SQLite Forensics Book

Paul Sanderson

Available on Amazon now


Read the reviews on Amazon here

Scar de Courier has done a great review on Forensic Focus

Scar finishes with "SQLite Forensics is a brilliant resource and a necessary addition to the library of any investigator who might come across SQL databases - which, as we learn in the book's introduction, is everyone!"

Alexis Brignoni wrote a fantastic review on his blog Initialization Vectors

Alexis says "There is a real need for reference material on this topic and it is great for practitioners to now have a book that pools all this knowledge in one place. It feels to me like the SQLite version of Brian Carrier's File System Forensics Analysis book. In depth and accessible all at the same time."


SQLite is a self-contained SQL database engine that is used on every smartphone (including all iOS and Android devices) and most computers (including all Macs and Windows 10 machines). Each computer or phone using SQLite often has hundreds of Sqlite databases and it is estimated that there are over one trillion Sqlite databases in active use. Given the above, the importance of examining all of the data held in these databases in an investigation is paramount, and of course this includes examining deleted data whenever possible.

In this book we cover the format of the SQLite database, and associated journal and Write-Ahead Logs (WAL) in great detail. We show how records are encoded, how to decode them manually and how to decode records that are partially overwritten. We also describe how the workings of SQLite, and in particular the journal and WAL, can be used to ascertain what has happened in a manner that cannot be determined from the data alone. We cover basic SQL queries and how they can be used to create a custom report that includes data from different tables, and we show how we can use SQL queries to test hypothesises about the relationships of data in different tables.

This book is aimed mainly at forensic practitioners, and it is assumed that the reader has some basic knowledge of computer forensics; it will also be of interest to computer professionals in general particularly those who have an interest in the SQLite file format.

You do not need to own a copy of the Forensic Toolkit for SQLite to make full use of this book, and indeed most of the material covered will stand alone. However, there are some features of the toolkit that are unique (at the time of writing) and, therefore, some of the techniques in this book can only be explained with the toolkit.

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Chapter 2 - SQLite database file format

Chapter 3 - SQLite record recovery

Chapter 4 - SQLite rollback journals

Chapter 5 - Write-Ahead Logs

Chapter 6 - The schema

Chapter 7 - SQL

Chapter 8 - Odds and Ends

Chapter 9 - Case study IOS sms.db