Monday, September 03, 2007

More on (the) UserAssist keys

Didier Stevens has continued some of his excellent work regarding the UserAssist keys in the Registry. This morning, he posted an entry that explains part of the value names that appear when you decode (ie, un-ROT-13) the names. He has added the capability of providing an explanation to his UserAssist tool.

When you decode the value names from beneath the UserAssist\{GUID}\Count keys, you see that the value names begin with "UEME_" and include names like "RUNPIDL" and "RUNCPL", to name just a few. Since research into these Registry entries began, no one has really known or explored what these refer to...until now. Didier has done an excellent (say "excellent" the way Mr. Burns...more data on Wikipedia...does from "The Simpons", while tenting your fingers...) job of digging into what they mean, as well as providing that explanation via his tool.

If you get a chance, please be sure to thank Didier for his work, and if you see him at a conference, buy him a beer!

Addendum, 5 Sept: Rich over at ForensicZone.com has an interesting web page posted about extracting UserAssist key value names from memory dumps. This is a very interesting move on Rich's part...I've been looking at memory dumps and finding the "magic numbers" for Registry keys and values, but I have yet (due to time constraints) to go as far as writing code to pull out the key/value structures. The interesting thing about this (I think...being the complete nerd that I am) is that if we dump the contents of physical memory and then are capable of parsing out images used by each process as well as the memory used by each process, we can then (potentially) find Registry keys and values that we can associate with a specific process, but have yet to be written to disk! In addition, we know from the Registry key structure that the keys (albeit not the values) have a timestamp associated with them, increasing their evidentary value. Great catch, Rich! I hope you and Didier keep up the great work you've been doing!

Addendum, 7 Sept: Wow, when things get rolling, it's amazing! Didier and I have exchanged a couple of emails discussing various aspects of the UserAssist keys and some of the more esoteric settings that are out there, and according to some, have actually been used! Didier's a veritable fountain of energy and enthusiasm when it comes to researching this kind of thing, so keep an eye on his blog for more good things!