With an increasing base of support for a number of file systems (including HFS+ in v220.127.116.11) and formatting types, ProDiscover is quickly finding its way into the toolkits of many digital investigators. ProDiscover IR 18.104.22.168 is built on a highly successful platform that has a marked history in forensic analysis. This success is attributed to many imaging, analysis and reporting features packed into the software - most notably, its ability to image remotely (with a stealth option) through a twofish-encrypted TCP/IP connection using globally unique identifiers without interrupting a live system.
The common thread for all past ProDiscover IR reviews in SC Magazine has been ease of use and flexibility, and this review is no exception. From installation to testing, we experienced few problems. The software was easy to use and the graphical user interface (GUI) was easy to navigate. With a basic understanding of forensics, one can accomplish many things with this tool. For testing, we followed all instructions in the provided manual - even though many were no-brainers owing to the intuitive nature of the GUI. ProDiscover IR was able to image and preview all advertised file systems without issue, either fixed or remotely. "Stealth mode" held true to its name as the agent was installed undetected in the target system's directory without visibility on the program bar or tray area. We also enjoyed the customizable report generator, which further added to the efficiency of this program.
The only instance where we encountered a challenge was during analysis. We experienced multiple freezes and crashes when navigating around the project tree, all of which were properly documented in crash dump files. These could have been related to the size of the memory on our test computer. In the case of our test machines, we were running Windows XP in a 32-bit configuration.
ProDiscover's ProScript highlighted this software's true potential. The ProScript Perl engine changed to Strawberry Perl in v22.214.171.124, which made it easier to use on Windows machines through the MinGW (Minimalist GNU for Windows). Technology Pathways provides basic tutorials for ProScript, which helpfully supplements and supports users who may not be so familiar with Perl. All in all, we found its operations ran parallel to its advertised functionality, albeit it was a little touchy with crashes.
Documentation that came with this product was satisfactory. Everything was easy to read and understand. The section headers and content were logically placed, direct and helpful. Support has not changed markedly from past reviews: no-cost 30-day warranty with an optional fee-based "annual software maintenance" (including software updates and telephone/email assistance) at $1,619.10. Aside from this option, the website provides an extensive knowledge base, complete with advanced tips and essential ProScript code snippets. Given the flexibility, utility and range of tools, $8,995 is reasonable for any mid- to large-sized company.
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