RESim: dynamic system analysis tool

RESim: dynamic system analysis tool


dynamic system analysis


RESim is a dynamic system analysis tool that provides detailed insight into processes, programs, and data flow within networked computers. RESim simulates networks of computers through the use of the Simics'[1] platform’s high fidelity models of processors, peripheral devices (e.g., network interface cards), and disks. The networked simulated computers load and run targeted software copied from disk images extracted from the physical systems being modeled.

Broadly, RESim aids reverse engineering of networks of Linux-based systems by inventorying processes in terms of the programs they execute and the data they consume. Data sources include files, device interfaces, and inter-process communication mechanisms. Process execution and data consumption are documented through dynamic analysis of a running simulated system without installation or injection of software into the simulated system and without detailed knowledge of kernel hosting the processes.

RESim also provides interactive visibility into individual executing programs through the use of a custom plug-in to the IDA Pro disassembler/debugger. The disassembler/debugger allows setting breakpoints to pause the simulation at selected events in either future time or past time. For example, RESim can direct the simulation state to reverse until the most recent modification of a selected memory address.
Reloadable checkpoints may be generated at any point during system execution.
A RESim simulation can be paused for inspection, e.g., when a specified process is scheduled for execution, and subsequently continued, potentially with altered memory or register state. The analyst can explicitly modify memory or register content, and can also dynamically augment memory based on system events, e.g., change a password file entry when read by the su program.

An analysis is performed entirely through observation of the simulated target system’s memory and processor state, without need for shells, software injection, or kernel symbol tables. The analysis is said to be external because the analysis observation functions have no effect on the state of the simulated system.


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