By Lee Hui Jing, EnCeA couple of months ago, one of my clients, an Investigating Officer from a Law Enforcement Agency, had requested me to extract some of the files from an image copy of a hard disk. The total number of files to be copied was 1,030. Sounds easy right? This job of a few clicks turned out to be a nightmare when I found out that I was short of 2 files in my destination folder. I had selected 1,030 files to be copied, but at the end, only 1,028 files were being copied. More surprisingly, I received output from the EnCase Copy operation; ‘Status: Completed’. But where did the other 2 files go? Why had EnCase produced ‘Status: Completed’, when actually, 2 files were missing? Referring back to the image copy, I found out that most of the files had the same filename as each other.
It is very common for an analyst to face evidence files which have the same filename. This circumstance exists when:
1. There are 2 files with same name, but they are put in different folders.
2. There are 2 files with same name, but with different MAC times.
A procedure to be followed before analyzing a case is to recover all files and folders. When you use recover options, the deleted files will be recovered, and sometimes these deleted files have the same file name as the existing files, but with different MAC times.
But is it possible that EnCase can fail to copy all the files under these circumstances? For those readers who are new to EnCase, you may ask, why do you need to copy the evidence file in the first place? Let me try to put it simply, in computer forensic methodology, after the analysis phase, we will present the findings to our clients. So usually what we do is to copy out the evidence files using EnCase so that our clients can access the files in their workstation, without looking at the whole hard disk image. So the real question now is how sure are you that the selected files are properly copied to your designated folder? Is it sufficient to rely on the EnCase notification window after the EnCase copying process has been executed?