Memory forensics is the analysis of volatile data available in the temporary memory storage of a computer while the computer is still running. Memory forensics is also referred to as memory analysis, and it is usually conducted by IT security professionals for identifying and investigating malicious behavior and malware attacks that are otherwise not easily trackable.
Volatile data includes data like clipboard content, browsing history, and chat messages, which can be lost within seconds of shutting down a computer. So, in case of a power loss or an abrupt shutdown where you have not saved things like an Excel or Word document, you will lose your data.
There are numerous advantages to memory forensics, such as providing IT analysts and professionals with key insights into things like recently performed processes and open network connections. Memory forensics does not just protect your documents from being deleted, it also provides information security professionals with critical, end-to-end threat intelligence which can be fished from the physical memory of a system.
Physical memory artifacts, which can be gathered from your computer, include a lot of data that is crucial to you. For example, your usernames and passwords which you enter to get into your accounts are considered physical memory artifacts. Such artifacts also include window and clipboard content that has been copied or pasted, chat sessions, email contents, and field entries of forms. Additionally, physical memory artifacts include decrypted programs.
Conventional endpoint and network security software have several limitations. For example, they have trouble identifying malware which is written in the RAM of a computer system. This software is capable of input sources like email, network, USB drives, CD/DVD, and keyboards. However, they cannot analyze volatile data. Memory forensics and analysis tools are ideal for safeguarding your system against malware in BIOS, ROM, external storage devices, and network storage.
Because of the continuous advancements in enterprise security, these systems come equipped with behavioral analysis and memory forensics capabilities. These advanced technologies help in the successful identification of malware and zero-day exploits in the physical memory of a system. There is a wide variety of open-source and commercial tools available in the market that can be chosen in accordance with the needs of the business.
There are many situations in which critical data is vulnerable to threats, like chat messages, account credentials, running processes, network connection data, and internet history. For any program to be executed, it must be loaded in memory. This makes memory forensics ideal for finding and analyzing preventable attacks.
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