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- PublicationA Week in the Life of the Most Popular BitTorrent SwarmsThe popularity of peer-to-peer (P2P) file distribution is consistently increasing since the late 1990’s. In 2008, P2P traffic accounted for over half of the world’s Internet traffic. P2P networks lend themselves well to the unauthorised distribution of copyrighted material due to their ease of use, the abundance of material available and the apparent anonymity awarded to the downloaders. This paper presents the results of an investigation conducted on the top 100 most popular BitTorrent swarms over the course of one week. The purpose of this investigation is to quantify the scale of unauthorised distribution of copyrighted material through the use of the BitTorrent protocol. Each IP address, which was discovered over the period of the weeklong investigation, is mapped through the use of a geolocation database, which results in the ability to determine where the participation in these swarms is prominent worldwide.
- PublicationLeveraging Decentralization to Extend the Digital Evidence Acquisition Window: Case Study On Bittorent SyncFile synchronization services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Apple iCloud, etc., are becoming increasingly popular in today’s always-connected world. A popular alternative to the aforementioned services is BitTorrent Sync. This is a decentralized/cloudless file synchronization service and is gaining significant popularity among Internet users with privacy concerns over where their data is stored and who has the ability to access it. The focus of this paper is the remote recovery of digital evidence pertaining to files identified as being accessed or stored on a suspect’s computer or mobile device. A methodology for the identification, investigation, recovery and verification of such remote digital evidence is outlined. Finally, a proof-of-concept remote evidence recovery from BitTorrent Sync shared folder highlighting a number of potential scenarios for the recovery and verification of such evidence
- PublicationProject Maelstrom: Forensic Analysis of the BitTorrent-Powered BrowserIn April 2015, BitTorrent Inc. released their distributed peer-to-peer powered browser, Project Maelstrom, into public beta. The browser facilitates a new alternative website distribution paradigm to the traditional HTTP-based, client-server model. This decentralised web is powered by each of the visitors accessing each Maelstrom hosted website. Each user shares their copy of the websites source code and multimedia content with new visitors. As a result, a Maelstrom hosted website cannot be taken offline by law enforcement or any other parties. Due to this open distribution model, a number of interesting censorship, security and privacy considerations are raised. This paper explores the application, its protocol, sharing Maelstrom content and its new visitor powered 'web-hosting' paradigm.
- PublicationHierarchical Bloom Filter Trees for Approximate MatchingBytewise approximate matching algorithms have in recent years shown significant promise in detecting files that are similar at the byte level. This is very useful for digital forensic investigators, who are regularly faced with the problem of searching through a seized device for pertinent data. A common scenario is where an investigator is in possession of a collection of "known-illegal" files (e.g. a collection of child abuse material) and wishes to find whether copies of these are stored on the seized device. Approximate matching addresses shortcomings in traditional hashing, which can only find identical files, by also being able to deal with cases of merged files, embedded files, partial files, or if a file has been changed in any way. Most approximate matching algorithms work by comparing pairs of files, which is not a scalable approach when faced with large corpora. This paper demonstrates the effectiveness of using a "Hierarchical Bloom Filter Tree" (HBFT) data structure to reduce the running time of collection-against-collection matching, with a specific focus on the MRSH-v2 algorithm. Three experiments are discussed, which explore the effects of different configurations of HBFTs. The proposed approach dramatically reduces the number of pairwise comparisons required, and demonstrates substantial speed gains, while maintaining effectiveness.
- PublicationAn Analytical Approach to the Recovery of Data from 3rd Party Proprietary CCTV File SystemsAccording to recent predictions, the global video surveillance market is expected to reach $42.06 billion annually by 2020. The market is extremely fragmented with only around 40% of the market being accounted for by the 15 top video surveillance equipment suppliers as in an annual report issued by IMS Research. The remaining market share was split amongst the numerous other smaller companies who provide CCTV solutions, usually at lower prices than their brand name counterparts. This cost cutting generally results in a lower specification of components. Recently, an investigation was undertaken in relation to a serious criminal offence, of which significant video footage had been captured on a CCTV DigitalVideo Recorder (DVR). The unit was setup to save the last 31 days of footage to an internal hard drive. However, despite the referenced footage being within this timeframe, it could not be located. The DVR unit was submitted for forensic examination anddata retrieval of specified video footage which, according to the proprietary video backup application, was not retrievable. In this paper, we present the process and method of the forensic retrieval of video footage from a DVR. The objective of this method is to retrieve the oldest video footage possible from a proprietary designed file storage system. We also evaluate our approach with a Ganz CCTV DVR system model C-MPDVR-16 to show that the file system of a DVR has been reversed engineering with no initial knowledge, application or documentation available.
