With advancements in technology comes many threats of losing data due to human error, hacking, and other unforeseen events. When a company suffers data loss, there is a need for data recovery to avoid legal issues, insurance claims, and other regulatory hurdles. This is where the need for forensics analysis comes in. The same applies when it comes to handling technology-related crimes. The investigative officers need to recover concealed data or deleted data to aid in their investigation.
With the increased need for forensics analysis, there are many pieces of software that makes the process easier. While most software are paid or subscription-based, others are free or open-source software which are equally as good. With open-source forensic software, we are sure that you will find software that suits your needs. Before selecting a free forensic analysis tool, you need to consider factors such as your skill level, focus, and output. Below are top open-source forensic software that we recommend, with help from digital forensics experts ComputerForensicsLab.co.uk.
1. FTK Imager
This data imaging tool allows you to examine folders and files on network drives, local hard disks, DVDs, and memory dumps. With this software, you can create MD5 or SHAI hashes of files, preview and recover deleted files, export files from the forensic image to disk, and preview forensic image contents in Windows explorer. Most importantly, the software is easy to use. FTK imager comes with the following features:
- Data preview capabilities
- Allows image mounting
- The software accesses a shared database.
- Uses multicore CPUs
2. CrowdStrike CrowdResponse
This is a lightweight tool mainly used as part of incident response to gather critical information such as scheduled tasks or process lists. You can also use the software to scan your host for malware, and get reports if there are, or have been compromises. For you to run this forensic tool, you need to understand how to use Command Prompt. The software comes with the following features:
- Offers three modules – active running, directory-listing, and YARA module
- Display all application resource info
- Scans memory for all current running processes
- Can verify digital signatures of all processes executable
3. The Sleuth Kit
This is free software for digital forensic analysis. The tool is suitable for performing an in-depth analysis of different file systems. It offers features such as Timeline Analysis, File System Analysis, Hash Filtering, and Keyword Searching. It also can add modules for better functionality. The Sleuth Kit is applicable when running a Linux box, and Autopsy is ideal when running a Windows box. Here are some features of this forensics kit:
- Displays events graphically.
- Provides LNK files, registry, and email analysis
- Supports all common file formats
- Can extract and analyze data from call logs, Tango, contacts, SMS
This is a Linux Live CD that comes with several digital forensic tools. The software is user-friendly, creates semi-automated reports, and offers essential tools for Network Forensics, Mobile Forensics, and Data Recovery. The software comes with the following features:
- Has a User-Friendly interface
- Adheres to investigative procedures
- It supports in-depth analysis
- Generates editable and exportable reports
5. Free Hex Editor Neo
This basic editor is designed to handle large files. While the free version has fewer features, you can find additional features in the paid version. This software is ideal for loading large files and performing actions such as file editing, data carving (definition), and searching hidden data. The tool offers the following features:
- Allows multiple core processing
- Make regular searches across files easy
- Allows tuning different aspects of user interface
- Finding data patterns across files is easy