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Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Monday, Feb 10, 2020 - 11:33:   

A preview version of X-Ways Forensics 20.0 is now available. The URL of the download directory for all recent versions can be retrieved by querying one's license status as always.

What's new in v20.0 Preview 1?

* APFS: Supports new Catalog ID structure as created by Mac OS Catalina.

* Technical Details Report/evidence object properties now show details of MacOS X Installations on HFS+ or APFS volumes: Exact OS X version, timezone, the system's network and display names.

* UFS support has been revised. Significantly more UFS variants are now understood.

* JPEG screenshot identification now based on generating device recognition.

* Improved classification of pictures based on pixel dimensions.

* X-Ways Forensics now knows an additional 5000 devices to better identify the origins of JPEG pictures.

* Simplified output of "Quality" in the summary table for JPEG files. It can assume one of the values High, Medium, Low and Very low. It is based on the lossy compression percentage of the DQT segment.

* Additional test in the check for camera originals based on whether the EXIF tags are sorted or not.

* Output of GPS coordinates with up to 6 digits after the decimal point. This is useful because of the habit of newer Samsung device models to specify more decimals and indirectly express the precision of the value by that, contrary to the convention to use the GPS Error tag for that information, unlike Apple and older Samsung models.

* If the GPS format encountered is "unexpected" based on the assumed source of the JPEG file, that is brought to the user's attention in Details mode. The GPS format will be shown as "unknown" if it is not used in camera original pictures (for example the format of the Geosetter application).

* Generally improved GPS format consistency tests.

* Various minor improvements.

* Fixes of v19.9 SR-4 all included.
Stefan Fleischmann (Admin)
Username: Admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Thursday, Mar 19, 2020 - 21:38:   

Preview 2:

* Support for much more deeply nested subdirectories in XFS volumes.

* Fixed an error in the disk I/O X-Tension API.

* General option to open volumes including the slack that doesn't add to another cluster just like when opening an entire partition. The data in that area, aside from a potential NTFS backup boot sector, does not belong to that volume logically and was stored there before the volume was created. It is not needed to parse the file system or to mount the volume (though some tools may output an error message if it's not included). Including such data in a volume image can be an IT security leak if only the regularly accessible part of the volume had been sanitized before usage.

* Two additional status values for JPEG files. All JPEG files are now presented with such a status. The modification status "scaled" means that a picture was created with a content management system such as WordPress, TYPO3, Drupal. Such a picture can be considered publicized, with a reduced intelligence value. The modification status "undefined" means that the status cannot be determined. Practically such pictures cannot be regarded as documents.

* Revised and more thorough metadata extraction from HTML files. In particular, "Open Graph" metadata is now extracted.

* Video signature table updated.

* Reduced false positive rate when detecting scanned documents.

* Support for certain copy-protected PDF documents from X-Ways.

* Some general improvements.

* Fixes of v19.9 SR-5 included.
Stefan Fleischmann (Admin)
Username: Admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Tuesday, Mar 31, 2020 - 18:01:   

Preview 3:

* X-Tension API: XWF_OpenItem now supports a new flag to open only the plain text of files, which X-Ways Forensics is able to extract from various file types.

* Identifies some new bus types.

* Some of the fixes from v19.9 SR-6.
Stefan Fleischmann (Admin)
Username: Admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Friday, Apr 3, 2020 - 23:54:   

Preview 4:

* Some fixes and minor improvements.
Stefan Fleischmann (Admin)
Username: Admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Sunday, Apr 5, 2020 - 22:14:   

Preview 5:

* Some minor improvements.

* Same fix level as v19.9 SR-6.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Monday, Apr 20, 2020 - 22:45:   

Preview 6:

* Ability to import hash values from v2.0 of Project VIC JSON files.

* The generation of thumbnails of non-picture files for the report is now more consistent in the results it produces.

* Some improvements in stability and error handling.

* The reported "size" of JPEG pictures now always has 1 or 2 values. Sizes that are not standard sizes with a common name (such as "XGA") are described as "thumbnail", "medium", "medium large", "large" or "big" based on the terminology established by Wordpress. If a generating device is identified, the field is named "sensor size" instead or - in the case of scanners - "paper size".

