Research: Use of Digital Forensics Corpora in the Validation of Data Carving Function

The need for an improved validation and verification paradigm in digital forensics is becoming apparent.  The current system often results in digital forensics tools being used that have never been tested in reality (Beckett & Slay, 2007).  Several articles (Beckett & Slay, 2007; Garfinkel, 2007; Garfinkel, Farrell, Roussev, & Dinolt, 2009) suggest that the use of standardized data sets, or corpora, may be the key to developing a better validation and verification protocol.  This paper outlines a study that will utilize digital forensics corpora to validate the carving function of Access Data’s Forensic Tool Kit.  Does FTK’s data carving function perform as intended and recover all possible data?  What is the error rate of FTK’s data carving function?  Does the use of digital forensic corpora provide accurate and reproducible validation results?  Is the use of digital forensic corpora a viable validation method for practitioners to use in their own labs?  The proposed study will not only evaluate the use of digital forensics corpora in the validation and verification process, but will also serve as a validation study of the FTK’s carving function, complete with error rates.