Computer Forensics is a science and an art. And to perform it, you need tools to identify, acquisition, preserve and analyze data in a clean, safe, non-destructive manner. Lots of tools. Everything from data acquisition to virtualization and steganalysis.

A list of more or less free tools (mostly open source or freeware, but I have included some relevant commercial products) no digital forensics expert should be without:

Data acquisition, enumeration, imaging and forensics tools : Toolkits and utilities.

  1. The Sleuth Kit and Autopsy Browser. Both are open source digital investigation tools (a.k.a digital forensic tools) that run on Unix systems (such as Linux, OS X, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and Solaris). They can be used to analyze NTFS, FAT, Ext2, Ext3, UFS1, and UFS2 file systems and several volume system types. The Sleuth Kit (TSK) is a collection of command line tools based on The Coroner's Toolkit (TCT). Autopsy is a graphical interface to TSK.
  2. The Coroner's Toolkit (TCT) is a forensics toolkit for analysis of UNIX break-ins. It runs on BSD (OpenBSD, FreeBSD, BSD/OS), Solaris/SunOS, Linux and HP-UX.
  3. WinHex: Computer Forensics & Data Recovery Software, Hex Editor & Disk Editor.
  4. dcfldd is an enhanced version of GNU dd with features useful for forensics and security. GNU ddrescue is a data recovery tool. It copies data from one file or block device trying to rescue data in case of read errors. It's a better alternative to using dd_rescue and dd_rhelp or SpinRite (you can just do a disk refresh with dd: "dd if=/dev/disk of=/dev/disk bs=2m" while the drive isn't mounted - no write operations going on - or something along those lines in order to prevent presently recoverable read errors from progressing into unrecoverable read errors).
  5. Sysinternals tools contains programs like streams that help us find data hidden inside alternate streams or strings that grep readable strings from a file. It also has tools like process explorer, procmon, autoruns and rootkit revealer that allow you to dig deep into the Windows operating system to process, disk and data related information.
  6. Microsoft Log Parser is a powerful, versatile tool that you can use to extract information from files of almost any format by using Structured Query Language to text-based data such as log files, XML files and CSV files, as well as key data sources on the Windows operating system such as the Event Log, the Registry, the file system, and Active Directory.
  7. AccessData Forensic Products: FTK - Forensic Toolkit, Registry Viewier - more neat tools from AccessData. Commercial products.
  8. Clonezilla is used to clone many computers simultaneously. It can perform a full disk image or just file backup. It's a backup tool, but it can also perform bit by bit disk imaging.
  9. Sysinternals LiveKD is a Live version of Windows Debugger (WinDBG) that allows you to run the Kd and Windbg Microsoft kernel debuggers, which are part of the Debugging Tools for Windows package, locally on a live system. This means that you to easily take a memory dump of a running Windows system (.dump /f YOURUSBDISK:\fullmemorydump.dmp). On UNIX systems you can use dd to take a snapshot of the system memory ("dd if=/dev/kmem of=/path/to/memorydump").
  10. Paraben's Device Seizure - Cell Phone and PDA Forensic software. Specialized software for portable device forensics.
  11. PDD is a forensic analysis tool for Palm OS platform devices. It is an open source Windows-based tool for Palm OS memory imaging and forensic acquisition. The Palm OS Console Mode is used to acquire memory card information and to create a bit-for-bit image of the selected memory region. No data is modified on the target device and the data retrieval is not detectable by the user of the PDA.
  12. CDInfo is an application that will display all ISO descriptors from all attached cd-rom drives (Label, System, Application, VolumeSet, Copyright, Creation Date, Directory Start, Directory Length, extentions, tracks, etc).
  13. PMDump is a Windows tool that lets you dump the memory contents (both RAM and swap) of a process to a file without stopping the process.

Virtualization : Once the actual machine is cloned, it's usually put inside a virtual machine (features like snapshots and debugging help quite a bit with the digital forensics process). This is called physical to virtual (P2V) migration.


