Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Virtualization is Great for Forensics

The rumblings suggesting that "The Cloud" and Virtualization is an enormous hindrance to digital investigations are exaggerated. These claims sound like scare tactics to me, I think virtualization makes incident response to computer crime much more efficient. The goal of incident response is to preserve as much information as possible. Software such as Live View from CERT is great because it allows investigators to boot disk images.

Virtualization is cutting out the middle man here, as an investigator I'd rather have a virtual machine instead of a disk image. Virtual machine copies provided by service providers provide a "self contained crime scene", since the virtual machine is frozen in time including the memory. At DojoCon 2009, Richard Bejtlich shared a story were investigators responded to an incident working with a Cloud Provider and were greeted with a shrink wrapped crime scene.

Anyone who as ever used a product such as VMware may have copied and moved images, this is a good thing. It seems that when some are dedicated to screaming about problems, they may be ignoring a great solution staring them right in the face.