Registry Forensics - Santa Clara University

Registry Forensics - Santa Clara University

Registry Forensics COEN 152 / 252 Registry: A Wealth of Information Information that can be recovered include: System Configuration Devices on the System User Names Personal Settings and Browser Preferences Web Browsing Activity Files Opened Programs Executed Passwords Registry History

Before the Windows Registry: (DOS, Windows 3.x) INI files SYSTEM.INI This file controlled all the hardware on the computer system. WIN.INI This file controlled all the desktop and applications on the computer system. Individual applications also utilized their

own INI files that are linked to the WIN.INI. Registry History: INI File Problems Proliferation of INI files. Other problems Size limitations Slow access No standards Fragmented Lack of network support Registry History The Windows 3.x OS also contained a file called REG.DAT. The REG.DAT was utilized to store

information about Object Link Embedding (OLE) objects. Registry History The Windows 9x/NT 3.5 Operating System is composed of the following files: System.dat Utilized for system settings. (Win 9x/NT) User.dat One profile for each use with unique settings specific to the user. (Win 9x/NT) Classes.dat Utilized for program associations, context menus and file types. (Win Me only)

To provide redundancy, a back-up of the registry was made after each boot of the computer system. These files are identified as: System.dao (Win 95) User.dao (Win 95) (Windows 98/Me) Registry History If there are numerous users on a computer system, the following issues arise:

The User.dat file for each individual will be different as to the content. If all users on the computer system utilize the same profile, the information will all be mingled in the User.dat and will be difficult if not impossible to segregate the data. On Windows 9.x systems, the User.dat file for the default user is utilized to create the User.dat files for all new profiles. Registry Definition The Microsoft Computer Dictionary defines the registry as:

A central hierarchical database used in the Microsoft Windows family of Operating Systems to store information necessary to configure the system for one or more users, applications and hardware devices. The registry contains information that Windows continually references during operation, such as profiles for each user, the applications installed on the computer and the types of documents that each can crate, property sheet settings for folders and application icons, what hardware exists on the system and the ports that are being sued. Registry Definition

The registry was developed to overcome the restrictions of the INI and REG.DAT files. The registry is composed of two pieces of information: System-Wide Information This is data about software and hardware settings. This information tends to be apply to all users of the computer. User Specific Information This is data about an individual configuration. This information is specific to a users profile. Registry Organization

The Windows registry contains the following: Hives are utilized by the registry to store data on itself. Hives are stored in a variety of files that are dependent on the Windows Operating System that is being utilized. Windows 9x Registry Filename Location

Content system.dat C:\Windows Protected storage area for all users All installed programs and their settings System settings user.dat C:\Windows

Most Recently Used (MRU) files User preference settings If there are multiple user profiles, each user has an individual user.dat file in windows\profiles\user account Windows XP Registry Filename ntuser.dat Location

Content \Documents and Settings\ user account Protected storage area for user Most Recently Used (MRU) files User preference settings Default \Windows\system32\config System settings

SAM \Windows\system32\config User account management and security settings Security \Windows\system32\config Security settings Software

\Windows\system32\config All installed programs and their settings System \Windows\system32\config System settings If there are multiple user profiles, each user has an individual user.dat file in windows\profiles\user account


Contains the root of all user profiles that exist on the system. HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG (HKCC) Contains system-wide hardware settings and configuration information. HKEY_USERS (HKU) Contains the profile (settings, etc) about the user that is logged in.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM) Contains information in order that the correct program opens when executing a file with Windows Explorer. Contains information about the hardware profile used by the computer during start up. Sub Keys These are essentially sub directories that exist under the Root Keys. Registry Organization

Windows Security and Relative ID The Windows Registry utilizes a alphanumeric combination to uniquely identify a security principal or security group. The Security ID (SID) is used to identify the computer system. The Relative ID (RID) is used to identity the specific user on the computer system. The SID appears as: S-1-5-21-927890586-3685698554-67682326-1005

SID Examples SID: S-1-0 Name: Null Authority Description: An identifier authority. SID: S-1-0-0 Name: Nobody Description: No security principal.