  1. Live View is a Java-based graphical forensics tool that creates a VMware virtual machine out of a raw (dd-style) disk image or physical disk. This allows the forensic examiner to "boot up" the image or disk and gain an interactive, user-level perspective of the environment, all without modifying the underlying image or disk. Because all changes made to the disk are written to a separate file, the examiner can instantly revert all of his or her changes back to the original pristine state of the disk. The end result is that one need not create extra "throw away" copies of the disk or image to create the virtual machine.
  2. VMware Converter Starter is a free p2v (physical to virtual) migration tool. VMware Converter quickly converts Microsoft Windows based physical machines and third party image formats to VMware virtual machines. It also converts virtual machines between VMware platforms. Note: for digital forensic images, you should use LiveView, and not the converter.
  3. VMware Server allows for free virtualization. You can use it in combination with Live View to virtualize existing environments, and use the snapshots feature to revert back to a previous state of a virtual machine in an instant.
  4. QEmu - a much more flexible virtualization program, albeit a bit slower than VMware. Supports emulating IA-32 (x86) PCs, AMD64 PCs, MIPS R4000, Sun's SPARC sun4m, Sun's SPARC sun4u, ARM development boards (Integrator/CP and Versatile/PB), SH4 SHIX board, PowerPC (PReP and Power Macintosh), and ETRAX CRIS architectures. Also, qemu-img can be a valuable tool for converting virtual machine images. Also allows for some really low level debugging features. A modified version of QEmu can even emulate PIX platforms (or Juniper JunOS systems like Olive).
  5. VirtualBox is a GPL licensed x86 virtualization platform that runs on Windows, Linux and MacOS hosts, and supports various x86 client machines (Windows, Linux, BSD, Solaris). It's a noteworthy alternative to using VMware, as performance tends to be pretty good.
  6. Microsoft VirtualServer / Virtual PC are free virtualization products from Microsoft. They support all major features (snapshots, mounting ISO images and such), and performance tends to be reasonable (to some extent, similar to that of VMware).
  7. SIMH is a highly portable, multi-system simulator. It can emulate VAX and PDP-11 platforms. Just in case you need to perform forensics on older minicomputers.
  8. Hercules is an open source (QPL licensed) emulator of IBM Mainframe computers (System/370, ESA/390 architectures and even the 64-bit zSeries). Hercules runs under Linux, Windows (98, NT, 2000, and XP), FreeBSD, and Mac OS X (10.3 and later). Hercules will run OS/360, DOS/360, DOS/VS, MVS, VM/370, TSS/370 - all IBM public domain operating system, as well as OS/390, z/OS, VSE/ESA, z/VSE, VM/ESA, and z/VM, and even Linux/390 and Linux (SuSE, RHEL, Debian, CentOS and Slackware) on zSeries.
  9. Oracle VM is a server virtualization software based on Xen and Oracle Linux (itself based on RHEL sources) that fully supports both Oracle and non-Oracle applications. It is a free alternative to VMware Virtual Infrastructure (VMware ESX + VirtualCenter). It is certified to run the Linux operating system, Oracle Database, Fusion Middleware, and Application software, thus makes a very good platform for investigating Oracle databases.
  10. The Palm OS Emulator is a program based on the Copilot app that emulates the hardware of the various models of Palm-powered handhelds, making it a valuable tool for writing, testing, and debugging applications as well as obtainiwinng evidence from the device.
  11. Microsoft Windows CE 5.0 Device Emulator contains the emulator technologies featured in Windows CE 5.0. By using the Device Emulator, you can run emulated-based images created by Windows CE 5.0 without installing Platform Builder, its platform development tool.


Password recovery tools: You may often need to recover keys and passwords.

