An interesting speculative post on the forensics techniques that would most likely be used by the FBI during the investigation of the recovered Veteran’s Administration laptop.
Most of them are pretty straight forwards if you have any kind of experience with digital forensics and data recovery (disaster recovery, incident response etc.)
As a former Computer Forensic Specialist, I wanted to explain what’s probably going on with this laptop now that the FBI has the system and is forensically examining it. This explanation assumes the data was present on the hard drive (not a CD-Rom or other storage medium).
The two main areas cover physical examination and digital examination, physical would be looking for fingerprints and looking for evidence of tampering (screw heads, case scratches etc.).
A little discussion on MAC times and so on, if anyone is interested in this area, I might elaborate later.
As I said in the previous article, there isn’t much they can do if someone knew what they were doing.
The laptop thieves really know what they are doing. They remove the hard drive from the laptop, and mount it read-only (no modifications to the file system) on another computer, access the sensitive data and re-insert the hard drive into the stolen laptop. This is the same process the forensic examiner would use to prevent the examination from modifying the data contained on the laptop — and this is why I mentioned what the FBI might look for during the physical examination — marks on the screws or finger prints on the internal hard drive casing.