(First and) Foremost: a Linux computer forensics tool

Computer sleuths interested in running forensic PC operations on a Linux machines should take a look at an open source tool called Foremost.

Written by agents in the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Foremost can read through files and file headers on PCs or copied PC hard disk images. The tool scans a drive or drive image for pre-defined file types or specific text strings, which are defined in a configuration file. Foremost can be used to recover entire files, or partial file fragments from a damaged disk as well as from deleted files on a hard drive. When the program finds files, it copies the file header and data to a file on the local Linux machine.

Foremost was based on a Microsoft DOS-based tool called CarvThis, written by the U.S. government's Defense Computer Forensic Lab. It works by reading data from the actual physical media - a mounted CD or hard disk drive. It can also read entire drive image files created from drive image capture programs, such as SafeBack and Encase, which are well-known products in the computer forensics field. Foremost can also read file headers and data from images created via the Linux/Unix "dd" command, which can be used to create images of hard disks or tape drives, and convert the data to various formats.

Since the tool was written by a government agency under the GPL, and isn't classified, downloading Foremost is free.

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