Cheatsheet: Linux Forensics Analysis


Linux Forensic in a nutshell:

  1. Validate compromised
    • Interviewing client/user/administrator (what, why, how, when, where, who?)
    • Live response commands / Run triage scripts
  2. Collect evidence
    • Live response triage script collection
    • Disk image
    • Memory dump
  3. Investigation and analysis
    • Live response analysis
    • Disk analysis
    • Timeline analysis
    • Log analysis
    • Memory analysis
  4. Reporting

Validate compromised

To validate compromise, we often will collect as much information as we can from the client. Then we proceed with the investigation to validate the compromised. I will often run a few commands or execute a triage script to collect live response command results using a single script.

Validation sometimes easy:

  • Defaced web pages
  • IDS/EDR/AV/SIEM captures
  • Ransomware file encrypted

Interviewing client/user/administrator

Understanding the incident with questions like this:

  • What happened?
  • What seemed unusual?
  • When did you notice it?
  • Which host involved
  • What’s the purpose of the system
  • Who has access to them?
  • How are these systems set up?
  • What have you done to fix it?

Live response and triage script


For more information about what the script collects, please refer to

git clone
cd LinuxCatScale

After running the script and extract the collected evidence, we can proceed investigate the triage data in text editor such as VS Code. Figure below shows the result of command lastlog collect by Linux-CatScale.



Another Live Response collection script to perform live response.

user@training:~/uac$ git clone
user@training:~/uac$ sudo ./uac -p full /tmp
[sudo] password for user:
  __   __ _______ _______
 |: | |  |:  _   |:  ____|
 |  |_|  |  | |  |  |____
 |_______|__| |__|_______|

 Unix-like Artifacts Collector 2.8.0
Operating System    : linux
System Architecture : x86_64
Hostname            : training
Mount Point         : /
Running as          : root
Temp Directory      : /tmp/uac-data.tmp
Artifacts collection started...
[001/301] 2024-04-02 01:22:10 +0000 live_response/process/ps.yaml
[002/301] 2024-04-02 01:22:11 +0000 live_response/process/lsof.yaml
[003/301] 2024-04-02 01:22:11 +0000 live_response/process/top.yaml


fennec is an artifact collection tool written in Rust to be used during incident response on *nix based systems. Basically, the tool used osquery to perform the triage collection as we can see in this conf file

user@training:~$ wget
user@training:~$ sudo ./fennec_linux_x86_64 -o --output-format csv

        |  ___|
        | |_ ___ _ __  _ __   ___  ___
        |  _/ _ \ '_ \| '_ \ / _ \/ __|
        | ||  __/ | | | | | |  __/ (__
        \_| \___|_| |_|_| |_|\___|\___|

2024-04-02 00:56:28 [fennec:418] INFO  Started Fennec 0.4.1
2024-04-02 00:56:28 [fennec:491] INFO  Successfuly wrote '16117820' bytes to osquery file './osqueryd'
2024-04-02 00:56:28 [fennec:347] INFO  Start writing the results for the artifact 'authorized_keys' to 'authorized_keys.csv'
2024-04-02 00:56:28 [fennec:358] INFO  Executing the osquery SQL query 'select * from authorized_keys' for the artifact 'authorized_keys'

Please refer for more information.

Other tools in the list


Live response commands

These commands can be used to review anomalous behavior and verify compromise in real-time action. Some of the commands, such as cat /var/www/html/webshell.php, can also be used to perform post-compromise disk analysis, where we only need to supply the full path of the mounted compromised disk, for example, cat /media/compromised_disk/var/www/html/webshell.php.

General information

The first thing we are going to do is collect important information regarding the server that we will analyze.

# Display current date and time. Verify the timezone.

# Timezone information
cat /etc/timezone

# System information
uname -a

# Network information
cat /etc/network/interfaces

# Display distro version
cat /etc/*-release

# Date of installation of the OS. Check the date
ls -ld /var/log/installer

# Display hostname
cat /etc/hostname

Logon activities

Then, we proceed to review the logon activities of the compromised host.

# Check users who are currently logged in

# Last login information for all users. It reads the /var/log/lastlog file
cat /var/log/lastlog

# List of last logged in users and their login times
last -f /var/log/wtmp

# Failed login attempts
last -f /var/log/btmp

# Searching for login activities in auth.log with specific keyword
grep -v cron /var/log/auth.log* | grep -v sudo | grep -i user
grep -v cron /var/log/auth.log* | grep -v sudo | grep -i Accepted
grep -v cron /var/log/auth.log* | grep -v sudo | grep -i failed
grep -v cron /var/log/auth.log* | grep -v sudo | grep i "login:session"

# CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) of auth.log
cat /var/log/secure

Review processes

Review all running processes and its command could identify malicious process

# Interactive process viewer

# Currently running processes and its command
ps -aux

# List all open files associated with a specific process
lsof -p <PID>

# Directories that contains information about a specific process
ls /proc/<PID>
cat /proc/<PID>

# Show process in tree view
pstree -a
File/Directory in /proc/PID Description
cmdline Command-line arguments passed to the process
cwd Symbolic link to the current working directory of the process
exe Symbolic link to the executable file of the process
fd Directory containing symbolic links to open file descriptors used by the process
status Various status information about the process
mem Represents the process’s memory space
cpuinfo CPU-related information for the process
maps Memory maps of the process
limits Resource limits imposed on the process
io I/O statistics for the process
stat Various statistics about the process
sched Scheduling information for the process
syscall Information about system calls made by the process
oom_score OOM (Out-Of-Memory) score of the process

Recover deleted process’s binary

This method attempts to recover the binary executable from the process’s memory by extracting a portion of the memory associated with the process.

cd /proc/1234/

# maps contains memory maps of the process, showing the memory regions used by the process
head -1 maps

# Extract memory content (1000 bytes) at specified ADDRESS to tmp directory
dd if=mem bs=1 skip=ADDRESS count=1000 of=/tmp/recovered_proc_file

Review network

Investigate any malicious connection and unexpected IP address

#  List all TCP and UDP connections on your system along with their respective listening and non-listening sockets
netstat -antup

# kernel routing table
netstat -rn

# Check static DNS lookups
cat /etc/hosts

Review activities

Investigate the executed command by the attacker and user could give nice context about the incident

# Check command history 

# Check all files with "history" in their name in the user's home directory
cat /home/$USER/.*_history

# Check the command history  (specific to bash shell)
cat /home/$USER/.bash_history

# Check the command history for the root user (specific to bash shell)
cat /root/.bash_history

# Check the MySQL command history for the root user
cat /root/.mysql_history

# Check the FTP command history 
cat /home/$USER/.ftp_history

# Check the SFTP command history 
cat /home/$USER/.sftp_history

# Check the VIM editor history 
cat /home/$USER/.viminfo

# Check the history of commands entered in the 'less' pager 
cat /home/$USER/.lesshst

# Check the Git configuration 
cat /home/$USER/.gitconfig

# List recent Git activity logs 
ls /home/$USER/.git/logs

# List Mozilla Firefox profiles, check history and downloads
ls /home/$USER/.mozilla/firefox

# List Google Chrome profiles, check history and downloads
ls /home/$USER/.config/google-chrome

# Search for relevant commands in the authentication logs excluding cron jobs
grep -v cron /var/log/auth.log* | grep -i -e "command=" -e "su:" -e "groupadd" -e "useradd" -e "passwd"

Hunting unusual files

# Search for files modified within the last 5 days and Check them for further inspection, change 5 if needed
find / -type f -mtime -5 | less

# Search for files modified within the last 5 days with "php" in their name and Check them for further inspection
find / -type f -mtime -5 | grep "php"

# Find files modified in the last 10 days in specified directories and Check them
find /lib /usr/bin /usr/sbin -type f -newermt "$(date -d '10 days ago' +'%Y-%m-%d')"

# Find files modified within the last day and print their paths
find / -type f -mtime -1 -print

# Search for files larger than 10,000 kilobytes and print their paths
find / -size +10000k -print

# List files in /usr/bin directory with their inode numbers and sort them numerically
ls -lai /usr/bin | sort -n

# List files in /bin directory recursively, sorted by modification time
ls -laR --sort=time /bin

# Find files owned by root with the setuid or setgid permissions and print their paths
find / -user root -perm -04000 -print

# List all devices in the /dev directory
ls /dev

Installed programs

# Examine commands used for package installations from the APT history log for tracking software changes
cat /var/log/apt/history.log | grep "Commandline"

# Retrieve package names and their statuses from the dpkg status file for software inventory analysis
cat /var/lib/dpkg/status | grep -E "Package:|Status:"

# Review entries from the dpkg log file indicating installed packages for change analysis
cat /var/log/dpkg.log | grep installed

# Identify executables in the /sbin directory and determine their package ownership using dpkg for attribution
find /sbin/ -exec dpkg -S {} \; | grep "no path found"

# List executables in standard system directories for anomaly detection
ls /usr/sbin /usr/bin /bin /sbin

# List files in the APT package cache directory for investigating downloaded packages
ls /var/cache/apt/archives

# Find based on date
find / -type f \( -newermt "2020-12-01" -and ! -newermt "2020-12-02" \)

File investigation

# Collect detailed metadata about the file for forensic analysis
stat <filename>

# Identify the file type and format to understand its nature
file <filename>

# Extract human-readable strings from the file for potential clues or analysis
strings <filename>

# Generate an MD5 checksum of the file to verify integrity and check against known malware signatures
md5sum <filename> # submit to VT

Persistent mechanisms

Persistent mechanism is a methods used by attackers to maintain access to a compromised system across reboots or to ensure their malicious activities persist over time. Below is the potential list of the places attacker might add or modify to deploy their persistent access.

image Source:

Review account

Review user account information and activity on the system to iidentify potentially active user accounts, detect anomalies in user account configurations, find files belonging to non-existent users, extract password hashes for analysis, examine group information for privilege analysis, review sudo configurations for potential privilege escalation, investigate SSH authentication keys and known hosts for unauthorized access, and analyze recently used files for user activity.

# Identify potentially active user accounts
cat /etc/passwd | grep bash
cat /etc/passwd | grep sh
cat /etc/passwd | grep dash

# Sort user accounts by their UID to detect anomalies
sort -nk3 -t: /etc/passwd

# Find files belonging to non-existent users (indicators of unauthorized access)
find / -nouser -print

# Extract password hashes for forensic analysis
cat /etc/shadow

# Examine group information for user privilege analysis
cat /etc/group

# Review sudo configuration for potential privilege escalation
cat /etc/sudoers

# Check for additional sudo configurations for backdoors
cat /etc/sudoers.d/*

# Investigate SSH authentication keys for potential unauthorized access
cat /home/$USER/.ssh/authorized_keys

# Analyze SSH known hosts for suspicious connections
cat /home/$USER/.ssh/known_hosts

# Review recently used files for user activity
cat /home/$USER/.recently-used.xbel


Identifying potential webshell installations or modifications

# Search for PHP files in the /var/www/html directory and print their modification timestamps
find /var/www/html -type f -name "*.php" -printf "%T@ %f\n" | sort -n | awk '{print strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S", $1), $2}'

# Monitor Apache configuration files
tail -f /etc/apache2/*/*

# Monitor Nginx configuration files
tail -f /etc/nginx/*/*

Cron tasks

Identify any scheduled tasks or suspicious activities that may have been configured to execute at specific times

# View the configuration of the cron service managed by systemd
cat /lib/systemd/system/cron.service

# View the cron tasks scheduled for a specific user
crontab –u <user> -l

# View the system-wide crontab file containing system cron tasks
cat /etc/crontab

# Check all files in /etc/cron
tail -f /etc/cron.*/*

# List all user-specific cron files in the cron spool directory
ls /var/spool/cron/crontabs/*

# View the contents of the atjobs file, which contains at jobs scheduled by the at command
cat /var/spool/cron/atjobs

Services and systemd

Examine systemd configurations and unit files on the system to identify any modifications or suspicious configurations that may have been made to services or startup processes.

# List enabled services and Check their associated start commands
for service in $(systemctl list-unit-files --type=service | grep enabled | awk '{print $1}'); do echo "Service: $service"; systemctl cat $service | grep ExecStart= | sed 's/^/Command: /'; echo "--------------------------------------------------"; done

# List custom systemd unit files in /etc/systemd/system/
ls /etc/systemd/system/

# List systemd unit files in /lib/systemd/system/
ls /lib/systemd/system/

# List systemd system generators
ls /lib/systemd/system-generators/*

# View contents of init.d scripts
more -f /etc/init.d/*

# List systemd user units in /lib/systemd/user/
ls /lib/systemd/user/*

# List custom systemd user units in /etc/systemd/user/
ls /etc/systemd/user/*

# List user systemd generators in /etc/systemd/user-generators/
ls /etc/systemd/user-generators/*

# List user systemd generators in /usr/local/lib/systemd/user-generators/
ls /usr/local/lib/systemd/user-generators/*

# List user systemd generators in /usr/lib/systemd/user-generators/
ls /usr/lib/systemd/user-generators/*

SSH Daemon

Examine the configuration of the SSH daemon and related resource files

# View the SSH service configuration managed by systemd
cat /lib/systemd/system/ssh.service

# View the SSH daemon configuration file
cat /etc/ssh/sshd_config

# List any user-specific SSH resource files in the ~/.ssh directory
ls ~/.ssh/rc

# List system-wide SSH resource files in the /etc/ssh directory
ls /etc/ssh/sshrc

Login Shell

Examine login shell configurations and scripts responsible for system initialization and startup processes.

# Check system-wide Bash initialization file
cat /etc/bash.bashrc

# Check user-specific Bash initialization file
cat /home/$USER/.bashrc

# Check user-specific Bash profile file
cat /home/$USER/.bash_profile

# Check system-wide profile file
cat /etc/profile

# Check scripts in the /etc/profile.d directory
cat /etc/profile.d/*

# Check user-specific profile file
cat /home/$USER/.profile

# Check user-specific Bash login file
cat /home/$USER/.bash_login

# Check user-specific Bash logout file
cat /home/$USER/.bash_logout

# Check system-wide Bash logout file
cat /etc/.bash_logout

rc scripts

RC scripts responsible for system initialization and startup processes.

# Review rc scripts
cat /etc/rc*

Infected binaries

Uncover recently modified files that may indicate unauthorized activity or compromise.

# Find binaries modified within the last 10 days in specified directories
find /lib /usr/bin /usr/sbin -type f -newermt "$(date -d '10 days ago' +'%Y-%m-%d')"

# List Python 3 related libraries and modules in /usr/lib directory
ls /usr/lib/python3*


# Display contents of the PAM configuration file
cat /etc/pam.conf

# Check contents of the PAM directory
cat /etc/pam.d


“motd” stands for “message of the day”. These scripts may contain important system status updates, notifications, or potentially malicious content inserted by attackers.

# Examine the scripts responsible for generating dynamic messages displayed to users upon login
cat /etc/update-motd.d/*

Unusual system resources

These commands provide information about system uptime, memory usage, and disk space usage, which can help identify abnormal behavior such as high resource consumption, potential denial of service attacks, or disk space exhaustion.

# Display system uptime and load average

# Display memory usage statistics

# Display disk space usage statistics

Compromised assestment scanning

Using a CA scanner with the capability of YARA and SIGMA detection significantly speeds up our hunt for malicious and suspicious files in compromised systems. Running this scanner can save a considerable amount of time and proves to be invaluable during DFIR investigations.


THOR is a portable scanner to detect attacker tools and activity on suspicious or compromised server systems. We can use this free tool to scan our compromised hosts.

Download: image

Extract the zip files and copy the license file into the extracted folder.

# Download Thor Lite and the license from Nextron website
cd thorlite/
./thor-lite-util update

Hunting rootkit

To hunt via 3rd party software

# Detect rootkits on Linux systems

# Detect rootkits on Linux systems
rkhunter --check

# Comprehensive security auditing tool that includes checks for rootkits among other security issues
lynis audit system

# Antivirus scanner for malware
clamscan -r /

# Sunlight
git clone
cd sunlight
sudo ./

# Sandfly
git clone
cd sandfly-file-decloak
python3 ./ -f /etc/modules

git clone
cd sandfly-processdecloak
sudo ./sandfly-processdecloak


Hunting and check files, processes

# Inspect dir and files
find /usr/sbin /usr/local/bin /usr/local/sbin -type f -exec ls -la {} \;

# Check running process with root priv
ps aux | grep -i root

# Check unusual network connections
netstat -antup

# Compare checksums or file hashes against known good values
sha256sum /bin/* /sbin/* /usr/bin/* /usr/sbin/* /lib/* /lib64/* /etc/* | sort > current_checksums.txt

Investigate loaded kernel modules

user@training:~$ lsmod
Module                  Size  Used by
tls                   114688  0
lime                   16384  0
cpuid                  16384  0
vboxsf                 36864  1
binfmt_misc            24576  1
intel_rapl_msr         20480  0
intel_rapl_common      40960  1 intel_rapl_msr
intel_powerclamp       24576  0
rapl                   20480  0
snd_intel8x0           45056  0
input_leds             16384  0
serio_raw              20480  0
joydev                 32768  0
snd_ac97_codec        180224  1 snd_intel8x0
ac97_bus               16384  1 snd_ac97_codec
snd_pcm               143360  2 snd_intel8x0,snd_ac97_codec
snd_timer              40960  1 snd_pcm
  1. The first column lists the module names (tls, lime, etc.).
  2. The second column shows the size of each module.
  3. The third column (Used by) indicates which other modules are using the listed module.

