Malware increasingly uses peer-to-peer communications, researchers say

The number of malware samples that use P-to-P (peer-to-peer) communications has increased fivefold during the past 12 months, according to researchers from security firm Damballa.

The number of malware samples that use P-to-P (peer-to-peer) communications has increased fivefold during the past 12 months, according to researchers from security firm Damballa.

Ubuntu Malware Removal Toolkit

Ubuntu Malware Removal Toolkit is an Ubuntu-based LiveCD focused on Windows malicious software removal. The purpose of this distribution is to create a portable environment that will make it easier to remove malware from infected Windows systems.


Detect and clean Windows malware directly from the LiveCD using the best free tools
Easy to use even for Linux novice users
Custom Nautilus scripts to make easier tasks like scanning or hashing multiple files or folders
Find online informations surfing the web with Firefox directly from the LiveCD
Windows network protocols support: Ubuntu MRT can browse Windows networks, resolve Windows hostnames, mount Windows shared folders and use RDP to remotely control Windows Servers
Easily create an Ubuntu MRT Persistent LiveUSB directly from the LiveCD
Browse and query the Windows registry files, detect NTFS timestamp artifacts and much more…
Easily search online for multiple file hashes with a single mouse clic (, Team Cymru MHR and others services)
Analyze network traffic using preinstalled tools like ntop and BotHunter

Continue reading “Ubuntu Malware Removal Toolkit”

looking for all of the executables on a drive

Miss Identify is a program to find Win32 applications. In its default mode it displays the filename of any executable that does not have an executable extension (i.e. exe, dll, com, sys, cpl, hxs, hxi, olb, rll, or tlb). The program can also be run to display all executables encountered, regardless of the extension. This is handy when looking for all of the executables on a drive. Other options allow the user to record the strings found in an executable and to work recursively. See the manual page for more information.

Alternate Operating System Scanner

What is PC Tools’ Alternate Operating System Scanner?

Once a system is infected with malware it becomes difficult to remove that malware as it is already embedded in the system and has control over many components which are key to the system’s operations. Malware, like rootkits, use system components to hide themselves and prevent other software from detecting or removing them. This is often the case of who gets there first; if the malware is able to get control of the system earlier on then it also has control over any software that may be run later. Besides just hiding, malware can also block the execution of other security applications. If you cannot install or run a security application in the first place then you cannot scan and detect the malware. The best time to remove this malware is when it is not running, but malware often starts with the Operating System, so we would have to stop the Operating System to stop the malware. On a shutdown OS nothing is running and malware like rootkits cannot hide themselves and so it would be easy to find and remove them.


REMnux is a lightweight Linux distribution for assisting malware analysts with reverse-engineering malicious software. The distribution is based on Ubuntu and is maintained by Lenny Zeltser.

John H. Sawyer March 22, 2012

In my last blog about Linux Live Environments, I mentioned REMnux, an environment specifically built for malware analysis. I’d spent a little time with REMnux when it first came out, but decided to take the latest version (3.0) for a test drive.

Since I just received the new “Practical Malware Analysis” book from No Starch Press, the detailed lab exercises seemed like a perfect way to test out the tools included in REMnux. While most of the tools in the book are Windows-based, there are Linux-based equivalents found on REMnux.

The first task was downloading the lab files linked from and extracting them.

If you have issues try for an encrypted zip download.

WARNING: The lab binaries contain malicious code and you should not install or run these programs without first setting up a safe environment.

Compatibility: The labs are targeted for the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. Many of the labs work on newer versions of Windows, but some of them will not. The labs are designed to mimic realistic malware. Some of them are well-written code that runs reliable and some of them (just like real malware) are poorly written code that may crash, contain memory leaks, or otherwise behave unexpectedly.

Practical Malware Analysis Labs Web Site

My plan to solely use REMnux was immediately thwarted by the self-extracting Windows executable that contained the lab files. There was a EULA (end user license agreement) wrapper as part of the executable that had to be accepted before the files could be extracted — a problem solved with a quick boot of a Windows XP virtual machine. Ideally, the authors will replace or supplement the self-extracting executable with a standard zip file.

After a quick and easy read through the first few chapters, I started to dig into the lab examples using REMnux’s tools. Chapter 1’s labs want you to upload the example binaries to VirusTotal to see whether any antivirus products detect them as possible malware. While I could have used Firefox to upload the files, I chose to use pyew’s “vt” plugin that searches VirusTotal using the MD5 hash of the file instead of uploading the actual file.

Searching just using the MD5 could have backfired if no one had uploaded the file to VirusTotal yet, but given the popularity of the book, the lab files had already been uploaded many times. It doesn’t appear that REMnux currently comes with a command-line tool to upload files to VirusTotal, so here are a couple of options (#1 and #2) that simply require that you get a free API key from VT first.

A few other tasks in the first few “Practical Malware Analysis” labs include looking at executables’ import/export functions, compile date, and packer identification. Pescanner works pretty well to figuring out those answers, but not all of them. For example, pescanner identifies suspicious import functions but does not list them all, and it incorrectly identified some of the executables as having been packed when they weren’t. Pyew faired better by being able to list all imports and exports and correctly identifying the packer, but it did not have an obvious way to show the compile date. But when used together, you can get the exact answers you need.

The last lab in Chapter 1 asks you to use Resource Hacker to look for resources that are stored in the file. To accomplish the same task on Linux, a command-line tool can be used called hachoir-subfile. Running hachoir-subfile against the Lab 1-4 executable will extract the embedded in PE file.

I’m looking forward to digging into the book more and using REMnux further to see just what I can do without having a Windows virtual machine. It’s not that I have anything against Windows — I just like to find alternative Linux-based tools that do the same thing as Windows-based tools. There’s definitely an advantage to having both platforms available for analysis with the plethora of tools to use.

I highly recommend taking a look at the “Practical Malware Analysis” if you’re interested in the topic, as it is one of the best books I’ve seen on subject and the labs are great. I suspect I’ll have more blogs in the future about the book and tools as I spend more time with it and find alternative tools to use for the analysis.

John Sawyer is a Senior Security Analyst with InGuardians. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are his own and do not represent the views and opinions of his employer. He can be reached at and found on Twitter @johnhsawyer.