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Computer profiling for forensic purposes

Marrington, Andrew Daniel (2009) Computer profiling for forensic purposes. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Computer forensics is the process of gathering and analysing evidence from computer systems to aid in the investigation of a crime. Typically, such investigations are undertaken by human forensic examiners using purpose-built software to discover evidence from a computer disk. This process is a manual one, and the time it takes for a forensic examiner to conduct such an investigation is proportional to the storage capacity of the computer's disk drives. The heterogeneity and complexity of various data formats stored on modern computer systems compounds the problems posed by the sheer volume of data. The decision to undertake a computer forensic examination of a computer system is a decision to commit significant quantities of a human examiner's time. Where there is no prior knowledge of the information contained on a computer system, this commitment of time and energy occurs with little idea of the potential benefit to the investigation. The key contribution of this research is the design and development of an automated process to describe a computer system and its activity for the purposes of a computer forensic investigation. The term proposed for this process is computer profiling. A model of a computer system and its activity has been developed over the course of this research. Using this model a computer system, which is the subj ect of investigation, can be automatically described in terms useful to a forensic investigator. The computer profiling process IS resilient to attempts to disguise malicious computer activity. This resilience is achieved by detecting inconsistencies in the information used to infer the apparent activity of the computer. The practicality of the computer profiling process has been demonstrated by a proof-of concept software implementation. The model and the prototype implementation utilising the model were tested with data from real computer systems. The resilience of the process to attempts to disguise malicious activity has also been demonstrated with practical experiments conducted with the same prototype software implementation.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 31048
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Mohay, George, Clark, Andrew, & Morarji, Hasmukh
Keywords: computer forensics, digital evidence, computer profiling, time-lining, temporal inconsistency, computer forensic object model
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Institutes > Information Security Institute
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 24 Feb 2010 15:00
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:55

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