File/Data Carving & Recovery Tools

Support HackTricks

Try Hard Security Group

Carving & Recovery tools

More tools in


The most common tool used in forensics to extract files from images is Autopsy. Download it, install it and make it ingest the file to find "hidden" files. Note that Autopsy is built to support disk images and other kinds of images, but not simple files.


Binwalk is a tool for analyzing binary files to find embedded content. It's installable via apt and its source is on GitHub.

Useful commands:

sudo apt install binwalk #Insllation
binwalk file #Displays the embedded data in the given file
binwalk -e file #Displays and extracts some files from the given file
binwalk --dd ".*" file #Displays and extracts all files from the given file


Another common tool to find hidden files is foremost. You can find the configuration file of foremost in /etc/foremost.conf. If you just want to search for some specific files uncomment them. If you don't uncomment anything foremost will search for its default configured file types.

sudo apt-get install foremost
foremost -v -i file.img -o output
#Discovered files will appear inside the folder "output"


Scalpel is another tool that can be used to find and extract files embedded in a file. In this case, you will need to uncomment from the configuration file (/etc/scalpel/scalpel.conf) the file types you want it to extract.

sudo apt-get install scalpel
scalpel file.img -o output

Bulk Extractor

This tool comes inside kali but you can find it here:

This tool can scan an image and will extract pcaps inside it, network information (URLs, domains, IPs, MACs, mails) and more files. You only have to do:

bulk_extractor memory.img -o out_folder

Navigate through all the information that the tool has gathered (passwords?), analyse the packets (read Pcaps analysis), search for weird domains (domains related to malware or non-existent).


You can find it in

It comes with GUI and CLI versions. You can select the file-types you want PhotoRec to search for.


Check the code and the web page tool.

Features of BinVis

  • Visual and active structure viewer

  • Multiple plots for different focus points

  • Focusing on portions of a sample

  • Seeing stings and resources, in PE or ELF executables e. g.

  • Getting patterns for cryptanalysis on files

  • Spotting packer or encoder algorithms

  • Identify Steganography by patterns

  • Visual binary-diffing

BinVis is a great start-point to get familiar with an unknown target in a black-boxing scenario.

Specific Data Carving Tools


Searches for AES keys by searching for their key schedules. Able to find 128. 192, and 256 bit keys, such as those used by TrueCrypt and BitLocker.

Download here.

Complementary tools

You can use viu to see images from the terminal. You can use the linux command line tool pdftotext to transform a pdf into text and read it.

Try Hard Security Group

Support HackTricks

Last updated