Florian Westphal
Stefan Axelsson (Blekinge Institute of Technology)
Christian Neuhaus
Andreas Polze

Abstract

With the growth of virtualization and cloud computing, more and more forensic investigations rely on being able to perform live forensics on a virtual machine using virtual machine introspection (VMI). Inspecting a virtual machine through its hypervisor enables investigation without risking contamination of the evidence, crashing the computer, etc. To further access to these techniques for the investigator/researcher we have developed a new VMI monitoring language. This language is based on a review of the most commonly used VMI-techniques to date, and it enables the user to monitor the virtual machine's memory, events and data streams. A prototype implementation of our monitoring system was implemented in KVM, though implementation on any hypervisor that uses the common x86 virtualization hardware assistance support should be straightforward. Our prototype outperforms the proprietary VMWare VProbes in many cases, with a maximum performance loss of 18% for a realistic test case, which we consider acceptable. Our implementation is freely available under a liberal software distribution license.