Bio-hacked humans and digital forensic issues...

Bio-hacked humans and digital forensic issues...

If you thought The Grudge was the scariest thing you’ve seen on screen, you must have not yet watched Showtime’s ‘The Dark Net’.  In short, the series show how humans are procreating less and merging digitally into technology with bio-hacks. That makes for a bad combination on a few different levels.

Without getting into non-techical issues (such as moral, ethical, or legal), I have a technical question: How the heck are we going to going to do a forensic analysis of a bio-hacked…human?

Before the human race ends up looking like robots, we are already in the era of implanting electronic data devices in our bodies.  Check out to find how you too can jab an injection device into your hand and shoot a RFID under your skin…all by doing it yourself. As for me, I don't think I'll be joining in that movement anytime soon.

RFID ( tags store data. Data such as medical, financial, personal, or any type of information can be stored on a RFID tag, although the amount is quite limited currently (2-10 kilobytes?).  That's not much data, but depending on the content, it may be more than enough to cause a war or bankrupt a company.

But even at that low amount of storage, it can raise suspicions in theft of intellectual property, trade secrets, or national security information.  Imagine the use of implanted RFID chips by criminals, terrorists, and corporate spies to exfiltrate and transport sensitive data.  Just when you thought the MicroSD cards presented a threat because of their small sizes, the RFID is even an even bigger problem.  We can find a USB since we can see it. RFID chips implanted under the skin…not so easy.


Now back to my first question of how we will be doing forensic analysis on a bio-hacked human. When the time arrives where humans are embedded with multiple types of technology and devices, where and how do we start the data acquisition process?   Depending on how much technology is embedded, where it is embedded, and what it is connected to, forensic imaging takes on a whole new world.  

And what if the person (or man-machine cyborg…) doesn’t want to be forensically analyzed? 


Maybe for imaging software, we can try Robocopy (looks like the software is already here….).










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Image a Surface Pro using bootable UEFI WinFE

surfaceproCool WInFE work done by Jeffrey A. Cunningham, Sr Digital Forensic Examiner, US Army (ChiefCham), on imaging a Surface Pro using a bootable UEFI WinFE.  It is certainly neat to see this type of testing and research done on ANY forensic tool where the results can be shared with everyone.

Thanks ChiefCham!

Image a Surface Pro using bootable UEFI WINFE

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Suggestions for a WinFE Imaging Tool Based on Clonedisk?

An imaging tool (CloneDisk) development project for WinFE...very cool...keep up with the thread and give your suggestions at


693 Hits discussion | DMDE - Basic Disk Imaging Test (and results)

If you are interested in some behind-the-scenes efforts of developing WinFE, take a look at the forum threads.  And if you want to give input on what you would like WinFE to do...the forum would be a good place to submit a suggestion or lend a hand in development.

If for nothing but curiosity, you can follow along in watching the developers of the WinFE discuss how they are working toward making the lightest, fastest, full-featured, minimal builds, multi-boot, easy-to-use,  and cool forensic tool around.

I'll continue to post the latest links and download information on this blog, because I know that time is usually non-existent, deadlines are always minutes away, your laptop (while at the airport or onsite) has eight programs running while you are replying to ten emails, and you just need to know where to download that latest WinFE building information.  So, that will be here.  But for when you have time at the side of the pool, browse to watch these guys improve WinFE as it happens.

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X-Ways Forensics Imaging Article

In case you missed an article on X-Ways Forensics Imaging (page 40), you can download a free copy of the issue of eforensicsmag here:

[caption id="attachment_471" align="aligncenter" width="379"]XWF Imaging You may like the WinFE article too...I know the guy that wrote that article...


The article is an overview of imaging with X-Ways Forensics, which is covered in more detail in the XWF Guide.   If you haven't bought the guide yet and are on the fence on whether XWF is right for you, check out the article on the one feature of imaging and I am sure you will not be on the fence anymore.

[caption id="attachment_347" align="aligncenter" width="243"]Xways-Cover I use this guide myself...and I was a coauthor!






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Imaging with X-Ways Forensics

The current (and free) issue of eForensics Magazine has an article on imaging with X-Ways Forensics.   Of course, the XWF Guide is more detailed, but to get an idea of some of what XWF can do with imaging,  take a look at the article.



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Creating distributable test images

I'm in the process of creating working materials to go along with the XWF Guide in the form of exercises and test images.  I expect to be finished in 2014 or 2015 or ...(it all depends on time available).  The materials will be freely available but will really only work best with the XWF Guide.  And yes, I know I can use images already available, like at, but these datasets will be made to demonstrate all the neat things detailed in the XWF Guide.wipe

One thing I'd like to point out regarding an issue with creating forensic images when giving images to students that contain data may violate the EULA if distributed. Files like commercial programs and operating systems.  Anyone that deals with this in training will be happy with how XWF can be used to address this problem.

With the "Cleansed Image" option of XWF, simply exclude/hide any and all files that would violate any privacy concerns or EULA violations before creating the image. Then create the image :)

This gives you a complete (minus excluded files) disk image without worrying about violating a EULA.  You could do this the hard way by using WinHex to overwrite every single file in question.  Or you can mass exclude files in one fell swoop with XWF and bam.  Image done.  Now you have something to give out to your class.

I've always wondered why some instructors give out complete images of a single system and make the student "promise" not to distribute the files...that is a bit too trusting in my opinion.   And come on, you know who you are...

<and I'll leak a little information from the book on the cleansed image feature.  you can use this technique to remove private/privileged/protected data from an image to comply with a court order but can't produce specific protected data on the image.  an example being a civil case where you need to turn over an image to the opposing expert but have privileged files on the image. don't hex edit it, cleanse it!>

The XWF Guide has dozens of these kinds of tips and tricks, but you get one today for free.  Get the book for the rest of the tips and tricks, you will without a doubt, find something worthwhile that will save you hours or days of work.

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X-Ways Forensics Practitioner's Guide is coming!

Eric Zimmerman and Brett Shavers have started writing the "X-Ways Forensics Practitioner's Guide", due out toward the end of year 2013.

Check back as to when the guide will be available.   This guide intends to be the source of using X-Ways Forensics.

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