SID: S-1-1 Name: World Authority Description: An identifier authority. SID: S-1-1-0 Name: Everyone Description: A group that includes all users, even anonymous users and guests. Membership is controlled by the operating system. SID: S-1-2 Name: Local Authority Description: An identifier authority. SID: S-1-3 Name: Creator Authority Description: An identifier authority. SID

Security ID NT/2000/XP/2003 HKLM>SAM>Domains>Accounts>Aliases>Members HKLM>SAM>Domains>Users This key will provide information in hexadecimal

User ID This key will provide information on the computer identifier Administrator 500 Guest 501 Global Groups ID

Administrators 512 Users 513 Guest - 514 MRU To identify the Most Recently Used (MRU) files on a suspect computer system: Windows User.dat Search should be made for MRU, LRU, Recent

Windows Search should be made for MRU, LRU, Recent Windows NT/2000 Ntuser.dat 9x/Me

XP/2003 HKU>UserSID>Software>Microsoft>Windows> CurrentVersion>Explorer>RecentDoc Select file extension and select item Registry Forensics Registry keys have last modified timestamp Stored as FILETIME structure like MAC for files

Not accessible through reg-edit Accessible in binary. Registry Forensics Registry Analysis: Perform a GUI-based live-system analysis.

Perform a command-line live-system analysis Less risky Use reg command. Remote live system analysis Easiest, but most likely to incur changes.

Use regedit. regedit allows access to a remote registry Superscan from Foundstone Offline analysis on registry files. Encase, FTK (Access data) have specialized tools regedit on registry dump. Registry Forensics Websites Registry Forensics: NTUSER.DAT

AOL Instant Messenger Away messages File Transfer & Sharing Last User Profile Info Recent Contacts Registered Users Saved Buddy List Registry Forensics: NTUSER.DAT ICQ IM

contacts, file transfer info etc. User Identification Number Last logged in user Nickname of user Registry Forensics: NTUSER.DAT Internet Explorer IE auto logon and password IE search terms IE settings Typed URLs Auto-complete passwords

Registry Forensics: NTUSER.DAT IE explorer Typed URLs Registry Forensics: NTUSER.DAT MSN Messenger IM groups, contacts, Location of message history files Location of saved contact list files Registry Forensics: NTUSER.DAT Last member name in MSN messenger

Registry Forensics: NTUSER.DAT Outlook express account passwords Registry Forensics Yahoo messenger Chat rooms Alternate user identities Last logged in user Encrypted password Recent contacts Registered screen names

Registry Forensics System: Computer name Dynamic disks Install dates Last user logged in Mounted devices Windows OS product key Registered owner Programs run automatically Systems USB devices

Registry Forensics Registry Forensics USB Devices Registry Forensics Networking Local groups Local users Map network drive MRU Printers Registry Forensics

Winzip Registry Forensics List of applications and filenames of the most recent files opened in windows Registry Forensics Most recent saved (or copied) files Registry Forensics System Recent documents Recent commands entered in Windows run

box Programs that run automatically Startup software Good place to look for Trojans Registry Forensics User Application Data Adobe products IM contacts Search terms in google Kazaa data Windows media player data

Word recent docs and user info Access, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint recent files Registry Forensics Go to Access Datas Registry Quick Find Chart Registry Forensics Case Study (Chad Steel: Windows Forensics, Wiley) Department manager alleges that individual copied confidential information on DVD.

No DVD burner was issued or found. Laptop was analyzed. Found USB device entry in registry: PLEXTOR DVDR PX-708A Found software key for Nero - Burning ROM in registry Therefore, looked for and found Nero compilation files (.nrc). Found other compilation files, including ISO image files. Image files contained DVD-format and AVI format versions of copyrighted movies. Conclusion: No evidence that company information was burned to disk. However, laptop was used to burn copyrighted material and employee had lied. Registry Forensics Intelliform:

Autocomplete feature for fast form filling Uses values stored in the registry HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Protected Storage System Provider Only visible to SYSTEM account Accessible Explorer. with tools such as Windows Secret Registry Forensics: AutoStart Viewer (DiamondCS)

Registry Research Use REGMON (MS Sysinternals) to monitor changes to the registry Registry Need to set filter Or enable Regmons log boot record Captures registry activity in a regmon file

