Apple’s .DS_Store files may leak filenames

Published on August 26, 2019 by

One of the file formats that does not get much attention are “.DS_Store” files, even though they might be of interest in forensic cases when analyzing hard disks or other folders (including ZIP files) from Mac machines.

“.DS_Store” is an abbreviation for “Desktop Services Store”. These files are created automatically by Apples “Finder” software (which is part of their OS). They store information about the files within a folder, including display options of folders, such as icon positions and view settings. It is a proprietary format, even though by now it is well-documented by 3rd parties. Wikipedia provides a good overview.

It may happen that .DS_Store files inadvertently leak filenames. If you ZIP a folder, or upload a folder to a 3rd party and then deleted individual files from that remote location, the .DS_Store might still reveal the filenames of the deleted files. Note that it does NOT leak data of the files themselves, only their names.

How to find .DS_Store files

You can find .DS_Store files using Google Dorks or searching for them on GitHub.

You can also directly check websites by appending “.DS_Store” to the folder URL. In fact, the folks from internetwache.org analyzed the Alexa top 1 million domains (🇩🇪 German blog).

As described before, this means that some websites, thanks to .DS_Store files automatically being created, leak the list of files in their web directory, even though listing of files would be otherwise deactivated. The following screenshot is copied from the internetwache blog and shows the amount of potentially interesting files that they discovered:

internetwache.org scan results for .DS_Store files

How to decode them

Our Magic File Tool, which is part of our free OSINT toolset, is able to decode .DS_Store files and extract all filenames. Upload the file and you will immediately see the decoded result:

Result of decoding a .DS_Store file

Related articles

Newsletter 2020-03-23

Published on March 23, 2020 by

March 2020 Updates How we prepared for the current global situation We have ordered and deployed 180 TB worth of enterprise storage to be prepared for upcoming price increases and shortages of hard disks. We are reading reports that warn of upcoming delivery delays due to disruptions in the supply chain. We tweeted a picture


Decoding the US Death Master File

Published on March 19, 2020 by

“The Death Master File (DMF) is a computer database file made available by the United States Social Security Administration since 1980″ according to Wikipedia. It is available here https://ladmf.ntis.gov/ but costs $2,930.00 anually. The file has since been posted on the internet for free, including here: http://ssdmf.info/download.html November 30, 2011 http://cancelthesefunerals.com/ May 31, 2013 https://archive.org/details/DeathMasterFile May 31, 2013 This file can


An OSINT investigation into one of our attackers

Published on March 5, 2020 by

On December 11, 2019 we have received 31,866 HTTP requests from the IP 81.171.107.57. Below are few sample log entries: 81.171.107.57 – – [11/Dec/2019:13:52:37 +0000] “POST /login HTTP/1.1” 200 7448 81.171.107.57 – – [11/Dec/2019:13:52:37 +0000] “POST /login HTTP/1.1” 200 7443 81.171.107.57 – – [11/Dec/2019:13:52:37 +0000] “POST /login HTTP/1.1” 200 7447 81.171.107.57 – – [11/Dec/2019:13:52:37 +0000]


Search the blog: