Forensic Imaging through Encase Imager

Scenario: Mr. X is suspected to be involved in selling his company’s confidential data to the competitors, but without any evidence, no action could be taken against him. To get into reality and proof Mr. X guilty, the company has requested the forensic services and have come to know all the relevant data is present inside the desktop provided to him.

This article is about getting the forensic image of the digital evidence and restoring it to any other drive.

Since it is never advised to work with the original evidence because we may lose some relevant data accidentally, so we will create an image of the original evidence and work on it further. This way the original evidence is safe and the integrity and authenticity of the evidence could be proved through hash values.

This article is also very helpful if we need to back up the data safely.

To image the desktop we will use Encase Imager. First, download the Encase Imager from here

Open Encase Imager and Select Add local device option.

From the menu select all the options and uncheck “only show write blocked” as shown in the image and click next.

We can see all the physical drives, logical partitions, Cd Rom, RAM and process running on the system. We need to select what we need to image as our evidence, ideally, it is a good practice to select the physical drives which contains the logical partitions as we get the complete disk image through the physical drive. In certain case, we may select only a logical drive or RAM as required.

Select / Check the number of the evidence you want to image and click on finish.

The evidence you have selected will get listed in case more than one evidence is selected we will could have seen multiple evidence listed here.

Double Click on the evidence, we can see the contents present inside it and if we wish we can skip any part, file or folder from getting imaged at this stage.

Click on Acquire to proceed for the imaging. Now we need to enter the case related information, ie case number, output path, file format in which we want to generate the image

File format selected here is E01 as this is supported by multiple tools and is suitable for further analysis.

If we want to password protect/encrypt our image we can do this at this stage.

Note: It is ideal to store the image on any other external storage drive so that the storage space is not a constraint but for the sake of practical we are saving the image on the desktop at the following path “C:\Users\…..\Desktop\Evidence Image\1.E01”.

Click ok and image acquisition will start, you can check the status of image acquisition on the same window at the lower right corner along with the time remaining (refer below image).

Once the acquisition is complete the image will get saved to the output folder (refer below image).

To prove the authenticity of the evidence we can generate the Hash value of the evidence

To generate the hash value of the image click on the evidence and select hash as shown in the image below.

Once the hashing process is complete click on the report section on the lower pane

Right, Click and select Copy to copy the report and paste in a word /text document.

Save the report along with the Image (E01) files. This report contains all the relevant details along with the detailed report containing the hash values.

The Evidence acquisition is complete

Restoring the Evidence Image

We are done with imaging of the disk/evidence. Now we will restore this acquired image to the drive. To start with open Encase Imager and add the evidence to Encase imager

Browse to the image (.E01) file and add it to the case. The evidence added will get listed 

Double click on the image, select he files to be restored and select the restore option located under Device option.

When we click on restore, connect the drive where we want to restore the image and click next

All the drives will be read

All the drives will be displayed, select the drive where the image is to be restored. Use the blank drive for restoring the image as the existing data will be wiped.

If required we can verify the Hash values and click on finish.

Type “Yes” in the text box and click on OK this will wipe the existing data on the drive and start with the image restoration.

Image Restoration will start, we can check the progress on the lower right corner of the window.

Once the restoration is complete, we can see the data in the drive we have selected.

To ensure the integrity of the data, we can see the report section on the bottom pane and check the hash values. The hash values should be the same as of the image (we can check the original hash value in the image report.)

If required we can copy and save the report in any text / word file for any future reference.

Author: Ankit Gupta, the author and co-founder of this website, an ethical hacker, forensics investigator , penetration testing researcher and telecom expert. He has found his deepest passion to be around the world of telecom, cyber security and digital forensics. Contact Here

Memory Forensics Investigation using Volatility (Part 1)

Our focus today is on the Volatility framework, on its capability of analyzing process activity.

The Volatility framework is an open source tool that is used to analyze volatile memory for a host of things. This framework comes with various plugins that can be used by the investigators to get an idea of what was going on in the machine when it was being used. Volatile memory is the primary storage of most computers, by primary storage I’m referring to the RAM.

