Chapter 18 Timelining

A common phase of most digital investigations is organizing the analysis results to help construct theories about what happened. One technique that investigators have traditionally leveraged involves creating timelines to organize the data based on the temporal relationships between digital artifacts. This chapter demonstrates how you can combine digital artifacts extracted using memory analysis with artifacts from file system and network analysis to reconstruct a more complete understanding of the digital crime scene. Memory analysis often provides the context necessary to discover relationships between seemingly disparate events and artifacts. It also enables investigators to develop “temporal footprints” for rapidly identifying suspicious tools and techniques on a system.

This chapter explores these timelining techniques using a scenario that is frequently faced by modern digital investigators. It involves a targeted attack using the Gh0st remote access tool, in which the adversary attempts to move laterally within an organization to access sensitive data. The scenario begins with an alert about a host contacting an IP address associated with a known threat group. You must determine the extent of the compromise, evaluate the impact to the organization, and gain insights into how it occurred. To accomplish these tasks, you need to combine timelines across multiple machines and integrate temporal artifacts extracted from alternate sources. Finally, you ...

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