Linkz 4 Mostly Malware Related Tools

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 Posted by Corey Harrell
It's been awhile but here is another Linkz edition. In this edition I'm sharing information about the various tools I came across over the past few months.

Process Explorer with VirusTotal Integration

By far the most useful tool released this year is the updated  Process Explorer program since it now checks running processes against VirusTotal. This added feature makes it very easy to spot malicious programs and should be a welcome toolset addition to those who are constantly battling malware. To turn on the functionality all you need to do is to select the "Check Virustotal" option from the Options menu.

After it is selected then the new Virustotal column appears showing the results as shown below:

The hyperlinks in the VirusTotal results can be clicked, which brings you to the VirusTotal report. The new functionality is really cool and I can see it making life easier for those who don't have DFIR skills to find malware such as IT folks. Hence, my comment about this being the most useful tool released. The one thing I should warn others about is to think very hard before enabling is the "Submit Unknown Executables" to VirusTotal since this will result in files being uploaded to Virustotal (and thus available for others to download).

Making Static Analysis Easier

I recently became aware about this tool from people tweeting about. PEStudio "is a tool that can be used to perform the static investigation of any Windows executable binary." It quickly parses an executable file presenting you with indicators, VirusTotal results, imports, exports, strings, and a whole lot more as shown below.

Automating Researching URLs, Domains, and IPs

The next tool up to bat automates researching domains, IPs, hashes, and URLs. It's a pretty slick tool and I can see it being an asset when you need to get information quickly. TekDefense describes Automater as "a URL/Domain, IP Address, and Md5 Hash OSINT tool aimed at making the analysis process easier for intrusion Analysts." If you are tasked with doing this type of analysis then you will definitely want to check out this tool. The screenshot below is part of the report generated for the MD5 hash ae2fc0c593fd98562f0425a06c164920; the hash was easily obtained from PEStudio.

Norben - Portable Dynamic Analysis Tool

The next tool makes the dynamic analysis process a little easier. "Noriben is a Python-based script that works in conjunction with Sysinternals Procmon to automatically collect, analyze, and report on runtime indicators of malware. In a nutshell, it allows you to run your malware, hit a keypress, and get a simple text report of the sample's activities." To see this tool in action you can check out Brian Baskin's post Malware with No Strings Attached - Dynamic Analysis; it's an excellent read. In order to get a screenshot, I ran the previous sample inside a virtual machine with Noriben running.

I'm Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs

You can probably guess what my kids ate for breakfast but this next tool is not child's play. Version 1 of the Cuckoo Sandbox has been released. The download is available on their download page. For those who don't want to set up their own in-house sandbox then you can use Malwr (the online version).


The next tool comes courtesy of Kahu Security. The best way to explain the tool is to use the author's own words from his post Pinpoint Tool Released.

"There are many times where I come across a drive-by download, especially malvertisements, and it takes me awhile to figure out which file on the compromised website is infected. I wrote Pinpoint to help me find the malicious objects faster so I can provide that info to webmasters for clean-up purposes."

The post provides some examples on the tool's use as well as their most recent post Pinpointing Malicious Redirects (nice read by the way.) You can grab the tool from the tools page.

What You See May Not Be What You Should Get

I thought I'd share a post highlighting shortcomings in our tools while I'm on the topic about malware. Harlan posted his write-up Using Unicode to hide malware within the file system and it is a well written post. The post discusses an encounter with a system impacted by malware and the anti-forensic techniques used to better hide on the system. One method used was to set the file attributes to hidden and system; to hide a folder from the default view settings. The second method and more interesting of the two use the use of Unicode in the file name path. What the post really highlighted was how multiple tools - tools that are typically in the DFIR toolset - do not show the Unicode in the file path. This would make it possible for anyone looking at a system to overlook the directory and possibly miss an important piece of information. This is something to definitely be aware about for the tools we use to process our cases.

Do You Know Where You Are? You're In The NTFS Jungle Baby

If you haven't visited Joakim Schicht's MFT2CSV website lately then you may have missed the tools he updated on his downloads page. The tools include: LogFileParser that parses the logfile (only open source logfile parser available), mft2csv that parses the $MFT file, and UsnJrnl2Csv that parses the Windows Change Journal. The next time you find yourself in the NTFS jungle you may want to visit the mft2csv site to help you find your way out.

Still Lost in the NTFS Jungle

Rounding out this linkz post are a collection of tools from Willi Ballenthin. Willi had previously released tools such as his INDX parser and python-registry. Over the past few months he has released some more NTFS tools. These include: list-mft to timeline NTFS metadata, get-file-info to inspect $MFT records, and fuse-mft to mount an $MFT. I haven't had the time to test out these tools yet but it's at the top of my list.
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  1. Anonymous

    If you are doing malware analysis on a machine connected to the Internet (so that Virus Total works in Process Explorer) then you don't understand why malware analysis is safer done on a machine isolated from the Internet.

  2. @anon,

    I do understand the risks of analyzing malware on systems connected to the Internet but I wanted to clarify my post just in case. The first instance I referenced VT the use case I referenced was for it to be used on systems that may be infected. This is a trainging use case and not malware analysis. As such, the system would already be connected to the Internet. The second mention was for static analysis. I see PEStudio as a fast way to get intel on a sample and as such I see it is worth the risk to query VT (or just query VT by its hash)

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