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Real Digital Forensics: Computer Security and Incident Response [Paperback]

Keith J. Jones , Richard Bejtlich , Curtis W. Rose

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Book Description

Sept. 23 2005 9780321240699 978-0321240699 1
You can't succeed in the field of computer forensics without hands-on practice--and you can't get hands-on practice without real forensic data. The solution: Real Digital Forensics. In this book, a team of world-class computer forensics experts walks you through six detailed, highly realistic investigations and provides a DVD with all the data you need to follow along and practice. From binary memory dumps to log files, this DVD's intrusion data was generated by attacking live systems using the same tools and methods real-world attackers use. The evidence was then captured and analyzed using the same tools the authors employ in their own investigations. This book relies heavily on open source tools, so you can perform virtually every task without investing in any commercial software. You'll investigate environments ranging from financial institutions to software companies and crimes ranging from intellectual property theft to SEC violations. As you move step by step through each investigation, you'll discover practical techniques for overcoming the challenges forensics professionals face most often.Inside, you will find in-depth information on the following areas: * Responding to live incidents in both Windows and Unix environments * Determining whether an attack has actually occurred * Assembling a toolkit you can take to the scene of a computer-related crime * Analyzing volatile data, nonvolatile data, and files of unknown origin * Safely performing and documenting forensic duplications * Collecting and analyzing network-based evidence in Windows and Unix environments * Reconstructing Web browsing, e-mail activity, and Windows Registry changes * Tracing domain name ownership and the source of e-mails * Duplicating and analyzing the contents of PDAs and flash memory devices The accompanying DVD contains several gigabytes of compressed data generated from actual intrusions. This data mirrors what analysts might find in real investigations and allows the reader to learn about forensic investigations in a realisticsetting. A(c) Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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From the Inside Flap

PrefacePrefaceOur Purpose and Approach

Welcome to the book named Real Digital Forensics. When we conceived this book, we wanted to give forensic investigators more than words to learn new skills. Many people express to us in our classes and speaking engagements a simple sentence we have heard hundreds of times: "How do I get into the field of computer forensics?" In our opinion, you cannot learn forensics unless you have hands-on practical experience. This brings up a more important question we usually hear next: "How do I get my hands on data to gain that experience?" This question is much more difficult to answer because the only data most people have to practice with comes from real cases—and we all know that our clients do not want their data disseminated for learning tools! Therefore, it is difficult for most people to find data to practice with in order to sharpen their computer forensic skills. To answer this second question, we decided to publish this book with a DVD containing realistic evidence collected from several fictitious scenarios for the sole purpose of teaching the computer forensic tradecraft.

Most of the scenarios you will find throughout this book are very similar to types of cases that we investigate every day. We used the same tools attackers use when establishing a foothold in your network, the same methods rogue employees make use of to steal your trade secrets, and the same media we typically collect when we created the evidence files found on the DVD. Although we attempted to thoroughly investigate each company name we used for our scenarios, we want to state that none of this data was collected from computers within companies with coincidentally similar names or IP addresses.

The book begins by presenting methodologies used for the collection and analysis of computer forensic data. Then the book presents methods for compiling tool kits you can take with you to the scene of a computer-related crime. The book concludes by providing methodologies for deeper forensic analysis and solutions for when you run into other types of computer media such as USB memory and Palm devices.

Although computer forensic software tends to be commercially dominated, which means you would have to pay a hefty licensing fee just to get your feet wet, we wholeheartedly believe in open source because of the documented methodologies and availability of the source code. Reproducibility and documentation of methodologies is the cornerstone of any forensic science. Therefore, you will find that most techniques we recommend utilize a freely available and publicly documented toolset. This will enable you to examine the evidence found on the DVD without having to purchase additional software. When we do talk about commercial software to help round out your knowledge base, we will point it out in the text so that you are fully aware.

You will find that this book takes a practical, hands-on approach to solving problems that we frequently encounter when performing computer-related investigations. This book will not contain pages and pages about the theory of computer forensics. What it will contain are techniques you can employ immediately to solve your problems when performing an analysis. We hope you enjoy the Real Digital Forensics experience.

