Archive for the 'NTrace' Category

NTrace paper published on computer.org

Our paper NTrace: Function Boundary Tracing for Windows on IA-32 from WCRE 2009 has now been published on computer.org:

Abstract:

For a long time, dynamic tracing has been an enabling technique for reverse engineering tools. Tracing can not only be used to record the control flow of a particular component such as a piece of malware itself, it is also a way to analyze the interactions of a component and their impact on the rest of the system. Unlike Unix-based systems, for which several dynamic tracing tools are available, Windows has been lacking appropriate tools. From a reverse engineering perspective, however, Windows may be considered the most relevant OS, particularly with respect to malware analysis. In this paper, we present NTrace, a dynamic tracing tool for the Windows kernel, drivers, system libraries, and applications that supports function boundary tracing. NTrace incorporates 2 novel approaches: (1) a way to integrate with Windows Structured Exception Handling and (2) a technique to instrument binary code on IA-32 architectures that is both safe and more efficient than DTrace.

http://www.computer.org/portal/web/csdl/doi/10.1109/WCRE.2009.12

If you do not feel like reading the paper, you can also take a look at the screencasts:


Part 1. Kernel Mode NTrace:
Tracing NTFS and the I/O manager

Part 2: User Mode NTrace

Part 2. User Mode NTrace:
Tracing COM loading a DLL

Launched ntrace.org

Having given my presentation on NTrace today at the WCRE in Lille/France, I have also opened ntrace.org to the public. NTrace, in case you have missed my previous posts, is a dynamic function boundary tracing system for Windows/x86 I initially developed as part of my Master’s thesis that is capable of performing DTrace-like tracing of both user and kernel mode components.

On the NTrace page, you will now find the paper itself as being published as part of the WCRE proceedings (mind the copyright notice, please) along with two screencasts: One showing how NTrace can be used to trace kernel mode components such as NTFS, and one demonstrating NTrace for user mode tracing.

If you have questions about NTrace or are interested in more details, please feel free to write me an email — my address is jpassing at acm org.

I’ll be at WCRE 2009 presenting NTrace

Next week, the 16th Working Conference on Reverse Engineering (WCRE) will be held in Lille, France. I will be there presenting NTrace: Function Boundary Tracing for Windows on IA-32.

NTrace is a dynamic function boundary tracing toolkit for IA-32/x86 that can be used to trace both kernel and user mode Windows components — examples for components that can be traced include the kernel itself (ntoskrnl), drivers like NTFS as well as user mode components such as kernel32, shell32 or even explorer.exe.

NTrace implements a novel approach to instrumenting IA-32 machine code and integrating with the Structured Exception Handling facility of Windows. Using this approach, NTrace is not only capable of tracing nearly the entire Windows kernel and system libraries, it is also faster than Solaris DTrace FBT on IA-32!

Details on how exactly NTrace works will be publiched in the paper, which will be made available soon. I will also publish more details on NTrace both here and on a dedicated NTrace website.

The work, by the way, is basically the result of my Master’s thesis I wrote back in 2008.


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About me

Johannes Passing, M.Sc., living in Berlin, Germany.

Besides his consulting work, Johannes mainly focusses on Win32, COM, and NT kernel mode development, along with Java and .Net. He also is the author of cfix, a C/C++ unit testing framework for Win32 and NT kernel mode, Visual Assert, a Visual Studio Unit Testing-AddIn, and NTrace, a dynamic function boundary tracing toolkit for Windows NT/x86 kernel/user mode code.

Contact Johannes: jpassing (at) acm org

Johannes' GPG fingerprint is BBB1 1769 B82D CD07 D90A 57E8 9FE1 D441 F7A0 1BB1.

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