Thursday, November 27, 2008

Basic eBlaster forensic analysis

eBlaster is computer monitoring software offered by SpectorSoft. They also make a product named Spector Pro, which is very similar. The main differences between the two is eBlaster is designed for remote installations and reports of activity to be delivered by email, whereas SpectorPro is designed for someone who has physical access to the monitored computer to review the reports.

eBlater and Spector Pro are very powerful. The software is frequently changed so it remains undetectable by common anti-virus software. The following is some basic oberservations of a forensic analysis of a computer with eBlaster installed.

eBlaster can be installed remotely (SpectorPro cannot) by preconfiguring it with all the necessary options and then sent or given to someone to be installed. The main function of the program is to record all user activity such as screenshots, emails, instant messages, etc. and then to send a report of that activity via email:

Installation of eBlaster is fairly simple and merely requires a registration key and an email address to where the activity reports will be sent.

The eBlaster program uses some random folder/file naming techniques to make it a little more difficult to detect or locate. In all of my testing the software always installs some of the required files into a randomly named subfolder located in the "\windows\system32" folder. There are eight files installed into this folder during the installation, of which one is an executable (admin control panel), while the rest or either .dll's or files with misleading file extensions. The image below is an example of a folder randomly named "subitvox" under the "\windows\system32" folder:

The eighth file is in the subfolder named "canunsec" seen above. Each installation I performed, caused all of these files and folders to get random names. Additionally, there are several .dll files dropped into the "\windows\system32" folder.

One of the easiest ways to "detect" whether eBlaster has been installed, is to attempt to locate a simple text logfile that is created by the program. The file is always in the root of the randomly generated folder under "\windows\system32". The log file is a simple ASII text file and commonly had a .dll file extension. The log file has some very predictable text can easily be detected using a grep search:

11/27/2008 12:56:00: (AGT,EXPLORER) Initializing process for file C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe Recording App 1 Blocking App 1
11/27/2008 12:56:00: (EBR,EXPLORER)
11/27/2008 12:56:00: (EBR,EXPLORER) Start Monitor - User lance on REG-OIPK81M2WC8
11/27/2008 12:56:00: (EBR,EXPLORER) Build Number 3067. Serial Number 1234567890
11/27/2008 12:56:00: (EBR,EXPLORER) Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 1 (5.1.2600)
11/27/2008 12:56:00: (EBR,EXPLORER) IPC Message pump started.
11/27/2008 12:56:00: (SHR,EXPLORER) PacketProcessorEB::CreatePacketXML: Sending settings to server.

Some of the lines above have been word-wrapped by the blog, but normally each line in this text file will begin with the datestamp then the timestamp. The datestamp format is always "mm/dd/yyyy". The timestamp format is always "hh:mm:ss:". A simple GREP search of "##/##/#### ##:##:##:" would find this logfile, regardless of it's name, with minimal false positive hits.

The above method is the simplest manner to locate active logs generated from eBlaster, as well as fragments in unallocated, MFT records and $LogFile.

The eBlaster software itself is all coontrolled by several .dlls that are loaded via the registry. A random GUID is generated and placed in the HKLM\Softwae\Classes\CLSID key. Here is an example from one of the installations:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{7E116682-4410-4969-B8FA-5C3CCAE78026}\ProgID\: "Winoscmd"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{7E116682-4410-4969-B8FA-5C3CCAE78026}\InprocServer32\: "C:\WINDOWS\System32\chmucfav.dll"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{7E116682-4410-4969-B8FA-5C3CCAE78026}\InprocServer32\ThreadingModel: "Apartment"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{7E116682-4410-4969-B8FA-5C3CCAE78026}\: "Comivjob"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{AE256AD1-14D6-428F-BAEE-59B158AFFA0F}\InprocServer32\: "C:\WINDOWS\System32\midexkey.dll"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{AE256AD1-14D6-428F-BAEE-59B158AFFA0F}\InprocServer32\ThreadingModel: "Apartment"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\CLSID\{AE256AD1-14D6-428F-BAEE-59B158AFFA0F}\: "sapiclan"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Winoscmd\CLSID\: "{7E116682-4410-4969-B8FA-5C3CCAE78026}"
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Winoscmd\: "Comivjob"

From a network perspective, upon initially booting the machine, a DNS request is made to a domain of "". That domain has the following registration information:

Spectorsoft Corp.
1555 Indian River Blvd
Bldg B-210
Vero Beach, FL 32960

Domain Name: D2A1376GF-43TY-245A.COM
Created on: 23-MAY-07
Expires on: 23-MAY-09
Last Updated on: 10-APR-08

That domain currently resolves to the IP address of "". This IP address is registered by a company named:

OrgName: Robust Technology
Address: 12178 Fahr Park Lane
City: St Louis
StateProv: MO
PostalCode: 63146
Country: US

NetRange: -
NetName: RSPC-22301-0007111720
NetHandle: NET-209-61-133-192-1
Parent: NET-209-61-128-0-1
NetType: Reassigned
RegDate: 2000-07-12
Updated: 2000-07-12

After the DNS request, there is an initial posting of data to the remote server, most likely for licensing validity. This network traffic is sent via TCP port 443 in an SSL wrapper. Although you cannot easily see the contents, an initial or periodic communication to that IP address would be excellent indication that eBlaster is installed. The program will periodically send activity reports to that IP address based on how its been configured.