To identify whether a loaded kernel module or its dependencies are part of a rootkit or not, we may want to try this methods:

  • Compare the list of loaded kernel modules (lsmod output) against a known good baseline.
  • Look for modules that have suspicious names, sizes, or descriptions.
  • Investigate the modules listed under the “Used by” column.
  • Research any unfamiliar or suspicious modules online.

To get detailed information about a specific module:

modinfo <name of module>

Review configuration files that control module loading.

tail -f /etc/modprobe.d/*

Collect evidences

We have completed the collection of live response data and triage scripts, saving all results for further analysis alongside disk and memory analysis. At this stage, it’s imperative to gather disk and memory dumps to conduct a comprehensive and in-depth investigation. These disk and memory dumps will provide critical insights into the state of the system, allowing us to identify any anomalies or malicious activity that may have occurred.

Disk imaging using dd

Collecting digital disk image of the Linux system is essential to perform disk analysis offline. This activity is required to find any suspicious files and folders, recover files and to extract artifacts (triage) from the disk.

# List all devices to identify the disk device for disk imaging

# List partition tables for disk devices
fdisk -l

# Perform disk imaging to an external disk or shared folder
# Replace "sdb" with the appropriate disk device identifier
dd if=/dev/sdb of=/media/sf_tmp/linux_forensic.img

# Alternatively, use dcfldd to perform hashing while imaging
dcfldd if=/dev/sdb of=/media/sf_tmp/linux_forensic.img hash=sha256 hashwindow=1M hashlog=/media/sf_tmp/linux_forensic.hash

Memory acquisition

Memory acquisition and memory analysis is quite bit rare in Linux forensics as most of the analyst rely on live response actions and commands. To perform memory acquisition, we going to use AVML or LIME.


# Go to
# Download avml binary

# Execute avml
./avml memory.lime


# In the target machine, run this command to verify the kernel version
uname -r

# Using other machine with the same kernel version, git clone, and compile the source. It will generate .ko file.
git clone
cd LiME/src; sudo make

# Copy the .ko file into the target machine using SCP or Netcat

# In the target machine, run this command to generate memory dump
sudo insmod lime-$(uname -r).ko "path=/media/sf_tmp/mem.lime format=lime"

Investigation and analysis

After we have collected all the crucial evidence, we then can proceed with the investigation and analysis of the triage evidence.

Live response and triage script analysis

Based on the scripts and live command results, proceed with the investigation using a text editor such as VS Code. If the data is in CSV format, consider using tools like Timeline Explorer for better visualization and analysis.

Memory analysis with Volatility

First, install volatility first in your forensic lab.

sudo git clone
cd volatility3/
apt install python3-pip
pip3 install -r requirements-minimal.txt

Then we need to build Linux volatility profile in order to use Volatility for memory forensic. First, determine the kernel version to assist building table. Choose one. If you’re not confident, run uname -r in compromised box.

remnux@remnux:/mnt/hgfs/tmp$ vol3 -f memory.lime banners
Volatility 3 Framework 1.0.1
Progress:  100.00		PDB scanning finished                  
Offset	Banner

