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Forensic tool will advance data recovery

New computer forensic tools will make it possible to recover more data from corrupted hard drives so long as the missing files haven't been overwritten.


Tools designed to harvest images from disks even after they have been deleted from the file system can be adapted to seek other file formats including Word documents, says Nasir Memon, a professor at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

In research that he hasn't yet published, Memon says will show that techniques used to cull images can be adapted to find text files, a capability that would be attractive to businesses trying to salvage data that may be fragmented and dispersed across a corrupted drive.

The text tool will examine fragmented chunks of files that may be distributed across a disk and analyze their content to see which ones likely go together. "It looks at global differences, for example, Twain vs. Shakespeare. Syntax helps eliminate false positives," Memon says.

The tool is based on a recovery method known as SmartCarving that was discovered at NYU and is commercially sold by vendor DigitalAssembly, which was founded by former students of Memon.

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