Play it Again Sam – A Recap of MUS 2022

I had a wonderful time participating in the Magnet User Summit, both in person and virtually. After 2 years of participating virtually, it was my first time attending the Summit in person. It was great to meet for the first time in person, not just many of my coworkers, but many of the regulars in my Twitter stream as well. What a gathering of brilliant, yet equally humble, investigators.

During the Summit I participated on a panel about Bringing your Forensics Lab to the Cloud. I also had fun co-presenting on two talks, Walkthrough of a BEC (Business Email Compromise) and. Walkthrough of a Ransomware Investigation, where we looked at the examinations from a Law Enforcement and from a corporate perspective.

There was the surreal moment of realizing that the boss doesn’t just rock, he ROCKS!

This year there was an in person and a virtual CTF with separate evidence and challenges. For the in-person CTF we examined a Linux laptop and an iPhone. Also, the long anticipated Dark Mode is a treat for the retinas.

For the virtual CTF the evidence sources were a Windows image and an Android mobile device, and a Google TakeOut. I surprised myself with how well I did on the Android and that hasn’t been my area of expertise.

During the virtual summit I enjoyed sharing my presentation, Free Tools for DFIR Triage Collections. Special thanks to everyone who engaged with me during and after the presentations, and from all different time zones. Your support was very much appreciated. If you missed it during the Summit or want to watch it again, you can head over to the Presentations page.

You can also check out all the other recorded presentations from the 2022 Magnet User Summit via the link below.

Magnet Weekly CTF, Week 12 Solution Walk Through

The final challenge (#12) – Part 1:

What is the PID of the application where you might learn “how hackers hack, and how to stop them”?

Format: #### Warning: Only 1 attempt allowed!

The first thing I did was open the memdump file in HxD Hex Editor. A quick search found several hits.

I considered mapping the Offset back to the process memory but before going down that road (anticipating it to be math heavy) I decided to drop the individual process memory instead. Looking at the text surrounding “How Hackers Hack…” it appears to be html code. Looking even closer I’d say that it was in response to a search request for “how to stop getting hacked over and over.” Based on that I knew I’d be looking for a browser process.

Running pslist in Volatility we see that there’s multiple browser processes running for both Chrome and Internet Explorer.

I decided to focus on the iexplore.exe processes for Internet Explorer first – for 2 reasons. 1 – there were less running than Chrome so it was a smaller set to work through first. 2 – I did happen to find a Parsed Search Query in Axiom for “how to stop getting hacked over and over.”

The URL indicates a search from Only a sociopath would use Bing to search within Chrome so Internet Explorer it is.

I used the memdump Volatility plugin to dump the process memory for both IE processes.

Next I ran strings against each dump file to see if there was a hit.

We see that in the second file 4480.dmp (associated with PID 4480) contains the content we’re looking for. What is the PID of the application where you might learn “how hackers hack, and how to stop them”? 4480 [Flag 1]

The final challenge (#12) – Part 2:

What is the product version of the application from Part 1?


OK, so we need to know what version of Internet Explorer was used for the Bing search. Off to the Google to find that the IE version information is stored in the registry in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer in the svcVersion value.

From here I mount the full memory image using MemprocFS.

Using the file structure to navigate to the registry key I open svcVersion.txt and verify that the IE version running is 11.0.9600.18860. Back to the scoreboard to submit the bittersweet ending to a very fun challenge and ….. WRONG.

Hmm, so everything I knew (which was limited to be honest) told me that I had the version right, but that wasn’t the right answer. Over on the Discord channel I saw I wasn’t the only one to have the same quandry.

I waited and lurked, waited and lurked – but wasn’t seeing any update to the question. The following day while meditating on the matter in the shower I was thinking about what other means existed to identify details like this.

I used the procdump Volatility plugin to dump the process executable for PID 4480.

Once I had executable.4480.exe I uploaded the file to Virus Total.

Scrolling down on the details tab we see that the exe is correctly identified as Internet Explorer and shows a File Version of 11.00.9600.18858. This is very similar to what we identified earlier (…58 vs …60).

Answer: 11.00.9600.18858 [Flag 2] CORRECT!

I’ll be very interested to learn how others who got the flag identified the correct version information. I suspect there’s additional artifacts that I didn’t explore that hold those clues but for the time being – it’s a mystery to me.

Who am I kidding? It’s gonna be killing me til I know the answer.