VMDK Direct Access with VMWare Workstation – Hash Analysis

Previous posts outlined some of the benefits of using VMWare Workstation or other virtualization technology to host not only forensic analysis workstations as well as other workstations for test and validation. One of the advantages of utilizing VMWare Workstation is the ability for the host workstation to share a folder with guest workstations in read only mode.

This feature is especially appealing as a way to directly access and analyze the VMDK files of virtual test and validation workstations by a virtual forensic analysis workstation.

To verify that the VMDK file was not modified while utilizing the Read Only option for shared folders in VMWare Workstation I calculated the hash value of the VMDK file via multiple access methods. The results are shown below. Continue reading

Accessing VMWare Workstation Shared Folders with FTK Imager

In the previous posts we have looked at the ability to run test and validation workstations as well as a forensic examination workstations within VMWare Workstation.  The ability to map a drive from within the virtual forensic examination system to directly access the VMDK files of the test workstations was also discussed previously. Continue reading

VMWare Workstation for Research and Validation

In my previous post I talked about the use of virtualization technology and how it is beneficial in the world of digital forensics.  One of the ways that many utilize virtual workstations is for research and validation.

Two of the advantages of virtualization are the ability to revert the workstation to a clean state by utilizing snapshots as well as the ability to quickly examine a virtual workstation in a read only mode without having to acquire a clone of the workstation. Continue reading

Virtualization in Digital Forensics

I have a been a proponent of virtualization both from a personal standpoint but also a business standpoint. My journey into the world of digital forensics is no exception. I have read several articles and listened to multiple podcasts that talk about the advantages of using virtualization for not only the forensic workstation being utilized by an examiner but also for research, testing, and validation.

Forensic workstations, research, and validation are exactly what I am using virtual machines running in VMWare Workstation to accomplish. Continue reading