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Some of my posts on technology topics & news, digital & multimedia evidence, and our professional community.

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I distinctly remember about ten years ago when a local police chief told us that there was no computer crime in his village.I also remember literally laughing out loud when I heard that.(Seriously, I was bent over from laughing so hard.) Digital evidence is being collected at an unprecedented rate each and every single day, and you’d probably be hard pressed to find anyone more intimately familiar with that then your local multimedia, computer, or mobile device analyst.

While consumers have gone from megabytes (MB) to terabytes (TB), digital analysts have had to go from terabytes to exabytes (EB) and zettabytes (ZB).Yes, you geeky freak, I skipped petabytes (PB). Anyway, my point is that digital evidence labs require a lot of data storage space, and those requirements are growing exponentially.There are a plethora of products on the market for archiving and managing data at the scale required for a digital evidence lab, but regardless of what medium or products you choose you’re always going to need more storage space.That’s where the 7zip archive utility and LZMA lossless compression may be able to help.

7zip is free software provided under the GNU Lessor Public License.The program and its default compression algorithms, LZMA and LZMA2, were created by Igor Pavlov.By default 7zip uses the .7z file extension for archiving, but you’re welcome to use .zip, .gzip, .tar, or others when archiving if you’d like.7zip can unpack a multitude of additional file formats, including CAB, CHM, DNG, EXE, GZ, ISO, RAR and more.7zip also allows you to open and view VHD virtual hard disks.The program integrates with the Windows shell too; right-click in Windows and choose it over standard ZIP archiving without any additional effort.Want to encrypt your archive?Use 256-bit AES encryption right within the program to secure your archive.

While the program and file format are pretty cool, it’s the LZMA and LZMA2 algorithms that are actually the stars of the show.LZMA is a lossless compression algorithm that uses a dictionary compression scheme followed by a range encoder, which attains very high compression ratios.It was introduced by Igor back in 1998 with his 7zip program, but has since garnered the attention of compression geeks the world over.

If you’re looking to save storage space using lossless compression it’s definitely worth a look.As with all software, test and verify.


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