Now showing 1 - 10 of 26
  • Publication
    Project Maelstrom: Forensic Analysis of the BitTorrent-Powered Browser
    (Association of Digital Forensics, Security and Law, 2015-09) ; ;
    In 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.
  • Publication
    Study of Peer-to-Peer Network Based Cybercrime Investigation: Application on Botnet Technologies
    (University College Dublin. School of Computer Science & Informatics  , 2013)
    The scalable, low overhead attributes of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Internet protocols and networks lend themselves well to being exploited by criminals to execute a large range of cybercrimes. The types of crimes aided by P2P technology include copyright infringement, sharing of illicit images of children, fraud, hacking/cracking, denial of service attacks and virus/malware propagation through the use of a variety of worms, botnets, malware, viruses and P2P file sharing. This project is focused on study of active P2P nodes along with the analysis of the undocumented communication methods employed in many of these large unstructured networks. This is achieved through the design and implementation of an efficient P2P monitoring and crawling toolset.The requirement for investigating P2P based systems is not limited to the more obvious cybercrimes listed above, as many legitimate P2P based applications may also be pertinent to a digital forensic investigation, e.g, voice over IP, instant messaging, etc. Investigating these networks has become increasingly difficult due to the broad range of network topologies and the ever increasing and evolving range of P2P based applications. In this work we introduce the Universal P2P Network Investigation Framework (UP2PNIF), a framework which enables significantly faster and less labour intensive investigation of newly discovered P2P networks through the exploitation of the commonalities in P2P network functionality. In combination with a reference database of known network characteristics, it is envisioned that any known P2P network can be instantly investigated using the framework, which can intelligently determine the best investigation methodology and greatly expedite the evidence gathering process. A proof of concept tool was developed for conducting investigations on the BitTorrent network. A Number of investigations conducted using this tool are outlined in Chapter 6.
  • Publication
    Hierarchical Bloom Filter Trees for Approximate Matching
    (Journal of Digital Forensics, Security and Law, 2018-01) ; ;
    Bytewise 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.
  • Publication
    An Analytical Approach to the Recovery of Data from 3rd Party Proprietary CCTV File Systems
    According 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.
  • Publication
    HTML5 Zero Configuration Covert Channels: Security Risks and Challenges
    In recent months there has been an increase in the popularity and public awareness of secure, cloudless file transfer systems. The aim of these services is to facilitate the secure transfer of files in a peer-to- peer (P2P) fashion over the Internet without the need for centralised authentication or storage. These services can take the form of client installed applications or entirely web browser based interfaces. Due to their P2P nature, there is generally no limit to the file sizes involved or to the volume of data transmitted – and where these limitations do exist they will be purely reliant on the capacities of the systems at either end of the transfer. By default, many of these services provide seamless, end-to-end encryption to their users. The cyber security and cyber forensic consequences of the potential criminal use of such services are significant. The ability to easily transfer encrypted data over the Internet opens up a range of opportunities for illegal use to cyber criminals requiring minimal technical know-how. This paper explores a number of these services and provides an analysis of the risks they pose to corporate and governmental security. A number of methods for the forensic investigation of such transfers are discussed.
  • Publication
    An Evaluation of Google Plus Communities as an Active Learning Journal Alternative to Improve Learning Efficacy
    (ICEP, 2015-12-04) ;
    Learning journals are a very beneficial learning tool for students across a range of disciplines. The requirement of frequent entries to a journal encourages students to start achieving the learning objectives from the first week of a module. The completed journal serves as a useful revision resource for students preparing for a final exam or even long after the module’s completion. The downside to learning journals is that they are passive and the class as a whole does not benefit from the variety of opinions, articles and personal experiences logged in their classmates' journals. If the journal is only handed in at the end a semester, there is no room for feedback for the students on their entries until after the module has completed. In this paper, guidelines for the deployment of an active learning journal alternative, using Google Plus Communities, are presented. A literature review is also included for alternative case studies in using learning journals, weblogs, and wikis for recording and encouraging student learning throughout a module.
  • Publication
    Leveraging Decentralization to Extend the Digital Evidence Acquisition Window: Case Study On Bittorent Sync
    (Association of Digital Forensics, Security and Law, 2014-09-20) ; ; ;
    File 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
  • Publication
    Current Challenges and Future Research Areas for Digital Forensic Investigation
    Given 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.
  • Publication
    A Week in the Life of the Most Popular BitTorrent Swarms
    The 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.
  • Publication
    Enabling the remote acquisition of digital forensic evidence through secure data transmission and verification
    (University College Dublin. School of Computer Science  , 2009) ;
    Providing 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.