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Using Volatility on Arch Linux

This article will walk through using Volatility on Arch Linux. Volatility’s documentation didn’t make too much sense to me with generating profiles so I am taking it upon myself to write up how I set it up. Also, Volatility is written in Python 2 and I don’t like having that installed on my system, so I created a Docker image to fill that need.

Prerequisites: #

The following is assumed:

  • Docker is installed and setup (to actually run my Volatility container)
  • Your system is up-to-date and on the latest kernel (sudo pacman -Syu && sudo reboot if you aren’t sure)

Install Dependencies: #

Install LiME: #

LiME is a tool made for dumping the volatile memory in Linux.

sudo git clone https://github.com/504ensicsLabs/LiME /opt/lime &&\
    sudo chown -R $USER /opt/lime/ &&\
    cd /opt/lime/src &&\

Install Other System Packages: #

The libdwarf package will be used to create a Volatility profile. It allows us to collect kernel configuration information such as supported kernel symbols, modules, etc. We also need to install the Linux kernel headers. Switch linux-headers with whatever kernel headers if you’re using a custom kernel (like linux-lts, linux-hardened, etc.).

sudo pacman -Sy libdwarf linux-headers zip git asp --noconfirm

Building a Volatility Profile: #

Let’s create a directory where all our files will be going:

mkdir -p /tmp/volatility_demo

Like, I said earlier, Volatility is written in Python 2. So we won’t actually use vol.py on our system (since Arch doesn’t have Python 2 installed by default – nor do we want that). But the repository has some tools to easily create a profile so we will clone it into the tmp directory:

git clone https://github.com/volatilityfoundation/volatility.git /tmp/volatility

Now create the dwarf file:

cd /tmp/volatility/tools/linux &&\
    make dwarf

Now let’s create the Volatility profile:

sudo zip /tmp/volatility_demo/Arch.zip /tmp/volatility/tools/linux/module.dwarf /usr/lib/modules/$(uname -r)/build/System.map

Create a Memory Image With LiME: #

Let’s create a memory dump in our staging directory (this will take a while):

sudo insmod /opt/lime/src/lime-*.ko "format=lime path=/tmp/volatility_demo/arch-memory.lime digest=sha512" 

Get Volatility Ready: #

Create a config file ~/.volatilityrc with the following content:


For ease of use, let’s create a BASH alias for vol.py so you don’t have to run a super long docker run command every time:

alias vol.py="docker run -it --rm -v ~/.volatilityrc:/root/.volatilityrc -w /data -v ${PWD}:/data heywoodlh/volatility --conf-file /root/.volatilityrc $@"

Now, make sure you are in the staging directory, and then run my Volatility Docker image to check if the Profile we made earlier is correct:

cd /tmp/volatility_demo &&\
    vol.py --info | grep Arch

The output should include LinuxArchx64 as one of the profiles. If the name is something else, change the PROFILE setting in your ~/.volatilityrc config.

Once that is set, you are basically good to use Volatility on the image we’ve created. You might want to set that vol.py alias in a relevant BASH configuration file so that it persists if that’s what you desire.

Here are some example commands that you could run:

vol.py linux_banner

vol.py linux_bash

vol.py linux_hidden_modules
Written on March 26, 2020

linux security