Authors: James Wagner (DePaul University), Alexander Rasin (DePaul University), Karen Heart (DePaul University), Rebecca Jacob (DePaul University), Jonathan Grier (Grier Forensics)



The majority of sensitive and personal user data is stored in different Database Management Systems (DBMS). For Example, Oracle is frequently used to store corporate data, MySQL serves as the back-end storage for most webstores, and SQLite stores personal data such as SMS messages on a phone or browser bookmarks. Each DBMS manages its own storage (within the operating system), thus databases require their own set of forensic tools. While database carving solutions have been built by multiple research groups, forensic investigators today still lack the tools necessary to analyze DBMS forensic artifacts. The unique nature of database storage and the resulting forensic artifacts require established standards for artifact storage and viewing mechanisms in order for such advanced analysis tools to be developed.

In this paper, we present 1) a standard storage format, Database Forensic File Format (DB3F), for database forensic tools output that follows the guidelines established by other (file system) forensic tools, and 2) a view and search toolkit, Database Forensic Toolkit (DF-Toolkit), that enables the analysis of data stored in our database forensic format. Using our prototype implementation, we demonstrate that our toolkit follows the state-of-the-art design used by current forensic tools and offers easy-to-interpret database artifact search capabilities.