A Practical Approach to Malware Analysis and Memory Forensics

Course Description

This hands-on training teaches the concepts, tools, and techniques to analyze, investigate and hunt malwares by combining two powerful techniques malware analysis and memory forensics.This course will introduce attendees to basics of malware analysis, reverse engineering, Windows internals and memory forensics, it then gradually progresses deep into more advanced concepts of malware analysis & memory forensics. Attendees will learn to perform static, dynamic, code and memory analysis.

This course consists of scenario-based hands-on labs after each module which involves analyzing real-world malware samples and infected memory images (crimeware, APT malwares, Fileless malwares, Rootkits etc). This hands-on training is designed to help attendees gain a better understanding of the subject in short span. Throughout the course, the attendees will learn the latest techniques used by the adversaries to compromise and persist on the system. The training also demonstrates how to integrate the malware analysis and forensics techniques into a custom sandbox to automate the analysis of malicious code. After taking this course attendees will be better equipped with skills to analyze, investigate and respond to malware-related incidents.

The training provides practical guidance and attendees should walk away with the following skills:

  • How malware and Windows internals work
  • How to create a safe and isolated lab environment for malware analysis
  • What are the techniques and tools to perform malware analysis
  • How to perform static analysis to determine the metadata associated with malware
  • How to perform dynamic analysis of the malware to determine its interaction with process, file system, registry and network
  • How to perform code analysis to determine the malware functionality
  • How to debug a malware using tools like IDA Pro, Ollydbg/Immunity debugger/x64dbg
  • How to analyze downloaders, droppers, keyloggers, fileless malwares, HTTP backdoors, etc.
  • What is Memory Forensics and its use in malware and digital investigation
  • Ability to acquire a memory image from suspect/infected systems
  • How to use open source advanced memory forensics framework (Volatility)
  • Understanding of the techniques used by the malwares to hide from Live forensic tools
  • Understanding of the techniques used by Rootkits(code injection, hooking, etc.)
  • Investigative steps for detecting stealth and advanced malware
  • How memory forensics helps in malware analysis and reverse engineering
  • How to incorporate malware analysis and memory forensics in sandbox
  • How to determine the network and host-based indicators (IOC)
  • Techniques to hunt malware

Course contents

Introduction to Malware Analysis

  • What is Malware
  • What they do
  • Why malware analysis
  • Types of malware analysis
  • Setting up an isolated lab environment

Static Analysis

  • Fingerprinting the malware
  • Extracting strings
  • Determining File obfuscation
  • Pattern matching using YARA
  • Fuzzing hashing & comparison
  • Understanding PE File characteristics
  • Disassembly
  • Hands-on lab exercise involves analyzing real malware sample

Dynamic Analysis/Behavioural analysis

  • Dynamic Analysis Steps
  • Understanding Dynamic Analysis tools
  • Simulating services
  • Performing Dynamic Analysis
  • Monitoring process, filesystem, registry and network activity
  • Determining the Indicators of compromise (host and network indicators)
  • Demo – Showing the static & dynamic analysis of real malware sample
  • Hands-on lab exercise involves analyzing real malware sample

Automating Malware Analysis(sandbox)

  • Custom Sandbox Overview
  • Working of Sandbox
  • Sandbox Features
  • Demo – Analyzing malware in the custom sandbox

Code Analysis

  • Code Analysis Overview
  • Disassembler & Debuggers
  • Code Analysis Tools
  • Basics of IDA Pro
  • Basics of Ollydbg/x64dbg
  • Understanding the API calls
  • Reversing Malware functionalities(Downloader, dropper, keylogger, code injection, HTTP backdoor)
  • Hands-on lab exercise involves analyzing real malware sample

Introduction to Memory Forensics

  • What is Memory Forensics
  • Why Memory Forensics
  • Steps in Memory Forensics
  • Memory acquisition and tools
  • Acquiring memory From physical machine
  • Acquiring memory from the virtual machine
  • Hands-on exercise involves acquiring the memory

Volatility Overview

  • Introduction to Volatility Advanced Memory Forensics Framework
  • Volatility Installation
  • Volatility basic commands
  • Determining the profile
  • Volatility help options
  • Running the plugin

