Click here to close now.


Cloud Security Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Jim Scott, Liz McMillan, Kevin Jackson

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers

Cloud Security: Article

Malware Analysis | Part 1

How to use a number of tools to analyze a memory image file from an infected windows machine

Having your network environment protected with the latest virus protection, control what software is installed and allowed to run, restrict ingress and egress network access, protect web browsing, limit user account access, update security patches, change management practices, etc. All these efforts are critical to follow in the corporate environment but all will fall short if you don't have the proper monitoring in place to detect badness on your network and to respond quickly and effectively when it happens. When your network has the proper monitoring in place and knowledgeable engineers to monitor for outbreaks you will begin to have better visibility of how network traffic flows in your environment. When you understand how traffic flows on your network you can respond better when badness happens.

I will demonstrate how to use a number of tools to analyze a memory image file from an infected windows machine. I will demonstrate how to acquire a memory image from a windows machine that is currently running will malware infection and the process of memory analysis using various tools.

To gather an image file from an infected machine can be performed a number of ways. If you have an enterprise version of EnCase you can acquire evidence very fast and from various devices such as laptop, desktop, and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. For most of us our IT budget is limited and this option is not viable. Using something like F-Response TACTICAL is a solution and requires only two usb sticks. One is labeled TACTICAL Subject and the other is TACTICAL Examiner, you put the Examiner one in the box you are researching malware. Next you put the Subject on the box that is infected with Malware. Below I demonstrate how this is performed with the subject on a windows box (infected with malware) and the examiner installed on a Linux platform (SANS SIFT workstation) to acquire the image.

Once the usb stick is loaded on the windows box install the program so it can listen on its external interface (see Figure #1).

Figure #1

Running the subject program on the infected windows box, remember to enable physical memory

On your SIFT workstation insert the usb stick examiner, make sure it shows up as loaded on your workstation (See Figure #2). Next execute the program f-response-tacex-lin.exe using the following syntax (see Figure #3). Notice that it connects to the following:

  • ·
  • ·
  • ·
  • ·
  • ·

Figure #2

Make sure the examiner usb is loaded on the SIFT workstation

Figure #3

Perform the connection between the SIFT workstation and the infected windows box

Next we are going to login to with the following command (see Figure #4):

# iscsiadm -m node --login

Figure #4

Successfully connected to windows box at

The iscsiadm command is an open-iscsi administration utility that allows discovery and login to iSCSI targets, as well as access and management of the open-iscsi database. The -m specify the mode which is node it can also be defined as: discoverydb, fw, host iface or session. With the mode selected as node we use the -targetname= and specify the location of the target drive.

After successfully connecting to the remote machine run fdisk -l and see our new device located at /dev/sdd1 (see Figure #5)

Figure #5

Results after running fdisk -l

Next we will mount the partition /dev/sdd1 which is located in the screenshot above (Figure #5) using the following mount command.

# mount -o ro,show_sys_files,streams_interface=windows /dev/sdd1 /mnt/windows_mount

Using the mount command with the -o option: ro - mount the file system read-only, show_sys_files - show all system files as normal files, streams_interface=windows - this option controls how named data streams in WIMfiles are made available with "windows" the named data stream. This will mount the memory from our windows box to /mnt/windows_mount. After changing into that directory and list files you will see the following (see Figure #6)

Figure #6

List of files after mounting the memory from our target windows box following by login to the pmem location

Now we need to login to the process memory of the target which is the pmem location (see Figure #3 ‘F-Response Target ='). We will use the iscsiadm open-iscsi administration utility to perform this task with the following command:

# iscsiadm -m node -login

Again we are using the isciadm utility specifying the node with targetname of where the pmem file is located. Now we will run fdisk -l and see the partition tables (see Figure #7).

Figure #7

Results after running fdisk -l notice the HPFS/NTFS system at /dev/sdd1. This is the result after login to the pmem location.

Now we can image the remote systems memory using dc3dd which was developed by Jesse Komblum at the DoD Cyber Crime Center. Dc3dd is similar to dd but allows us to use for forensic work, allowing you to take hashes and split an image all from one command. Open up a terminal and type the following:

# dc3dd if=/dev/sde of=/cases/remote-system-memory8.img progress=on hash=md5 hashlog=/cases/remote-system-memory8.md5

Here is a breakdown of the command:

  • · if=DEVICE or FILE - Read input from a device or a file, in this case /dev/sde (see Figure #7 ‘Disk /dev/sde: 2466 MB, 2466250752 bytes
  • · of=FILE or DEVICE - Write output to a file or device, in this case /cases/remote-system-memory8.img
  • · progress=on - Will show progress on screen
  • · hash=ALGORITHM - Compute an ALGORITHM hash of the input and also of any outputs specified using hof=, hofs=, phod=, or fhod=, where ALGORITHM is one of md5, sha1, sha256, or sha512
  • · hashlog=FILE - Log total hashes and piecewise hashes to FILE.

This will do a forensic copy of the windows memory file to your computer; you can see a screenshot of the progress (see Figure #8).

Figure #8

Performing a forensic copy of the windows memory file using dc3dd

Now that we have an image file of the windows memory we can analysis for existence of malware. There are a couple of tools that you can use one is for the windows platform called Redline by Mandiant which I will be going over in greater detail later. The second tool which is open source is Volatility implemented in Python for the extraction of digital artifacts from volatile memory (RAM) samples. I will be discussing both in very limited bases in this month's article.

