Alternative data streams Essay



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In today’s engineering environment, malware authors and Hackers are intensely motivated to conceal their malicious package. They use the malicious package to gain themselves by stealing your informations. The malicious package are hidden so that they are non detected as they are traveling to be deleted, which render them useless and, hence, no net income. The Alternative Data Streams ( ADS ) besides known as the NTFS Streams, are aspects added to the NTFS file so that windows become compatible with the Mac operating system used in Macintosh computing machines. It enables both a mac and a Windowss user to portion files therefore some information is stored in the ADS on the NTFS of the Windowss based runing system. Malware authors use the information stored in the ADS to conceal their malicious package.

Thesis Statement

There are several ways in which ADS can be manipulated by hackers and Malware authors. They can conceal malicious files behind other files doing the forepart file seeable to the Windowss explorer or when the “DIR” bid is used to look into ( Windows Data Hiding, 2013 ) . The file hidden buttocks is non needfully individual, there can be multiple files.

An ADS Spy is a package used to run and eliminate Alternative Data Streams from NTFS. Since the ADS are methods of maintaining metadata for files that are non basically stored where they belong, which occurs when a Windows operating system is sharing files with a Mac operating system ( Abrams, 2012 ) . Malware authors and Hackers use this procedure to conceal their malicious files or even Trojans intended to infect the system. The ADS Spy is used to scan the Windowss directory where most Alternative Data Streams are located. If they are detected, they can be deleted utilizing the ADS Spy package.

NTFS is the most preferable file system because of its NT-based OS. It replaced File Access Table ( FAT ) file system used by earlier OS. The relationship of alternate informations watercourses and the NTFS is that they permit engrafting of meta-information in files and directories without altering their initial functionality or informations. Alternative Data Streams have no bounds in footings of size. Numerous watercourses can be connected to a regular file. Even their information is non limited to text files ; they can besides engraft binary files on a directory or a file ( Roth, 2001 ) .

There are a figure of Alternative Data Streams used by Windowss for assorted grounds like the “Summary information” used to update the drumhead info of the directory or the file. It was created by Windows. Other watercourses are “DocumentSummaryInformation” which is created when an end-user updates the file drumhead info. “ AFP_Afpinfo” is an icon watercourse belonging to Macintosh. Finally the “encryptable” it is attached to the “thumb. DB” file and it has zero size ( Nelson, Phillips, & A ; Steuart, 2010 ) .

The indispensable public-service corporation of ADS was to do Windows runing system compatible with Mac runing systems which use Hierarchical File System ( HFS ) . Data and the resource forks are watercourses used by Macintosh file system. The resource fork shops the meta-information whereas the information fork shops the echt information. Window presented Alternative Data Streams in NTFS so as to hive away excess informations for files and directories and to do it compatible with HFS. ADS can hive away non-critical informations related to files or directories often accessed when an end-user usage the right chink bid. Other utilizations of Alternative Data Streams is kept keywords related to the directory or the file ( Roth, 2001 ) .

Associate files with founts and sounds, supply a prevue of the thumbnail image, give the Mac runing systems icon types, they permit the use of favicons that give the individuality of the web site, and they provide a papers drumhead info with the directory or the file. Applications like Internet Explorer and “zone.identifier” use alternate informations watercourses. They are spontaneously included in the downloaded files. Internet Explorer saves website icons that are favorites utilizing alternate informations watercourses ( Roth, 2001 ) .

Since Alternative Data Streams are non listed in the Windows Explorer, they do non include the infinite usage when the computation of the free infinite on the difficult disc is done. This extra infinite used by the Alternative Data Streams can do difficult disc failures or even mistakes since the infinite used is non seeable to the Windows Explorer making confusion and intuition of Disk Error. Other troubles that come from the usage of Alternative Data Streams in hive awaying critical meta-information, they make the informations corrupt particularly if it is copied to blink utilizing FAT or the information is being emailed. As watercourses can be hidden, hackers and malware authors exploit this functionality to engraft malicious files or even Trojans. Most common viruses implanted through ADS are W2K.Streams. They spread and infect Windows NT system.


Although Alternative informations watercourses were created to convey about compatibility between Windows runing system and Mac runing system, they besides provide discreet functionality. The Organization needs to be wary of this public-service corporation since it can be exploited by hackers and malware authors.

The best manner of eliminating alternate informations watercourses is by canceling them. This procedure can be done manually by utilizing the directory bid, but non all ADS are removed therefore we require an ADS Spy. So as to utilize the ADS Spy you require to run the “LAD” foremost so that we can look into the advancement. The “LAD” is run without bid lines switches doing the plan to look in the present working directory ( Marcella & A ; Menendez, 2008 ) . The ADS Spy is so run, which is set to scan. The ADS Spy deletes the Alternative Data Streams for good, they can non be recovered. The Best ADS Spy package is “Stream Armor” , it is fast and thorough and non expensive ( Roth, 2001 ) .


Abrams, L. ( 2012, April 25 ) .Windows Alternate Data Streams. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Marcella, J. A. , & A ; Menendez, D. ( 2008 ) . Concealment Techniques. In J. A. Marcella, & A ; D. Menendez,Cyber Forensicss: A Field Manual for Collecting, Examining, and Continuing Evidence of Computer Crimes( pp. 93-95 ) . New York: Boca Raton, Fla: Auerbach Publications.

Nelson, B. , Phillips, A. , & A ; Steuart, C. ( 2010 ) . Analyzing NTFS Disks. In B. Nelson, A. Phillips, & A ; C. Steuart,Guide to computing machine forensics and probes( pp. 213-215 ) . Boston: Boston, MA: Course Technology Cengage Learning.

Roth, D. ( 2001 ) . Win32 Perl scripting: the decision maker ‘s enchiridion. In D. Roth,Win32 Perl scripting: the decision maker ‘s enchiridion( pp. 78-80 ) . New Jersey: [ Indianapolis, IN ] : New Riders.

Windows Data Hiding. ( 2013 ) . In M. T. Rago, & A ; C. Hosmer,Datas concealment: exposing concealed informations in multimedia, runing systems, nomadic devices and web protocols( pp. 139-142 ) . Chicago: Waltham, MA: Syngress.


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