Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

3/22/2012
10:05 AM
John H. Sawyer
John H. Sawyer
Commentary
50%
50%

Fun With REMnux -- And New Malware Analysis Book

"Practical Malware Analysis" provides in-depth knowledge on malware analysis and includes useful lab exercises. We take REMnux for a spin with the labs

In my last blog about Linux Live Environments, I mentioned REMnux, an environment specifically built for malware analysis. I'd spent a little time with REMnux when it first came out, but decided to take the latest version (3.0) for a test drive.

Since I just received the new "Practical Malware Analysis" book from No Starch Press, the detailed lab exercises seemed like a perfect way to test out the tools included in REMnux. While most of the tools in the book are Windows-based, there are Linux-based equivalents found on REMnux.

The first task was downloading the lab files linked from http://practicalmalwareanalysis.com/labs and extracting them. My plan to solely use REMnux was immediately thwarted by the self-extracting Windows executable that contained the lab files. There was a EULA (end user license agreement) wrapper as part of the executable that had to be accepted before the files could be extracted -- a problem solved with a quick boot of a Windows XP virtual machine. Ideally, the authors will replace or supplement the self-extracting executable with a standard zip file.

After a quick and easy read through the first few chapters, I started to dig into the lab examples using REMnux's tools. Chapter 1's labs want you to upload the example binaries to VirusTotal to see whether any antivirus products detect them as possible malware. While I could have used Firefox to upload the files, I chose to use pyew's "vt" plugin that searches VirusTotal using the MD5 hash of the file instead of uploading the actual file.

Searching just using the MD5 could have backfired if no one had uploaded the file to VirusTotal yet, but given the popularity of the book, the lab files had already been uploaded many times. It doesn't appear that REMnux currently comes with a command-line tool to upload files to VirusTotal, so here are a couple of options (#1 and #2) that simply require that you get a free API key from VT first.

A few other tasks in the first few "Practical Malware Analysis" labs include looking at executables' import/export functions, compile date, and packer identification. Pescanner works pretty well to figuring out those answers, but not all of them. For example, pescanner identifies suspicious import functions but does not list them all, and it incorrectly identified some of the executables as having been packed when they weren't. Pyew faired better by being able to list all imports and exports and correctly identifying the packer, but it did not have an obvious way to show the compile date. But when used together, you can get the exact answers you need.

The last lab in Chapter 1 asks you to use Resource Hacker to look for resources that are stored in the file. To accomplish the same task on Linux, a command-line tool can be used called hachoir-subfile. Running hachoir-subfile against the Lab 1-4 executable will extract the embedded in PE file.

I'm looking forward to digging into the book more and using REMnux further to see just what I can do without having a Windows virtual machine. It's not that I have anything against Windows -- I just like to find alternative Linux-based tools that do the same thing as Windows-based tools. There's definitely an advantage to having both platforms available for analysis with the plethora of tools to use.

I highly recommend taking a look at the "Practical Malware Analysis" if you're interested in the topic, as it is one of the best books I've seen on subject and the labs are great. I suspect I'll have more blogs in the future about the book and tools as I spend more time with it and find alternative tools to use for the analysis.

John Sawyer is a Senior Security Analyst with InGuardians. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are his own and do not represent the views and opinions of his employer. He can be reached at [email protected] and found on Twitter @johnhsawyer.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
7 Truths About BEC Scams
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  6/13/2019
DNS Firewalls Could Prevent Billions in Losses to Cybercrime
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/13/2019
Can Your Patching Strategy Keep Up with the Demands of Open Source?
Tim Mackey, Principal Security Strategist, CyRC, at Synopsys,  6/18/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-3896
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-19
A double-free can happen in idr_remove_all() in lib/idr.c in the Linux kernel 2.6 branch. An unprivileged local attacker can use this flaw for a privilege escalation or for a system crash and a denial of service (DoS).
CVE-2019-3954
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-19
Stack-based buffer overflow in Advantech WebAccess/SCADA 8.4.0 allows a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code by sending a crafted IOCTL 81024 RPC call.
CVE-2019-10085
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-19
In Apache Allura prior to 1.11.0, a vulnerability exists for stored XSS on the user dropdown selector when creating or editing tickets. The XSS executes when a user engages with that dropdown on that page.
CVE-2019-11038
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-19
When using gdImageCreateFromXbm() function of gd extension in versions 7.1.x below 7.1.30, 7.2.x below 7.2.19 and 7.3.x below 7.3.6, it is possible to supply data that will cause the function to use the value of uninitialized variable. This may lead to disclosing contents of the stack that has been ...
CVE-2019-11039
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-19
Function iconv_mime_decode_headers() in versions 7.1.x below 7.1.30, 7.2.x below 7.2.19 and 7.3.x below 7.3.6 may perform out-of-buffer read due to integer overflow when parsing MIME headers. This may lead to information disclosure or crash.