Computer Architecture and Imaging
Boss [on telephone with vice president]: So you’re telling me an exact replica of Zerobit’s concept drawing has shown up on the cover of APEX’s product development brochure? What are the chances of that? Unless somebody here at Zerobit is leaking information. I’ll get my best investigator on it.
Boss [in person, to you]: Thanks for coming by. I wanted to talk with you face-to-face.
I just spoke with our VP for external relations and it looks like we may have a major security breach on our hands.
How quickly can you image this USB stick? Our suspect has access to a live system here at headquarters, as well as a networked computer at our remote location. We’ll need to examine both of them.
You should be able to slip into his office and acquire his RAM and swap space while he’s at training this afternoon. But while you’re waiting, check your email for a message from legal.
Narrator: Back at your desk, when you open up the message from the Zerobit counsel, you see four questions that need to be answered in preparation for any possible legal challenge.
As you’re answering the fourth one, a notification pops up, reminding you that the suspects training session is about to start. That’s your cue that it will soon be safe to log into the suspect’s computer.
You run your program, acquiring the RAM and swap space from the live system. Then you log out, leaving the suspect’s office and computer as you found them.
Your colleagues have left for the day, but you’ve stayed behind to image the suspect’s remote computer after hours. You log onto the system and have no problem using NETCAT to transfer a copy of his remote hard drive to your workstation at headquarters.
You lean back in your chair and smile. You’ve imaged all of the suspect’s known devices. Tomorrow you’ll compile your analyses into a final forensic report.
Who knows? You may even be asked to present your report in court.
Digital forensics involves processing data from many different types of devices, ranging from desktops to laptops, tablets to smartphones, servers to cloud storage, and even devices embedded in automobiles and aircraft. In this project, you will focus on the architecture and imaging of desktop and laptop computers. You will be working in a virtual machine (VM) to image and verify the contents of the following:
a USB stick
the random access memory (RAM) and swap space of a live computer
a networked computer hard drive
There are seven steps in this project. In the first step, you will review a technical manual containing information about where data of forensic value is typically found inside digital devices. The next two steps will guide you through the process of imaging a USB stick with both Linux and Windows tools. The next step will pose several questions that frequently come up in cases similar to this scenario. In the next step, you will be back to collecting forensic evidence; this time you will be imaging the RAM (memory) and swap space of a live, running computer. In the next step, you will image a computer’s hard drive over the network. In the final step, you will compile all lab notes and reports into one comprehensive report. The final assignment in this project is a forensic imaging lab report that can be presented in a court of law.
Before you can begin imaging the USB drive provided by your supervisor, you need to review your technical manual in order to prepare a memo to give to your company’s legal team. Are you ready to get started?
Your work will be evaluated using the competencies listed below.
1.1: Organize document or presentation clearly in a manner that promotes understanding and meets the requirements of the assignment.
1.4: Tailor communications to the audience.
1.5: Use sentence structure appropriate to the task, message and audience.
1.6: Follow conventions of Standard Written English.
2.2: Locate and access sufficient information to investigate the issue or problem.
2.3: Evaluate the information in a logical and organized manner to determine its value and relevance to the problem.
4.1: Lead and/or participate in a diverse group to accomplish projects and assignments.
5.3: Demonstrate the appropriate use of multiple digital forensic tools and techniques for imaging.
5.4: Demonstrate an understanding of the different parts of a computer.
6.1: Perform report creation, affidavit creation, and preparation to testify.
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