Using Sleuth Kit 05 - File listing tool


Digital forensic examiners extract useful information from files. The Sleuth Kit provides powerful tool to list files contained in a partition. This tool is fls.

The basic format of fls is: fls [partition_image] [[inode]].

The inode value is optional.

As a simple example, suppose we want to list files in the root folder of partition image “logicalUSBraw.001”. Simply use:

$ fls logicalUSBraw.001

What if what we have is a whole disk image? Of course we can use mmcat to extract the target partition to a new image file and proceed with fls. But an easier method will be using the offset value of the target partition given by the mmls tool and combining it with -o argument.

For instance, suppose the mmls provides the following result:

$ mmls physicalUSBraw.001

     Slot    Start        End          Length       Description
00:  Meta    0000000000   0000000000   0000000001   Primary Table (#0)
01:  -----   0000000000   0000000511   0000000512   Unallocated
02:  00:00   0000000512   0001957887   0001957376   DOS FAT16 (0x06)

From the list, we can tell that partition 02 starts at offset 512. Thus, to list files in root folder of this partition, use command:

$ fls physicalUSBraw.001 -o 512

Either way, the content of the root folder will be listed like:

r/r 3:  USB DISK    (Volume Label Entry)
r/r 5:  ._.Trashes
d/d 5:  folderA
d/d 11: Recycled
r/r 18: Paper.docx
r/r 36: DB 02.png
r/r * 38: research.docx
d/d * 46:       Print
d/d 66: $RECYCLE.BIN
r/r 112:
v/v 31310339:   $MBR
v/v 31310340:   $FAT1
v/v 31310341:   $FAT2
d/d 31310342:   $OrphanFiles

By default, there are three columns in the result. This first column “r/r’ or ‘d/d’ indicates the entry type(“r” refers to regular file and “d” refers to directory). The second column is metadata(inode) address of the entry. The third column is the file name.

If an entry is a deleted one, an asterisk(*) will be shown after the entry type. Thus, the file “research.docx” and folder “Print” in the list above are deleted entries.

To list entries in subfolders, find the inode address of the folder, then use it as a parameter of fls. For example, according to the result, the inode address of folder “folderA” is 5. So, to list entries in folderA, use the following command:

$ fls logicalUSBraw.001 5

Above are the basic uses of fls. But fls has some more advanced options to help users complete their tasks. The detailed manual of fls can be found by using command man fls. It has a long list of arguments. Some importance ones are listed below:

By combining these arguments and some other commands, users can easily locate files they are interested in. Some useful examples are given here:

List all folders and subfolders of the partition (Show folder structure):
$ fls image_name -rD

List all files in the whole partition:
$ fls image_name -rF

List all deleted entries in the whole partition:
$ fls image_name -rd

List all .docx files in the whole partition(Linux):
$ fls image_name -rF | grep .docx

List all deleted .jpg files in the whole partition(Linux):
$ fls image_name -rdF | grep .jpg

In addition, we can use the -l argument to print a detailed entry list, which contains many useful proprieties of the entry.

Just read the manual of fls and give it a try!

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