Windows Forensics: A Case Study, Part 1

Wednesday, 1 January 2003, 4:44 PM EST

It's a security person's worst nightmare. You've just inherited a large, diverse enterprise with relatively few security controls when something happens. We all try to detect malicious activity at the perimeter of the network by monitoring our intrusion detection systems, and watching attackers bang futilely on our firewall. Even those attackers tricky enough to slip through the firewall bounce harmlessly off our highly secured servers, and trip alarms off throughout the network as they attempt to compromise it. Reality is usually somewhat different: most of us simply don't have the tools, or at least we don't have expensive, dedicated tools. But we do have ways to stop the pain.

This article is the first in a two-part series that will offer a case study of forensics in a Windows environment. This installment will offer a brief overview of the detection and analysis of attack an attack incident. The second installment will look at continue to look at network traffic analysis techniques and will resolve a hypothetical attack scenario.

Although 2002 has been a relatively quiet year for network compromises, there have been quite a few new attacks released, and a fairly significant number of incidents as a result. For the purposes of this discussion, I've blended a number of these incidents together to create a hypothetical Web-hosting company, Web4Sale.com, to demonstrate some of the techniques I've used this year in combating intrusions.

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