If the live acquisition is done for a piece of evidence, an image of the volatile memory can hold various clues that can help an investigation, for instance: passwords, services, network activity, processes, etc. All these can be acquired from live memory.

In another instance, after an incident, volatility can be used to uncover the cause. It has plugins that let you sift through the primary storage and pinpoint suspicious processes that might have been running at the time of the incident or might have led up to it.

This framework is available for both Windows and Linux, for this demonstration, we will be using Volatility in Kali Linux, it comes pre-installed and can be found under the Forensics menu.

We have used Dump it to create the .raw file for 2 GB of RAM from a machine running Windows 10.

All you need to do it download the program, run it and press “y” and it does the rest.

Navigate to the address given in front of the Destination, as it is shown in the image above and you will find the .raw file that contains the information copied from the RAM, this can now be subjected to the Volatility framework.

For ease of usage, create a folder by the name of “volatility” on the Kali desktop and place the .raw file we created on it. Right-click anywhere in the folder and choose open in Terminal.

Let’s fire up Volatility in Kali, navigate to the Forensics menu or, in the terminal type volatility -h.

This command will show you a host of plugins that are available in Volatility along with their usage pattern. We will be using a different .raw file here, it was acquired earlier, so don’t be thrown off by the change in the file name.

As an investigator, one is working under the pretense that this is a file we have no prior knowledge about so, we must start from scratch.

The first thing to ascertain is the profile, that is, the operating system that this was most probably derived from.

Type “volatility -f name of the file. Raw imageinfo”. A breakdown of the command for further reference:

-f is to declare the target file.

Imageinfo is used to get the basic details about the file, including the profile. The plugin uses the kernel debugger data block to guess the profile.

In the image above we can see that Volatility is telling us that this image file most probably belongs to the Win10*64_10586 profile. The guessing aspect of the plugin bases it’s functionality on another plugin called kdbgscan. The kdbgscan analyses the data structures present in the NT kernel module, there are numeric values that denote the minor and major build numbers and service-pack level.

To illustrate, let’s run the kdbgscan.

Type “volatility -f name of file.raw kdbgscan”.

The result of the profile that we will be using is this one.

The data given below tells us that the file belongs to a 64-Bit version of Windows 10, has no installed service pack, and has a total of 177 loaded modules and 82 active processes.

Volatility gives us the option to manually override the profile (–profile) while using plugins as the automatic OS detection can be misled due to accidental or intended tampering of the kernel by malware; this gives us a higher rate of accuracy in the operations we perform. We will be using this override function throughout combined with the plugins.


The machine might have been running certain processes; the plugin we will be using to find them is pslist.

Type “volatility -f name of file.raw –profile Win10*64_10586 pslist”

The scan will show us the following results. We can see OneDrive and Skype were being run on the machine so, we can infer that it is most probably a client or workstation rather than a server. All the system processes are running on session 0 and 1, which infers that only 1 user was logged on


The psscan plugin uses the _EPROCESS objects, it can be used to determine hidden and terminated processes.
Type the following “volatility –f name of the file.raw –profile Win10*64_10586 psscan”

The scan shows us that one of the processes by the name of TabTip.exe started and stopped within a second, it’s a process that is used by windows touch screen devices for touch keyboard and handwriting, by this we can infer the device did not have touch screen capabilities. Not the most potent of discoveries but it helps build a profile for further investigation.


The last plugin we will be utilizing will be psxview. This plugin is useful for uncovering malicious processes, the way it assists in this is by locating processes that are using alternative listings. The list can then be cross-referenced with different sources of information to pinpoint discrepancies.
Type the following “volatility –f name of the file.raw –profile Win10*64_10586 psxview”

The psxview enumerates every single process by Process Object scanning, thread scanning, CSRSS handle table, PspCid table, Sessions processes, Desktop threads, and Active Processes Linked list. That’s 7 ways of enumeration.
This plugin is very useful and efficient at finding rootkits. One of the things that it focuses on is that, being able to successfully weaponize a process that is not hidden is far more practical and efficient than to hide a process 7 different ways.


