On the utility of bytewise approximate matching in computer science with a special focus on digital forensics investigations.
Technische Universität, Darmstadt
[Ph.D. Thesis], (2014)
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|Item Type:||Ph.D. Thesis|
|Title:||On the utility of bytewise approximate matching in computer science with a special focus on digital forensics investigations|
Handling hundreds of thousands of files is a major challenge in today’s digital forensics. In order to cope with this information overload, investigators often apply hash functions for automated input identification. Besides identifying exact duplicates, which is mostly solved running cryptographic hash functions, it is also necessary to cope with similar inputs (e.g., different versions of files), embedded objects (e.g., a JPG within a office document), and fragments (e.g., network packets). Thus, the essential idea is to complement the use of cryptographic hash functions, to detect data objects with bytewise identical representation, with the capability to find objects with bytewise similar representations. Unlike cryptographic hash functions, which have a wide range of applications and have been studied as well as tested for a long time, approximate matching algorithms are still in their early development stages. More precisely, currently the community is missing a definition, an evaluation methodology and (additional) fields of application. Therefore, this thesis aims at establishing approximate matching in computer sciences with a special focus on digital forensic investigations. One of our firsts step was to develop a generic definition for approximate matching, in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which is applicable to the different levels approximate matching, e.g., bytewise and semantic. A subsequent detailed analysis of both existing approaches uncovers different strengths and weaknesses, therefore we present improvements. To extend the range of algorithms, this work introduces three of our new algorithms, that are based on well-known techniques of computer sciences. A core contribution of this thesis is the open source evaluation framework called FRASH which assesses tools on different criteria. Besides traditional properties (borrowed from hash functions) like generation efficiency and space efficiency (compression), we conceive methods to determine precision and recall rates based on synthetic as well as real world data. Since digital investigations are often time critical, we improve the performance of automated file identification by a mechanism we call prefetching. Compared to a straight ￼forward analysis, the performance increases by almost 40% without additional hardware. In this context we also discuss the impact of different hashing/approximate matching algorithms for digital investigations and conclude that it is absolutely reasonable to apply crypto hashing as well as bytewise/semantic approximate matching algorithms in a prosecution. To extend the fields of application, this thesis demonstrates the capabilities of applying approximate matching on network traffic analysis and biometric template protection. Our research shows that approximate matching is perfectly suited for data leakage prevention and can also be applied for biometric template protection, biometric data compression and efficient biometric identification.
|Place of Publication:||Darmstadt|
|Classification DDC:||000 Allgemeines, Informatik, Informationswissenschaft > 004 Informatik|
|Divisions:||20 Department of Computer Science|
|Date Deposited:||28 Jul 2014 10:42|
|Last Modified:||28 Jul 2014 10:42|
|Referees:||Katzenbeisser, Prof. Dr. Stefan and Baier, Prof. Dr. Harald and Freiling, Prof. Dr. Felix|
|Refereed:||30 June 2014|
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