memory forensics

  1. Detecting Compromise of CVE-2024-3400 on Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect Devices

    Last month, Volexity reported on its discovery of zero-day, in-the-wild exploitation of CVE-2024-3400 in the GlobalProtect feature of Palo Alto Networks PAN-OS by a threat actor Volexity tracks as UTA0218. Palo Alto Networks released an advisory and threat protection signature for the vulnerability within 48 hours of Volexity’s disclosure of the issue to Palo Alto Networks, with official patches and fixes following soon after. Volexity has conducted several additional incident response investigations and proactive analyses of Palo Alto Networks firewall devices since the initial two cases described in Volexity’s blog post. These recent investigations were based primarily on data collected from customers generating a tech support file (TSF) from their devices and providing them to Volexity. From these investigations and analyses, Volexity has observed the following: Shortly after the advisory for CVE-2024-3400 was released, scanning and exploitation of the vulnerability immediately increased. The uptick in exploitation appears to have been associated […]

  2. CharmingCypress: Innovating Persistence

    Through its managed security services offerings, Volexity routinely identifies spear-phishing campaigns targeting its customers. One persistent threat actor, whose campaigns Volexity frequently observes, is the Iranian-origin threat actor CharmingCypress (aka Charming Kitten, APT42, TA453). Volexity assesses that CharmingCypress is tasked with collecting political intelligence against foreign targets, particularly focusing on think tanks, NGOs, and journalists. In their phishing campaigns, CharmingCypress often employs unusual social-engineering tactics, such as engaging targets in prolonged conversations over email before sending links to malicious content. In a particularly notable spear-phishing campaign observed by Volexity, CharmingCypress went so far as to craft an entirely fake webinar platform to use as part of the lure. CharmingCypress controlled access to this platform, requiring targets to install malware-laden VPN applications prior to granting access. Note: Some content in this blog was recently discussed in Microsoft’s report, New TTPs observed in Mint Sandstorm campaign targeting high-profile individuals at universities and […]

  3. How Memory Forensics Revealed Exploitation of Ivanti Connect Secure VPN Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

    In a recent series of blog posts related to two zero-day vulnerabilities in Ivanti Connect Secure VPN, Volexity shared details of active in-the-wild exploitation; provided an update on how exploitation had gone worldwide; and reported observations of how malware and modifications to the built-in Integrity Checker Tool were used to evade detection. A critical piece of Volexity’s initial investigation involved collecting and analyzing a memory sample. As noted in the first blog post of the three-part series (emphasis added): “…Volexity analyzed one of the collected memory samples and uncovered the exploit chain used by the attacker. Volexity discovered two different zero-day exploits which were being chained together to achieve unauthenticated remote code execution (RCE). Through forensic analysis of the memory sample, Volexity was able to recreate two proof-of-concept exploits that allowed full unauthenticated command execution on the ICS VPN appliance.” Collect & Analyze Memory ASAP Volexity regularly prioritizes memory forensics […]

  4. Using Memory Analysis to Detect EDR-Nullifying Malware

    In the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape, threat actors are forced to evolve and continually modify the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) they employ to launch and sustain attacks successfully. They are continually modifying their malware and command-execution methods to evade detection. The attackers in these cases are attempting to get a step ahead of security software at the most basic level. However, some techniques take a different approach, aiming further up the stack and directly taking on security software. The most brazen methods involve leveraging various tools that directly terminate or shutdown security software. If successful, this method is effective at giving an attacker free reign on a system. However, it comes at the potential cost of alerting users or administrators that the software unexpectedly stopped reporting or was shut off. What about a technique that potentially flies a bit more under the radar? In November 2022, Trend Micro published a […]

  5. Surge Collect Provides Reliable Memory Acquisition Across Windows, Linux, and macOS

    Over the last 10 years, memory acquisition has proven to be one of the most important and precarious aspects of digital investigations.  Unfortunately, many investigators blindly trust free and commercial tools without understanding the associated risks and limitations. Consequently, they often end up with corrupt memory samples, or they crash systems containing volatile data that is critical to their investigations.  While these tools may be readily accessible, many are unsupported or have been effectively abandoned by their original developers. In addition, a recent empirical study showed that most open source or commercial Windows memory acquisition tools either failed to collect or crashed systems with modern security features enabled. Based on user feedback, we determined there was a growing need within the industry to provide reliable and actively supported memory acquisition capabilities across Windows, Linux, and macOS. Acquisition Challenges When we set out to develop Volatility, we decided to focus our […]