The pstree plugin is used to see the parent-child relationship between processes, it takes the output from the pslist and depicts it in a tree view format.

Type “volatility –f name of the file.raw –profile Win10*64_10586 pstree”

The Pstree scan shows the process tree-like process id, PPid, threads and the time it starts.

Volatility is a very robust framework, it gives us the ability to further apply various filters to our scan results and generate reports. To make it more comprehensive in its usage and approach, its capabilities have been designed based on reverse engineering. It has capabilities far surpassing even that of Microsoft’s own kernel debugger.
The tool provides a wealth of insights into the working of a machine, helping the investigator make accurate and coherent profiles, every bit of information gets the forensic process one step closer to uncovering the truth.

About The Author
Abhimanyu Dev is a Certified Ethical Hacker, penetration tester, information security analyst and researcher. Connect with him here

Forensic Data Carving using Foremost

Foremost is a program that is used to carve data from disk image files, it is an extremely useful tool and very easy to use.

For the purpose of this article we have used an Ubuntu disk image file and the process has been repeated twice. The purpose of doing so was to see if Foremost can carve data out of incomplete disk images as well. We have used Kali Linux but if you want you can install Foremost on pretty much any distro of Linux.

Here’s how it was done:

Navigate to the Applications menu in Kali, Forensics is option 11. The fifth option from top in the Forensics menu is Foremost. Click on it and let’s get to carving some data!!

Foremost starts and shows you the options you have at your disposal.

In order to keep things simple, you first want to navigate to the Desktop using “cd Desktop”.

Next, make a folder on the desktop by the name of “recov”. This isn’t a mandatory step, it just makes things easier to access by making a new folder where the carved data will be stored.

We will be dealing with the disk image of a flash drive partition, so let’s make one using the “dd” command. The dd command can be used to copy files and with the option of converting the data format in the process.

In the interest of thoroughness we have copied .docx, .jpeg, .png, .zip, .pdf and .avi files onto the partition from which we will be making our disk image.

Now let’s make a disk image.

In a new terminal window, type the following “fdisk –l | grep /dev/”. This command will show you the disk partitions available to you without any clutter.

The partition we are concerned with is /dev/sbd2, this was specially allocated 10 MB of space so that the imaging process is quick.

The command to create the disk image is “dd if=/dev/sdb2 of=disk.img”. Here, “dd” is the utility we are using, “if=” is to denote the input destination and “of=” is to denote the output destination and name of the image file we are creating.

We have not specified any output destination, but, just the name for the image file. The image file will be created in the Home directory by default. Copy the disk image file from here and place it on the desktop.

Let’s navigate back to the terminal where we have Foremost running and start the file carving process.

This disk image file will be carved for .jpeg, .png, .zip, .pdf and .avi  file formats. We will not be instructing Foremost to carve the .docx but, since one exists in the .zip we have placed inside the disk image, it will do so automatically.

Type the following “foremost -t jpeg,png,zip,pdf,avi -i disk.img -o recov –v”.

To break this down “-t” is setting the file types we want to carve out of the disk image, here those are .jpeg and .png.

“-i” is specifying the input file, the “disk.img” that is placed on the desktop.

“-o” is telling Foremost where we want the carved files to be stored, for that we have the “recov” folder on the desktop that we made earlier.

“-v” is to tell Foremost to log all the messages that appear on screen as the file is being carved into a text file in the output folder (recov) as an audit report.

That’s all it takes for Foremost to start digging into the disk image. The process looks like this.

Once Foremost is done carving the disk image, it shows you the result: that’s is, how many of which file types have been carved. All it took was a second, to get the job done.

Now open the output (recov) folder and you will see an audit report and six folders which will be named by the file types we invoked Foremost to carve for us.

