Wednesday, May 28, 2008

F-Response to the rescue!

A few weeks ago, I received an evaluation version of the new F-Response tool. Although I knew it was coming and I was excited to try it out, I received it while I was out of town and when I returned I was inundated with work and could not play with it immediately as I had hoped, so instead it sat in the shipping envelope in my car.

Last week, I was called by a company who has been the victim of the SQL injection attack. They were frantic and wanted help immediately. I saddled up and grabbed by response kit and met with the company. After getting all the particulars, I responded to the data center where there were two computers that needed to be imaged.

As I setup my gear, The system admin explained that their main back-end SQL server was tied to *everything* and there was no cluster or back-up server, so I could not shut the system down or even reboot it, as it would interrupt their business. I thought, no problem, I will image it live. As I looked at the Dell 2U rack server, I noticed one USB port on the front and two on the back. I collected volatile data and saved the data off to a small USB flash disk. I noticed that the volatile data collection was taking a lot longer than normal. I then asked how old the server was and if the USB was 2.0 or 1.1.....uh-oh.....1.1

I then examined the installed hard drives and found there were 5 SCSI hard drives making up a RAID 5 system. The operating system saw one physical disk, consisting of two logical partitions, totaling 1.1TB.

After he told me it was USB 1.1, I paused for a bit thinking through all the possible scenarios:

A. Use USB 1.1 and save the live image off to a removable USB hard drive
B. Insert a USB 2.0 card (required a reboot and this was not an option)
C. Insert a Firewire card (required a reboot and this was not an option)
D. Use netcat/cryptcat to throw the image across the network to another device
E. Use FTK imager and save the image to a network share.

I figured I would try option A and see how long the image would take. After setting everything up, I started FTK imager and it began to level out at 440 hours....hmmm...440/24 = 18.3 days... ouch!

So option A was out. After thinking a bit, I decided to use option F, F-Response! I remember that I had the package with me, but had not tried it out yet. I retrieved the package from my car and set up a VMware machine on my forensic laptop and went through the installation. I then tested it out using EnCase as the imaging platform and found it worked flawlessly.

I was still concerned about sending 1.1TB of data across the network wire that was actively being used by clients and the web server. After digging around a bit, I found a separate gigabit NIC adapter on the back of the server that was not being used, so I used a crossover cable connected directly to my laptop and statically setup some IP addresses. I then copied the F-Response client application to a flash disk and ran it on the target server. Two minutes later, I had a direct connection and the 1.1TB drive was showing up on my forensic laptop as a local drive. I started EnCase and previewed the drive. I started the imaging process using EnCase and it reported 30 hours until completion, much better than 18 days..;)

--fast forward-->

28 hours later the image was done. When the dust settled, I had an EnCase image file sitting on a Lacie 2 TB removable drive that was complete and verified correctly.

The F-Response setup process took all of about 5 minutes and was extremely easy. There is a very small learning curve in order to understand how it works. The best part of it is that it allows you to use whatever forensic platforms you normally use, the F-Response tool is not a forensic analysis tool itself, but instead is a type of conduit that connects remote hard drives to your local workstation so that your traditional tools can be used.

Hogfly posted a cool video of using F-Response here:

Harlan also posted a blog about this tool here:

There is also a great little demo video on how the tool works on the F-Response website:

If you have not seen this tool yet, I highly recommend you take advantage of their $100 trial version. Their field kit, consultant and enterprise versions are insanely priced compared to the price point of other forensic tools. Once you see or try this tool I think it will find a permanent home in your response kit, like mine has!


Matt Wednesday, 28 May, 2008  

Sweet, thanks Lance, and nice write up. That tool looks really cool, I will be checking that one out.

-Matt Albee

H. Carvey Thursday, 29 May, 2008  


Very nice! 1.1TB...sweet! I've just used the Enterprise edition with RegRipper, not actually used it in the field.

Web Hosting Company Tuesday, 07 April, 2009  
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computer Repair Wednesday, 29 April, 2009  

Good informative post. Thanks for sharing this blog.

cheap computers Wednesday, 14 October, 2009  

The F-Response setup process took all of about 5 minutes and was extremely easy. There is a very small learning curve in order to understand how it works.

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