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Beyond Timelines

Written by DFMAG


Beyond Timelines - Anchors in Relative Time

Digital forensics and incident response (DFIR) practitioners use timelines to effi ciently identify and better understand suspicious activity. The use of timelines has always been a core component of DFIR analysis (see Clifford Stoll’s work in The Cuckoo’s Egg), but over the last few years the importance of timelines has been increasingly highlighted in research [1], software [2] and training [3].

The foundations of timelines are obviously built on dates and times. We prefer timelines built on accurate dates and times, but consistently inaccurate dates and times, even in small clusters, may be extremely valuable. What happens to our timelines when we have reason to believe that critical dates and times from fi le systems, logs, embedded in documents, etc. cannot be trusted, not even to be consistently inaccurate?




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