First, the audit report. It shows us the particulars of the scan, which file types were carved, from which image file, the size of the image file, where it was located, where the output folder was located, etc. Let’s have a look.

The end of the report contains shows the total files extracted with more particulars.

We will open one file from the jpg folder to see what we have.

One from the png folder.

Inside the docx folder.

Inside the pdf folder.

Now the avi folder

And finally the zip folder.

As you can see, Foremost was successfully able to carve files out of the disk image file and give us the results. Let’s put it to the test.

This a very interesting tool and its simplicity is what makes it stand out.

The only issue I could see with this is that the file names are not recovered, which can make the search process very tedious unless the option of automation and a frame of reference are available.

That being said, in forensics, just being able recover the files without opening or extracting disk image itself is a huge advantage, the reason for saying so is that, if you do extract or open the disk image you never know what might be waiting for you inside, this way you have more control over the entire investigation process. Enjoy using this tool.

Have fun and stay ethical.

About The Author

Abhimanyu Dev is a Certified Ethical Hacker, penetration tester, information security analyst and researcher. Connect with him here

Network Packet Forensic using Wireshark

Today we are going to discuss “Network Packet Forensic”  by covering some important track such as how Data is transferring between two nodes, what is “OSI 7 layer model” and how Wireshark stores which layers information when capturing the traffic between two networks.

As we know for transferring the data from one system to other we need a network connection which can be wired or wireless connection. But in the actual transmission of data does not only depend upon network connection apart from that it involves several phases for transmitting data from one system to another which was explained by the OSI model.

 OSI stands for Open Systems Interconnection model which is a conceptual model that defines and standardizes the process of communication between the sender’s and receiver’s system. The data is transfer through 7 layers of architecture where each layer has a specific function in transmitting data over the next layer.  

Now have a look over given below image where we had explained the functionality of each layer in the OSI model. So when data is transmitted by sender’s network then it will go in downward direction and data move from application layer to physical layer whereas when the receiver will receive the transmitted data it will come in an upward direction from physical layer to application layer.

Flow of Data from Sender’s network: Application > Presentation > Session > Transport > Network > Data Link > Physical

Flow of Data from Receiver’s network: Physical > Data Link > Network > Transport > Session > Presentation > Application

Examine Layers captured by Wireshark

Basically when a user opens an application for sending or receiving Data then he directly interacts with the application layer for both operations either sending or receiving of data. For example, we act as a client when use Http protocol for uploading or Downloading a Game; FTP for downloading a File; SSH for accessing the shell of the remote system.

While connecting with any application for sharing data between server and client we make use of Wireshark for capturing the flow of network traffic stream to examine the OSI model theory through captured traffic.

From given below image you can observe that Wireshark has captured the traffic of four layers in direction of the source (sender) to destination (receiver) network.

Here it has successfully captured Layer 2 > Layer 3 > Layer 4 and then Layer 7 information.

Ethernet Header (Data Link)

 Data link layer holds 6 bytes of Mac address of sender’s system and receiver’s system with 2 bytes of Ether type is used to indicate which protocol is encapsulated i.e. IPv4/IPv6 or ARP.

In Wireshark Ethernet II layer represent the information transmitted over the data link layer. From given below image you can observe that highlighted lower part of Wireshark is showing information in Hexadecimal format where the first row holds information of Ethernet headers details.

So here you can get the source and destination Mac address which also available in Ethernet Header.

The row is divided into three columns as described below: 

As we know the MAC address of the system is always represented in Hexadecimal format but both types are generally categorized in the ways given below :

Once again if you notice the given below image then you can observe the highlighted text in Pink colour is showing hex value 08 00 which indicates that here IPv4 is used.

IP Header (Network Layer)

IP header in Wireshark has described the network layer information which is also known as the backbone of the OSI model as it holds Internet Protocol version 4’s complete details. Network layer divides data frame into packets and defines its routing path through some hardware devices such as routers, bridges, and switches. These packets are identified through their logical address i.e. source or destination network IP address.

