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Forensic Analysis Tools
One issue computer investigators face is that normal file utilities can irrevocably change files, effectively "polluting" the crime scene as well as deleting evidence you need. For example, viewing files with a regular editor changes things like the timestamp. Imagine someone tromping through a real crime scene in dirty boots and moving objects all over the house. This is the same as rummaging through your system without the proper tools. Not only will you have eliminated your chance of being able to take any criminal or civil action, but you may also erase the attacker's digital trail. Hackers often use tools that hide processes and files from normal system utilities, so you need special tools that operate outside of the normal operating system to look beyond what the operating system thinks it sees.
The following sections review tools for both Linux and Windows. First we will look at a few of the investigation tools on operating systems, then at full-featured toolkits for deeper analysis. Keep in mind that using operating system-based tools may return false or bogus data if your OS has truly been compromised.
This little system add-on can be useful when investigating a machine for suspicious activity. Often a memory-resident virus or Trojan horse will show up as a process running under a strange name or on an unusual port. Fport looks for open TCP or UDP network ports and prints them out along with the associated process id (PID), process name, and path. It is similar to the native Windows netstat command except that it provides a little more information and allows you to format it different ways for analysis. This can help you track down suspicious programs that are opening up network ports on your machine. This behavior is the hallmark of a Trojan horse.
Of course, every process you don't recognize isn't necessarily an evil program, but you should understand what weird-looking services are doing. The most obvious ones will have nonstandard paths (other than the Windows system directories and such). Also, strange or hacker-like names are a dead giveaway.
The program is designed and offered by Foundstone Corporation, a security software and consulting company. They offer several other free security tools and their Web site is worth a look. While Fport is not purely open source (only the binaries are distributed), it is freeware and there are few limitations on its use for commercial purposes.
Download the zip file from the Foundstone Web site and unzip it into its own directory. There will be two files, the Fport executable and a short README file.
Fport can help you figure out if a machine has been tampered with and where the intruder is coming from. You need to run Fport on a system that is live, that is, up and running; you can't run Fport on static data.
Running Fport is about as simple as it comes. From the directory the executable is in, type fport. It prints a listing of all the ports open at that moment and their associated applications (see Listing 11.1).
Listing 11.1. Fport Display
Port v2.0 - TCP/IP Process to Port Mapper Copyright 2000 by Foundstone, Inc. http://www.foundstone.com Pid Process Port Proto Path 940 svchost -> 135 TCP C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe 4 System -> 139 TCP 4 System -> 445 TCP 1348 WCESCOMM -> 990 TCP C:\Program Files\Microsoft ActiveSync\WCESCOMM.EXE 4072 WCESMgr -> 999 TCP C:\Program Files\Microsoft ActiveSync\WCESMgr.exe 1032 svchost -> 1025 TCP C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe 1032 svchost -> 1031 TCP C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe 1032 svchost -> 1034 TCP C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe 4 System -> 1042 TCP 4072 WCESMgr -> 2406 TCP C:\Program Files\Microsoft ActiveSync\WCESMgr.exe 2384 websearch -> 3008 TCP C:\Program Files\websearch\ websearch.exe 1144 -> 54321 TCP C:\Temp\cmd.exe 4072 WCESMgr -> 5678 TCP C:\Program Files\Microsoft ActiveSync\WCESMgr.exe 2384 websearch -> 8755 TCP C:\Program Files\websearch\ websearch.exe 136 javaw -> 8765 TCP C:\WINDOWS\System32\javaw.exe 1348 WCESCOMM -> 123 UDP C:\Program Files\Microsoft ActiveSync\WCESCOMM.EXE 2384 websearch -> 123 UDP C:\Program Files\websearch\ websearch.exe 940 svchost -> 135 UDP C:\WINDOWS\system32\svchost.exe 1144 -> 137 UDP 1032 svchost -> 1026 UDP C:\WINDOWS\System32\svchost.exe
By looking at this listing, you can see what appear to be normal services and programs running, until about half way down where you can see that cmd.exe is running from the temp directory. This is the command prompt binary and it has no business being in a temp directory. Also, the fact that the service has no name should arouse suspicion. Finally, the incoming port number doesn't match any known services. In fact, if you look it up in a database of known Trojan horses on the Internet (www.simovits.com/trojans/trojans.html) , it matches the port number of a documented Trojan horse. There is strong evidence that this system has been exploited. At this point, you have to decide if it is worth taking the system down to do further forensic analysis of the system.
Table 11.1 lists a few options you can run with Fport to sort the output. You can also use the –h option to display short help descriptions.
