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Data Hiding in Slack Space

Data Hiding in Slack Space

One of the most important topics in Digital Forensics is data hiding. The black hats continually look for methods with which to plant data in ways that you, the investigator,

cannot find. It is almost like a perpetual catand-mouse game. Just when you think you know how to find their secrets, they find new ways to hide them. The data might be a list of passwords, credit cards numbers, or maybe the secret plans for a bomb. In this article we examine a technique for hiding data in file slack. First, you will learn the theoretical underpinnings of the technique. Then, you will understand an open-source program that was specially written for this article.

To get the discussion started, we need to talk about the topology of data on storage devices. The smallest and most granular unit is a bit. In RAM, single transistors represent bits. On magnetic storage devices, discreet units of magnetic matter represent bits. Eight bits are organized into a byte, which relates to data types such as ASCII characters. The text “Hello” can be represented by a series of five bytes with numeric values 71, 101, 108, 108, and 111.

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Andrew Harbison

Andrew Harbison is a Director and IT Forensics Lead at Grant Thornton

 

Coming up in the Next issue of Digital Forensics Magazine

Coming up in Issue 38 on sale from February 2019:


Crowd Sourcing Digital Evidence The Risk v The Reward

All digital devices used today can be considered as a potential source for digital evidence. Andrew Ryan investigates the current state in the art of crowd sourced digital evidence. Read More »

Recovery of Forensic Artifacts from Deleted Jump-List in Windows 10

Jump-Lists are widely discussed in forensics community since the release of Windows 7 and are having more capabilities to reveal forensics artifacts in Windows 10. Read More »

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Operacion Bitcoin

The article is an actual case study of an Interpol investigation carried out in association with CertUY that has been ongoing for some months. It is written by the first hacker sent to prison in Uruguay who is currently out on bail pending sentencing. Read More »

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