"This text has been encrypted twice... for double protection!"
  1. Ophcrack is a very efficient Windows password cracker based on rainbow tables. It will crack huge tables of LM hashes in under 3 minutes. It also comes in the form of a LiveCD (though in digital forensics cases it's usually best to extract the SAM file containing the password hashes from the disk image and use that. Ophcrack can be a lot more effective if you have more complete rainbow tables.
  2. LCP is a free alternative to the now dead L0phtcrack.
  3. John the Ripper is a very versatile password cracking tool. It's supported on different architectures and operating systems (UNIX, Windows, OpenVMS, etc) and it's quite fast. Besides several crypt(3) password hash types most commonly found on various Unix flavors, supported out of the box are Kerberos AFS and Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 LM hashes, plus several more with contributed patches.
  4. Medusa is a very fast parallel brute force login password cracker.
  5. Elcomsoft Password Recovery suite: anything from office, archives, pdf files etc. to email clients. These are commercial products though.
  6. CmosPwd decrypts password stored in CMOS used to access BIOS SETUP. Works on a lot of BIOSes (AMI, Award, Phoenix, IBM, etc). It can also be used to backup, restore or erase the BIOS.
  7. AccessData Decryption Tools: PRTK - Password Recovery Toolkit, DNA - Distributed Network Attack, PORT - Portable Office Rainbow Tables are some of the best and fastest tools in the business.
  8. Offline NT Password and Registry editor - a utility to (re)set the password of any user that has a valid (local) account on your NT system. You do not need to know the old password to set a new one. Features a registry editor. Supports 32 and 64 versions of Vista (and NTFSv5).
  9. Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery is designed for distributed recovery of forgotten or lost passwords of different documents. Version 2.0 adds support for Windows SYSKEY startup passwords, passwords stored in Domain Cached Credentials, includes updated Adobe Acrobat module, and provides hardware acceleration (now up to 25 times faster!) for NTLM password recovery using GeForce 8 video cards.
  10. Dialupass - Dialup Password Recovery - Recovers the passwords of dialup entries (VPN and Internet connections) on Windows systems. NirSoft provides a couple of free password recovery tools for various products such as Instant Messaging applications, cached passwords stored by Internet Browsers, E-mail clients and so on.
Here's a little cool trick for recovering cached passwords (asterisk passwords) stored in your Internet Browser (Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer or anything with JavaScript).

Steganalysis and stenography: how to detect hidden data using stenography.
  1. Stegdetect finds hidden information in JPEG images using such steganography schemes as F5, Invisible Secrets, JPHide, and JSteg. XSteg is a GUI.
  2. Stego Suite is a powerful commercial Stenography detection toolkit, consisting of 3 major tools.
  3. Stegkit is an Automated Steganalysis Tool.
  4. Digital Invisible Ink Toolkit is an open-source cross-platform image steganography suite that includes both steganography and steganalysis implementations.
  5. StegSpy will detect steganography and the program used to hide the message.
  6. SteGUI is a StegHide GUI.
  7. Digital Watermarking allows you to hide copywrite information and such in media (images and such) that's present even after encoding to another format (bmp->jpg), printing, copy/paste, etc. You can use ImageMagick of various Photoshop plugins to do this.
  8. Stepic is a Python module and command line tool for hiding arbitrary data within images by slightly modifying the colors. These modifications are generally imperceptible to humans, but are machine detectable.
  9. wbStego4 offers steganography in bitmaps, text files, HTML files and PDF files. It is has two very user-friendly interfaces and is ideal for securely transmitting data online or adding copyright information, especially with the copyright information manager.
  10. NL Stego is a system for text generation and text-based steganography. It combines Markov Models of several orders to generate random text resembling a given training text (or text corpus). It can also embed secret messages into pseudo-random generated text.
  11. Steghide is an Open Source (GPL) steganography program that is able to hide data in various kinds of image- and audio-files. The color- respectivly sample-frequencies are not changed thus making the embedding resistant against first-order statistical tests. Supports compression of embedded data, encryption of embedded data, embedding of a checksum to verify the integrity of the extraced data and has support for JPEG, BMP, WAV and AU files.
  12. StegFS is an Open Source (GPL) Steganographic File System for Linux. Not only does it encrypt data, it also hides it such that it cannot be proved to be there.