If you have a lot of processes, you can use these switches to look at all the high port numbers running, which is typically where malware runs. You can also sort by application path or name to find nonstandard applications running.
This tool is similar to the Fport tool for Windows just discussed. The lsof tool (LiSt Open Files) associates open files with processes and users. It is like the netstat command, but in addition it reports the network port the service is using. This is important when trying to track down an active program on the network. Often the only way to find these elusive bugs is to watch for what network ports they open up.
The lsof tool is being preinstalled on some UNIX and Linux distributions and is available in RPM form on the installation disks of others such as Mandrake and RedHat Linux. To see if you have it preinstalled, type lsof and see if you get any response.
You are now ready to start using lsof.
The lsof program has many uses, and has extensive man pages and several README files for the different applications. However, this section concentrates only on a few specific commands that are useful for forensic research.
If you want to see all of the open files on your system at any given moment and the processes associated with them, type:
The -n option tells lsof not to attempt to do a DNS record on any IP addresses connecting to your machine. This speeds up the process considerably. The output will look something like Listing 11.2
Listing 11.2. lsof –n output
COMMAND PID USER FD TYPE DEVICE SIZE NODE xfs 903 xfs 0r DIR 3,1 4096 2 atd 918 daemon rtd DIR 3,1 4096 2 atd 918 daemon txt REG 3,6 14384 273243 /usr/sbin/atd sshd 962 root cwd DIR 3,1 4096 2 sshd 962 root rtd DIR 3,1 4096 2 sshd 962 root txt REG 3,6 331032 274118 /usr/sbin/sshd dhcpcd 971 root cwd DIR 3,1 4096 2 dhcpcd 971 root rtd DIR 3,1 4096 2 dhcpcd 971 root txt REG 3,1 31576 78314 /sbin/dhcpcd xinetd 1007 root cwd DIR 3,1 4096 2 5u IPv4 1723 TCP 127.0.0.1:1024 (LISTEN) xinetd 1007 root 8u unix 0xc37a8540 1716 rwhod 1028 root cwd DIR 3,1 4096 61671 /var/spool/rwho rwhod 1028 root rtd DIR 3,1 4096 61671 /var/spool/rwho rwhod 1028 tim cwd DIR 3,1 4096 61671 /var/spool/rwho crond 1112 root cwd DIR 3,1 4096 14 /var/spool crond 1112 root 1w FIFO 0,5 1826 1112 root 2w FIFO 0,5 1827 pipe nessusd 1166 root cwd DIR 3,1 4096 2 nessusd 1166 root rtd DIR 3,1 4096 2 nessusd 1166 root txt REG 3,6 1424003 323952 init 1 root cwd DIR 3,1 4096 2 init 1 root rtd DIR 3,1 4096 2 init 1 root txt REG 3,1 31384 75197
The connections in this listing look normal. The connection via the rwho service might give you pause. You would want to make sure that a valid user on your system is using this command legitimately. If this account belonged to a nontechnical secretary type, you might want to investigate this further.
You can also use lsof to look for a specific file. If you want to see if anyone was accessing your password file, you could use the following command:
Replace path/filename with the specific path and filename you are interested in, in this case, /etc/passwd. You have to give lsof the whole path for it to find the file.
Another way to use lsof is to have it list all the open socket files. This shows if there is a server listening that you don't know about. The format of this command is:
This produces output similar to Listing 11.3. You can see all the programs you are running, including sshd and nessusd, which are the daemons for Nessus and SSH. You can even see the individual connections to these services. It looks like someone is using the Nessus server at the moment. Checking the IP address, you can see that it is an internal user. In fact, it is your own machine! So there is nothing to worry about this time.
Listing 11.3. lsof –i Output
COMMAND PID USER FD TYPE DEVICE SIZE NODE NAME portmap 733 rpc 3u IPv4 1417 UDP *:sunrpc portmap 733 rpc 4u IPv4 1426 TCP *:sunrpc (LISTEN) sshd 962 root 3u IPv4 1703 TCP *:ssh (LISTEN) xinetd 1007 root 5u IPv4 1728 TCP localhost.localdomain:1024 (LISTEN) rwhod 1028 root 3u IPv4 1747 UDP *:who nessusd 1166 root 4u IPv4 1971 TCP *:1241 (LISTEN) nessusd 1564 root 5u IPv4 1972 TCP 192.168.1.101:1241->192.168.1.2:1994 (ESTABLISHED)
You can specify a particular IP address or host to look for by putting an @ (at sign) and the address after the -i switch. For example:
shows any connections coming from within your network, assuming your internal network is 192.168.1.0/24.
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