Authors: Scott Hand, Zhiqiang Lin (The Ohio State University), Guofei Gu, Bhavani Thuraisingham



File carving is the process of reassembling files from disk fragments based on the file content in the absence of file system metadata. By leveraging both file header and footer pairs, traditional file carving mainly focuses on document and image files such as PDF and JPEG. With the vast amount of malware code appearing in the wild daily, recovery of binary executable files becomes an important problem, especially for the case in which malware deletes itself after compromising a computer. However, unlike image files that usually have both a header and footer pair, executable files only have header information, which makes the carving much harder. In this paper, we present Bin-Carver, a first-of-its-kind system to automatically recover executable files with deleted or corrupted metadata. The key idea is to explore the road map information defined in executable file headers and the explicit control flow paths present in the binary code. Our experiment with thousands of binary code files has shown our Bin-Carver to be incredibly accurate, with an identification rate of 96.3% and recovery rate of 93.1% on average when handling file systems ranging from pristine to chaotic and highly fragmented.