* The "processing state" now also always has a value. The processing state now depends on the detected generator, where each generator is now assigned to one of three generator classes D (device), E (editor), or C (content management system). JPEG files produced by generator class D are absolute originals. The processing state is always "original". JPEG files produced by the generator class E are relative originals. Their processing state is always "Edited normally". Examples are photos published by news agencies like Reuters.

The detected processing state of the third generator class (CMS like WordPress, Drupal, TYPO3, Joomla etc.) can assume different values. They are usually irregularly edited, i.e. their edited status is not officially indicated. The state can be deducted indirectly based on filename, generator signature, pixel dimension. The state "irregularly edited" can also result from picture manipulations.

The state "EXIF stripped" refers to JPEG pictures, whose device origin was detected although no EXIF metadata is present. The device can potentially be detected based on generator signature, filename or a characteristic pixel dimension.

The state "social media" is indicated separately because such pictures often have a higher intelligence value. Unlike news agency pictures they are rather semi-public in nature.

The state "scaled" is new and refers to classical content management systems. It can be said with a high probability that such pictures have been released to the public. They were automatically and individually adapted to the respective output display in order to optimize the loading time of the web page.

The state "minimized" is also new and indicates that the JPEG quality was reduced or that the file size was reduced by optimized recompression (jpeg-recompress, JPEGMini).

The state "undefined" is a category for everything that remains. Such pictures are usually also the output of content management systems, those that do not identify themselves and whose format is not yet identified (which may change in future versions).

* Several minor improvements.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Sunday, May 10, 2020 - 22:17:   

Beta 1:

* Some good news for users who are cut off from their offices and/or have no access to their dongles due to a regional lockdown, quarantine measures, travel restrictions or mail service disruptions. As long as someone else has access to your dongle (a colleague), they can temporarily deactivate (mothball) the dongle in v20.0, which allows you to use X-Ways Forensics with other means instead, for the time being, at a nominal price. For details please see www.x-ways.net/dongle_protection2.html.

* Usage of internal keyboard hooks for enhanced keyboard shortcuts is now optional, cf. Options | Security.

* New version of the internal picture viewing library.

* Extended timestamps from the extra field in zip records are now extracted and presented in the timestamp columns based on Apple specifications, which is not always how these timestamps were meant. An alternative interpretation can be seen for each zip record in Details mode when selecting the zip archive. The latter interpretation shows these timestamps with the "UT" prefix and tries to recognize the actual format variant, for example for GrayKey.

* The processing state and other values (size, bits per pixel, filename analysis) are now also output for PNG files. The same processing states as for JPEG are used, except "Irregularly edited" and "EXIF stripped" are not possible. The value "Original" is used only for screenshots, if they have passed a special test.

* Some minor improvements.

* Most of the fixes of v19.9 SR-7.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Monday, May 11, 2020 - 22:07:   

Beta 1b:

* WEBP pictures are now supported in Preview, Gallery, and for the View command.

* Ability to choose which copy of a FAT12/FAT16/FAT32 file allocation table to work with, in Options | Volume Snapshot. This can be either a user-designated copy or the one that is defined as active in the boot sector (in case of FAT32). If neither the user selects a copy nor the boot sector defines a single copy as active, the first copy will be used, labelled as "FAT 1", like in earlier versions. The copy that was selected at the time when the volume snapshot was taken will be used for the whole lifetime of that volume snapshot, even if the settings are changed. It is displayed in the Info Pane. The Technical Details Report now informs which copy or copies are considered active in the file system.

* Fixed an error in Beta 1.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 9:37:   

Beta 1c:

* Some errors in v20.0 Beta 1 fixed.

* Ability to view some pictures in DICOM format.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 14:21:   

Beta 2:

* Preview mode and the View command now use the same digit grouping character, decimal character, date separator, time separator and date order as active elsewhere X-Ways Forensics, to format numbers and dates in spreadsheets.

