Rich Murphey

Abstract

This paper proposes methods to automate recovery and analysis of Windows NT5 (XP and 2003) event logs for computer forensics. Requirements are formulated and methods are evaluated with respect to motivation and process models. A new, freely available tool is presented that, based on these requirements, automates the repair of a common type of corruption often observed in data carved NT5 event logs. This tool automates repair of multiple event logs in a single step without user intervention. The tool was initially developed to meet immediate needs of computer forensic engagements. Automating recovery, repair, and correlation of multiple logs make these methods more feasible for consideration in both a wider range of cases and earlier phases of cases, and hopefully, in turn, standard procedures. The tool was developed to fill a gap between capabilities of certain other freely available tools that may recover and correlate large volumes of log events, and consequently permit correlation with various other kinds of Windows artifacts. The methods are examined in the context of an example digital forensic service request intended to illustrate the kinds of civil cases that motivated this work.