes
  • 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.)
  • Add support to SleuthKit for ReFS.

Error Rates

  • Develop improved techniques for identifying encrypted data. (It's especially important to distinguish encrypted data from compressed data).
  • 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?

Research Areas

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;

See Also