A RAM triage methodology for Hadoop HDFS forensics

Leimich, P., Buchanan, W. (2016). A RAM triage methodology for Hadoop HDFS forensics. Digital Investigation, , (), .



This paper discusses the challenges of performing a forensic investigation against a multi-node Hadoop cluster and proposes a methodology for examiners to use in such situations. The procedure's aim of minimising disruption to the data centre during the acquisition process is achieved through the use of RAM forensics. This affords initial cluster reconnaissance which in turn facilitates targeted data acquisition on the identified DataNodes. To evaluate the methodology's feasibility, a small Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) was configured and forensic artefacts simulated upon it by deleting data originally stored in the cluster. RAM acquisition and analysis was then performed on the NameNode in order to test the validity of the suggested methodology. The results are cautiously positive in establishing that RAM analysis of the NameNode can be used to pinpoint the data blocks affected by the attack, allowing a targeted approach to the acquisition of data from the DataNodes, provided that the physical locations can be determined. A full forensic analysis of the DataNodes was beyond the scope of this project.
[Read More]


William Buchanan
Director of CDCS
+44 131 455 2759
Petra Leimich
Lecturer in Security and Networks
+44 131 455 2593

Areas of Expertise

Electronic information now plays a vital role in almost every aspect of our daily lives. So the need for a secure and trustworthy online infrastructure is more important than ever. without it, not only the growth of the internet but our personal interactions and the economy itself could be at risk.

Associated Projects