FTK Imager is renowned the world over as the go-to forensic imaging tool. While working in law enforcement I was always obsessed with ensuring I had captured the ‘golden forensic image’ which for obvious reasons, is still ideal and gives you all that unallocated spacey goodness.
Modern day forensics and IR require answers. Quick!
As we all know, things have moved on quite rapidly from grabbing an image of a dead box and leaving it processing in your tool of choice over the weekend. This is mainly due to the issue that most units have; backlogs, lack of time and urgency to produce results. Whether it’s management in Law Enforcement looking for the silver bullet ‘Find Evidence’ button in Axiom (no digs at Magnet but please put that back in :)) or the large corporations incident responder needing to analyse hundreds of endpoints for one specific artefact.
Now, I’m not saying FTK Imager is about to answer either of those questions for you but there are some handy functions which I had never used until recently.
Custom content images in FTK Imager allow the analyst to add an evidence item and build a logical image (AD1… sorry XWF users) containing only files of their choosing.
This can be handy for a few reasons.
Perhaps time to capture evidence is limited.
- This could involve accessing a users laptop remotely while it is only attached to the network for a short time. This may not be lawfully permitted in your country.
- You could have been given a computer with no PSU and need to acquire evidence from it before the battery dies (as I once had to do in the back of a $380 taxi journey).
- In the law enforcement world, there are any other numbers of reasons why you may be tight on time.
You have strict instructions on what to acquire.
- You might only have legal permission to or have been asked to only extract specific files types.
- You are capturing evidence from a shared computer and are only allowed to extract files specific to a user account due to legal privilege.
Here are some simple ways around some of these problems using FTK Imager, presuming you are working with Windows computers or existing images.
Custom Content Image by File Type
FTK Imager allows the use of Wild Cards to filter and find specific files stored on the file system. This is a great feature if you are looking for a file by name*, extension or batch of files with similar names.
* Noting that files by name may not meet all matching files in the way that hashing will.
Wild Card Syntax:
? = Replaces any single character in the file name and extension
* = Replaces any series of characters in a file name and extension
| = Separates directories and files
Wild Card Filters:
1: Start by browsing to your custom content item.
2: Then right-click and select add to “Custom Content Image”.
3: You can manually add custom content by selecting “New” using the wildcard option or “Edit” existing custom content.
*As far as I’m aware, there is not an option to save your custom content as a template.
(Please let me know if you do, as I currently just use a text file as a template for files of interest for varying investigation types)
Creating Content Image by User SID
As previously mentioned, your scope may be limited due to shared computer use and while this may not be of too much importance for law enforcement, files belonging to a user may be marked as privileged by civil court orders.
We can use FTK Imager to create an image of only files owned by a specific users SID, the process is just as we defined previously but upon creating the custom content image you need to select the tick box to “Filter by File Owner”.
Once you have selected this, you will be presented with the respective file owners and their SID’s on the system.
Collection for Incident Response
The last instance where these methods may be useful is if you have a handful of workstations where you need to collect some very specific files or artefacts from. I tend to use a text file as a template. Although this works, it is a bit clunky and slow.
There are a great many other commercial and open source tools which can already perform these tasks extremely well, such as f-response, X-Ways Forensic, GRR and so on. This option also doesn’t really work for incident response at scale but if you’re stuck without your commercial tools or have a very targeted approach for collections from a few computers, then this could work for you.
FTK Imager also comes in a lite flavour which doesn’t require any installation. 🙂