Profile Based Digital Forensic Preview

2 minute read

The newest build of REAPER Preview (officially Alpha 2) includes quite a few changes, but one that I am especially excited about is Profile Based Preivew. First I will describe the new REAPER Preview process:

REAPER Preview is designed to be highly-automatic preview. When REAPER Preview starts an 'autorun' profile is detected. Any file type filters, hash databases, and keyword lists that an investigator always wants to search for, are automatically scanned. These lists, obviously, need to be pre-set by by an experienced investigator for items that ALWAYS need to be scanned for. This profile should be extremely generic.

While the automatic profile is running in the background, the investigator can choose a specific pre-created profile. A specific profile could be, for example, exploitation, hacking, financial, etc. Each of these profiles would have specific hashes, keywords and preferred file types to search for. By creating a profile you not only control what is automatically searched for, but what and how found items are displayed. For example, in an exploitation case hashes and images might be the most important, where music files may not be relevant. You can choose to remove music as a display option, forcing the first responder to focus on images/hashes (since that is all they have access to). The scanning is automatic so they do not need to do anything except click the link of the profile they would like to view.

I often hear that generic keyword lists make no sense. To my knowledge there has not been a study linking keyword lists to profiling machines. I know investigators that have certain keyword lists in their heads for certain types of cases... why not use these to attempt to profile a system? I do, however, see the need for manual keyword searching since static keyword lists would not include names, etc. Because of this each profile also supports manual keyword searching against file names and full disk.

Essentially REAPER Preview is a tiered system, from highly-generic (autorun profile), to case-type specific (pre-set profiles), to incident specific (manual searching). I believe these three layers of abstraction can help an investigator quickly dig deeply into a system while not missing important information that might be more general.

I welcome you to try REAPER Preview yourself - it can be downloaded from the REAPER Forensics project page:

Any and all feedback is most welcome! Want to see a specific feature? Found a problem? Let me know!

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