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File Marshal: Automatic extraction of peer-to-peer data


Digital forensic investigators often find peer-to-peer, or file sharing, software present on the computers, or the images of the disks, that they examine. Investigators must first determine what P2P software is present and where the associated information is stored, retrieve the information from the appropriate directories, and then analyze the results. File Marshal is a tool that will automatically detect and analyze peer-to-peer client use on a disk. The tool automates what is currently a manual and labor intensive process. It will determine what clients currently are or have been installed on a machine, and then extracts per-user usage information, specifically a list of peer servers contacted, and files that were shared and downloaded. The tool was designed to perform its actions in a forensically sound way, including maintaining a detailed audit trail of all actions performed. File Marshal is extensible, using a configuration file to specify details about specific peerto-peer clients (e.g., location of log files and registry keys indicating installation). This paper describes the general design and features of File Marshal, its current status, and the plans for continued development and release. When complete, File Marshal, a National Institute of Justice funded effort, will be disseminated to law enforcement at no cost.

Keywords: Peer-to-peer, P2P, Forensics, LimeWire, File Sharing

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This page last modified Jun 28, 2009.
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