Institute for Software Research International
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Counter-Forensic Privacy Tools
A Forensic Evaluation

Matthew Geiger, Lorrie Faith Cranor

June 2005



Modern operating systems and the applications that run on them generate copious amounts of data about their users' activity. Users are increasingly aware of their privacy exposure from these records and from digital artifacts that linger after files are "deleted" on computers they use. Efforts to redress this privacy exposure have spawned a range of counter-forensic privacy tools - software designed to irretrievably eliminate reocrds of computer system usage and other sensitive data.

In this paper, we use forenisc tools and techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of six counter-forensic sofware packages. The results highlight some significant shortfalls in the implementation and approach of these tools, leading to privacy concerns about the exposure of sensitive data. The findings also raise questions about the level of privacy protection tht is realistic to expect from these tools, and others that take a similar approach.

64 pages

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