Forensic computing : a practitioner's guide by Anthony J Sammes

By Anthony J Sammes

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A file is the basic element that is normally stored in a file system. In most file systems the file is given a name and often a type description. So, for example, in the MS-DOS12 file system, a file is given a file name of up to eight characters and a file type of up to three characters. TXT signifies a file of file name “TEST” and of file type “TXT”. File Types and Signatures File types may be used to signify the types of record that are held in the file. This is useful to the analyst as a starting point for deducing the appropriate set of interpretative rules for the file.

Such data is often called metadata. In addition to the standard streams, it is sometimes the case that previous versions of the Word document are still present in the container as well as metadata that is not accessible through normal application software. There have also been reports of so called trash blocks being noted which hold data from other applications and from other parts of the disk and the memory. This appears to be an issue whereby the application does not clear newly allocated blocks of their current content when, for example, extending the size of the file.

Understanding Information 37 Fig. 21 Hexadecimal listing of GIF file. Graphic Interchange Format GIF enables several pictures to be stored in one file and it uses a loss-free compression algorithm23 to reduce the file size. The specification, published in 1987, is referred to as “GIF87a” and an extended version published in 1989 is known as “GIF89a”. In the case of our example, the resulting GIF file is 64 kilobytes in size and two small segments of the file, examined using the Gander hexadecimal viewer, are shown at Fig.

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