To overcome the need for investigators to travel far and wide to gather evidence from infected computers after a cyberattack, a Kaspersky Lab expert has developed a simple tool that can remotely collect vital data without risk of its contamination or loss. Named BitScout, the tool can build a swiss-army knife for the remote forensic investigation of live systems and has been made freely available for all investigators to use.
In most cyberattacks, legitimate owners of compromised systems fall victim to unidentified perpetrators. Victims usually agree to cooperate and help security researchers find the infection vector or other details about the attackers. However, it is a longstanding concern among forensic researchers that the need to travel long distances to collect crucial evidence such as malware samples from infected computers can result in expensive and delayed investigations. The longer it takes for an attack to be understood, the longer it is before users are protected and perpetrators identified. However, the alternatives have either involved expensive tools and a knowledge of how to operate them, or the risk of contaminating or losing evidence by moving it between computers.
To solve the problem, Vitaly Kamluk, Director of Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team in Asia Pacific (APAC) has created an open-source digital tool that can remotely collect key forensic materials, acquire full disk images via the network or locally attached storage, or simply remotely assist in malware incident handling. Evidence data can be viewed and analysed remotely or locally while the source data storage remains intact through reliable container-based isolation.
“The need to analyse security incidents as efficiently and swiftly as possible is increasingly important, as adversaries grow ever more advanced and stealthy. But speed at all costs is not the answer either – we need to ensure evidence is untainted so that investigations are trusted and results can be qualified for use in court if required. I couldn’t find a tool that allowed us to achieve all of this, freely and easily – so I decided to build one,” said Vitaly Kamluk.
Kaspersky Lab experts work closely with law enforcement agencies across the world to help in the technical analysis of cyber investigations. This gives them a unique insight into the challenges LEA personnel face when fighting modern cybercrime. The cybersecurity landscape is now so complex and sophisticated that investigators need tools that can adapt and scale to the demands of the job. BitScout is a good example of this. It can be adjusted to the particular needs of an investigator, and improved and upgraded with additional features and custom software. Most importantly it comes free of charge, based on open-source solutions and is fully transparent: instead of relying on third party tools with proprietary code, experts can use the Bitscout open-source code to build their own swiss-army knife for digital forensics.
The list of BitScout features includes:
- Disk image acquisition even with un-trained staff
- Training people on the go (shared view-only terminal session)
- Transferring complex pieces of data to your lab for deeper inspection
- Remote Yara or AV scanning of offline systems (essential against rootkits)
- Search and view registry keys (autoruns, services, plugged USB devices)
- Remote file carving (recovering deleted files)
- Remediation of the remote system if access is authorised by the owner
- Remote scanning of other network nodes (useful for remote incident response)
The tool is freely available at the GitHub code repository: https://github.com/vitaly-kamluk/bitscout