Date of Award
Memory forensics is increasingly used to detect and analyze sophisticated malware. In the last decade, major advances in memory forensics have made analysis of kernel-level malware straightforward. Kernel-level malware has been favored by attackers because it essentially provides complete control over a machine. This has changed recently as operating systems vendors now routinely enforce driving signing and strategies for protecting kernel data, such as Patch Guard, have made userland attacks much more attractive to malware authors.
In this thesis, new techniques for detecting userland malware written in Objective-C on Mac OS X are presented. As the thesis illustrates, Objective-C provides a rich set of APIs that malware uses to manipulate and steal data and to perform other malicious activities. The novel memory forensics techniques presented in this thesis deeply examine the state of the Objective-C runtime, identifying a number of suspicious activities, from keystroke logging to pointer swizzling.
Case, Andrew, "Detecting Objective-C Malware through Memory Forensics" (2016). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 2132.