* An option for an alternative interpretation of extended timestamps in the extra field of zip records can now be found in Options | Volume Snapshot. Processing currently needs some more time, but can be useful for example to extract an additional type of timestamp from GrayKey collections (a record change timestamp).

* More efficient generation of thumbnails of non-pictures in the gallery.

* Metadata extraction from WEBP pictures revised. Output of processing states, similar to PNG files. File type identification/verification for DICOM and WEBP revised.

* Generator signature table updated.

* The Windows username of the current user is now logged in each section of msglog.txt, in addition to the exact program release that was previously logged already.

* In newly refined volume snapshots, the column "1st sector" is now populated properly for files in Zip archives with the sector that contains the local zip record for the respective file. Clicking a file in a zip archive now automatically jumps directly to its local zip record, which is followed by the (usually) compressed file data. Does not apply to files in nested zip archives.

* Several minor improvements.

* Same fix level as v19.9 SR-7.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Sunday, May 24, 2020 - 19:12:   

Beta 3:

* New ability of the Simultaneous Search to find numbers and dates not only if stored literally as text, but also if numbers or dates are stored in binary form in certain spreadsheet files (e.g. in OLE2 compound file format) or in some other encoded form (e.g. dates encoded as textual integer numbers in XML), if the "decode text" option is on. This works pretty well with numbers in Excel and LibreOffice Calc spreadsheets, but can be tricky occasionally with the format of dates if the original Excel user has selected a custom date format instead of one of the standard date formats and also because of some specialties with certain Calc files where it's not 100% predictable that a date will be extractable in the expected format. This kind of search likely works with some other file types as well, e.g. older spreadsheet types like MS Works or Lotus 123. You can try and define the file types in Options | Viewer Programs if needed. To quickly see and double-check the extraction of numbers and dates from a particular file of interest, you select that file in the directory browser and switch from ordinary to raw preview mode with the Shift key pressed. Please feel encouraged to completely remove that new file mask there for faster text decoding if you do not need to search for numbers and dates in spreadsheets.

Some more details about number searches: Consider a cell in an MS Excel spreadsheet that contains the number 1234567. You can now find that number with the Simultaneous Search searching simply for "1234567" (without the quotation marks). Even if you just know part of the sequence of digits and search for "34567", you will get a search hit (unless the "whole words only" option is on). If the cell has the "number" format (not "general"), with digit grouping enabled, you can optionally get the number with digit grouping when the file is searched/indexed/decoded in that volume snapshot for the first time, using the digit grouping symbol that is defined in X-Ways Forensics in Options | Notation, but that is not generally recommended because you would have to search for the same number both with and without the grouping symbol if you don't know whether the original spreadsheet cells were formatted as "number" with or without digit grouping or as "general". Anyway, to give you another example, if you enable that option for digit grouping in number cells in Options | Viewer Programs and you live in an English speaking country, using a comma as the digit grouping symbol, you would thus search for "1,234,567" to find that number in a number cell. You can also search for just ",567" to find the digit group "567" at the end or in the middle of any longer number in that notation.

If the number that you are looking for is a floating point number, the same rules apply, and you can optionally enter the number with as many decimals as you expect to be visible in the cell in the original application (or less), with the same decimal symbol as in your notation settings in X-Ways Forensics (either a point or comma). If a floating point number is stored for example as 9.876 and formatted to show 2 decimals, it will be shown rounded as 9.88 in the original application and will also be searchable like that in X-Ways Forensics. The same rules apply to currency amounts. You can append or prepend the currency symbol if you know for sure that it was shown in the original formatting, and how (e.g. with or without space between currency symbol and number), or you just omit symbol.

You can search for dates in pure date cells using the notation that is active in X-Ways Forensics as the so-called simple date format. If your simple date format is MM/dd/YY, you would search for 12/31/19 to find the date Dec 31, 2019. Partial date searches are also possible, and make sense especially if you do not use American date styles. For example in ISO notation "yyyy-MM-dd" you can search for "2019-07-". Or in German notation "dd.MM.yy" you can search for ".07.19" to find any date in July 2019.