In the image of Wireshark, I have highlighted six most important values which contain vital information of a data packet and this information always flows in the same way as they are encapsulated in the same pattern for each IP header.

Now here, 45 represent IP header length where “4” indicates IP version 4 and “5” is header length of 5 bits. while 40 is time to live (TTL) of packet and 06 is hex value for TCP protocol which means these values changes if anything changes i.e. TTL, Ipv4 and Protocol.

Therefore, you can take help of given below table for examining TTL value for the different operating system. 

Similarly, you can take help of given below table for examining other Protocol value.

From given below image you can observe Hexadecimal information of the IP header field and using a given table you can study these value to obtain their original value.


The IP header length is always given in form of the bit and here it is 5 bytes which are also minimum IP header length and to make it 20 bytes, multiply 4 with 5 i.e. 20 bytes.

TCP Header (Transport Layer)

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) are the major protocols as it gives host-to-host connectivity at the Transport Layer of the OSI model. It is also known as Heart of OSI model as it plays a major role in transmitting errors free data.

By examining  Network Layer information through Wireshark we found that here TCP is used for establishing a connection with destination network.

We knew that a computer communicates with another device like a modem, printer, or network server; it needs to handshake with it to establish a connection.

TCP follows Three-Way-Handshakes as describe below:

  • A client sends a TCP packet to the server with the SYN flag
  • A server responds to the client request with the SYN and ACK flags set.
  • Client completes the connection by sending a packet with the ACK flag set

Structure of TCP segment

Transmission Control Protocol accepts data from a data stream, splits it into chunks, and adds a TCP header creating a TCP segment. A TCP segment only carries the sequence number of the first byte in the segment.

A TCP segment consists of a segment header and a data section. The TCP header contains mandatory fields and an optional extension field.

Source Port The 16-bit source port number, Identifies the sending port.
Destination Port The 16-bit destination port number. Identifies the receiving port
Sequence Number The sequence number of the first data byte in this segment. If the SYN control bit is set, the sequence number is the initial sequence number (n) and the first data byte is n+1.
Acknowledgment Number If the ACK control bit is set, this field contains the value of the next sequence number that the receiver is expecting to receive.
Data Offset The number of 32-bit words in the TCP header. It indicates where the data begins.
Reserved Six bits reserved for future use; must be zero.
Window Used in ACK segments. It specifies the number of data bytes, beginning with the one indicated in the acknowledgment number field that the receiver (the sender of this segment) is willing to accept.
Checksum The 16-bit one’s complement of the one’s complement sum of all 16-bit words in a pseudo-header, the TCP header, and the TCP data. While computing the checksum, the checksum field itself is considered zero.
Urgent Pointer Points to the first data octet following the urgent data.

Only significant when the URG control bit is set.

Options Just as in the case of IP datagram options, options can be


– A single byte containing the option number

– A variable length option in the following format

Padding The TCP header padding is used to ensure that the TCP header ends and data begins on a 32-bit boundary.  The padding is composed of zeros.



Different Types of TCP flags

TCP flags are used within TCP header as these are control bits that specify particular connection states or information about how a packet should be set. TCP flag field in a TCP segment will help us to understand the function and purpose of any packet in the connection. 


From given below image you can observe Hexadecimal information of TCP header field and using the given table you can study these value to obtain their original value.

Sequence and acknowledgment numbers are is a major part of TCP, and they act as a way to guarantee that all data is transmitted consistently since all data transferred through a TCP connection must be acknowledged by the receiver in a suitable way. When an acknowledgment is not received, then the sender will again send all data that is unacknowledged.

Using given below table you can read Hex value of other Port Number and their Protocol services. Although these services operate after getting acknowledgment from the destination network and explore at application layer OSI model.

In this way, you can examine every layer of Wireshark for Network Packet Forensic.

AuthorYashika Dhir is a passionate Researcher and Technical Writer at Hacking Articles. She is a hacking enthusiast. contact here