0x58633668	Linux version 5.15.0-100-generic (buildd@lcy02-amd64-116) (gcc (Ubuntu 11.4.0-1ubuntu1~22.04) 11.4.0, GNU ld (GNU Binutils for Ubuntu) 2.38) #110-Ubuntu SMP Wed Feb 7 13:27:48 UTC 2024 (Ubuntu 5.15.0-100.110-generic 5.15.143)
0x699ae668	Linux version 5.15.0-101-generic (buildd@lcy02-amd64-032) (gcc (Ubuntu 11.4.0-1ubuntu1~22.04) 11.4.0, GNU ld (GNU Binutils for Ubuntu) 2.38) #111-Ubuntu SMP Tue Mar 5 20:16:58 UTC 2024 (Ubuntu 5.15.0-101.111-generic 5.15.143)
0x6e600200	Linux version 5.15.0-101-generic (buildd@lcy02-amd64-032) (gcc (Ubuntu 11.4.0-1ubuntu1~22.04) 11.4.0, GNU ld (GNU Binutils for Ubuntu) 2.38) #111-Ubuntu SMP Tue Mar 5 20:16:58 UTC 2024 (Ubuntu 5.15.0-101.111-generic 5.15.143)
0x70635778	Linux version 5.15.0-101-generic (buildd@lcy02-amd64-032) (gcc (Ubuntu 11.4.0-1ubuntu1~22.04) 11.4.0, GNU ld (GNU Binutils for Ubuntu) 2.38) #111-Ubuntu SMP Tue Mar 5 20:16:58 UTC 2024 (Ubuntu 5.15.0-101.111-generic 5.15.143)3)

Then we proceed to download our debug symbol and convert it to json file

# First search your debug symbol on the Google based on command banner result, for example, ubuntu:

# Git clone, compile dwarf2json
git clone
cd dwarf2json
go build

# Install the ddeb file. Once it done, a dbgsymbol file will write in /usr/lib/debug/boot/
dpkg -i

# Execute dwarf2json on the dbgsmbl file
./dwarf2json linux --elf /usr/lib/debug/boot/vmlinux-5.15.0-101-generic > symbol.json

# Copy into volatility path
cp symbol.json /path/to/volatility3/symbols/linux/

# Verify the setup
python3 isfinfo

Run the analysis

# Help
root@remnux:~# vol3 -h | grep linux
    banners.Banners     Attempts to identify potential linux banners in an
    linux.bash.Bash     Recovers bash command history from memory.
    linux.elfs.Elfs     Lists all memory mapped ELF files for all processes.
    linux.lsmod.Lsmod   Lists loaded kernel modules.
    linux.lsof.Lsof     Lists all memory maps for all processes.
    linux.proc.Maps     Lists all memory maps for all processes.
                        Lists the processes present in a particular linux

# Example
oot@remnux:~# vol3 -f /mnt/hgfs/tmp/memory.lime linux.bash
Volatility 3 Framework 1.0.1
Progress:  100.00		Stacking attempts finished                 
PID	Process	CommandTime	Command

14100	bash	2024-04-01 03:05:59.000000 	sudo systemctl restart apache2
14100	bash	2024-04-01 03:05:59.000000 	sudo apt update
14100	bash	2024-04-01 03:05:59.000000 	PATH=/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games:/usr/local/games:/snap/bin
14100	bash	2024-04-01 03:05:59.000000 	ll
14100	bash	2024-04-01 03:05:59.000000 	insmod
14100	bash	2024-04-01 03:05:59.000000 	cd LiME/
14100	bash	2024-04-01 03:05:59.000000 	sudo apt install dwarfdump

Disk analysis

Analyst can perform disk analysis using several tools such as:

  1. Autopsy
  2. Sleauthkit commands
  3. FTK Imager
  4. elf-tools commands
  5. Linux distro such as Tsurugi, SIFT or REMNUX (Need to mount the disk image first). Live responde commands such as find, cat, last -f might helpful.
Note: If Autopsy or Sleauth-kit cannot open the disk partition, do convert the raw image file into E01 using FTK Imager ("Export Disk Image")

Directories and Files Analysis


All directories from / to /tmp are crucial as well. Reviewing all the files in the system is a must to ensure we find all possible findings.

But, what should we look at mostly during DFIR?


  • Like Windows event logs in Windows OS
  • Security logs, application logs, etc


  • Like %USERPROFILE% in Windows OS
  • User data and user configuration information


  • Like %SystemRoot%/System32/config (Registry) in Windows OS
  • Primary system configuration directory
  • Separate configuration files/dirs for each app

image Source image:

File Analysis

Always check the content of the file, MAC time, and INODE file such as below figure


Identify if it a malware or not by:

  1. Lookup hash in VT
  2. strings command
  3. Upload binary in VT (sensitive)
  4. Upload binary in local sandbox
  5. Reverse engineering
  6. Dynamic analysis in malware lab

Log analysis

Tool such as SIEM, or CA scanner could speed up analysis of the log analysis.