Filesystem tools: Data Recovery.
  1. Undelete Plus is a free deleted file recovery tool that works for all versions of Windows (95-Vista), FAT12/16/32, NTFS and NTFS5 filesystems and can perform recovery on various solid state devices.
  2. Avira UnErase Personal - a freely available unerase product.
  3. TestDisk is a free (GPL) data recovery software that can fix partition tables, recover deleted partitions and rebuild NTFS boot sectors. It can find lost partitions (anything from BSD disklabels to IBM JFS, it supports pretty much anything).
  4. GNU Parted is a program for creating, destroying, resizing, checking, and copying partitions, and the file systems on them. This is useful for creating space for new operating systems, reorganising hard disk usage, copying data between hard disks, and disk imaging. It was written by Andrew Clausen and Lennert Buytenhek.
  5. Stellar Phoenix has various UNIX and *NIX (SCO OpenServer, Unixware, Sun Solaris, *BSD, HP-UX, MacOS) data recovery tools as well as some Windows Data Recovery tools. They are, however, commercial products.
  6. R-Studio is a data recovery software suite that can recover files from FAT(12-32), NTFS, NTFS 5, HFS/HFS+, FFS, UFS/UFS2 (*BSD, Solaris), Ext2/Ext3 (Linux) and so on. This is a commercial product.
  7. DiskInternals NTFS Recovery is a fully automatic utility that recovers data from damaged or formatted disks. This is a commercial product.
  8. SystemRescueCD is a Linux system on a bootable CD/DVD for repairing your system and your data after a crash. It also aims to provide an easy way to carry out admin tasks on your computer, such as creating and editing the partitions of the hard disk. It contains a lot of system utilities (parted, partimage, fstools) and basic ones (editors, midnight commander, network tools). The kernel of the system supports most important file systems (ext2/ext3, reiserfs, reiser4, xfs, jfs, vfat, ntfs, iso9660), and network ones (SMB/CIFS and NFS).
  9. PhotoRec is file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents and archives from Hard Disks and CDRom and lost pictures (thus, its 'Photo Recovery' name) from digital camera memory. PhotoRec ignores the filesystem and goes after the underlying data, so it will still work even if your media's filesystem has been severely damaged or re-formatted.
  10. Datarescue PhotoRescue Advanced is picture and photo data recovery solution made by the creators of IDA Pro. PhotoRescue will undelete, unerase and recover pictures and files lost on corrupted, erased or damaged compact flash (CF) cards, SD Cards, Memory Sticks, SmartMedia and XD cards even when other solutions fail. Once the data is recovered, it guarantees its integrity. It supports recovery of all file types and is optimized for JPG, TIFF, GIF and BMP, as well as most camera RAW formats: CR2, RAW, RAF, CRW, NEF, ORF, MRW, etc and many types of movie files. In some cases, we can even rebuild pictures that have suffered minor corruptions.
  11. MiTeC Windows Registry Recovery - crashed machine registry configuration data recovery.


Cryptography tools : Once the data has been collected, disks and media has been imaged, it now needs to be encrypted, hashed and digitally signed in order to be properly stored.

  1. Truecrypt is a powerful open source encryption software that works on Windows (2000, 2003, XP, Vista) and Linux. It can do on the fly encryption, it can encrypt whole partitions or mass storage devices, it supports stenography (hidden volumes within an encrypted partition) for plausible deniability and supports AES-256, Serpent and Twofish encryption. It can also escrow keys (so you can't access the data without say the two USB sticks with the keys and the passphrase), and supports both password and key authentication. Note: when you're using encryption, you should also use encrypted swap or make sure you zero it out when you're done.
  2. Cryptsetup-luks is an interface is based on the original cryptsetup utility and retains full compatibility, but adds extra commands to deal with the Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) on-disk format. This format provides additional features such as key management and key strengthening, and remembers encrypted volume configuration across reboots The Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) - Under Windows, LUKS encrypted disks can be used with FreeOTFE (a free, open source, "on-the-fly" transparent disk encryption program for PCs and PDAs).
  3. FreeBSD GELI - cryptographic GEOM class available as of FreeBSD 6.0. The geli utility is different to gbde; it offers different features and uses a different scheme for doing cryptographic work.
  4. NetBSD CGD - cryptographic device driver provides functionality which allows you to use disks or partitions for encrypted storage. After providing the appropriate key, the encrypted partition is accessible using cgd pseudo-devices.
  5. OpenBSD vnconfig(8) - provides encrypted svnd's via the "vnconfig -K rounds" options associates an encryption key with the device. All data will be encrypted using the Blowfish cipher before it is written to the disk. The user is asked for both a passphrase and the name of a salt file. OpenBSD also provides encrypted swap by default.
  6. OpenPGP - Open Pretty Good Privacy provides data integrity services for messages and data files by using digital signatures, encryption, compression and Radix-64 conversion. In addition, OpenPGP provides key management and certificate services. The GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) is the OpenPGP implementation of the GNU project. GnuPG is fully OpenPGP compliant, supports most of the optional features and provides some extra features. GnuPG is used as the standard encryption and signing tool of all GNU/Linux distributions.

