Sunday, 6 June 2010

Recovering Safari browser history from unallocated

One of my cases involves the examination of an Apple Mac running Mac OSX 10.5.6 Leopard . The primary web browser in use is Safari version 3.2.1. Typically with Safari I run the Comprehensive Internet History search in Encase but in this case the search would not complete so I had to consider another method to recover and review internet history. Browsing history is stored in a binary plist ~ /Users/User_Name/Library/Safari/History.plist however the live one was empty. I recalled from a much earlier case that you can carve deleted plists from unallocated. I had documented a method for doing this over at but at the time of writing this resource is still offline.

One of the best file carvers around is Blade and I decided to use it to recover the deleted History.plists. Blade has a number of pre-configured built in Recovery Profiles but there wasn't one for Safari. However one of the neat things about Blade is that you can write your own profiles and share them with others. In conversation I had found out that Craig Wilson had written a Safari history.plist recovery profile which he kindly made available to me (after all why re-invent the wheel). I imported it into my copy of Blade and I was then good to go.

Click image for a full size version

Another really neat feature with Blade is that you can run it across the Encase evidence files without having to mount them. Having done this in my case Blade recovered over three thousand deleted History.plist files. I then loaded the recovered plist files into Netanalysis 1.51 resulting in over 300,000 internet history records to review. Cool.

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