Authors: Brian Kaplan, Matthew Geiger (Qintel)



The continuing decline in the cost-per-megabyte of hard disk storage has inevitably led to a ballooning volume of data that needs to be reviewed in digital investigations. The result: case backlogs that commonly stretch for months at forensic labs, and per-case processing that occupies days or weeks of analytical effort. Yet speed is critical in situations where delay may render the evidence useless or endanger personal safety, such as when a suspect may flee, a victim is at risk, criminal tactics or control infrastructure may change, etc. In these and other cases, investigators need tools to enable quick triage of computer evidence in order to answer urgent questions, maintain the pace of an investigation and assess the likelihood of acquiring pertinent information from the device. This paper details the design and application of a tool, OpenLV, that not only meets the needs for speedy initial triage, but also can facilitate the review of digital evidence at later stages of investigation. With OpenLV, an investigator can quickly and safely interact with collected evidence,much asif they had sat down at the computer at the time the evidencewas collected. Since OpenLV works without modifying the evidence, its use in triage does not preclude subsequent, in-depth forensic analysis. Unlike many popular forensics tools, OpenLV requires little training and facilitates a unprecedented level of interaction with the evidence.