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Windows Forensic Analysis DVD Toolkit, Second Edition
Author Harlan Carvey
ISBN 1597494224
Reviewer Lands, Jesse G.
Rating ***** (Very Good)
Review
I’ve started reading or read a number of forensic books in the past two years. Though I have yet to read a specific Operating System forensic book, most have generally focused on Windows as the choice for forensic analysis. Of all the books that I have read, I would have to say that by far Windows Forensic Analysis DVD Toolkit second edition is the best.
The author is very thorough without beating a single tool to death. The author covers numerous tools, but continues to stress that having information from one tool does not give the investigator the ‘smoking gun’ to solving the case. He stresses repeatedly that this is just adding another tool to the investigator’s toolbox.
Many books are simply an attempt to sell their book by declaring that if you follow: step one, followed by step two, followed by step three etc. that you will suddenly be a master forensic investigator or incident handler. Harlan Carvery never says that reading this book will make you an expert, only that he hopes to enlighten the reader to new tools and techniques. The author makes it very clear that each tool is valuable, but the reader should find the tools that suite their own need and get the experience necessary to analyze the output.
The book jumps straight into the discussion of volatile data and the importance of capturing it as close to the instance of compromise as possible. I was pleased to see that the author made a point of emphasizing this. There is still a mindset in many situations that pulling the plug is the first thing to accomplish.
The first three chapters are a statement to the importance placed on collecting and analyzing the volatile portion of the incident. Though technically the first two chapters also cover information to tie in the remaining chapters there is always that focus of maintaining data as close to the point of compromise as possible.
The next three chapters cover the static files and registry that a Forensic Analyst will have to review and analyze. The author covers numerous tools as well as providing his tools and his preferences for use.
The last three chapters cover rootkits, tying it together with case studies and then finally Forensic Analysis on a budget.
Throughout the book the author makes references to papers, websites and other books that will provide a much more indepth discussion of the topics. In every chapter he provides a source for more up-to-date software than what is provided on the DVD.
The author includes numerous tools that are his personal scripts or scripts that he has modified for his use. For the most part his scripts are all Perl based, but again the author shows his flexibility and understanding when he explains why his tools are Perl and not something else. At no point does the author take a “this is the only right way to do it” attitude. It is refreshing to see an unbiased book that is primarily Windows oriented.
With all that being said I would say that grammatical editing could have been a little better. Even with these errors the book was definitely worth buying. We have a copy in our office and I am buying a copy for my own personal use. I would say that if you are doing Windows forensics or have an interest in learning about the current trends in Windows forensics you need to pick up a copy. It will be an invaluable resource.