Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quick Response to Guidance

Everyone's been (rightfully) beating up on Guidance for their recent FUD-laden e-mail about F-Response; you should check out the excellent rebuttals by Harlan Carvey and hogfly. I'm not going to address most of the e-mail, but I thought I should tackle some things that are simply factually wrong about Volatility. I'm hardly an unbiased party (being a developer on Volatility), but unlike Guidance, I'm going to provide verifiable information to back up my claims.

From the Guidance mail:
While these utilities [included in the Volatility Framework] can identify running processes, open files and registry handles for running processes and open network sockets and connections, they cannot identify hidden processes, injected DLLs and NIC information.
There are three factual inaccuracies in this statement:
  • Volatility cannot identify hidden processes.
    In fact, Volatility can list processes using multiple methods. The pslist module walks the list of active processess, and will find any processes that have not been hidden with DKOM. The psscan2 module scans memory looking for signatures of process data structures; it will find even those processes that have been hidden using DKOM-like techniques. Together, these can be used to find any hidden processes on the machine.
  • Volatility cannot find injected DLLs.
    Michael Hale Ligh recently released a plugin called malfind that automates the work of doing exactly this. In fact, it is advanced enough that it can detect many types of generic code injection as well as simple DLL injection. I'm not familiar with Guidance's offering in this area, but I strongly suspect that they do not handle as many types of code injection.
  • Volatility cannot get NIC information.
    Again, this is false. My own registry tools can examine the registry keys that describe the network interfaces on the machine. If this is too much work for an investigator, the recent integration with RegRipper will make this task even easier. In the example RegRipper log I posted, you can see the network card information has been gathered from the memory image.
So, the moral of the story is, don't believe everything you read, even when it comes from a large security vendor.

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