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Daily Blog #44: Forensic Tips - Shadow Access

Hello Reader,
              I'm going to take a break today from the web 2.0 series for two reasons. 1. I'm not ready to write up the next post yet until I've reviewed the rest of the javascript that is parsing the message headers and contents we talked about last week. 2. A method I've been using for shadow access apparently isn't well understood and if it saved time in my lab it will save time in yours. Also as a reminder we are doing another Forensic Lunch this friday 8/9/13 where we talk about new updates in our research and answer forensic questions from you guys.

To get notified when the Youtube viewing link becomes available click here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/c9gklmj2cjhfdou01fjlhskcgkk

If you want to talk about your research on the Forensic Lunch give me an email and I'll invite you to the video chat room, dcowen@g-cpartners.com

Accessing shadow copies in Windows from SIFT:

Now if you have been following Joachim Metz's updates to libvshadow you would see there is now a native version for Windows. There are some steps you have to take to get this to compile that you can find here:
https://code.google.com/p/libvshadow/wiki/Building

You need to build it in Windows using cygwin or Visual Studio and get a third party package called dokan located here: http://dokan-dev.net/en/

Now this takes a bit of time and some experience with compiling code and if you go the Visual Studio route knowledge of Visual Studio, Joachim has given a great tutorial but I've still met people who have had issues with it. So if you want access to all the system files we talked about that are stored in the shadow volumes that aren't available to you using vssadmin/api routes, such as the $mft, $logfile, $usn journal and more, then I'll give you an easy work around.

Step 1. Download SIFT http://computer-forensics.sans.org/community/downloads
Step 2. If you don't already have vmware workstation/vmware player then download it from www.vmware.com
Step 3. If your image is a multipart e01, aff, etc.. then mount your image using ewmount/affmount first to make it appear as single raw image
Step 4. Use vshadowmount to mount the single raw image, whether whole or virtual and this is where the key step is. When you do this step pass in an extra option: -X allow_other as seen below:
vshadowmount -X allow_other  /mnt/
Step 5. Point FTK Imager to a image file located on \\siftworkstation\ and add each volume shadow you want to extract data from.

You can see Joachim's mounting instruction page here which references this fact:
https://code.google.com/p/libvshadow/wiki/Mounting

but what this not clearly spell out is that if you don't clear that option from fuse.conf you will not be able to allow non root users access to the mounted directory. Allowing non root users is necessary for how i'm using SIFT/libvshadow for is exposing the mounted shadows to Windows. Not allowing non root users affects your ability to let CIFS expose the mounted shadow copies to other networked machines. This network share access to mounted volume shadow copies in Linux what I do to speed things along on machines I don't have the native windows libvshadow compiled on, or where dokan fails to compile.

I mount with vshadhowmount -X allow_other and then I point FTK Imager to the \\siftworkstation network shares that it exports by default and access the shadow copies as raw images in FTK Imager to export out the system files not exposed with the native Linux NTFS driver.

Hopefully this is helpful and in the near future all our tools will adapt enough where we don't have to do this, but until then this works 100% of the time for me when all else fails.



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