When in doubt simply booting a copy of the machine in question in a controlled network environment (no Internet access!) would yield some instant communications that would tip you off. Here is a screenshot of the initial communication upon booting the system (between <> on port 443):

The above testing wa done on the latest release of eBlaster as of 11/2008:

Friday, November 7, 2008

My current impression of cell phone forensic tools

As part of my work, I recently put together a fairly comprehensive cell phone forensic course. As part of the development phase of this project, I had a chance to use most of all the common cell phone forensic tools and put them through the paces with over 50 different phones, most of which were international models.

In opinion, the forensic industry is nowhere near where we are today with cell phone forensics compared to computer forensics. Mostly because it is a fairly new sub-field of digital forensics and the tools just have not been around long and have not yet evolved to the state where the current computer forensic tools are at.

I also think it is due to the complete lack of standardization by phone manufacturers. With computer forensics, you have different makes and models of computers and it generally has little effect on the analysis phase because how they each operate is standardized and follow a set of design specifications. Whereas in cell phone forensics, each cell phone manufacturer could be using their own proprietary operating system and each phone may operate completely different from other models by the same manufacturer. This makes developing an all-inclusive tool that can support all the manufacturers and models of phones very difficult and is something like hitting a moving target traveling at 200mph. By the time you develop a tool to deal with a specific phone, 5 more new ones have been released that don't follow the same standard(s).

**** I have no association with any of these vendors****
The following is just my experience and impressions of the current state of these tools, future version releases could improve or worsen their performance.

The tools I used and evaluated are as follows:


Neutrino (Guidance Software)

Mobile Phone Examiner (AccessData)

Secure View (DataPilot)




Fernico ZRT


To first summarize my experience and findings, I would rate my top three tools as:

The reason for rating these tools as my top three tools is based on this criteria:
Supported phones
Ease of use

Currently, the only tool evaluated that can handle iPhones. This was not a deal-maker/breaker for me, but it is worth noting. This is a very simple to use hand held device that can be brought out into the field. I would love to see it have an internal battery to facilitate true in-the-field information gathering. This device handles many different phone models. It supports cable connections to phones as well as bluetooth. It cannot be any simpler to use, clear & easy menu driven screens guide the operator through the acquisition phase. Information can be sent immediately to an attached computer or saved to a USB flash drive, so it can be handed to an investigator for review.

DataPilot (Secure View)
Nice compact kit. Comes with an excellent cable kit that supports many different phones. This is a software solution that really only involves cables and a security key to enable to software. The software is simple to use. Generates nice clean reports.

XRY is a kit that comes in a fairly large box (suitcase). It comes with several cables, but not as many as Cellebrite or DataPilot. The XRY device itself is fairly small and self-explanatory with clearly labeled ports and connections. The device can be powered by a wall plug or by USB port, making field acquisitions very easy. The software interface is very simple to use and it supports a large number of phones.

For the rest of the devices I used and evaluated, the following are some of the findings and experiences that were relevant to my rating of these devices:

This device is an add-on to EnCase. It comes in a very large case. The biggest downside to this product is the lack of support for phones. The number of phones this device supports and can extract data from is very low. The ability to read non-US models is also very very low.

AccessData MPE
Notwithstanding all the known and previously discussed issues with FTK 2.0, I found this product to be very "clunky" and not too intuitive. I had common problems with the licensing of the MPE module and it not recognizing phones that were connected. Phone support it also very low. Ease of use is very low.

XACT is the only tool that is focused on getting a physical image of a phone. I was very excited to see this product and try it out. The hardware and software is almost identical to XRY. The biggest disappointment I had with this product is that it just didn't work or support many phones. Even the phones it said it supported, I had trouble with and later found out that it only supports phones with certain firmware. So if the documentation says it supports a Motorola SLVR L7, it may not work if that phone is using a certain firmware version. XACT can parse the "physical" image of some phones and break out the data into categories and show logical data, such as SMS, photos, etc, but this does not work on all models of phones. I didn't mind this because I could still look at the physical image, but unfortunately many of the phones I tried simply would not work because the firmware version was not supported. I was very happy that an old Motorola SLVR L7 that I examined, XACT was able to pull a physical image, but not parse the data. A manual search of the data resulted in several SMS messages that were deleted and were from 8-9 months in the past. The bummer was that when I tried three more Motorola SLVR L7 phones, a physical image could not be obtained because of an unsupported firmware version on these phones.

This device suffers from many of the drawbacks as Neutrino. It does not support many common phone types. As Neutrino, it needs drivers installed for many of the phones.

Fernico ZRT
This really isn't a forensic tool, but rather a solution to process phones manually. It includes an awesome desk clamp, camera, microphone and software so that if you need to process a phone that isn't supported by one of the above tools, you can manually go through the phone and record everything as you do it. This is hands down my tool of choice when having to process or deal with phones that a forensic tool cannot process or when I want to manually capture something on a phone.

This tool is similar to Fernico, as it is used to manually process a phone and record right off the phone's screen as the investigator cycles through the phone screens. I found this product to be very low-quality and cheap looking. The camera image is very poor and not very usable. I would not recommend using this product at all.

Computer Forensics, Malware Analysis & Digital Investigations

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