The Prerequisites and Target Audiences

Some of the techniques we discuss in this book are considered more advanced than common forensic knowledge. If you are just starting out in the computer forensic field, we suggest a basic understanding of computer forensics to more fully enjoy the content within this book. For an understanding of computer forensics that will help you work through the investigations throughout this book, we recommend you review the following publications:

  • The Tao of Network Security Monitoring: Beyond Intrusion Detection by Richard Bejtlich

  • Extrusion Detection: Security Monitoring for Internal Intrusions by Richard Bejtlich

  • Incident Response: Investigating Computer Crime by Kevin Mandia, Chris Prosise, and Matt Pepe

  • File System Forensic Analysis by Brian Carrier

  • Computer Forensics by Kruse, Warren and Jay Heiser

About the Art

Due to the complex nature of the data we discuss, some of our screenshots may appear small in this book and may be difficult to read.If you insert the DVD into a Windows machine, a new drive such as D: or E: will appear. If you insert the DVD into a Unix machine, you will need to mount the file system using the mount command, such as:

?mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/realdigitalforensics

Off of the DVD root directory, you will find another directory named after the scenario. Typically this directory has the same name as the victim company's name. For example, to find the "JBR Bank's Intrusion" scenario, you would navigate to the jbr_bank directory on the DVD. Within the scenario directory, you will find more subdirectories. Each subdirectory contains a particular type of evidence that the investigator collected. If the investigator acquired a forensic duplication, you can find the corresponding data in the forensic_duplication directory. If the responder performed a live response, the live_response directory will contain the relevant data, and so on.

Most of the data on the DVD is stored in native format. The live response data is plain text, memory dumps are binary files, and so on. When you want to examine a forensic duplication, you will notice that the files are compressed. This was done because the duplications can be up to 4 GB in size when they are uncompressed, which would not fit on a single DVD. Therefore, be warned—you may want to have 10 to 20 GB of working room on your hard drive when you analyze this evidence. To analyze a forensic duplication, you must first copy the evidence from the DVD to your local hard drive and uncompress the duplication.We were forced, unfortunately, to perform some post processing so that we did not distribute copies of commercial software. Therefore, some system-related files on the victim machines containing the Windows operating system had zeros written over it. The original size of the file and directory structure we kept "as is" to simulate a real machine.

With that in mind, please load up your DVD and follow along with our many examples.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

You can't succeed in the field of computer forensics without hands-on practice—and you can't get hands-on practice without real forensic data. The solution: Real Digital Forensics. In this book, a team of world-class computer forensics experts walks you through six detailed, highly realistic investigations and provides a DVD with all the data you need to follow along and practice.

From binary memory dumps to log files, this DVD's intrusion data was generated by attacking live systems using the same tools and methods real-world attackers use. The evidence was then captured and analyzed using the same tools the authors employ in their own investigations. This book relies heavily on open source tools, so you can perform virtually every task without investing in any commercial software.

You'll investigate environments ranging from financial institutions to software companies and crimes ranging from intellectual property theft to SEC violations. As you move step by step through each investigation, you'll discover practical techniques for overcoming the challenges forensics professionals face most often.

Inside, you will find in-depth information on the following areas:

  • Responding to live incidents in both Windows and Unix environments

  • Determining whether an attack has actually occurred

  • Assembling a toolkit you can take to the scene of a computer-related crime

  • Analyzing volatile data, nonvolatile data, and files of unknown origin

  • Safely performing and documenting forensic duplications

  • Collecting and analyzing network-based evidence in Windows and Unix environments

  • Reconstructing Web browsing, e-mail activity, and Windows Registry changes

  • Tracing domain name ownership and the source of e-mails

  • Duplicating and analyzing the contents of PDAs and flash memory devices

The accompanying DVD contains several gigabytes of compressed data generated from actual intrusions. This data mirrors what analysts might find in real investigations and allows the reader to learn about forensic investigations in a realisticsetting.


© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.


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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the DVD's data is crucial for you to tackle Oct. 5 2005
By W Boudville - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There have been several authoritative books on computer forensics. (Including "Tao of Network Security Monitoring" by Bejtlich.) But this "Real Digital Forensics" book breaks new ground. Not in the theoretical modelling of an attack or countermeasures against it. Instead, there are several indepth case studies, that key off data given in the book's DVD. And the latter is a DVD, not a CD. The authors needed the multigigabyte capacity to store the provided data. Even then, these are compressed. This should give you some feeling of the book's emphasis.

The authors address a serious lack in this field. How does someone [you] gain experience analysing a real attack? Without already being employed at a company experiencing such an event? In response, the authors made several scenarios that, they claim, reflect what actual attackers would likely have done.

