Authors: Golden Richard III, Ph.D. (University of New Orleans), Vassil Roussev, Ph.D. (University of New Orleans)



File carving is an important technique for digital forensics investigation and for simple data recovery. By using a database of headers and footers (essentially, strings of bytes at predictable offsets) for specific file types, file carvers can retrieve files from raw disk images, regardless of the type of filesystem on the disk image. Perhaps more importantly, file carving is possible even if the filesystem metadata has been destroyed. This paper presents some requirements for high performance file carving, derived during design and implementation of Scalpel, a new open source file carving application. Scalpel runs on machines with only modest resources and performs carving operations very rapidly, outperforming most, perhaps all, of the current generation of carving tools. The results of a number of experiments are presented to support this assertion.