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Who is this article for?
Find your product plan in the Code42 console on the Account menu.

Incydr Professional and Enterprise
Incydr Basic and Advanced
Other product plans

Incydr Professional and Enterprise, yes.

Incydr Basic and Advanced, yes.

CrashPlan Cloud, no.

Other product plans, yes.

CrashPlan for Small Business, no.

This article applies to Code42 cloud environments.

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Search file activity with Forensic Search

Who is this article for?
Find your product plan in the Code42 console on the Account menu.

Incydr Professional and Enterprise
Incydr Basic and Advanced
Other product plans

Incydr Professional and Enterprise, yes.

Incydr Basic and Advanced, yes.

CrashPlan Cloud, no.

Other product plans, yes.

CrashPlan for Small Business, no.

This article applies to Code42 cloud environments.

Overview

Forensic Search is a powerful search interface that enables security teams to monitor and investigate suspicious file activity. Forensic Search provides detailed visibility about files:

  • Stored on user devices
  • Stored in corporate cloud services, such as Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive
  • Synced to personal cloud services, such as Box, Dropbox, iCloud, and OneDrive
  • Moved to removable media
  • Sent as email attachments in Microsoft Office 365 and Gmail
  • Sent to printers (Mac and Linux only)

This enables security personnel to gain a clearer understanding of file activity throughout the organization.

For specific search examples, see Forensic Search use cases.

Video

Watch the video below to learn how to use Forensic Search to perform a search for file activity. 

Before you begin

Review your detection settings:

Perform a search

Review the reference guide
For details about all possible search options and required syntax for each type of search criteria, see the Forensic Search reference guide

Forensic Search reports on file events detected by Code42. A file event is any activity observed for a file. For example, creating, modifying, renaming, moving, or deleting a file generates an event for that file. Events are reported for both user and system actions.

To search file events:

  1. Sign in to the Code42 console.
    You must have a role with permissions that allow access to Forensic Search.
  2. Select Forensic Search > Search.
  3. Choose a date range
  4. Select a search filter.
  5. Select the search operator.
  6. Enter the search value.
Avoid starting a search term with a wildcard
Entering a search string that begins with a wildcard or contains only wildcards is not recommended (for example, filename is * or file path is *documents). These searches may take a long time to complete and can return many millions of results, which are not practical to review or export.
  1. (Optional) Click the + icon to add additional search criteria, then repeat steps 4-6. Click the icon to remove search criteria.
    Search results only return events that match all selected criteria.
  2. Click Search. If search results are already displayed, click Update Search.
    After an event is detected on a device, it typically takes no more than 15 minutes to appear in search results.
  3. (Optional) Select Modify columns to select which columns appear in the results.
  4. From the list of search results, click View details Expand file event details icon to show all details for a file event. See the Forensic Search reference guide for more details about specific event attributes.
  5. (Optional) Click Exact Match or Most Recent Version to download the file contents.
    Files are only available to download if they're backed up by Code42.
  6. (Optional) Click Save As to save the current search filters and criteria (search results are not saved). This is useful if you plan to perform the search again later. 
  7. (Optional) Click Export Results to download the current search results as a CSV file for additional analysis.
  8. (Optional) Add an event to a case.
    • To add a single event, click Add to case Add to case icon for the event you want to add.
    • To add multiple events at once:
      1. Close the Event details.
      2. Select the checkbox for each event you want to add.
      3. Click the Add to case icon Add to case icon in the upper right.

Forensic Search results

Additional considerations

Search results
  • Search results return file events for all organizations in your Code42 environment.
  • File events are retained and searchable for 90 days after the Date Observed
  • Searches allow up to 1,024 values per request.
  • Observed times for file events are reported in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Similarly, when conducting a search for a specific time range, user-entered times are evaluated as UTC, not local time.
  • When paging through search results, each page load refreshes the search results. If your search query includes the current date, search results may change as you change pages.
  • From the time a file event is detected on a device, it typically takes no more than 15 minutes for the event to appear in search results. However, it may take up to an hour for file events to appear if a file is uploaded to an unknown destination, to a cloud data connection configured for monitoring by Code42, or if the Destination name lists multiple possibilities.
  • The Code42 app on each user device is configured to send file events to the Code42 server every five minutes. This has several implications for search results:
    • If a file is modified more than once during the five-minute window, the search results only display a single modification event.
    • If a file is created and then deleted within five minutes, the New file and No longer observed events are captured and do appear in search results, but some file metadata may not be collected. If the same file is created and deleted multiple times in five minutes, a maximum of 25 events are captured for the file.
    • Device metadata, such as IP Address and Hostname, is collected once per five-minute interval for each batch of file events. File events reported in the same batch always report the same device metadata.
  • Changes to filenames are reported in the search results as a No longer observed event (for the old file name), immediately followed by a New file event (for the new file name).
  • File changes that occur within one second of each other may not be detected. For example, if a file is created and then deleted in less than a second, these events may not appear in search results. This varies somewhat by operating system: Windows devices are more likely to capture events in quick succession (within milliseconds) than Mac devices.
  • Updating a user's Code42 username does not update search results for existing events (events created prior to the change report the old username).
  • In some rare scenarios, the Username may be blank or may display NAME_NOT_AVAILABLE.
  • Because some cloud services provide on-demand file streaming, user devices may contain a shortcut file for every file the user has access to throughout the organization. MD5 and SHA256 hashes are not calculated for these shortcut files since they have no content. However, if your product plan includes one or more cloud service data sources (for example, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive), hashes are available for the actual files stored in the cloud service.
  • Google Drive cloud file events do not immediately appear when sharing with Google domains that are not configured with Code42.
File exclusions
To reduce file event search results for unimportant files, some file locations are excluded from monitoring. In addition, file activity is only monitored on the C: drive on Windows devices and the root of the file system on Mac and Linux devices, but /Volumes is not monitored on Macs.

If you have specific questions about exclusions, contact our Customer Champions for support.

To add your own custom exclusions, see File Metadata Collection exclusions.
User devices
  • File metadata collection is not supported for per user installations. A single instance of the Code42 app must be installed for all user accounts on the device. (Not applicable to Incydr Professional and Enterprise; per user installations are not available in these product plans.)
  • File activity is monitored on the C: drive on Windows devices and the root of the file system on Mac and Linux devices, but /Volumes is not monitored on Macs.
  • Linux devices have a default limit for the number of files and directories applications are allowed to monitor. This can impact the Code42 app's ability to capture file events for all locations on the device. To increase this default limit, follow the steps in Linux real-time file watching errors.
  • The File Created Date is not available for file events on Linux devices.
  • If a device is offline, file events are collected and stored locally on the device. Offline devices can store up to 1 GB of file events locally, which is approximately one million events. For normal device use, this is enough to capture up to 100 days of offline file events. Once a network connection is available, these events are sent to the Code42 server. If a device is offline long enough to generate more than 1 GB of file events, some events may not be reported.
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