Category Archives: Blog post

Comprehensive Skype chat analysis with Belkasoft Evidence Center

Call logs, SMSes, emails, social networks communications and, of course, chats in instant messengers can give you a lot of important information in a course of a forensic investigation. Let’s see how one single chat product can be examined from different aspects, each of which gives one more – unique! – part of puzzle.

In our case, the suspect had Skype installed on his laptop and mobile device which were seized and investigated with Belkasoft Evidence Center 2017.

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Belkasoft Helping Security of Olympics in Rio

We at Belkasoft are, as many others, excited about the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. At the same time, it is time of high pressure, large workloads, and great responsibility for those who watch for the security of society. With this in mind, Belkasoft CEO Yuri Gubanov, who will be volunteering for the Games in Rio, has come up with a good idea how to help Brazilian Law Enforcement organisations ensure safety of the event.

Together with our partners in Brazil, Apura, we will be providing the Brazilian police with free licenses of our flagship forensic software – Belkasoft Evidence Center.

Webinar: Investigating Computer And Mobile Artifacts With New Belkasoft Evidence Center

We finished year 2015 on a good note with the release of Belkasoft Evidence Center 2016. The new version of Evidence Center features massive updates and improvements in performance and usability, new features, and numerous other enhancements that made work with the product faster, smoother and more convenient than ever before.

To present renewed Evidence Center to our customers as well as to those who are not familiar with tthe product, we recorded a webinar. The webinar contains an introductory presentation about the product with a brief overview of its capabilities and a live demonstration of the product and its features, both pre-existing ones and those introduced in the latest release.

The webinar is available to watch free on Forensic Focus: Investigating Computer And Mobile Artifacts With New Belkasoft Evidence Center.

Try Belkasoft Evidence Center free! Download a full trial version at

BelkaScript: How to Get Most out of Digital Forensic Software

Digital investigator nowadays has access to a wide array of solid forensic tools. Some of them offer mobile forensics only, some help with computer or laptop analysis, some – like Belkasoft Evidence Center – support all types of devices, but the task flow and product logic is more or less fixed in every product. If an investigator faces an unusual task, it is hard to solve it within the workflow offered by a product. And unusual tasks are not that rare – we hear about them very often, just take a glance at various forensic forums.

In this article, we will discuss some real life stories that involved cases hard to solve with the standard workflow in Belkasoft Evidence Center:

  • Good Employee, Bad Employee
  • Bar Fight
  • Digging Deep Inside Photos

However, it became possible with BelkaScript, a free built-in scripting module that allows users to write custom scripts to extend Evidence Center capabilities. Scripts can be used to automate some of the routine (for example, reporting or bonding together two operations) or to extend product’s functionality for a specific situation. But it most certainly does not end there as we will now show on real-life examples.

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Free Webinar: Enhance Digital Investigations with New Belkasoft Evidence Center

Belkasoft announces an upcoming release of their flagship all-in-one forensic product. Belkasoft Evidence Center 2016 comes with a substantial number of improvements and new features that are to bring the product to a new level of convenience and effectiveness in working with digital evidence.

In the new release, we added a lot of new supported artifacts, including a significant number of mobile apps such as browsers, payment systems, messengers, and social networking apps. At the same time, we refined the interface in such a way that it is now more convenient to work with the increased amount of artifacts. In particular, we reworked artifact selection window, and added filters that allow you to sort items by text, metadata, date, or other criteria. Besides, evidence search engine was empowered and now works faster than ever.

One of the newly added important features of the product is hashset analysis (uses NSRL hash database). These and many more other changes and enhancements of the new version will be covered during our free webinar “Enhancing digital investigations with Belkasoft Evidence Center 2016”. The webinar will be conducted by Yuri Gubanov, Belkasoft CEO & Founder and a renowned expert in digital forensics.

The webinar will feature a presentation with an overview of the most significant improvements and new features of Belkasoft Evidence Center 2016, as well as questions from the viewers, answered live.

Date: November 4, 2015
Time: 17:00 UTC / 18:00 CET/ 12:00 EST / 20:00 MSK

Sign up for the webinar now and get your guaranteed free trial version of the product:


Carving for Evidence: Why Choose Belkasoft Evidence Center

When looking for digital evidence, one has to look through a large number of files on the disk to discover just the few important pieces. Automating
evidence search can help locate evidence stored in files that were moved, renamed or deleted. This article offers a general overview of data carving
techniques used in today’s computer forensic tools, outlines benefits and limitations of the technology, and demonstrates how to use carving in a forensic
tool to discover evidence.

