Title

Manipulation of hard drive firmware to conceal entire partitions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

Elsevier Advanced Technology

Faculty

Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science

School

ECU Security Research Institute/ECU Security Research Institute

RAS ID

17526

Comments

This article was originally published as: Read, H., Xynos, K., Sutherland, I. , Davies, G. , Houiellebecq, T., Roarson, F., & Blyth, A. (2013). Manipulation of hard drive firmware to conceal entire partitions. Digital Investigation, 10(4), 281-286. Original article available here

Abstract

Tools created by the computer hacking community to circumvent security protection on hard drives can have unintentional consequences for digital forensics. Tools originally developed to circumvent Microsoft's Xbox 360 hard drive protection can be used, independently of the Xbox 360 system, to change the reported size/model of a hard drive enabling criminals to hide data from digital forensic software and hardware. The availability of such concealment methods raises the risk of evidence being overlooked, particularly as triage and on-scene inspections of digital media become more common. This paper presents two case studies demonstrating the process using Western Digital and Fujitsu branded drives. It outlines the difficulties faced by standard computer forensic analysis techniques in revealing the true nature of the drive and finally provides suggestions for extra checks to reveal this type of concealment.

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