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Linux Memory Analysis
The output of a memory acquisition tool is a memory image which contains the raw physical memory of a system. A wide variety of tools can be used to search for strings or other patterns in a memory image, but to extract higher-level information about the state of the system a memory analysis tool is required.
Linux Memory Analysis Tools
- The Forensic Analysis Toolkit (FATKit) is a cross-platform, modular, and extensible digital investigation framework for analyzing volatile system memory. (Publication Date: 2006; Availability/License: not available)
Open Source Projects:
- The Volatility Framework is a collection of tools, implemented in Python, for the extraction of digital artifacts from volatile memory (RAM) samples. Support for Linux is experimental, but available from Subversion in the linux-support branch. (Availability/License: GNU GPL)
- Foriana is tool for extraction of information such as the process and modules lists from a RAM image using logical relations between OS structures. (Availability/License: GNU GPL)
- Draugr is a Linux memory forensics tool written in Python. (Availability/License: GNU GPL)
- Volatilitux is another Linux memory forensics tool written in Python. (Availability/License: GNU GPL)
- The Red Hat Crash Utility is an extensible Linux kernel core dump analysis program. Although designed as a debugging tool, it also has been utilized for memory forensics. See, for example, the 2008 DFRWS challenge write-up by AAron Walters. (Availability/License: GNU GPL)
- Second Look: Linux Memory Forensics from Pikewerks Corporation can analyze live memory or stored snapshots (physical memory images). It can be used to detect rootkits and other kernel-hooking malware, as well as obtain forensic information about the state of the system. It has command-line and GUI interfaces, and reverse engineering capabilities including built-in disassembly and hexadecimal data views. An online reference kernel repository provides baselines for verification of thousands of distribution stock kernels. As of May 2011, it supports x86 and x86_64 targets running kernels 2.6.8 to 2.6.38. (Availability/License: commercial)
Linux Memory Analysis Challenges
- The Digital Forensic Research Workshop 2008 Forensics Challenge focused on the development of Linux memory analysis techniques and the fusion of evidence from memory, hard disk, and network.
- Challenge SSTIC 2010 (French) dealt with analysis of physical memory from a mobile device running Android.
- Challenge 7 of the Honeynet Project's Forensic Challenge 2011 included forensic analysis of a memory image from a potentially compromised Linux server.
Linux Memory Analysis Bibliography
- Linux Physical Memory Analysis, Paul Movall, Ward Nelson, Shaun Wetzstein; Usenix, 2005.
- An Analysis Of Linux RAM Forensics, J.M. Urrea, Masters Thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, 2006.
- Linux Memory Forensics for DFRWS Challenge 2008 using Volatility, Crash, and PyFlag, by AAron Walters on the Volatile Systems Blog.
- Linux Live Memory Forensics, a presentation by Desnos Anthony describing the implementation of draugr, 2009.
- Forensic RAM Dump Image Analyzer by Ivor Kollar, describing the implementation of foriana, 2009.
- Treasure and tragedy in kmem_cache mining for live forensics investigation by Andrew Case, Lodovico Marziale, Cris Neckar, Golden G. Richard III; Digital Investigation, Volume 7, Supplement 1, The Proceedings of the Tenth Annual DFRWS Conference, August 2010. (Presentation)
- Second Look Web Page, Second Look Datasheet
- De-Anonymizing Live CDs through Physical Memory Analysis (Whitepaper) (Slides) Andrew Case; Blackhat USA 2010.
- Bringing Linux Support to Volatility, Andrew Case; Digital Forensics Solutions Blog, 2011.
Volatility Mailing List Threads on Support for Linux: