Daily Blog #221: RHEL Forensics Part 3

Hello Reader,
        Today we talk about recovering deleted mlocate databases. This was actually harder than I expected as not only did ext3 set the size of the file equal to 0 but the direct block that istat -B came back with was not the first block in our database. So instead I followed the instructions here: http://wiki.sleuthkit.org/index.php?title=FS_Analysis to do a manual recovery of deleted databases. There is still some work to be done here in order to clean up whats been recovered back into parsable databases but I'll leave that bit for next week.

Today let's go through the steps necessary to recover deleted mlocate databases on a RHEL v5 system using Ext3 as the file system. Remember this is necessary as the updatedb command runs daily and deletes the mlocate database before creating a new one.

Step 1. We need to figure out which group of inodes our parent belongs to. You can see in the screenshot below that the parent directory /var/lib/mlocate has inode number 1077298 so that is the group we need to find.

Step 2. Run fsstat to find out which group contains our inode, in this case Group 33 contains our inode as shown below. We can use them to determine which blocks to recover for deleted databases.

Step 3. Use blkls to recover those unallocated blocks within Group 33 as shown below to a new file:

Step 4. Use xxd to parse the recovered blocks and  find the mlocate database signature of 'mlocate'

This looks like an mlocate database but right now its stuck in the middle of the rest of the unallocated data. So the next thing we need to do next week as we continue this series is to write some code to carve out the mlocate database from this unallocated block chunk. 

Make sure to come back tomorrow for the Forensic Lunch with guests Ian Duffy and Andrew Case!

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