Forensics: FTK 3 Reviews

Accesss Data’s FTK 3 was launched on 24th August, just under a fortnight ago.  There was not the same  fan fare that accompanied FTK 2.0, and there has not been the howls of derision either, in fact there had been very little comment at all.

There are no glowing, or for that matter terrbile,  hard hitting reports out there. Its all very quiet. Is it because nobody is using it yet (in anger)?

Just from a PR point of view AccessData seem to be doing a very good job of re-branding the company. The ACE, Access Certified Examiner, qualification is now free, easy to access, and open to all. Some may say its too easy to access, but it gets people into using their tool and certified. The ACE shows a level of accomplishment on their tool, which is what vendor certificaion is all about.

AccessData now even have a YouTube Channel, which looks slick and is the same style as their ACE videos.

So AccessData looks good, their certification is easy to access, and they are engaging with their clients. But does FTK 3 work, or is it style over substance?

This author has no idea, but is looking forward to finding out.

Forensics: FTK 3

Today, 24th August 2009, is the preview day for FTK 3.0.

Could this be the long awaited FTK product that FTK 2 should have been?

Several months ago a determined attempt was made by this author to get FTK 2.x working this failed. A few weeks ago another attempt was made to get FTK 2 working. This also failed, until AccessData’s technical support was called

The support from AccessData was superb: However it did take several hours, of continual assistance on the phone, to get FTK almost working. After a day or so FTK 2 was running. But the penalty was huge, and involved writing off two complete days to get FTK 2 running on a single machine (as well as the previously time wasted). The time penalty was so huge that FTK 2.x was not installed on any other machines as the time penalty was just too  great.

Because FTK could not effectively  (i.e. in realistic time scales) be installed on multiple machines in the same lab, its not currently being used by this author.

AccessData has had all the pieces in place to create a top of the range tool for a very long time, they have had indexing, file carving, reporting, a fantastic imaging tool and a brilliant registry viewer; one which  knocks the spots of EnCase. They just can’t put them together [This is not strictly fair as FTK 1.x was also a great product but limited by its age]

AccessData let the market down by the FTK 2, however the company has moved on since then, new staff, new products, new outlook, and a revamped  qualification.

The market were quite rightly angry at AccessData for the farce that was the FTK 2.0 release, but the anger was probably only so high as because people wanted so much from the new tool and had waited so long in so much anticipation.

The FTK 3 will be a different release. People are not as hopeful as they were with FTK 2, expectations are lower. This means that AccessData can’t fall as far.

In fact if FTK 3 works and can be installed easily people will probably be quietly happy. If, and its a big if, it can deliver what it says it can, it will be great tool.

Below is the marketing spiel about FTK 3

AccessData has announced the preview of Forensic Toolkit® 3.0 (FTK®) which will be demonstrated at HTCIA International on August 24th in Lake Tahoe, California. Below are just a few highlights of the FTK 3.0 release…

Reengineered for Improved Performance:

* UI Performance: The FTK GUI is 10 times more responsive across the board, even on machines with only 4GB of RAM.
* Indexing: Indexes quickly and search results populate fast, even with large result sets.
* Distributed Processing: Every copy of FTK 3 comes with 4 workers, allowing you to leverage CPU resources from up to 4 computers (3 distributed workers and 1 worker on the main FTK examiner system).

Compelling New Capabilities:

* RAM Analysis: Enumerate all running processes from 32-bit machines, search memory strings, and process RAM captures for passwords, html pages, lnk files and MS Office documents.
* Mac Analysis: Many new capabilities, such as processing B-Trees attributes for metadata, decrypting Sparse Images or Sparse Bundles, PLIST support, SQLite support and more.
* Pornographic Image Identification: Enables the automated detection and identification of pornographic images by analyzing visual features in the image to assess its actual visual content.

About AccessData

AccessData has pioneered digital investigations for twenty years, providing the technology and training that empower law enforcement, government agencies and corporations to perform computer investigations of any kind with speed and efficiency. Recognized throughout the world as an industry leader, AccessData delivers state-of-the-art computer forensic, network forensic, password cracking and decryption solutions. AccessData’s Forensic Toolkit® and enterprise investigative solutions enable examiners to search for, analyze and forensically preserve electronic evidence for the purposes of criminal investigations, internal investigations, incident response and eDiscovery. AccessData is also a leading provider of digital forensics training and certification with its much sought after AccessData Certified Examiners (ACE) program. For more information on AccessData visit

Forensic Cloner: LogiCube Dossier

Its here, and about time to. At last a cloner that can produce E01 images, the Logicube Dossier. It follows on from Logicubes Quest, which was a nice bit of kit ayway.

The Logicube Dossier has pretty much everything you want from a cloner

Forensic Dossier

Forensic Dossier

  • 6/gb min imaging rates
  • The ability to create clones, DD images or EO1 Images
  • Logging facility
  • Multiple Images.
    • It can be used to create two images, from one evidence drive simultaneously.
    • Alternatively it can image/clone two hard drives simultaneously.
  • It can handle SCSI, S-ATA, IDE, or USB
  • It can image direct from a computer (laptop or mac) by booting the device with software provided
    • This will slow the imaging down, compared to the 6 GB/min through put rate, which is based on imaging S-ATA to S-ATA

What more is needed from a forensic imaging tool? Well, the price could be less. These things are not cheap. Especially when compared to a laptop to do the imaging on.

Forensic Cloner: LogiCube Quest Cloner

Note: This device has now been superseded by the Logicube Dossier

The Logicube Quest Cloner is an upgrade from the Logicube Talon, which already surpassed the ICS Solo3 in speed.

Quest Forensic Cloner

Quest Forensic Cloner

Reaching just upto 6 GB/min, this is now twice the speed of the ICS Solo3. Its finish is better than the Talon, and can image the DCO and HPA (like the Solo3 and Talon).

Currently, its probably the best one to one cloning device on the market.

Forensic Cloners: ICS Mass Cloner

For years Logicube have always produce a cloner that is slightly faster, or with slightly more features than ICS. But now ICS have produced the mother of all cloners the  Rapid Image 7020.

ICS Mass Cloner

ICS Mass Cloner

This machine, with levers big enough to make Dr Frankenstein happy, can image 10 drives at a time. Each with a maximum speed of 6 GB min. This would mean that a total of  60 GB a min or 3.6 TB of data per hour can be imaged with one device.

It also has the ability to log everything that is occurring, through a SQL database.  For those collecting hundreds of drives onsite, this would all the process to be done simply and easily, from a single centralized room.

But the device is not without its problems. Firstly, its $11,000 (USD). While that’s not very much for any company involved in large scale data collection, its still a hefty chunk of change. For the same price 10 laptops could be bought, to achieve the same goal  (but with more cables).

Secondly, by default, it does not seem very portable, what with those big levers. Large data collections are not a problem in the lab, but onsite. So it needs to be taken onsite.

Thirdly, it doesn’t support laptops by default, that’s an “add on” and its not clear if can support 10 laptop drives at a time, or just a few.

They still don’t produce Eo1 images, but staying with the DD image, which means there is no compression.

Overall its big, its yellow, it can image a lot of drives, and will be great for those large scale onsites, where you fully immerse yourself in the company. But for the smaller cases, imaging using the local machine, or with laptops its just too much.


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