Investigating Process

  • Understanding Process Internals
  • Process(EPROCESS) Structure
  • Process organization
  • Process Enumeration by walking the double linked list
  • Process relationship (parent-child relationship)
  • Understanding DKOM attacks
  • Process Enumeration using pool tag scanning
  • Volatility plugins to enumerate processes
  • Identifying malware process
  • Hands-on lab exercise(scenario based) involves investigating malware infected memory

Investigating Process handles & Registry

  • Objects and handles overview
  • Enumerating process handles using Volatility
  • Understanding Mutex
  • Detecting malware presence using mutex
  • Understanding the Registry
  • Investigating common registry keys using Volatility
  • Detecting malware persistence
  • Hands-on lab exercise(scenario based) involves investigating malware infected memory

Investigating Network Activities

  • Understanding malware network activities
  • Volatility Network Plugins
  • Investigating Network connections
  • Investigating Sockets
  • Hands-on lab exercise(scenario based) involves investigating malware infected memory

Investigation Process Memory

  • Process memory Internals
  • Listing DLLs using Volatility
  • Identifying hidden DLLs
  • Dumping malicious executable from memory
  • Dumping Dll’s from memory
  • Scanning the memory for patterns(yarascan)
  • Hands-on lab exercise(scenario based) involves investigating malware infected memory

Investigating User-Mode Rootkits & Fileless Malwares

  • Code Injection
  • Types of Code injection
  • Remote DLL injection
  • Remote Code injection
  • Reflective DLL injection
  • Hollow process injection
  • Demo – Case Study
  • Hands-on lab exercise(scenario based) involves investigating malware infected memory

Memory Forensics in Sandbox technology

  • Sandbox Overview
  • Integrating Memory Forensics into a sandbox
  • Demo – showing the use of memory forensics in a custom sandbox

Investigating Kernel-Mode Rootkits

  • Understanding Rootkits
  • Understanding Functional call traversal in Windows
  • Level of Hooking/Modification on Windows
  • Kernel Volatility plugins
  • Hands-on lab exercise(scenario based) involves investigating malware infected memory
  • Demo – Rootkit Investigation

Memory Forensic Case Studies

  • Demo – Hunting an APT malware from Memory

Target audience

This course is intended for

  • Forensic practitioners, incident responders, cyber-security investigators, security researchers, malware analysts, system administrators, software developers, students and curious security professionals who would like to expand their skills
  • Anyone interested in learning malware analysis and memory forensics.


Students should:

  • Be familiar with using Windows/Linux
  • Have an understanding of basic programming concepts, while programming experience is not mandatory.

Hardware/Software Requirements

Students should bring:

  • Laptop with minimum 6GB RAM and 40GB free hard disk space
  • Laptop with USB ports. The lab samples and custom Linux VM will be shared via USB sticks
  • VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion (even trial versions can be used).
  • Windows Operating system (preferably Windows 7 64-bit, even Windows 8 and above versions are fine) installed inside the VMware Workstation/Fusion. You must have full administrator access for the Windows operating system installed inside the VMware Workstation/Fusion.

Note: VMware player or VirtualBox is not suitable for this training. The lab setup guide will be sent you after registration.

Trainer Biography

Monnappa K A works with Cisco Systems as information security investigator focusing on threat intelligence, investigation of advanced cyber attacks, researching on cyber espionage and targeted attacks. He is the creator of Limon Linux sandbox and winner of Volatility plugin contest 2016. He is the author of the upcoming book “Learning Malware Analysis”. He is a member of the Black Hat review board and co-founder of the cyber-security research community “Cysinfo” (https://www.cysinfo.com).

His fields of interest include malware analysis, reverse engineering, memory forensics and threat intelligence. He has presented at various security conferences around the globe including Black Hat, FIRST, SEC-T, DSCI, and Cysinfo on various topics which include memory forensics, malware analysis, reverse engineering and rootkit analysis. He has conducted training sessions at Black Hat, FIRST (Forum of Incident Response and Security teams), SEC-T, OPCDE cyber security conferences. He has also authored various articles in eForensics and Hakin9 magazines.

You can find some of his contributions to the community on his YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/c/MonnappaKA), and he publishes blog posts at https://cysinfo.com


Twitter: @monnappa22