Search and CompAre Reverse (SCAR): A Bioinformatics–Inspired Methodology for Detecting File Remnants in Digital Forensics


  • George Grispos University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • William Mahoney University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Sayonnha Mandal University of Nebraska at Omaha



digital forensics, digital investigations, filesystems


A storage device may contain data that an individual is legally or morally not allowed to possess. Or, a disgruntled company employee may intentionally destroy corporate files, assuming once deleted the information is lost forever. The data could take the form of a database owned by a competitor, illegal images, or videos, or trade secrets or confidential business information. Fragments of the data may very well still be present on the disk drive, for example, and forensic tools may be capable of recovering some of the confidential information. This paper introduces Search and CompAre Reverse (SCAR), inspired from tools used in the bioinformatics community. The contribution is an initial empirical investigation into the use of this bioinformatics-inspired approach to deduce the partial existence of patterns in cases where traditional digital forensics tools cannot detect the type of the file due to overwriting the file signature portion of the file.