This is an experimental book. There is no overarching elegant theory. You are meant to roll up your sleeves and tackle each case. En route, the book shows how, as a defender, you can use several open source packages to dissect the attack, as well as impose countermeasures. Which is another nice feature. Those packages are free. It makes your forensics education very cheap, in terms of explicit capital outlay.

Which is not to say that the book ignores commercial forensic tools. But the authors have a clear preference for open source, with which you might well concur.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential A-Z guide for forensic investigations Dec 7 2005
By Dx21, LLC - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
There is a real lack of well written books in this category, and this one stands out because it is comprehensive, yet easy to digest and carefully laid out, including case studies to understand data capture and analysis techniques.

The progression of the chapters mirror an investigative process; there is discussion of how to properly handle digital evidence, how to make a duplicate of the source data, and how to make sense of what you have collected. There are many real-world type case studies in the beginning of the book that could easily read off the front of any newspaper, and the captured evidence is on the included DVD for you to search to find the "smoking gun". Very well done.

The book takes the unusual role of discussing not only the more popular commercial tools like EnCase or Forensic Tool Kit, but also all the open source tools available for free, which is a real plus if you don't have the deep pockets required for the retail products. The book also does an excellent job of explaining the advantages and shortcomings of all the products discussed, something not often seen in technical books. Along with the open source discussion are source web sites for downloading the tools. The accompanying DVD is packed with stuff to get you started. The book is filled with well illustrated screen shots to help you orient yourself when trying the programs yourself.

Be forewarned, this book assumes a pretty reasonable amount of technical knowledge and while it addresses the commercial products available on the Win32 platform, a lot of tools and utilities referenced are written for Linux. While a novice investigator can certainly find value in the book, there is a lot of "meat" that even a seasoned professional will find useful.

This is definitely the best book currently available on data forensic investigations.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will educate and wow! Nov. 3 2005
By Dr Anton Chuvakin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Bejtlich, Jones and Rose 'Real Digital Forensics' is as practical as a printed book can be. In a very methodical fashion, the authors cover live response (Unix, Windows), network-based forensics following the NSM model (Unix, Windows), forensics duplication, common forensics analysis techniques (such as file recovery and Internet history review), hostile binary analysis (Unix, Windows), creating a forensics toolkit and PDA, flash and USB drive forensics. Is that it? :-)Well, there is some other fun stuff too. In other words, the book is both comprehensive and in-depth; following the text and trying the investigations using the enclosed DVD definitely presents an effective way to learn forensic techniques. I would recommend the book to all security professionals (even those not directly involved with forensics on a daily basis).

Anton Chuvakin, Ph.D., GCIA, GCIH, GCFA is a Security Strategist with a major security company. He is an author of the book "Security Warrior" and a contributor to "Know Your Enemy II" and the upcoming "Hacker's Challenge III". In his spare time, he maintains his security portal info-secure.org and his blog at O'Reilly. His next book will be about security log analysis.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This one is a keeper! Jan. 26 2006
By Diane Barrett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As an author and instructor, I tend to be pretty picky about the books I choose to read and use in my classes. The authors present the material in a good logical progression. I especially like that it also provides sample evidence on the DVD. Most of the computer forensic books that currently exist contain mostly theory. This is the first good hands-on text that I have seen.

The authors have captured a good cross section of scenarios and then guide you through each case in-depth, offering practical solutions when faced with obstacles. The content provides methodologies, techniques, and tools that anyone can use. In addition it covers a variety of media such as USB memory and Palm devices.

This is a book that I will definitely keep. It is one of the best forensic investigations books currently on the market and would be a great asset to anyone wishing to enhance their skills.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read Feb. 10 2006
By S. Mahon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is written in such a style that is easy to understand, yet technical and detailed enough to maintain your interest and attention all the way through.

The book presents several ways of accomplishing the same tasks in a non-biased, non-vendor-specific way. It explores the use of free, open-source tools as well as commercial offerings, and drills down into forensic analysis of both Windows and Unix/Linux Operating Systems.

The included CD contains actual forensic data and a few tools, which is both interesting and exciting to use while following along with the lessons in the book.

After receiving this book and opening it to the first page, I was almost unable to set it down until I finished it. I received it on a Friday afternoon and I had completed reading it by the end of the weekend. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Computer or Network Security.

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