Do it yourself: Windows API is accessed constantly RegNotifyChangeKeyValue Many commercial products DiamondCS RegProt Intercepts changes to the registry

Registry Forensics Investigation Forensics tools allow registry investigation from image of drive Differences between life and offline view No HARDWARE hive (HKLM) No virtual keys such as HKEY_CURRENT_USER

Dynamic key, created at boot Derived from SID key under HKEY_USERS Source file is NTUSER.DAT Do not confuse current and repair versions of registry files %SystemRoot%\system32\config (TRUE registry) %SystemRoot%\repair (repair version of registry) Registry Forensics Investigation

Forensics search can reveal backups of registry Intruders leave these behind when resetting registry in order not to damage system Registry Forensics Investigation Time is Universal Time Coordinated a.k.a. Zulu a.k.a Greenwhich Time

Registry Forensics Investigation Software Key Installed Software Registry keys are usually created with installation But not deleted when program is uninstalled Find them

Root of the software key Beware of bogus names HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\App Paths HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Uninstall If suspicious, use information from the registry to find the actual code Registry time stamps will confirm the file MAC data or show them to be altered

Registry Forensics Investigation Software Key Last Logon HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\WinLogon Logon Banner Text / Legal Notice

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\WinLogon Security Center Settings HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Security Center HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\ SharedAccess\Parameters\FirewallPolicy If firewall logging is enabled, the log is typically at %SystemRoot%/pfirewall.log

Registry Forensics Investigation Registry Forensics Investigation Analyze Restore Point Settings Restore points developed for Win ME / XP Restore point settings at

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\ CurrentVersion\SystemRestore Restore points created every RPGlobalInterval value seconds (~every 24h) Retention period is RPLifeInterval seconds (default 90 days) Restore point taking in ON by default Restore points in System Volume Information\restore Registry Forensics Investigation Aside: How to access restore points Restore points are protected from user, including administrator

Administrator can add her/himself to the access list of the system volume directory Turn off Use simple file sharing in Control Panel Folder Options Click on Properties of the directory in Explorer and Registry Forensics Investigation Restore point makes copies of important system and program files that were added since the last restore points

Files Stored in root of RP### folder Names have changed File extension is unchanged Name changes kept in change.log file Registry data

in Snapshot folder Names have changed, but predictably so Registry Forensics Investigation SID (security identifier) Well-known SIDs Name: Null Authority

Name: Network S-1-5-21-2553256115-2633344321-4076599324-1006 SID: S-1-0 SID: S-1-5-2 S string is SID 1

revision number 5 authority level (from 0 to 5) 21-2553256115-2633344321-4076599324 identifier 1006 RID Relative identifier domain or local computer Local SAM resolves SID for locally authenticated users (not domain users) Use recycle bin to check for owners Registry Forensics Investigation

Resolving local SIDs through the Recycle Bin (life view) Registry Forensics Investigation Protected Storage System Provider data Located in NTUSER.DAT\Software\Microsoft\ Protected Storage System Provider Various tools will reveal contents Forensically, AccessData Registry Viewer Secret Explorer Cain & Abel Protected Storage PassView v1.63

Registry Forensics Investigation MRU: Most Recently Used HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Exlorer\RunMRU HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Exlorer\Map Network Drive MRU HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers\Settings\Wizard\ ConnectMRU HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\

CurrentVersion\Exlorer\ComDlg32 Programs and files opened by them Files opened and saved HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Search Assistant\ACMru Registry Forensics Investigation Registry Forensics Investigation Registry Forensics Investigation

Registry Forensics Investigation Registry Forensics Investigation HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Exlorer\ UserAssist\{*********}\Count ROT-13 encoding of data used to populate the User Assist Area of the start button Contains most recently used programs

Registry Forensics Investigation Registry Forensics Investigation AutoRun Programs Long list of locations in registry Long list of locations outside the registry

SystemDrive\autoexec.bat SystemDrive\config.exe Windir\wininit.ini Windir\winstart.bat Windir\win.ini Windir\system.ini Windir\dosstart.bat Windir\system\autoexec.nt Windir\system\config.nt Windir\system32\autochk.exe Registry Forensics Investigation

Rootkit Enabler Attacker DLL. can use AppInit_DLL key to run own

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