Pure time cell searches have also become possible (with partial or whole time expressions). Just make sure to use the separator that is active in X-Ways Forensics for the display of times.

Searches for combined date and time values are supported, however, the delimiter between date and time that you can expect is not the delimiter defined in Options | Notation, but typically a single space, or an individual delimiter defined by the user of the spreadsheet.

If an Excel worksheet is embedded in a .docx, .pptx, or .odt file and the volume snapshot has been sufficiently refined, the worksheet will be processed and searched in the same way as if it was a separate file. If embedded in a .doc file, you would get a notification in the form of a report table association "Contains embedded document(s)", which is often useful to check manually anyway.

The number search capabilities should prove very useful especially in forensic accounting, tax fraud investigations etc. Please note that the simple search function of the viewer component (Ctrl+F3) in ordinary ("pretty") Preview mode or the View command cannot find numbers or dates in spreadsheets no matter how you type them.

* The command line parameter for automated (unsupervised) imaging is now supported in X-Ways Imager just like in X-Ways Forensics.

* The filters for size and first sector now have a modulo option. With that option in the Size filter you can for example filter out files that are not a multiple of the sector size, when looking for raw disk images or TrueCrypt/VeraCrypt container files. With that option in the First Sector filter you can for example focus on files that are cluster-aligned or not.

* Settings of the Size filter, the Hash Value filter, and the Device Type filter are now stored in .settings files and in .xfc case files like the settings of other column-based filters.

* The text filters for comments, metadata, and event descriptions now have an option for case sensitivity.

* Detection and avoidance of more zip bomb variants.

* Active sector superimposition is now remembered in an evidence object and automatically re-activated when the evidence object is opened next time, and you will be reminded of that.

* Automatic password detection with a dictionary did not work in certain encrypted archives. That was fixed (and will also be fixed in v19.9 SR-8 and v19.8 SR-12).

* Some minor improvements.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Monday, Jun 15, 2020 - 7:12:   

In order to use v20.0 Beta 3 a little longer, please press Alt+Ctrl when clicking OK to dismiss the expiration warning.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 16, 2020 - 22:23:   

Beta 4:

* X-Ways Forensics now respects Windows settings for window text and background colors. We are referring to the settings that you were able to reach with a few mouse clicks in the Control Panel in Windows XP, which in Windows 7 you can still find via Personalization | Window Color | Advanced appearance settings, and which in Windows 10 can still be edited as raw RGB value with the Registry Editor in this key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER | Control Panel | Colors (followed by logging in and out).

* Black backgrounds for almost all parts of the user interface (main window, data window, Case Data window, ...) in particular are now supported in X-Ways Forensics, which can be helpful when working in an environment with little ambient light, which generally benefits users who think they can work longer with a less bright screen, and which in general should reduce the disruption of melatonin production and the circadian rhythm among people who face screens emitting unnatural light. The viewer component already previously respected those settings for most document types (it does not or cannot respect them for PDF files for example).

* For the most complete dark screen experience you would change your entire Windows system to a dark theme. The easiest way to achieve that not only for "apps", but also real desktop applications, is to activate the black high contrast theme. In Windows 10 you would go to PC Settings | Personalization | Settings for high contrast | Activate high contrast | Contrast black.

* There is also a dark mode specific to X-Ways Forensics now, which is readily available even without any of the above procedures or settings, in Options | General, which you can activate when needed for night time or generally, for health reasons or to attract less attention during secretive work in a dark adversary environment. It is not 100% complete, as for example it does not affect user interface elements such as window captions, pop-up menus, scrollbars, standard file selection windows or date selection boxes for which dark mode support from Windows is needed (see above).

* Various meaningful colors in the graphical user interface had to be adjusted in X-Ways Forensics' own dark mode or when a black background color in Windows settings is detected and adopted, for example the color of file types depending on the type status. In the calendar, the grayscale coding of days with lots of activities is inversed if the background color is black. If you discover text that is unreadable in dark mode, please report back. User-definable colors such as "already viewed", modified bytes and block selection currently have to be adjusted manually.

