Title page for ETD etd-02172009-014722

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Koen, Renico
Email renico@revoone.com
URN etd-02172009-014722
Document Title The development of an open-source forensics platform
Degree MSc
Department Computer Science
Advisor Name Title
Prof M Olivier Committee Chair
  • open-source
  • reco platform
  • digital forensics
  • close-source
Date 2009-04-20
Availability unrestricted

The rate at which technology evolves by far outpaces the rate at which methods are developed to prevent and prosecute digital crime. This unfortunate situation may potentially allow computer criminals to commit crimes using technologies for which no proper forensic investigative technique currently exists. Such a scenario would ultimately allow criminals to go free due to the lack of evidence to prove their guilt.

A solution to this problem would be for law enforcement agencies and governments to invest in the research and development of forensic technologies in an attempt to keep pace with the development of digital technologies. Such an investment could potentially allow new forensic techniques to be developed and released more frequently, thus matching the appearance of new computing devices on the market.

A key element in improving the situation is to produce more research results, utilizing less resources, and by performing research more efficiently. This can be achieved by improving the process used to conduct forensic research. One of the problem areas in research and development is the development of prototypes to prove a concept or to test a hypothesis. An in-depth understanding of the extremely technical aspects of operating systems, such as file system structures and memory management, is required to allow forensic researchers to develop prototypes to prove their theories and techniques.

The development of such prototypes is an extremely challenging task. It is complicated by the presence of minute details that, if ignored, may have a negative impact on the accuracy of results produced. If some of the complexities experienced in the development of prototypes could simply be removed from the equation, researchers may be able to produce more and better results with less effort, and thus ultimately speed up the forensic research process.

This dissertation describes the development of a platform that facilitates the rapid development of forensic prototypes, thus allowing researchers to produce such prototypes utilizing less time and fewer resources. The purpose of the platform is to provide a set of rich features which are likely to be required by developers performing research prototyping. The proposed platform contributes to the development of prototypes using fewer resources and at a faster pace.

The development of the platform, as well as various considerations that helped to shape its architecture and design, are the focus points of this dissertation. Topics such as digital forensic investigations, open-source software development, and the development of the proposed forensic platform are discussed. Another purpose of this dissertation is to serve as a proof-of-concept for the developed platform. The development of a selection of forensics prototypes, as well as the results obtained, are also discussed.

Copyright 2009, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Koen, R 2009, The development of an open-source forensics platform, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed myymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-02172009-014722/ >


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