Windows Registry Analysis-Tracking Every activity  - Windows Registry Analysis GBHackers - Windows Registry Analysis-Tracking Every activity

The purpose of this article is to provide you with a depth understanding of the Registry and Wealth of information it holds. Today most administrators and forensic analysts, the registry probably looks like the entrance to a dark.

Besides Configuration information,  the Windows Registry holds information regarding recently accessed files and considerable information about user activities.

The is that the Registry is a veritable goldmine of information for both the administrator and forensics investigator.

What is the Registry?

If you remember back to DOS and early versions of Windows(3.1,3.11 and so on ), configuration information (drivers, settings) for the system was largely managed by several files-specifically, autoexec.bat, config.sys, win.ini (on windows)and system.ini.

Various settings within these files determined what programs were loaded and how the system looked and responded to user input, Later versions of windows replaced these files with the Registry, a central hierarchical database that maintains configuration settings for the application, hardware devices, and users.

How Windows Registry Structure Looks!

When the administrator or Forensics expects opens Regedit.exe, he sees a tree-like structure with five root folders, or “hives”.

- reg - Windows Registry Analysis-Tracking Every activity

  • HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT hive contains configuration information relating to which application is used to open various files on the system.
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive is the active, loaded user profile for the currently logged-on-user.
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive contains a vast configuration information for the system, including hardware settings and settings.
  • HKEY_USERS hive contains all the actively loaded user profile for that system.
  • HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG hive contains the hardware profile the system uses at startup.

Registry Examination

MRU lists:

MRU, throughout or”most recently used” list contains entries made due to specific actions performed by the user. There are numerous MRU LIS throughout various Registry keys.

The Registry maintains these lists of items in case the user returns to them in the future.It is similar to how the history and cookies act to a web browser.

The location of this key is HKEY_CURRENT_USERsoftwaremicrosoftwindowscurrentversionExplorerRunMRU and it contains

- reg2 - Windows Registry Analysis-Tracking Every activity

With the information provided from the RunMRU key, an examiner can gain better understanding fo the user they are investigating and the application that is being used.In this above figure, you can see the user has opened cmd, Notepad, MSPaint etc.

USB Devices:

Anytime a device is connected to the Universal Serial Bus (USB), Drivers are queried and the device’s information is stored in the Registry(Thumb Drives).

This key stores the contents of the product and device ID values of any USB devices that have ever been connected to the system.

So forensics experts will drill down to the path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMcontrolset001EnumUSBSTOR.

- reg3 - Windows Registry Analysis-Tracking Every activity

Internet Explorer:

Internet Explorer is the native Web browser in Windows operating system.It utilizes the Registry extensively in the storage of data, like many applications.

Internet Explorer stores its data in the HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerTypedURLs.

- reg4 - Windows Registry Analysis-Tracking Every activity

Attached Hardware:

Navigating to the following key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEM|MountedDevices.This information can be useful to a forensic examiner as it shows any connected storage device has been recognized by the operating system.

If the examiner notes a discrepancy between the physically attached devices and the ones reported here, it can be an indication that some device was removed prior to the evidence being seized.

- reg5 - Windows Registry Analysis-Tracking Every activity

Malicious Software:

Navigating to this following key HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftware  this information will be juicy stuff for Forensics Examiner as it could see the hacker used CyberGhost Vpn which is used for being anonymous.

- reg6 - Windows Registry Analysis-Tracking Every activity

Recent Applications:

Navigating to this following key will give information for last accessed applications list HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMicrosoftCurrentversionSearchRecentApps.

In this user has a vast list of applications, one of those was Vmworkstation found.

- reg7 - Windows Registry Analysis-Tracking Every activity

Crucial information can be obtained by performing an efficient and effective forensic examination.

So you can investigate to find ongoing malicious Activities in your Environment.Happy Investigating !!!!!

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