Cloud forensics tool OWADE pulls online services data

One of the problems that traditional computer forensics has is that lots of information is stored on the cloud, MSN, Yahoo, Skype, Dropbox, GoogleDocs, Facebook, etc, online data is accessible with a court order but that involves lots of paperwork making the investigation more complex with the physical data still unsecured and in some cases with the server located offshore out of local authorities jurisdiction. OWADE (Offline Windows Analysis and Data Extraction), is an open source cloud forensics tool developed by a Stanford University team and launched at the BlackHat 2011 security conference able to extract information from cloud services that a user has accessed in his computer.

Cloud computer forensics diagram

Cloud computer forensics diagram

OWADE can reconstruct Internet activities and search for the online identities that have been used, Encase and FTK (The Forensics ToolKit) can already do this, OWADE advantage is its ability to decrypt files ciphered using the various Microsoft built-in encryption schemes, like Syskey and DPAPI (Data Protection API), OWADE combines its ability to decrypt Microsoft encryption algorithm with traditional data extracting techniques in order to access Skype chat history, decrypt Internet Explorer stored logins & passwords, by cracking the Windows user password, or access  historical Wi-Fi location data stored by Windows, providing a list of access points with dates and times.

Traditional computer forensics software has a hard time reconstructing cloud services data stored in the hard disk due to Windows scattering everything across multiple files and encrypting some portions. OWADE does not pull data from the servers, the data was downloaded on the hard disk when the user accessed the service, what OWADE does is to search, decrypt and put together all of the cloud personal accounts, logs, logins and passwords that have been accessed.

This tool is still being developed, an Alpha version (not stable) has been released, and it can only analyse the Windows operating system.

Visit OWADE homepage

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