OS X 10.x (Client)
When you start your Macintosh investigation it is important to know
what version of the operating system is installed on the computer. The
version of OS X (10.4, 10.5, 10.6) can shape and direct the analysis
as each version has certain unique characteristics for other artifacts
as well as their locations on the disk.
Macintosh operating systems use plist files (.plist) as repositories
for system and program settings/information. Plist files can wither be
in a binary-encoded format (bplist file header) or as XML.
To get the operating system version the first plist files you will
want to examine is the “SystemVersion.plist” located in
“/System/Library/CoreServices/” folder. With this knowledge you
can be aware of other plists and system artifacts that are unique to
the OS under inspection.
Forensic Programs of Use
plist Edit Pro (Mac):
plist Editor Pro (Win):
Installed Printers (Mac)
Mac OS X
This property list (plist) on a Mac OS X machine will tell you what types of printers have been installed on that system. Be advised though, that a printer may have been uninstalled/removed by the user and if they have not restarted their computer, that printer’s entry will persist until the computer is rebooted. This plist will then be overwritten to reflect the change.
Apple Developer Tools: http://developer.apple.com/technologies/tools/xcode.html
Forensic Programs of Use
plist Editor that is provided with XCode
Safari Browsing History (Mac)
Safari is the default browser on the Mac OS X Operating System. As with most browsers, there is a plethora of information to be found and Browsing History is one of them. If you are looking into the Safari Browsing History on an Apple computer, you will have to find the History.plist to get that information. For those that don’t know, a plist is a Preference file for an application on an Apple computer. They usually contain user settings for that particular application. They also hold information regarding that application. The default setting for Browsing History in Safari 4 and 5 is one month.
Now, locate the Safari History plist by navigating to /username/Library/Safari/History.plist on the suspect machine. Then export it out of your case. If you are working in a Windows based forensics lab, you can download a copy of WOWSoft’s free plist Editor and install it. Once installed, find the exported copy of the History.plist file and open it. You will see the following screen:
If you are using a Mac as your forensics platform, I would suggest heading over to the Apple Developers site and register there to get a free copy of XCode 3. XCode comes with a plist Editor included. Once installed, it becomes your default viewer for plists. Locate the History.plist file that you wish to view and double click on it. It will open in the plist Editor and here is what you will see:
Now let’s say I want to find out the Last Visit Date & Time to a particular site. I would locate the site in the History and look for the lastVisitedDate row and look across to the right to the third column:
Now the value that you see recorded there is Mac Absolute Time. You are going to want to decode that into a readable format. In Windows, you can download a copy of R. Craig Wilson’s DCode to do that. For example, you would take the number shown in the lastVisitedDate row and enter all of the numbers in up to the period into DCode, choose Mac Absolute Time and make sure to adjust for the suspect machine’s Time Zone Settings and click on Decode. I have used the lastVisitedDate string from the example screenshots I have provided above and received the following results:
AUTHOR NOTE— As of this post, I am unfamiliar with a tool/utility that works in Mac OS X that has the same functionality. If someone can point me in the right direction, I will be more than happy to edit this post and give full credit.
Forensic Tools of Use
Apple Developer Tools (XCode): http://developer.apple.com/programs/mac/
WOWSoft’s Free plist editor of Windows: http://www.icopybot.com/blog/free-plist-editor-for-windows-10-released.htm
DCode by R. Craig Wilson (Digital Detective UK): http://www.digital-detective.co.uk/freetools/decode.asp
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