Log File Purpose of Analysis
/var/log/syslog Analyze system events, errors, and warnings
/var/log/kern.log Investigate kernel-level events and errors
/var/log/dmesg Examine kernel ring buffer for boot-time messages
/var/logs/apache2/access.log* Analyze web server access logs for activity and requests
/var/log/httpd/ Investigate HTTP server logs for web activity
/var/log/mysqld.log Review MySQL server logs for database activity
/var/log/mysql.log Examine MySQL logs for queries and errors
/var/log/cron Analyze cron job execution and scheduling
/var/log/daemon.log Investigate daemon-related events and errors
/var/log/auth.log Review authentication events and login attempts
/var/log/secure Examine secure authentication logs (usually for SSH)
/var/log/mail* Analyze mail server logs for email activity
/var/log/xferlog Investigate FTP server logs for file transfer activity

A tool for consideration:



Examining access.log content: - - [15/Mar/2024:08:33:33 +0000] "GET /wordpress/wp-admin/css/forms.min.css?ver=6.4.3 HTTP/1.1" 200 6874 "" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/537.36"
  • = IP address of the client (remote host) that made the request to the server
  • [15/Mar/2024:08:33:33 +0000] = Date and time when the request was received
  • GET /wordpress/wp-admin/css/forms.min.css?ver=6.4.3 HTTP/1.1 = HTTP Request
  • 200 = HTTP status code
  • 6874 = Response Size
  • = Web page that referred the client to the requested URL
  • Mozilla/5.0 … = User-Agent

We can use external tool such as goaccess to briefly analyze access.log.

Privilege escalation hunting ideas

Execution of below commands/scripts in ~/*.history:

# Find all files suid and sgid files
find / -perm -u=s -type f 2>/dev/null
find / -type f -a \( -perm -u+s -o -perm -g+s \) -exec ls -l {} \; 2> /dev/null

# list commands allowed using sudo
sudo -l

# GTFOBins:

# Activity of compilation
gcc name.c -o exploit.out

Existence and execution of Linux Priviledge Escalation script such as:

  1. LinPEAS
  2. LinEnum
  3. Linux Smart Enumeration
  4. Linux exploit suggester

Kernel exploits:

  1. Dirtycow
  2. Dirtypipe
  3. Dirtycred
  4. GameOver(lay) Ubuntu Privilege Escalation
  5. Many more…

Modification of these files:

# Any scripts running as root

Another aspects:

  1. Weak/reused/plaintext passwords
  2. Vulnerable installed software/binary

Get ideas from

File recovery

debugfs for targeted file

Using debugfs for ext3/4 file system

Knowing the inode data:

debugfs -w /dev/sda2

# get block of data
logdump -i <inode number>

# Take note the `Blocks: (0-1)`'s value
dd if=/dev/sda2 of=data.txt bs=4096 count=1 skip=THE_VALUE

Not knowing the inode number:

debugfs -w /dev/sda2
logdump -i <inode number>

# Take note the `Blocks: (0-1)`'s value
dd if=/dev/sda2 of=data.txt bs=4096 count=1 skip=THE_VALUE

Sleauth kit

Using tsk_recover by SK

tsk_recover -h
tsk_recover -i raw -e image.dd /temp


Using ext4magic

sudo apt-get install ext4magic

# List deleted files from 6 hours ago
ext4magic /dev/sda2 -a $(date -d "-6hours" +%s) -f user/folder -l

# Recover file
ext4magic /dev/sda2 -a $(date -d "-6hours" +%s) -f user/folder -r -d ./recovered

# Recover all files
ext4magic /dev/sda2 -a $(date -d "-6hours" +%s) -f user/folder -m -d ./recovered


apt-get install testdisk

Generate Timeline analysis

# Quitest timeline generator using psteal without parser, filter, sort --source disk_image.dd -o l2tcsv -w timeline.csv

# Simple generator out.plaso disk_image.dd

# List parsers --parsers list | more

# Use parsers -z UTC --parsers linux,apache_access,apt_history out2.plaso disk_image.dd

# Generate timeline with parser -z UTC -t / --parsers linux,apache_access,apt_history out.timeline ./

# Filter the timeline to only include specific date range -z utc -o l2tcsv -w box.csv out.timeline "date > '2020-12-11 00:00:00' AND date < '2020-12-13 00:00:00'"

Want more detection visibility?

Install this:

  6. and
  7. Setup and install Elastic security