If the memory image was acquired from an unknown system and although this was a closed lab environment and I know what system it came from you will need to identify the operation system using Volatility (see Figure #9).

Figure #9

Using Volatility to identify what operation system the dump came from

We use the imageinfo plug-in for Volatility to find out the operation system the memory dump belongs to. Here we see in the suggested profile portion of the output it is a WinXP SP2x86 system, you will need this information to perform more work using Volatility on this memory image file.

To look at the running processes we use the following command:

$ -profile=WinXPSP2x86 pslist -f remote-system-memory8.img

You can also use the psscan plugin to scan the memory image for EPROCESS blocks with the following command:

$ -profile=WinXPSP2x86 psscan -f remote-system-memory8.img

Use the psscan to enumerate processes using pool tag scanning that can find processes that previously terminated (inactive) and processes that have been hidden or unlinked by a rootkit (see Figure #10).

Figure #10

Volatility with the psscan invoked

Now for a quick view of Mandiant Redline application we copy the windows memory images off our SANS Investigate Forensic Toolkit (SIFT) and on to a separate Windows workstation where you have Mandiant Redline installed. Next you will analysis your memory image with Redline (see Figure #11).

Figure #11

Loading memory image to be analyzed by Mandiant Redline followed by choosing ‘I am Reviewing a Full Live Response or Memory Image'.

Mandiant Redline is a free tool that provides host investigative capabilities to users and finds signs of malicious activity through memory and file analysis to develop a threat assessment profile. After I infected the test windows box with a known malware variant and allowed the system to react the machine wanted to restart at that moment I acquired a memory image and loaded it into Redline. I then allowed the machine to reboot and took another memory image. The total processes that are running on the system are in Figures #12 (left before reboot & right after reboot).

Figure #12

Total numbers of processes running after installing of malware then list of processes running after reboot

After comparing the two different lists we see that after reboot we have new processes running (jh MRI Score 61 PID - 38533 and svchost.exe MRI Score 61 PID - 1560). MRI Score is the Redline analyzes of each process and memory section to calculate a Malware Risk Index (MRI) score for each process.

Next month I will dive deeper into further information you can learn from analysis of memory images using both Mandiant Redline and Volatility.

More Stories By David Dodd

David J. Dodd is currently in the United States and holds a current 'Top Secret' DoD Clearance and is available for consulting on various Information Assurance projects. A former U.S. Marine with Avionics background in Electronic Countermeasures Systems. David has given talks at the San Diego Regional Security Conference and SDISSA, is a member of InfraGard, and contributes to Secure our eCity He works for Xerox as Information Security Officer City of San Diego & pbnetworks Inc. a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) located in San Diego, CA and can be contacted by emailing: dave at

@ThingsExpo Stories
“The Internet of Things transforms the way organizations leverage machine data and gain insights from it,” noted Splunk’s CTO Snehal Antani, as Splunk announced accelerated momentum in Industrial Data and the IoT. The trend is driven by Splunk’s continued investment in its products and partner ecosystem as well as the creativity of customers and the flexibility to deploy Splunk IoT solutions as software, cloud services or in a hybrid environment. Customers are using Splunk® solutions to collect and correlate data from control systems, sensors, mobile devices and IT systems for a variety of Ind...
As enterprises capture more and more data of all types – structured, semi-structured, and unstructured – data discovery requirements for business intelligence (BI), Big Data, and predictive analytics initiatives grow more complex. A company’s ability to become data-driven and compete on analytics depends on the speed with which it can provision their analytics applications with all relevant information. The task of finding data has traditionally resided with IT, but now organizations increasingly turn towards data source discovery tools to find the right data, in context, for business users, d...
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless Thingies, will discuss and demonstrate how devices and humans can be integrated from a simple clust...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
The broad selection of hardware, the rapid evolution of operating systems and the time-to-market for mobile apps has been so rapid that new challenges for developers and engineers arise every day. Security, testing, hosting, and other metrics have to be considered through the process. In his session at Big Data Expo, Walter Maguire, Chief Field Technologist, HP Big Data Group, at Hewlett-Packard, will discuss the challenges faced by developers and a composite Big Data applications builder, focusing on how to help solve the problems that developers are continuously battling.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 150 developers, designers, quality assurance engineers, project manage...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Raxak has been named “Media & Session Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Raxak Protect automates security compliance across private and public clouds. Using the SaaS tool or managed service, developers can deploy cloud apps quickly, cost-effectively, and without error.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, will discuss the impact of technology on identity. Should we federate, or not? How should identity be secured? Who owns the identity? How is identity ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgeniakhela will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgeniakhela is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional Social, Mobile and Cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing ...
Sensors and effectors of IoT are solving problems in new ways, but small businesses have been slow to join the quantified world. They’ll need information from IoT using applications as varied as the businesses themselves. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Meike, Distinguished Engineer, Director of Technology Innovation at Intuit, will show how IoT manufacturers can use open standards, public APIs and custom apps to enable the Quantified Small Business. He will use a Raspberry Pi to connect sensors to web services, and cloud integration to connect accounting and data, providing a Bluetooth...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.