When you have a problem, usually the easiest solution is the right answer. Sometimes you might feel that you have tried and tried to get the answer but to no avail. But then all of the sudden the answer is staring you right in the face. You get so happy that you start to think that all of those hours of work were really nothing and you are glad that you went through it. But then as you start to think on it a little bit more, you realize that the answer was very simple and you really did waste your time.
But sometimes the answers are not so simple. You will need more than you think to be able to figure them out. It is sometimes a long and grueling process where you might even need special tools to be able to help you out. When you live the life of a hacker you have seen both sides of this coin. You have seen answers that seemed so simple that you could not believe that it took you all of this time to be able to figure it out. You have also gone the other way and have seen where a problem has taken days, maybe even weeks to figure out. It was so difficult that you bring out more than the tools that you already have at your disposal. When the going gets rough a lot of hackers like to use memory analysis tools to be able to get the job done.
What is a memory analysis tool?
When you are running a program on the computer, there are many stages that it goes through. One of the stages that it goes through is loading itself inside of the memory of the system. The memory of the computer is otherwise known as RAM. So the program loads itself on there and as long as there is power running through the computer it will stay there until someone turns the program off. What a memory analysis tool allows you to do is to be able to read the program while it is loaded in the memory. This way you are able to see the state the program is in while it is running. Once you see this, you are able to analyze the program even more and from there you can tell all sorts of stuff about it.
The usability of a memory analysis tool is great on both sides of the law. Both black hat and white hat hackers get a kick in using this type of tool when their debuggers are not getting the job done. If you are on the white hat side of the law then you would want to use a tool like this to be able to see what part of the systems the latest virus or Trojan released by the bad guys is affecting (also see Memory Forensics). There are so many dynamic loading libraries, also known as a DLLs, that get used in an attack that it is hard to figure out what the true motives of the attacker is. So to be able to simply figure it out, you can use a memory analysis tool. It will allow you to be able to analyze the state of the program to see what it is doing. When a program pulls a certain library as a DLL then that is a very good indication of what that program’s intentions are.
On the black hat side of the equation, there are many ways that you can use a memory analysis tool as well. One of the main ways that a bad guy uses this tool is the same way that a good guy uses this tool; to see how his program runs. If there are any bugs or memory leaks he wants to be able to stomp them out. An attack code has to be small and lean. A black hat hacker cannot afford a memory leak telling someone that there is a problem. But they also use it the same way a white hat hacker would use it as well. They want to analyze how the latest antivirus software works so they can get their malware past it. They will poke and prod all of the more popular antivirus software until their attacks are able to beat it.
So as you can see, a memory analysis tool can be very useful for hackers that are on both sides of the law. There are a lot of tools that are available which are like that. So if you are a beginner hacker then this might be the type of tool that you want to get to know. And if you are a security researcher then the same tools will still come in handy.