Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Remotely examining a disk image

Recently I've been exploring new modes of operation. One such mode is working on disk images remotely. This has become increasingly important as cases roll in constantly. Disk to Disk or Disk to Image imaging is great for small operations. It's mandatory when working a criminal case. A new mode of operation I'm exploring is image to SAN and analyze from SAN. Imaging to SAN is a great way of operating if you can swallow the cost. One of the best, and most cost effective tools on the market today is F-response. It's now cross platform. As I've mentioned to Matt Shannon - It's mac-tested and mother approved. I've used it several times in such cases. It sure beats doing target disk mode let me tell you. Imaging is a pretty straight forward activity. Imaging to a SAN is no different. Where it gets interesting is analysis. How do you do it?

My current tests center around using multiple platforms.

I have a linux box that I have attached to the SAN. It has access to my disk images that are stored there.

I mount the disk image in a particular directory as follows:

mount -o offset=32256,ro,noatime,noexec,nosuid,nodev,show_sys_files,nls=utf8 image.dd /path/to/case

This is a straight forward method of mounting a disk image for analysis in linux. Now, how to gain access to it from Windows, where the armory of analysis tools exists?

I've been using sftpdrive. I enter all the requisite login information and folder location and voila. sftpdrive is really the windows equivalent to the native linux sshfs. After logging in I now have an SSH secure tunnel to a mounted disk image, that is listed as drive letter in windows. I can run any and all analysis tools I need to. One caveat I've run in to has been a timeout issue. The fix to this has been to "always trust" the SSH key within sftpdrive.

Do you image and analyze disk images from a SAN? What methodology do you use if you use a non-traditional method?


Paul Bobby said...

Any reason not to connect to the SAN from your windows box and forego the Linux one?

hogfly said...

Fiber Channel is the limitation in this case.