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New Article: The Future of Mobile Forensics

Most would agree that the golden age of mobile forensics is over. There is no longer an easy way to get through the passcode in new iOS devices running the latest version of iOS. Chip-off acquisition is dead for iOS devices due to full-disk encryption, while physical acquisition of Apple hardware is dead since the introduction of 64-bit devices and versions of iOS 8 that cannot be jailbroken. Blackberries were highly resistant to chip-off acquisition from the beginning, and Android is getting there quickly. In this whitepaper, we will look into the current state of mobile forensics for the different platforms and devices, analyze current trends and attempt to predict how mobile forensics will look in the years ahead.

To gather these predictions, Belkasoft analyzed state-of-the-art tools, methods and hardware offered by leading manufacturers, and interviewed experts working for manufacturers of digital forensic products. Since manufacturers often specialize in specific areas (e.g. producing equipment for breaking iPhone passcodes), we questioned multiple representatives to be able to see the whole picture. Today, we are ready to share our findings.

Read the full article:

Kik Messenger Forensics

Kik Messenger is a popular free messaging app for all major mobile platforms. Available for Android, iOS and Windows phone, Kik Messenger had a user base of more than 130 million users just a year ago. Today, the company claims over 200 million registered accounts, with another 250,000 users added each day. The messenger’s user base consists of teenagers and young adults. It is estimated that approximately 40 per cent of 13- to 25-year-olds in the United States are using Kik.

As a result, Kik Messenger becomes one of the forensically important messenger apps. With hundreds of millions of users communicating with Kik on daily basis, ignoring this popular messenger during an investigation may lead to missing important evidence. With Kik’s user base mostly consisting of teenagers and young adults, Kik messages can come especially handy when investigating cases of molesting.

Unlike many cloud-based messengers, Kik Messenger stores evidence in the phones in unencrypted offline databases, which makes it possible to access this information without knowing the user’s account authentication details. Both Android and iOS versions of Kik Messenger store information in SQLite format. This allows some forensic tools like Belkasoft Evidence Center extract and analyze data, including deleted and damaged volumes.

What exactly is available to an investigator, and how can we get to that data? Read a full article on our website:

Questions and Answers – Belkasoft & Guidance Software Webinar

As we promised previously in our blog, here is the list of questions and answers from our recent webinar with Guidance Software. In case you have not watched it yet, you should do it now! You can find the link here. Q: Guys, you mentioned analysis of Live RAM dump created by Belkasoft tool. We use winen.exe tool by Guidance Software. Will you work with dumps created by this tool? A: Sure! As a Guidance Software partner, we support all images created by their tools, particularly, physical images such as E01 and Ex01, logical images such as L01 and Lx01, and of course, memory dumps Q: In one of your stories, your tool found some Skype data inside something you call “SQLite freelist”. When SQLite deletes data, does it always go to a freelist? A: It is only true for databases configured without option called “AutoVacuum”. If this option presents, no freelist is used, unfortunately. However, quite a bit of forensically important applications store their data inside SQLite databases configured without such option. Particularly, Skype, WhatsApp, Chome, Firefox and many more. Q: Are there any chances to find SQLite data if it is not present in regular SQLite areas (I mean, tables) and freelist? A: SQLite forensic analysis is a tricky thing because SQLite itself is tricky. Besides regular tables and freelist area, which we already explained, it has some more peculiarities. For example, older versions of SQLite had so-called “journal” file, which was used to coordinate database transactions. Newer versions of SQLite have so-called Write Ahead Log files, or WAL-files, which contain uncommitted transaction data. Both journal and WAL files sit in the same folder as main database and may contain up to 20-30% of data inside main database file. For example, my Skype database is around 100 megabytes (yes, I use Skype for a long time and never delete my history). In my setup journal file for my Skype account is 20 megabytes, what is 20%. So if you don’t investigate these files, you are going to lose 20% of information, what you absolutely cannot afford in a course of criminal investigation. That’s why you need a tool like Evidence Center to automate such routine things. For a moment, there are not much forensic tools capable to do automatic processing of freelist, journal and WAL files, so this is one of the reason to have Evidence Center to complement your EnCase installation. I can also mention that SQLite database can have so-called unallocated space. It resembles regular hard drive, which can also have unallocated. This space does not belong to any table and is not a freelist. Inside this space, you may find some remnants of deleted data, not necessarily completely valid, because already overwritten or corrupted. However, with our experience, we were able to find meaningful conversations there. Technically, you can carve unallocated space inside SQLite database and find data, such as already discussed Skype chats or WhatsApp messages. This is what Evidence Center can do automatically for you. This info, if found, then merged with existing data (I mean, non-deleted data from regular tables) and can be imported back to EnCase. Q: What can a criminal do to hide data stored once inside an SQLite database and what can Belkasoft together with EnCase do against such attempts? A: Well, to hide SQLite data they can do pretty much the same, as with other files. They can move a file, delete it, rename or delete data by using regular means of an application, which uses particular SQLite database. We have already discussed what happens, when data is deleted from an app itself: it goes to a freelist and can be partially recovered. In case a file is renamed or deleted, Evidence Center can carve such file. There are also some chances to find remnants of data inside special system areas such as hibernation or pagefile, shadow volume copy, live RAM dump, if any, and so on. Evidence Center supports all these scenarios. Q: In the drug story, you were looking for Facebook chats. Will you download Facebook chats from online? Do you need a password for that? A: No, the tool never goes online. Instead, the investigator was trying to locate chats inside RAM dump he had. When someone chats via Facebook or any other app, this data is kept inside RAM, so can be then found. To find such data we use signature approach. We know signatures for data layout in RAM for hundreds of types of applications and do data extraction for you out of the box. Therefore, no internet required and no Facebook password required. Note, however, that you can hardly hope to extract all chats, just a small fraction of an entire history. Q: If only remnants of Facebook chats could be found on a switched off machine, how long is the history you are able to recover? Can a whole history be recovered, theoretically and practically? A: Theoretically, if history is small, it is possible to recover entire history. Practically you can only recover some very recent chats. This is because portions of RAM are overwritten every fraction of second and older messages are gone quickly. If not gone, they can be corrupted. That’s life, but this is better than having nothing. Facebook and other browser applications do not store anything on a hard drive (if we are not talking about mobile Facebook app), so the only chance to find anything is to search inside RAM. Q: How quick is the data processing? A: It depends on the size of your EnCase image file and your hardware. In our lab 500 GB hard drive with all types of analysis, we have, selected, takes about 8 hours to complete. 2Tb drive with around half-million photos, takes about 18 hours, but this is because of huge amount of picture processing. We recommend you to have at least 16 GB of memory to have comfort processing time, but this is not a hard requirement. During conferences (by the way, we will be on Guidance Software’s CEIC conference as a sponsor and presenter this year), well, during conferences we use a laptop with just 4Gb of memory and the product works perfectly fast. Q: You say you can recover deleted SQLite data. What about other types of deleted data, can you restore them? A: Almost all types of data which we can analyze being non-deleted, we can carve. To name a few, documents, emails, pictures, system files such as registries, event logs, thumbnails, jumplists, chats and browser histories, SQLite databases and many more types of data. Q: You say you work with multiple platforms and multiple devices. Which platforms/devices do you support? A: We work on Windows only, but support whole variety of Windows version from Windows XP to most new and fancy Windows 10. However, we can analyze all major operating systems such as Mac OS X, iOS, Linux/Unix, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry. Concerning devices, we support both computers and laptops as well as all modern smartphone platforms. By the way, we can also work on special “forensic” portable builds of Windows. Q: In the story with the lost girl, investigator was lucky to find girl’s laptop in a sleep mode without a password, so there were no problems to capture RAM dump. However, if a computer was switched off, how do you do Live RAM analysis? A: Windows and other systems usually use two types of files that we can roughly call “RAM dumps made by Operating System itself”. These are pagefile (where your virtual memory is kept) and hibernation file (used to quickly turn computer on after hibernation). Both files contain memory artifacts because they are indeed memory. Unlike RAM, they survive reboot so you can investigate them. Interestingly, that inside you can find quite old data, for example, we’ve seen a few cases with Facebook chats as old as few months inside a pagefile.

Belkasoft helps Croatian police solve serious crime

One morning, we received an official looking envelope with a Croatian postal stamp. Intrigued, we opened the letter. It contained a message from the Ministry of Interior Police Administration Bjelovarsko-bilogorska of Croatia. In this message, they sent us a story of a crime that was solved by the Criminal Police Department of Bjelovar, Croatia. Why did they mail us? Because they used Belkasoft Evidence Center to solve that crime.

According to the report, during February 2014 the Croatian police worked on a case they code-named “PHOTOMODELL”. During this case of child pornography, the police was trying to find evidence against a suspect. And they did! Using Belkasoft Evidence Center to search the suspect’s several hard drives, the police were able to discover solid evidence connecting the suspect with the crime. Apparently, they gathered enough evidence for the court to convict the suspect.

You can read more about this case at Belkasoft Helps Croatian Police.pdf. Have your own story to share? Send us an email!