Intrusion Detection and vulnerability scanners: Sometimes you need to analyze live systems during the incident. A crime has not yet been committed, or the perpetrator is still active. Intrusion detection, network monitoring and security auditing tools. Tools like AIDE, Tripwire, BART and such would need to be installed and configured before the incident occurs, but in case they are, it's good to know how to extract the right information from the hash database and figure out what files have changed and such.

Sometimes something as simple as a simple vulnerability scan using tools like nmap, Nessus and such may reveal us ways on how a perpetrator might have gained illegal access to a system.

  1. AIDE - Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment is an open source intrusion detection system similar to TripWire. It maintains a database of files and hashes (md5,sha1,rmd160,tiger,haval,etc) that are used to check the integrity of a file.
  2. Wireshark - Network protocol analyzer for Windows and Unix that allows examination of data from a live network, or from a capture file on disk. Also known as Ethereal (before the name change). Alternatives include tcpdump (most UNIX systems), snoop(1M) (Solaris) and Windows Network Monitor on Windows. Helps detect data theft or covert channels used to leak out information.
  3. Tiger is a security tool that can be use both as a security audit and intrusion detection system. It supports multiple UNIX platforms. Unlike other tools, Tiger needs only of POSIX tools and is written entirely in shell language.
  4. Lynis is an auditing tool for Unix (specialists). It scans the system configuration and creates an overview of information usable by professional auditors.
  5. Rootkit Hunter scans for rootkits, backdoors and local exploits by running various tests. On Windows, you would use Sysinternals "autoruns" and "Rootkit Revealer".
  6. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) is used to detect common security misconfiguration and missing security updates on your computer systems as well as to ensure the system conforms to a baseline security level.
  7. BART (Basic Audit Reporting Tool) and BSM (Basic Security Module) are auditing tools used on Solaris.
  8. Bastille is a hardening tool that can maintain logs and audits a forensics expert should know how to parse. Bastille is also used on HP-UX.
  9. The Metasploit Framework is a development platform for creating security tools and exploits.

Antivirus and anti-spyware products: Finding malware.
The system should be scanned for trojans, keyloggers and other types of malware (make sure you only scan the image, and take no action, just log their existence).
  1. Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic is a free Antivirus product that is available on multiple platforms (Windows 2000 / XP / Vista 32 Bit and 64 Bit, Linux / FreeBSD / OpenBSD / Solaris). License is available for home use.
  2. Clam AntiVirus is an open source (GPL) anti-virus toolkit for UNIX. This can be used in a commercial environment. ClamWin is a free, open source antivirus software for Microsoft Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista. It provides a graphical user interface to the ClamAV (Clam AntiVirus) engine.
  3. AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition - only available for single computer use for home and non commercial use.
  4. BitDefender 8 Free Edition is an on-demand virus scanner, which is best used in a system recovery or forensics role.
  5. bdc - BitDefender Console Antivirus for FreeBSD.
  6. AVG Anti-Spyware Free Edition - free antispyware solution available at no cost to home users and provides a high level of detection capability.
  7. Windows Defender - Free anti-spyware tool from Microsoft.
  8. Spybot Search and Destroy - Free spyware removal tool.
  9. Spyware Terminator - Spyware removal tool. Can integrate ClamAV Antivirus. Free for personal and commercial use.
  10. HijackThis is a free utility which quickly scans your Windows computer to find settings that may have been changed by spyware, malware or other unwanted programs. HijackThis creates a report, or log file, with the results of the scan. It generates in depth report of registry and file settings from your computer. HijackThis makes no separation between safe and unsafe settings in its scan results giving you the ability to selectively remove items from your machine. In addition to this scan and remove capability HijackThis comes with several tools useful in manually removing malware from a computer.

