Some reviewers have questioned the claim stated in the Guccifer 2.0 NGP/VAN Metadata Analysis report that the .rar files analyzed in that study recorded file times in local (relative) time. In short, newer implementations of WinRAR use the “version 5” format and in that format times are recorded as UTC times. However, the .rar files analyzed in this study use the older version 4 format which records times in “local” (relative) format.
A 4chan user asserted that the analysis was flawed:
A fellow 4chan user corrected the misunderstanding.
As background, WinRAR has been around a long time; its file format has changed over time. In recent releases of WinRAR the default format is version 5. However, in previous releases, the version 4 format was used. We can turn to the WinRAR help screen for clarification.
To confirm that version 4 .rar files were found in the “NGP VAN” 7zip fie we can consult one of the screenshots from the report.
Given that the .rar files are all in version 4 format, we can safely assume that the file times recorded in those archives are in local (relative) time, not UTC.