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PDF File Forensics Tool to Overcome Investigation Challenges

Published By Raj Kumar
Aswin Vijayan
Approved By Aswin Vijayan
Published On May 2nd, 2024
Reading Time 4 Minutes Reading
Category Freebies

The PDF file format is a great hit amongst users for its quality to save static and dynamic data, steadfast security, multiple options to manage its contents etc. For now, it is hard to believe an enterprise that does not use a PDF document for contracts, confidential information, for sharing crucial details with employees, and for many other similar jobs. Understanding the advantage and excessive usage of Adobe documents in the professional arena. They are misused for illegitimate activities and this is the reason why PDF files are nowadays considered one of the major sources to carve evidence.

Nevertheless, like the investigation of any other file, PDF file forensics do involve some challenges, or we can say some important targets that can help to simplify the overall investigation procedure.

#1: PDF Redaction

PDF Redaction is the technique of hiding confidential data before its final publication. In situations where a redacted PDF is received, the main problem is how to read its content. Although its one of the modes adopted to protect an important part of PDF from unwanted exposure. It may be the initial restriction that obstructs the forensics process.

#2: Password Protection

The user password or the open document password is like any other security code. That limits the users to open and read the contents of the file unless the password with the exact match is provided. Although it is a very easy case as most applications crack the password using a trick. It can crack Passwords for PDF file forensics by using third-party tools . When it needs to extract some data from secured PDF evidence. Then one can make use of the professional software.

#3: Extracting Data From PDF

With PDF extractor digital forensics experts can effortlessly extract images, rich media, attachments/portfolios, metadata, hyperlinks, comments, bookmarks or any text. Moreover, The tool provides many filters, page settings and various file formats to save options to extract data from PDFs. The tool can easily process data extraction restricted PDF documents without needing a permission password.

#4: Corrupt PDF

A PDF file can get damaged due to various hardware or software related issues on the system. In that case, it cannot open or read files and error messages will restrict opening the PDF file.

#5: PDF Attached in Mail

PDF files received as email can have malicious links, images, or files attached to them. Adobe documents enclosed within a mail can do identity loss, cause harm to the file (s) and folder (s) on the machine, have links attached to images etc. Such illegitimate activities can be caught using PDF file forensics tools. That scans the email body and attachments to carve out the disaster causing elements.

#6: Managing PDF Files – PDF File System Forensic Analysis

The size of a PDF file can create trouble in two situations:

When it is very Small: If there are a number of PDF files that are small in size, their investigation can be simplified by merging them all.

When it is very Large: If the PDF file is large in size, then it is better to split it first and then proceed with its analysis procedure so as to ensure that no part is left un-investigated.

While Adobe Acrobat can be a great help in working around the limitations of PDF file forensics and analysis. A lot of jobs can be simplified using external PDF forensics tool. Adopting solutions to resolve various PDF restrictions in investigation can aid the analysis procedures in a positive manner.




Specifications of the PDF Recovery Tool: –

  • Supported OS – Windows 10 & all below versions
  • Size of Tool – 1.5 MB
  • Version – 1.1
  • License – Freeware
  • Processor Required – Intel® Core™ i3-3210 CPU @ 3.20GHz 3.20GHZ
  • RAM Required –4 GB
  • Free Hard Disk Space Required – 200 MB
  • Language Support – English