Showing posts from 2011

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Over the summer I worked at Microsoft Research , which has a fantastically smart bunch of people working on really cool and interesting problems. I just noticed that they've posted the video of my end-of-internship talk,  Monitoring Untrusted Modern Applications with Collective Record and Replay . Please take a look if you're curious about what it might look like to try and monitor mobile apps in the wild with low overhead!

Paper and Slides Available for "Virtuoso: Narrowing the Semantic Gap in Virtual Machine Introspection"

I've recently returned from Oakland, CA, where the 2 5 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy was held. There were a lot of excellent talks, and it was great to catch up with others in the security community. Now that the conference is over, I'm happy to release the paper and slides of our work, "Virtuoso: Narrowing the Semantic Gap in Virtual Machine Introspection", which I have described in an earlier post . The slides contain some animations, and so I've made them available in three formats: Keynote (iWork 2009) PDF PDF with notes You can also get a copy of the full paper here . I'm also hoping to have the source ready for release soon; when it is available, you'll be able to find it on Google Code under the name Virtuoso . Once again, thanks to my most excellent co-authors at MIT Lincoln Labs and Georgia Tech for helping me see this project through!

Applying Forensic Tools to Virtual Machine Introspection

I've just released a technical report summarizing some work I did a couple years ago that explores how forensic memory analysis and virtual machine introspection are closely linked. Abstract : Virtual machine introspection (VMI) has formed the basis of a number of novel approaches to security in recent years. Although the isolation provided by a virtualized environment provides improved security, software that makes use of VMI must overcome the semantic gap, reconstructing high-level state information from low-level data sources such as physical memory. The digital forensics community has likewise grappled with semantic gap problems in the field of forensic memory analysis (FMA), which seeks to extract forensically relevant information from dumps of physical memory. In this paper, we will show that work done by the forensic community is directly applicable to the VMI problem, and that by providing an interface between the two worlds, the difficulty of developing new virtualization

Automatically Generating Memory Forensic Tools

Now that the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy program has finally been posted , I can describe some research I've been working on for the past year and a half related to virtual machine introspection (VMI) and memory forensics. A well-known problem with VMI and memory forensics is the semantic gap -- basically, the kind of information you want out of a memory image or a running VM is high level information (what processes are running, what files are open, and so on) but what you get is a big bunch of uninterpreted bytes (i.e., a view of physical memory). Bridging this gap is what tools like Volatility were built to do, and they do it well. However, building a tool like Volatility takes a lot of work and a lot of knowledge about the internals of the operating system you're trying to examine. With operating systems like Windows, which are closed source, this kind of knowledge comes from things like the Windows Internals book, blog posts, and good old fashioned reverse en