Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pimp acquisition

Whenever you perform a live acquisition, what do you do? Document the system, write down things like the system model (ie., Dell PowerEdge 2960, etc), maybe write down any specific identifiers (such as the Dell service tag) and then acquire the system. But is this enough data? Are we missing things by not including the collection of other data in our live acquisition process?

What about collecting volatile data? I've had to perform live acquisitions of systems that had been rebooted multiple times since the incident was discovered, as well as systems that could not be acquired without booting them (SAS/SATA drives, etc.). Under those circumstances, maybe I wouldn't need to collect volatile data...after all, what data of interest would it contain...but maybe we should do so anyway.

How about collecting non-volatile data? Like the system name and IP address? Or the disk configuration? One of the tools available on the DVD that comes with my book lets you see the following information about hard drives attached to the system:

Model : ST910021AS
Interface : IDE
Media : Fixed hard disk media
Capabilities :
Random Access
Supports Writing
Signature : 0x41ab2316
Serial No : 3MH0B9G3

Model : WDC WD12 00UE-00KVT0 USB Device
Interface : USB
Media : Fixed hard disk media
Capabilities :
Random Access
Supports Writing
Signature : 0x96244465
Serial No :

Another tool lets you see the following:

Drive Type File System Path Free Space
----- ----- ----------- ----- ----------
C:\ Fixed NTFS 17.96 GB
D:\ Fixed NTFS 38.51 GB
E:\ CD-ROM 0.00
G:\ Fixed NTFS 42.24 GB

In the above output, notice that there are no network drives attached to the test shares mapped. Had there been any, the "Type" would have been listed as "Network", and the path would have been displayed.

Does it make sense to acquire this sort of information when performing a live acquisition? If so, is this information sufficient...or, what other information, at a minimum, should be collected?

Are there conditions under which I would acquire certain info, but not others? For example, if the system had not been rebooted, would I dump the contents of physical memory (I'd say "yes" to that one)...however, if the system had been accessed by admins, scanned with AV, and rebooted several times, would it do me any good at that point to dump RAM or should I simply document the fact that I didn't, and why?

Would this information be collected prior to the live acquisition, or immediately following?

What are your thoughts...and why?

PS: If you can think of a pseudonym I can use...think of it as a "hacker handle" (that thing that Joey from Hackers kept whining about), but REALLY cool, like "Xzibit", let me know. Oh, yeah...Ovie Carroll needs one, too. ;-)

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