Browse Definitions :
Definition

memory dump attack

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A memory dump attack is the capture and use of RAM content that was written to a storage drive during an unrecoverable error, which was typically triggered by the attacker.

Developers commonly use memory dumps to gather diagnostic information at the time of a crash to help them troubleshoot issues and learn more about the event. The information stored in RAM at the time of a crash contains the code that produced the error. Retention of this error and the environment it occurred in is the usual purpose of a dump. As these dumps can include anything in the computer’s active RAM, they can present privacy and security concerns.

Hackers access memory dumps to obtain otherwise protected data or information or to compromise the host computer and/or systems it connects to. If an attacker gains some code execution and read capacity, he can cause a memory dump through a buffer overflow error (for example) and the resulting dump could be read on reboot. When that data is stored on the drive, it can also present security risks if savvy hackers access it and find sensitive information, cleartext passwords or decryption keys that normally would not be easily accessible.

Memory dump attacks can be thwarted by a number of means:

  • Programs that use password hashes instead of storing clear text passwords.
  • Tokenization so that only representative data will be in memory and sensitive data is stored elsewhere.
  • .NET based applications can use SecureString and Data Protection to limit the time that passwords are available unencrypted.
  •  Some Microsoft and other operating systems allow for memory dumps that contain less information and may also make it possible to turn off memory dumps.

In the event that a memory dump is triggered, the safest response is to track down the program that caused it and check for signs of intrusion such as keyloggers and packetsniffers.

This was last updated in January 2017

Continue Reading About memory dump attack

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance framework

    A compliance framework is a structured set of guidelines that details an organization's processes for maintaining accordance with...

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

SearchSecurity

  • DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

    DNS over HTTPS (DoH) is a relatively new protocol that encrypts domain name system traffic by passing DNS queries through a ...

  • integrated risk management (IRM)

    Integrated risk management (IRM) is an approach to risk management that uses a set of practices and processes to improve an ...

  • MITRE ATT&CK framework

    The MITRE ATT&CK (pronounced 'miter attack') framework is a free, globally accessible service that provides comprehensive and ...

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification and is used in internally mounted ...

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an operating system (OS) that uses hardware and software to allow a computer ...

Close