Digital Forensics with Open Source Tools is the definitive book on investigating and analyzing computer systems and media using open source tools. The book is a technical procedural guide, and explains the use of these tools on Linux and Windows systems as a platform for performing computer forensics. Both well known and novel forensic methods are demonstrated using command-line and graphical open source computer forensic tools for examining a wide range of target systems and artifacts.

Key Features

    • Written by world-renowned forensic practitioners
    • Details core concepts and techniques of forensic file system analysis
    • Covers analysis of artifacts from the Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems


    Forensic Practitioners from areas including: Incident response teams and computer forensic investigators, forensic technicians from legal, audit, and consulting firms, and law enforcement agencies

    Table of Contents

    About the Authors


    Cory Altheide

    Harlan Carvey


    Intended Audience

    Layout of the Book

    What is not Covered

    Chapter 1. Digital Forensics with Open Source Tools

    Welcome to “Digital Forensics with Open Source Tools”

    What is “Digital Forensics?”

    What is “Open Source?”

    Benefits of Open Source Tools



    Chapter 2. Open Source Examination Platform

    Preparing the Examination System

    Using Linux as the Host

    Using Windows as the Host



    Chapter 3. Disk and File System Analysis

    Media Analysis Concepts

    The Sleuth Kit

    Partitioning and Disk Layouts

    Special Containers



    Forensic Imaging



    Chapter 4. Windows Systems and Artifacts


    Windows File Systems


    Event Logs

    Prefetch Files

    Shortcut Files

    Windows Executables



    Chapter 5. Linux Systems and Artifacts


    Linux File Systems

    Linux Boot Process and Services

    Linux System Organization and Artifacts

    User Accounts

    Home Directories


    Scheduling Tasks



    Chapter 6. Mac OS X Systems and Artifacts


    OS X File System Artifacts

    OS X System Artifacts

    User Artifacts



    Chapter 7. Internet Artifacts


    Browser Artifacts

    Mail Artifacts



    Chapter 8. File Analysis

    File Analysis Concepts









    No. of pages:
    © 2011
    Electronic ISBN:
    Print ISBN:

    About the authors

    Cory Altheide

    Cory Altheide is a Security Engineer at Google, focused on forensics and incident response. Prior to returning to Google, Cory was a principal consultant with MANDIANT, an information security consulting firm that works with the Fortune 500, the defense industrial base and the banks of the world to secure their networks and combat cyber-crime. In this role he responded to numerous incidents for a variety of clients. Cory has authored several papers for the computer forensics journal Digital Investigation and was a contributing author for UNIX and Linux Forensic Analysis (2008) & The Handbook Of Digital Forensics and Investigation (2010). Additionally, Cory is a recurring member of the program committee of the Digital Forensics Research Workshop (DFRWS).

    Harlan Carvey

    Harlan Carvey is a senior information security researcher with the Dell SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit – Special Ops (CTU-SO) team, where his efforts are focused on targeted threat hunting, response, and research. He continues to maintain a passion and focus in analyzing Windows systems, and in particular, the Windows Registry. Harlan is an accomplished author, public speaker, and open source tool author. He dabbles in other activities, including home brewing and horseback riding. As a result, he has become quite adept at backing up and parking a horse trailer. Harlan earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, and a master’s degree in the same discipline from the Naval Postgraduate School. He served in the United States Marine Corps, achieving the rank of captain before departing the service. He resides in Northern Virginia with his family.


    "This is highly detailed material. Although the introductory chapter adopts an easy pace, with overviews of important technical concepts, most of the other chapters get right down to the practice of forensic analysis. This is not a book you’re going to want to read in bed: you’ll want this right next to a computer – preferably two or three computers running different operating systems – so that you can try the techniques for yourself as you work your way through. The authors admit that this book does not cover everything you need to know. For instance, it focuses entirely on ‘dead drive’ forensics – offline systems. Analysing running systems often requires high-level proprietary tools. But it does give an excellent grounding in the methods of digital forensic analysis and provides a valuable first step in learning the technicalities."--Network Security, May 2012, page 4

    "Digital Forensics – MacGyver Style! The practical solutions of this book, Digital Forensics with Open Source Tools, save the day when commercial tools fail. During an incident, the clock ticks. Response teams scramble to pull anything together to solve the immediate challenge. Cory Altheide and Harlan Carvey take you through the tools and tactics that you need – the ones that in a pinch will get the job done. A welcome addition to my library."--Rob Lee, SANS Institute

    "Intended for students and new computer professionals, or those new to open source applications, this guide to digital forensics provides practical instructions for many common tasks in data recovery and analysis using open source tools. Beginning with a discussion of setting up an open source examination platform and tool set, the work covers disk and file system analysis, Windows, GNU/Linux and Mac OS X systems and artifacts, Internet artifacts, file analysis and automated analysis. The volume includes numerous code examples and tips and tricks as well as