Leveraging Forensic Tools for Virtual Machine Introspection

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Executive Summary

Virtual Machine Introspection (VMI) has formed the basis of a number of novel approaches to security in recent years. Although the isolation provided by a virtualized environment provides improved security, software that makes use of VMI must overcome the semantic gap, reconstructing high-level state information from low-level data sources such as physical memory. The digital forensics community has likewise grappled with semantic gap problems in the field of Forensic Memory Analysis (FMA), which seeks to extract forensically relevant information from dumps of physical memory. In this paper, the authors will show that work done by the forensic community is directly applicable to the VMI problem, and that by providing an interface between the two worlds, the difficulty of developing new virtualization security solutions can be significantly reduced.

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