Authors: Matthew Geiger (Carnegie Mellon University)



Digital forensic analysts may find their task complicated by any of more than a dozen commercial software packages designed to irretrievably erase files and records of computer activity. These counter-forensic tools have been used to eliminate evidence in criminal and civil legal proceedings and represent an area of continuing concern for forensic investigators. In this paper, we review the performance of six counter-forensic tools and highlight operational shortfalls that could permit the recovery of significant evidentiary data. In addition, each tool creates a distinct operational fingerprint that an analyst may use to identify the application used and, thus, guide the search for residual data. These operational fingerprints may also help demonstrate the use of a tool in cases where such action has legal ramifications.