Encase Version 5 - Hash analysis

I have to solve a crime related to an extortion incident using Encase version 5 (for educational purpose). I do not know anything about hash analysis.
1. What the heck is it?
2. What does it accomplish?
3. How do i do it?
sergeiweerasuriyaAsked:
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chris_calabreseConnect With a Mentor Commented:
For an extortion case you'd be looking primarily at content. You'd look at the timestamps and such if you thought that the emails were forged or planted.
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chris_calabreseCommented:
I'm guessing the meaning here is to take a hash of all the files on the system using e.g. md5 and then comparing against a database of hash values for "interesting" files.

For an extortion case, the database might have hashes for a bunch of documents related to the extortion subject. Then you can use this technique to easily find copies of those documents.

Not sure exactly how you do this in Encase 5.
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sergeiweerasuriyaAuthor Commented:
finding out how to do it in Encase is not difficult, if i knew what files to look for. The documents related to the extortion case are a bunch of email messages. I do not see the point in checking an email message for hash vaues. Lets say i check the hash value of an email file. If i do so what would it tell me about that particular file?
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chris_calabreseCommented:
Yeah, probably no so useful on an email file as much as on an individual email.
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sergeiweerasuriyaAuthor Commented:
what do u mean "not so useful on an email file as much as on an individual email"? what's the difference between an email file an an individual email?
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chris_calabreseCommented:
The hash method usually works at the file level. An email file usually has many emails in it.
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sergeiweerasuriyaAuthor Commented:
So when analysing email files what should i look for. Is it only the contents of the email? Some emails seem quite bizzare to me for instance the date created, sent and recieved appear to be the same (same hour,minute and second).
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SPOuedConnect With a Mentor Commented:
sergeiweerasuriya,
I've used encase (in testing only), and the "hash" being referred to seems to me to be the value which you need to use when comparing the original data to the duplicated one to insure integrity. Encase usually works by creating an exact duplicate of the data (without leaving any trace) being investigated. If you're to take a case to court, the court would like to know that the data from which you've acquired evidence has not been altered, meaning you'll need a hash to check the integrity.
So, in a nutshell, hash analysis, is just about making sure you have an exact duplicate of the original data...
Hope this helps...
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