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Computer Memory Basics

Article detailing an overview of typical Windows computer memory (RAM) contents.
© PA Knowledge Ltd | 7Safe Training

Computer Memory Basics

The computer memory commonly referred to as RAM stores all the information relating to the functionality of the computer. It is a temporary storage area which holds data for processing. Data stored in memory includes:

• Processes

• Services

• System/user opened files

• Loaded Dynamic Link Libraries

• Open Registry keys

• Usernames and passwords

• Unpacked/decrypted data or applications

• Content of open windows

• Network related activity

• NTFS metadata files

• Memory resident malware

Note the above list is not exhaustive.

It can be seen that there its lots of potential information held in memory that may be of interest to the malware investigator.

It is also worthy of note examination of computer memory may be limited due to limitations of the tools used, however this can be mitigated by making a computer of the computer memory for analysis. This copy is commonly referred to as a ‘RAM Dump’.

We will take a closer look at running process in the next section together how to create a copy of the computer memory and the basics of static RAM analysis.

Additional information…

Any examination of a live computer may also be potentially hampered by any malware running in the system. Analysis of a RAM dump will of course negate this.

© PA Knowledge Ltd | 7Safe Training
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Introduction to Digital Forensics: Malware Analysis and Investigations

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