- PublicationEnabling the remote acquisition of digital forensic evidence through secure data transmission and verificationProviding the ability to any law enforcement officer to remotely transfer an image from any suspect computer directly to a forensic laboratory for analysis, can only help to greatly reduce the time wasted by forensic investigators in conducting on-site collection of computer equipment. RAFT (Remote Acquisition Forensic Tool) is a system designed to facilitate forensic investigators by remotely gathering digital evidence. This is achieved through the implementation of a secure, verifiable client/server imaging architecture. The RAFT system is designed to be relatively easy to use, requiring minimal technical knowledge on behalf of the user. One of the key focuses of RAFT is to ensure that the evidence it gathers remotely is court admissible. This is achieved by ensuring that the image taken using RAFT is verified to be identical to the original evidence on a suspect computer.
- PublicationPrivate Web Browser Forensics: A Case Study on Epic Privacy BrowserOrganized crime, as well as individual criminals, are benefiting from the protection of private browsers to carry out illegal activity, such as money laundering, drug trafficking, the online exchange of child abuse material, etc. Epic Privacy Browser is one common example. It is currently in use in approximately 180 countries worldwide. In this paper, we outline the location and type of evidence available through live and post-mortem state analysis of the Epic Privacy Browser. This analysis identifies how the browser functions during use and where evidence can be recovered after use, the tools, and effective presentation of the recovered material.
- PublicationCurrent Challenges and Future Research Areas for Digital Forensic InvestigationGiven the ever-increasing prevalence of technology in modern life, there is a corresponding increase in the likelihood of digital devices being pertinent to a criminal investigation or civil litigation. As a direct consequence, the number of investigations requiring digital forensic expertise is resulting in huge digital evidence backlogs being encountered by law enforcement agencies throughout the world. It can be anticipated that the number of cases requiring digital forensic analysis will greatly increase in the future. It is also likely that each case will require the analysis of an increasing number of devices including computers, smartphones, tablets, cloud-based services, Internet of Things devices, wearables, etc. The variety of new digital evidence sources poses new and challenging problems for the digital investigator from an identification, acquisition, storage and analysis perspective. This paper explores the current challenges contributing to the backlog in digital forensics from a technical standpoint and outlines a number of future research topics that could greatly contribute to a more efficient digital forensic process.
- PublicationBitTorrent Sync: First Impressions and Digital Forensic ImplicationsWith professional and home Internet users becoming increasingly concerned with data protection and privacy, the privacy afforded by popular cloud file synchronisation services, such as Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive, is coming under scrutiny in the press. A number of these services have recently been reported as sharing information with governmental security agencies without warrants. BitTorrent Sync is seen as an alternative by many and has gathered over two million users by December 2013 (doubling since the previous month). The service is completely decentralised, offers much of the same synchronisation functionality of cloud powered services and utilises encryption for data transmission (and optionally for remote storage). The importance of understanding BitTorrent Sync and its resulting digital investigative implications for law enforcement and forensic investigators will be paramount to future investigations. This paper outlines the client application, its detected network traffic and identifies artefacts that may be of value as evidence for future digital investigations.
313Scopus© Citations 4
- PublicationThe Case for a Collaborative Universal Peer-to-Peer Botnet Investigation FrameworkPeer to Peer (P2P) botnets are becoming widely used as a low overhead, efficient, self maintaining, distributed alternative to the traditional client/server model across a broad range of cyberattacks. These cyberattacks can take the form of distributed denial of service attacks, authentication cracking, spamming, cyberwarfare or malware distribution targeting on financial systems. These attacks can also cross over into the physical world attacking critical infrastructure causing its disruption or destruction (power, communications, water, etc.). P2P technology lends itself well to being exploited for such malicious purposes due to the minimal setup, running and maintenance costs involved in executing a globally orchestrated attack, alongside the perceived additional layer of anonymity. In the ever evolving space of botnet technology, reducing the time lag between discovering a newly developed or updated botnet system and gaining the ability to mitigate against it is paramount. Often, numerous investigative bodies duplicate their efforts in creating bespoke tools to combat particular threats. This paper outlines a framework capable of fast tracking the investigative process through collaboration between key stakeholders.