We are very excited to announce our first major release of 2018 - MacQuisition 2018 R1 is now available! MacQuisition continues to be the leading and most advanced forensic imaging software for Mac OS X and macOS.
When Apple launched macOS High Sierra, unarguably the biggest change was the creation of the new Apple File System (APFS). With the challenges that this presents examiners in Mac forensic imaging, providing enhanced APFS support through MacQuisition 2018 R1 has been one of BlackBag’s highest priorities.
Uniquely versatile and reliable, MacQuisition is the trusted forensic solution that runs within a native OS X boot environment. The advanced imaging processes of MacQuisition provides examiners with the software to acquire live data (including RAM) or forensically image over 200 different Apple computers.
“The innovative technologies present in today’s personal computers frequently make the already challenging job for law enforcement and intelligence communities that much more difficult,” explains Ben Charnota, BlackBag’s Chief Customer Officer. “We appreciate all their collective efforts working tirelessly to keep us all safe, so we have spent some time ourselves getting this functionality into our tools - in hopes of making their jobs a bit less challenging.”
What’s New and Improved?
To enhance our forensic Mac imaging tool further, the new features and enhancements of MacQuisition 2018 R1 include:
- Ability to format and write to NTFS destination drives
- Enhanced Apple File System support, including unlocking APFS FileVault 2 encryption
- Ability to capture RAM and targeted collections live on High Sierra
- Ability to create a logical container for data collections with the output written to a sparse disk image
Top 4 New Features
1. Formatting and imaging to NTFS drives
We understand why Windows users are looking for a better destination drive solution than FAT32 and ExFAT formats. BlackBag listened to your requests and we are now licensing and using Paragon NTFS for Mac drivers in MacQuisition 2018 R1 and later. This provides the ability to format drives as NTFS in the ‘Tools’ view. It also allows 2018 R1 users to write data collections and images to NTFS formatted destination drives.
2. Unlocking APFS with FileVault 2 encryption
Examiners are increasingly encountering Apple File System formatted Mac computers with FileVault 2 encryption. MacQuisition 2018 R1 detects FileVault 2 and, after an examiner has entered the password, recovery key, or recovery keychain in ‘Tools’ view, MacQuisition will unlock the APFS synthesized disk and reveal the decrypted data. Thereafter, the examiner is able to conduct a data collection from the unlocked volume to a folder or sparse image.
Examiners will be aware that APFS encryption is handled differently to CoreStorage. We would encourage examiners to look for details in our new “Ask An Expert” series. Part of this series will cover how data storage and encryption has changed and what techniques examiners can use to ensure that they acquire an image they can successfully examine.
3. Capturing RAM and data collections live on High Sierra 10.13
Despite High Sierra’s increased SIP (System Integrity Protection), restricting what an application can access while the Mac is running live, we were still able to build in solutions to MacQuisition 2018 R1. Although SIP prevents live imaging of the 10.13 operating system volume, we solved how to capture RAM and perform data collections while the Mac is running live. The Data Collection pre-selected categories are also improved to better support the files on High Sierra.
4. Creating logical data containers for collections
BlackBag strives to keep up with the ever-changing needs of today’s examiners. Through MacQuisition 2018 R1, examiners are able to conduct targeted data collections and send the output to a logical container. The output is written to a sparse disk image of an HFS+, APFS, NTFS or ExFAT formatted destination drive. This logical container can then be processed by BlackLight, our forensic analysis software.
Your Feedback Fuels The Design
As we grow and perfect new features and functionality within our products, we need you to continue to provide the insightful feedback that has allowed us to develop the tool we are proud to offer today. If you would like to submit feedback or suggestions, please contact us through our product feedback form. Through your feedback, we can continue to provide investigators with the solutions they need to solve the critical issues they face every day.
Join us for our webinar, "Ask an Expert: How will APFS impact my investigations?" on January 31st with Dr. Joe Sylve, Director of Research and Development at BlackBag Technologies.