Tag Archives: security

BlackLight Forensics Software

BlackBag BlackLight

I had no idea just how tightly BlackLight would grab onto my attention and then keep its hold. Yet, here I am. While I’ve heard positive feedback from people in the information security community regarding BlackBag’s forensic software products, I have not had the opportunity to use one of their products on my own. Thus, I was thrilled to review BlackBag’s BlackLight product.

For those who are not familiar, BlackBag’s BlackLight is a piece of comprehensive forensics analysis software that supports all major platforms, including Windows, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Mac. In addition to analysis, it can logically acquire Android and iPhone/iPad devices. You can also run the software on both Windows and Mac OS X.

In this particular review, I used the latest version of BlackLight (2016 release 3). I decided to use it on Mac. The main reason I chose Mac was that most of analysis that I have performed thus far has been with the traditional Windows Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device (FRED) and I figured this would be a great opportunity to try something different.

Installing BlackLight on Mac was a breeze. I simply downloaded the installation file from BlackBag’s website and entered the license key upon initial file execution. The single installation file took care of all of the dependencies needed for the software, which I was glad to see.

BlackLight Actionable Intel

BlackLight Actionable Intel

Here were the configurations for my Mac: MacBook Pro running Sierra OS version 10.12.2. The hardware included Intel Core i7 with 2.5 GHz with 16GB memory and a standard hard disk drive.

With review, I wanted to make a use-case in which I would perform basic processing and analysis of a traditional disk image using BlackLight running on Mac. Without any real experience with BlackLight, I focused on usability and intuitiveness.


For this review, used a 15GB physical image of Windows XP SP3 E01 Disk. I processed this image through BlackLight with all of the ingestion options available in the software and to my surprise, it took under 10 minutes to complete.

What was even more impressive was that it had very little performance impact on my system. In fact, as the image was being processed in the background, I continued to perform normal operations such as browsing the web and using Open Office software with no problem. Continue reading at forensicfocus.com by clicking here!

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Advanced Forensic Toolkit (FTK) Course Review

For a few years, I had been using Access Data’s FTK (Forensic Toolkit) software without any formal training. I had managed to work my way through the fundamentals on my own, but I always sensed that there was much on which I was missing out.


FTK  Email Analysis Visualization

It was only after I recently attended the Advance FTK class offered by AccessData (Syntricate) that I realized the enormity of what had been right under my nose the whole time.

You can read my complete review of this course at Forensic Focus or by clicking here.

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Layered Security For Home User – Part 1

Most who work in information security are familiar with the term layered security (also known as layered defense) which in a nutshell mean that you employ multiple solutions/components to protect your assets. This idea has been pushed at enterprise level for a years and has been significantly effective at deterring attacks. And with the latest advancements in the end-point-monitoring (EPM) solutions, enterprises now have the capability to both monitor and control what happens on all of the workstations in the environment.

But if you move away from enterprise security to securing the average home user, most users tend to relay solely on the anti-virus solutions. Now, I am not going to get in the debate over how effective or ineffective anti-virus solutions are – but if you are interested in read rants over this topic feel free to do so. However, what I will say is that just having anti-virus software (specially now) definitely does not meet the layered security concept.

So, how do we get layered security for home computers? Well, the market is not shy from variety of different solutions that will promise to compliment your existing anti-virus while providing you the benefit of added security. And in my opinion some of these products can actually be beneficial such as malware, spyware and email protection but most of these features are already build-in to to latest anti-virus solutions – you may just not know it. So, the question still stands, how do we get layered security for home computers? Well, let me answer this by explaining a recent event where I had the opportunity to test a theory first hand….


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Finding Known Evil With Nessus – Part 2

This post is a continuation of my earlier post about finding known bad process with Nessus vulnerability scans. In this post I will share my experience after I finished running my first scan using this new scan policy.

Unlike the regular vulnerability scans, the duration for this scan was much less. The reason for this was because the scan policy consisted of only selected plugins. However, even with only selected plugins, the scan results were very comprehensive.

First, the scan result show the MD5 hash of the suspicious process. Now you can take this MD5 hash and search sites like VirusTotal but on the scan results page you will find a direct link to a Tenable website that will provide additional information about the suspicious process. This information is similar to what you would find on VirusTotal but with little less information. In my case I still searched VirusTotal for more detailed information.

Second, the scan result show the path of where the suspicious process in located on the target system. Obviously, this is great because now you don’t have to search the system and locate the executable in question. But what’s even better is that the scan results even show all the instances of that suspicious process that the scan found. For example, in my test scan the same suspicious process was located under numerous user profiles.

With the above information in hand, you can quickly develop you indicators of compromise (IOCs) and begin your investigation. My initial step was to review all the processes on my target machine and identity the process ID (PID) of the executable that the scanner identified. From here you can look at all the network connections related to this process, the system handles, any additional sub-processes, etc.

Overall, I am satisfied with what I have seen so far. I think that it is great that Tenable has incorporated these checks because in my option it makes perfect sense to check for known bad stuff during the time that you have already allocated for vulnerability scans. However, I would recommend that you separate your suspicious process and vulnerability data because do you not want to alarm the system owners without properly doing your own investigation. The easiest way to do this is by creating two different repositories and then drafting different reports/dashboards from each of those repositories.

My final comment is that if you have Nessus (I used SecurityCenter); please try to run this scan with the new scan policy. You can find the link to download this scan policy in my first post. Let me know what you guys think!

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Finding Known Evil With Nessus

When is comes to performing vulnerability assessments, Nessus is by far the industry leader.  Nessus is known as “world’s best vulnerability management tool” and I think the reason for this is because of the continuous research the Nessus team does around new vulnerabilities and push them out to their customers in a timely manner. If you are not families with Nessus here is a very high level overview – Nessus uses “plugins” which simply put are scripts that run on the target hosts to see if it meets the criteria for a certain vulnerability. And as new plugins get pushed to customers the old plugins also get updated daily.

I have been using Nessus for sometime now and I have been very pleased with their level of commitment and excellent support. And recently as I was going through their blogs, I came across an interesting post regarding finding malware through Nessus scans. I found this interesting for two reason: first because I had not tried this before and second because as a security professional its better if you find evil in your environment before it gets reported to you.

The process for running malware scan is same as running the normal vulnerability scan. You just need to make sure that you select the appropriate plugins in your scan policy and use credentials that have administrative privileges on the target system. The following blog post lists the default plugin you can use to get started with malware scans – a sample scan policy is available for you to download which you can simply upload in your scanner and run the scan. This blog post also contains links to other related posts that talk about additional plugins that you can enable in your scan policy.

I have not had the chance to run this scan however, I plan to give this a try this coming week using the sample scan policy. I will write a follow up post to share my experience.

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