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Publisher

The Association of Digital Forensics, Security and Law (ADFSL)

Abstract

The Amcache.hve is a registry hive file that is created by Microsoft® Windows® to store the information related to execution of programs. This paper highlights the evidential potential of Amcache.hve file and its application in the area of user activity analysis. The study uncovers numerous artifacts retained in Amcache.hve file when a user performs certain actions such as running host-based applications, installation of new applications, or running portable applications from external devices. The results of experiments demonstrate that Amcache.hve file stores intriguing artifacts related to applications such as timestamps of creation and last modification of any application; name, description, publisher name and version of applications; execution file path, SHA-1 hash of executable files etc. These artifacts are found to persist even after the applications have been deleted from the system. Further experiments were conducted to evaluate forensic usefulness of the information stored in Amcache.hve and it was found that Amcache.hve information is propitious to trace the deleted applications, malware programs and applications run from external devices. Finally, comparison of information in Amcache.hve file with information in other similar sources (IconCache.db, SRUDB.dat and Prefetch files) is shown, in order to provide more useful information to forensic investigators.

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