Windows Memory Analysis
Sample Memory Images
Getting started with memory analysis can be difficult without some known images to practice with.
- The 2005 Digital Forensic Research Workshop Memory Analysis Challenge published two Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 memory images with some malware installed.
During the 1990s, it became a best practice to capture a memory image during incident response. At the time, the only way to analyze such memory images was using strings. Although this method could reveal interesting details about the memory image, there was no way to associate what data came from what program, let alone what user.
In the summer 2005 the Digital Forensic Research Workshop published a Memory Analysis Challenge. They distributed two memory images and asked researchers to answer a number of questions about a security incident. The challenge produced two seminal works. The first, by Chris Betz, introduced a tool called memparser. The second, by George Garner and Robert-Jan Mora produced KnTList.
At the Blackhat Federal conference in March 2007, AAron Walters and Nick Petroni released a suite called volatools. Although it only worked on Windows XP Service Pack 2 images, it was able to produce a number of useful data. volatools was updated and re-released as Volatility in August 2007, and is now maintained and distributed by Volatile Systems.
- Lest We Remember: Cold Boot Attacks on Encryption Keys (PDF), Usenix Security 2008 (Best student paper)
- Pushing the Limits of Windows: Physical Memory, Mark Russinovich, Technet Blogs, July 21, 2008
- The impact of Microsoft Windows pool allocation strategies on memory forensics, Andreas Schuster, DFRWS 2008 [slides]
- Finding Digital Evidence In Physical Memory, Mariusz Burdach, Black Hat Federal, 2008
- Forensic Memory Analysis: Files mapped in memory, Ruud van Baar, DFRWS 2008, [slides]
- Forensic Analysis of the Windows Registry in Memory, Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, DFRWS 2008 [slides]
- Beyond The CPU: Defeating Hardware Based RAM Acquisition (part I: AMD case), Joanna Rutkowska COSEINC Advanced Malware Labs
- Forensic Memory Analysis: From Stack and Code to Execution History, Ali Reza Arasteh and Mourad Debbabi, DFRWS 2007
- BodySnatcher: Towards Reliable Volatile Memory Acquisition by Software, Bradley Schatz, DFRWS 2007
- The VAD Tree: A Process-Eye View of Physical Memory, Brendan F Dolan-Gavitt, DFRWS 2007
- Searching for Processes and Threads in Microsoft Windows Memory Dumps, Andreas Schuster, Deutsche Telekom AG, Germany, DFRWS 2006
- Jesse Kornblum Memory Analysis discussion on Cyberspeak
- Memory Analysis Bibliography