Tool Evaluation: Autopsy Blog


For this intern project, we have chosen to research and analyze the digital forensics tool Autopsy. This tool is open source and the graphical interface for a set of command line tools called the Sleuth Kit. We chose Autopsy because neither of us were familiar with the tool, and we both wanted to learn more about it. By researching Autopsy, taking notes, and testing it out, we have become very familiar with the tool.

Personal Experiences

Joint Experience

Before working on this Tool Eval project, neither of us had worked with Autopsy before. It was a completely new experience to use the open source tool and experiment with everything it could do. As we started to research and practice using Autopsy, we learned that it was one of the more user friendly tools based on design and a number of other features. Even if the tool didn’t have all of the exact same capabilities as a tool like EnCase v.8.07, it still got the job done. We found out that Autopsy is a shell for a set of command lines. This helps us because it makes the Sleuth Kit, which is a very useful tool, more accessible to the average person.

Lyall’s Personal Experience

As a Second Year (or Sophomore in the rest of the world) at Champlain College, I had encountered Autopsy only by name, having primarily used EnCase in my classes. Autopsy was totally different than what I was expecting. It offered a good layout, but kept the features in the same locations across the different versions. These locations also made sense as to where they were located in the entire program.

Since working on this project, I have downloaded Autopsy for my personal use to complete my assignments at home. This extra practice has really cemented the fact that Autopsy offers similar tools in a great format. The fact that it also provides different formats to get reports and saves evidence from an E01 format and a Dd/Raw format means that I can see the same data in whatever format I need in that moment.  

Right from the beginning, Autopsy provided me with a positive user experience. Without even using my notes, I was able to figure out how to use it appropriately the first time around. It’s really allowed me to become more familiar with how the digital forensics process works.

Madi’s Personal Experience

This is my first year at Champlain College. Before interning at the LCDI, I never touched a digital forensics tool. I did not even fully know what a forensic image was, or that there were certain file types associated with images. Having the opportunity to conduct independent research, as well as working with a partner, has allowed me to become very familiar with this tool in a short amount of time. My partner, Lyall, is on her second year at Champlain. With the help of someone who is more experienced in how these tools work, I have been able to learn by doing instead of being limited to YouTube guides and other online resources.

The Future

After doing extensive research on our tool, it is now time to get our hands dirty using Autopsy. As a larger group with the entire Tool Eval team, we have been working on creating a scenario to test our tools and put them through their own version of the Hunger Games. The past couple weeks have been dedicated to data generation and extensive research. Since generating that data, our next step is to analyze it using the forensic processes that we learned about from our research. The main goal will be to find out the full capabilities of our tools and compare them, since we already know what the data is. We look forward to sharing our results in the near future!


To learn more about this and other blogs of the LCDI visit us here: LCDI Blog.

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