Discovering the challenges of memory forensics
We hope you have already realized the importance of memory analysis. Now it is time to look for the pitfalls. RAM is a very useful and extremely fragile thing. Any interaction with the system, even the smallest one, can lead to irreversible consequences. For this reason, one of the most important challenges in memory analysis is data preservation.
A few important points related to memory dump creation are listed in the next sections.
Since most operating systems do not have built-in solutions for creating complete memory dumps, you will have to use specialized tools. There are all kinds of tools available today for creating full memory dumps as well as for extracting individual processes. Investigators can be guided by various considerations when choosing a tool:
- Changes being made to the system
- The possibility of remote dump creation
In some cases, running tools to create memory dumps can cause an overload of the system. That is why an investigator who decides to create a memory dump should be ready to take responsibility for possible risks. The system under investigation could be a critical object, disabling which could lead not only to the loss of important data, but also to the shutdown of critical business processes, and in rare cases, even to a threat to the lives and health of people. The decision to create memory dumps on such systems should be balanced and consider all the pros and cons.
Besides, sometimes malware tries to use anti-forensic techniques and prevent memory preservation in every possible way, which again leads to unpredictable consequences. This happens rarely, but this factor should also be taken into account.