Malware analysis, debugging and Reverse Engineering tools:
Sometimes you happen to find rootkits, viruses, worms and all kinds of malware or software that requires the use of reverse engineering to figure out. Here's a couple of free to use tools:
  1. OllyDbg is a free debugger that emphasizes binary code analysis, which is useful when source code is not available. It traces registers, recognizes procedures, API calls, switches, tables, constants and strings, as well as locates routines from object files and libraries.
  2. RR0D is a ring 0 debugger. It offers the possibility to debug any kind of code (kernel/user/rasta land). Its philosophy is to be OS independent. That's why RR0D can today be installed on Linux, *BSD, Wind0ws. It's a free alternative to SoftIce.
  3. Hackman Suite is a multi-module all purpose debugging tool. It includes a hex editor, a disassembler, a template editor, a hex calculator and other everyday useful tools to assist programmers and code testers with the most common tasks.
  4. IDA Pro 4.9 Freeware (Interactive Disassembler) is a disassembler and debugger with lots of features that is very useful for reverse engineering. It's basically a "lite" version of the powerful IDA Pro.
  5. SpyStudio is a powerful application that simplifies the code execution interception operations, also called "hooking". Users can now easily monitor and gain control over processes in their systems, to really know what is happening in the Operating System and it's applications. With SpyStudio you can monitor and intercept API calls at any time, change its parameters, and resume execution.
  6. objdump is a program for displaying various information about object files. For instance, it can be used as a disassembler to view executable in assembly form. It is part of the GNU binutils for fine-grained control over executable and other binary data. It runs on multiple platforms.
  7. GDB, the GNU Project debugger, allows you to see what is going on `inside' another program while it executes -- or what another program was doing at the moment it crashed.
  8. GNU DDD is a graphical front-end for command-line debuggers such as GDB, DBX, WDB, Ladebug, JDB, XDB, the Perl debugger, the bash debugger, or the Python debugger. Besides ``usual'' front-end features such as viewing source texts, DDD has become famous through its interactive graphical data display, where data structures are displayed as graphs.
  9. Debugging Tools for Windows are used to debug drivers, applications, and services on systems running Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008 as well as for debugging the operating system itself. Versions of the Debugging Tools for Windows package are available for 32-bit x86, native Intel Itanium, and native x64 platforms. Debugging Tools for Windows includes WinDbg, a powerful debugger with a graphical interface and a console interface, as well as the console-based debuggers NTSD, CDB, and KD and the Windows Debugging Symbols.
  10. strace (system call tracer), ltrace (library call tracer), xtrace (eXtended trace utility, similar to strace, ptrace, truss, but with extended functionality and unique features, such as dumping function calls (dynamically or statically linked), dumping call stack and more), truss (trace system calls and signals - Solaris), ktrace (enables kernel process tracing - OpenBSD) and Valgrind (executes a program under emulation, performing analysis according to one of the many plug-in modules as desired. You can write your own plug-in module as desired) are UNIX programs that let you run a program while watching the actions it performs.
  11. DTrace is a comprehensive dynamic tracing framework for the Solaris Operating Environment (also ported to MacOS X - XRays and FreeBSD). DTrace provides a powerful infrastructure to permit administrators, developers, and service personnel to concisely answer arbitrary questions about the behavior of the operating system and user programs.

Timeline editors: analyze and evaluate the data obtained from a system and use it to determine what happened.

  1. Zeitline is a Java/Swing tool that allows a computer forensic investigator to import events from various sources of a computing system or network and then order and classify them into one or more timelines of events.
  2. mac-robber is a digital investigation tool that collects data from allocated files in a mounted file system. This is useful during incident response when analyzing a live system or when analyzing a dead system in a lab. The data can be used by the mactime tool in The Sleuth Kit to make a timeline of file activity. The mac-robber tool is based on the grave-robber tool from TCT and is written in C instead of Perl.


Data carving, analysis: (extracting a collection of data from a larger data set) - a file recovery technique frequently occurs during a digital investigation when the unallocated file system space is analyzed to extract files. The files are "carved" from the unallocated space using file type-specific header and footer values. File system structures are not used during the process.

