Tool Evaluation Team – Autopsy Blog 3

Tool Evaluation Team – Autopsy Blog #3

Madi Brumbelow & Lyall Rogers

Testing Autopsy

For the last 3 months we’ve researched all about Autopsy: how to use it, comparing it to other tools, and mastering the art of forensic image analysis with our tool. Now, the results are in, results that you can see in our final report. We tested our tools based on time taken for analysis, user friendliness, and effectiveness in identifying artifacts, especially using keyword search. The team searched for keywords having to do with our scenario, and the main word searched was “cyanide”. Autopsy was effective in finding Web Artifacts, but deleted files having to do with cyanide did not show up. They could be found manually, unlike how they turned up automatically in the keyword searches for other tools, specifically EnCase.

A New Way to Search

Finishing the report wasn’t without its own surprises. As we were finishing up the search functions portion of the report, we took a final look at the tools section of Autopsy and discovered something peculiar. A new way to complete searches: File Search by Attributes.

File Search by Attributes does what you would expect from a keyword search; it goes through the entire image and finds what pertains to that specific keyword. In the case of this sample image, it was cyanide. We spent weeks trying to figure out why we couldn’t search anything outside of the web history, and low and behold, the answer was in the tools tab the entire time. Not only would it search the whole file, but it would give us the same number each and every single time we ran it. Unlike the normal keyword search, this tool had consistent results, but it was hard to find within the tool. Thankfully we found this before our report was finished, because now we are confident we truly know the ins and outs of Autopsy.


Overall, we’re glad that we chose Autopsy to explore this semester. It’s an interesting tool, and very powerful considering it comes in at the low price of free! Our investment in the program has definitely paid off. Lyall is using it for personal use now, and Madi has to use it for her final project in a class. Turns out choosing a tool because its icon is a dog was the right path to take!


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