* A new option useful in conjunction with dark mode is the ability to render pictures with the internal graphics viewing library as well as all thumbnails in the gallery darker. If that check box, which can be found next to the check box for dark mode in Options | General, is half checked, that means the pixels will be darkened a little less.

* Some more GUI adjustments for high DPI settings.

* More JPEG, PNG and WEBP pictures than before are now presented with a processing state.

* Some more "content created" timestamps are now extracted from pictures, in particular from XMP metadata.

* E-mails that are extracted from PST/OST e-mail archives and that are attached to other e-mails are now described as extracted e-mails and attachments at the same time.

* The Flex filters now have the option for a logical AND combination of all search terms, so that for example you can filter for e-mails that at the same time are described as attachments.

* Some of the fixes of v19.9 SR-8.

* Several minor improvements.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 17, 2020 - 17:58:   

Beta 4b:

* Some dark mode improvements in Preview mode, Details mode and in the Registry Viewer.

* Color preferences for block selections, tag marks, "already viewed", modified bytes, and positions/search hits highlighting are now remembered separately for normal mode and dark mode.

* Some fixes and minor improvements.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Sunday, Jun 28, 2020 - 22:05:   

Beta 5:

* New X-Tension API function XWF_ManageSearchTerm().

* Ability of the X-Tension API XWF_Search() function to specify the alphabet(s) that define word boundaries.

* Supports Ext4 volumes with version 2 of sparse superblocks.

* Some minor improvements.

* Fixed some graphical problems of Beta 4.

* Same fix level as v19.9 SR-8.
Ted Smith
Username: ted_smith

Registered: N/A
Posted on Wednesday, Jul 1, 2020 - 9:26:   

> Supports Ext4 volumes with version 2 of sparse superblocks

Jens : with this being for ext4, does it cover the issue we spoke about via e-mail with the RAID0 and LVM (which was ext3 I think)? Or is this a fix for that?
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Wednesday, Jul 1, 2020 - 9:37:   

Not related.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Sunday, Jul 5, 2020 - 14:52:   

Beta 6:

* Generally improved handling of incomplete/corrupted .e01 evidence files, similar to storage media with unreadable areas (bad sectors). NTFS: A limited listing of system files is now presented based on $MFTMirr if in an such an incomplete image $MFT is not included, but $MFTMirr is.

* Ability to abort the potentially time-consuming preparation of a cluster allocation map for huge volumes and still proceed with taking the actual volume snapshot if desired (without reverse cluster allocation information).

* Some improvements for multi-monitor environments.

* Forced dark mode now slightly more complete.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Monday, Jul 6, 2020 - 16:02:   

Beta 6b:

* Identifies unpartitioned physical disks or disk images as such in some rare cases where it previously didn't.

* Slightly more complete output of Ext* file system timestamps.

* Some other minor improvements.

* Fixed graphical glitches.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Monday, Jul 20, 2020 - 7:49:   

Beta 7:

* Navigation within a file archive with directories is now possible without leaving File mode when touching a directory.

* Archive subtypes in a section that is not selected for automatic inclusion in the volume snapshot are now still explored when manually double-clicked by the user.

* Support for .ctx Chrome Extensions as file archives. That file type is now included in the "Special interest" section of archives in a fresh installation.

* Support for split zip archives in PKZIP/WinZip and 7-Zip styles.

* The alternative .eml preview option now affects PDF representations of e-mails generated by the Recover/Copy command.

* Same fix level as v19.9 SR-9.
Stefan Fleischmann
Username: admin

Registered: 1-2001
Posted on Thursday, Aug 6, 2020 - 11:19:   

Beta 8:

* Improved option to filter for carved files with the Description column.

* Can now find search terms in ISO-2022 code pages (Japanese, Korean, Chinese) that span an escape sequence in the original data. Can now find individual characters that require escape sequences in Korean and Chinese ISO-2022 code pages.

* Improved conversion from/to ISO-2022 code pages.

* UTF-16 text from the clipboard is now pasted without the null terminator.

* Most of the fixes of v19.9 SR-10.

* X-Tensions API: C++ function definitions and C++ sample projects updated.

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