  1. FTimes (File Topography and Integrity Monitoring on an Enterprise Scale) is a system baselining and evidence collection tool. The primary purpose of ftimes is to gather and/or develop topographical information and attributes about specified directories and files in a manner conducive to intrusion and forensic analysis.
  2. MiTeC Windows File Analyzer - tool for forensic analysis of Thumbnail Databases, Prefetch files, shortcuts, IExplore Index.DAT files and Recycle Bin contents on a Windows system. Will print a report of analyzed files.
  3. Foremost is a console program to recover files based on their headers, footers, and internal data structures. Foremost can work on image files, such as those generated by dd, Safeback, Encase, etc, or directly on a drive. The headers and footers can be specified by a configuration file or you can use command line switches to specify built-in file types. These built-in types look at the data structures of a given file format allowing for a more reliable and faster recovery.
  4. Scalpel is a fast file carver that reads a database of header and footer definitions and extracts matching files from a set of image files or raw device files. Scalpel is filesystem-independent and will carve files from FATx, NTFS, ext2/3, or raw partitions. It is useful for both digital forensics investigation and file recovery. Scalpel resulted from a complete rewrite of foremost 0.69, a popular open source file carver, to enhance performance and decrease memory usage.

Forensic toolkit LiveCDs:

  1. Helix is Knoppix based Linux LiveCD containing various forensics tools.
  2. Knoppix STD is a Linux based LiveCD containing various digital forensics tools.
  3. The MacQuisition Boot Disk is a forensic acquisition tool used to safely and easily image Mac source drives using the source system. MacQuisition provides an intuitive user interface to the traditional command line, providing both beginner and advanced forensic examiners with a valuable tool to:
  4. Winternals ERD Commander boots dead systems directly from CD into a Windows-like repair environment. It's now part of the Windows Optimization Pack.
  5. BackTrack is the result of merging Auditor and Whax into a single penetration testing Linux LiveCD. It contains an assorted suite of pen-testing, data recovery and digital forensics tools.
  6. SMART Linux is a Slackware based Data Forensics and Incident Response LiveCD.
  7. Snarl is a FreeBSD based forensics Bootable ISO (includes Autopsy and Sleuth Kit).
  8. Penguin SleuthKit Bootable CD - A Linux LiveCD that includes SleuthKit.
  9. UBCD4Win - Ultimate Boot CD for Windows - is a bootable recovery CD based on BartPE that contains software used for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing almost computer issues. It's also easy to costomize and add various forensic tools to a Windows XP SP2 LiveCD.
  10. The Farmer's Boot CD (FBCD) is a Linux boot CD designed for on-site previewing of systems before acquiring. It contains a number of programs to preview both Windows and Linux systems in a forensically sound manner. A commercial product.


Reference and Documentation, Whitepapers:
Material you need to consult and read:


  1. Bruce Schneier: His Applied Cryptography and security books as well as his blog posts and articles are a valuable resource for security experts world wide. Beyond Fear there is Bruce Schneier.
  2. The Open Source Digital Forensics site is a reference for the use of open source software in digital investigations (a.k.a. digital forensics, computer forensics, incident response). Open source tools may have a legal benefit over closed source tools because they have a documented procedure and allow the investigator to verify that a tool does what it claims.
  3. The Forensics Wiki, a Creative Commons-licensed wiki devoted to information about digital forensics.
  4. The International Journal of Digital Evidence (IJDE)
  5. NIST - National Institute of Standards and Technology - CSRC - Computer Security Division
  6. DFRWS (Digital Forensics Research Workshop) is dedicated to the sharing of knowledge and ideas about digital forensics research.
  7. Computer Forensics Links & Whitepapers (Forensics.nl)
  8. Digital Forensics Links and Resources
  9. SANS Institute - Network, Security, Computer, Audit Information Reading Room - Whitepapers on Digital Forensics
  10. Forensic Focus - Computer Forensics News, Information and Community
  11. The Electronic Evidence Information Center
  12. Computer Forensics World - A Community of Computer Forensics Professionals

[The content of this page is taken from Unixsadm. Feel free to visit the original site because who knows the original author might update the content from time to time]