17. Use Cases

This chapter contains use cases that users often asked for.

17.1. Disk Image Analysis


A lot of functions in this chapter require a forensic lab or lab license. This license is geared towards forensic experts. Forensic Lab Licenses are a special license type with more functionality.

THOR, as a scanner, does not mount disk images to a certain drive on your forensic workstation. You have to use 3rd party tools for that task. Please see Arsenal Image Mounter (AIM) and FTKImager for Windows or Dissect for Linux to get an overview of potential tools to use. Other tools should also work.

First, you mount the image to a certain drive/path with your preferred tool. Afterwards you can use THOR in the lab scanning mode to analyze the mounted image.

The following example shows a recommended set of parameters, scanning a mounted image of a host named WKS0001 on drive S:\ of your forensic Windows workstation.

C:\thor>thor64.exe --lab --virtual-map S:C -j WKS0001 -p S:\

The following example shows the same parameters for a Linux forensic workstation. The drive is mounted to /mnt/image/fs/sysvol/.

nextron@unix:~/thor$ ./thor-linux-64 --lab --virtual-map /mnt/image/fs/sysvol/:C -j WKS0001 -p /mnt/image/fs/sysvol/

The --lab parameter will apply several internal flags (e.g. enables intense mode to scan every file, enables multi-threading, disables resource control, removes all limitations). The --virtual-map parameter maps every file found in elements of that image to the original drive letter and allows the message enrichment to work correctly. The -j HOSTNAME parameter can be used to write every log line with the hostname of the original system and not with that of the forensic workstation.

You find more information on the scan parameters in the chapter Lab Scanning.


This blog post mentions different ways to use commercial or built-in tools to mount and scan VMDK images.

17.1.1. Arsenal Image Mounter (AIM)

We recommend using Arsenal Image Mounter.

In case you plan to use an automated setup in which you use scripts to automatically process images, you could try to use the command-line of AIM, please see the aim_cli.exe within the program folder for more help.

17.1.2. FTKImager

Alternatively, you can use the tool FTKImager to mount your image.


We recommend using Arsenal Image Mounter to mount your images, since we observed better performance during our internal tests.

17.1.3. Dissect

Dissect is an incident response framework build from various parsers and implementations of file formats. Tying this all together, Dissect allows you to work with tools named target-query and target-shell to quickly gain access to forensic artefacts, such as Runkeys, Prefetch files, and Windows Event Logs, just to name a few!

You can find the tool here: https://github.com/fox-it/dissect

For instructions on how to mount a disk image, you can find information here: https://docs.dissect.tools/en/latest/tools/target-mount.html

17.2. Memory Image Analysis with Volatility

In this use case, we show a way to run a THOR scan on a full memory image of a target system.

In volatility, we first evaluate the right profile for a memory image. You can use the imageinfo command or select one manually from the list that is show when you run vol.py --info.

user@linux:~$ vol.py -f win10-lab1.mem imageinfo

Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.6.1
INFO     : volatility.debug    : Determining profile based on KDBG search...
          Suggested Profile(s) : Win10x64_19041
                     AS Layer1 : SkipDuplicatesAMD64PagedMemory (Kernel AS)
                     AS Layer2 : FileAddressSpace (/mnt/downloads/mem-dumps/win10-lab1.mem)
                      PAE type : No PAE
                           DTB : 0x1aa002L
                          KDBG : 0xf8005aa00b20L
          Number of Processors : 2
     Image Type (Service Pack) : 0
                KPCR for CPU 0 : 0xfffff80055ec0000L
                KPCR for CPU 1 : 0xffff8500313c0000L
             KUSER_SHARED_DATA : 0xfffff78000000000L
           Image date and time : 2021-06-15 08:25:08 UTC+0000
     Image local date and time : 2021-06-15 10:25:08 +0200

We then create a directory that will store all our process memory images.

user@linux:~$ mkdir procs

Now we can extract all process memory images and save them to the new directory.

user@linux:~$ vol.py -f win10-lab1.mem --profile=Win10x64_19041 memdump -D procs/

Volatility Foundation Volatility Framework 2.6.1
Writing System [     4] to 4.dmp
Writing Registry [    92] to 92.dmp
Writing smss.exe [   348] to 348.dmp
Writing csrss.exe [   440] to 440.dmp
Writing wininit.exe [   512] to 512.dmp
Writing csrss.exe [   520] to 520.dmp
Writing winlogon.exe [   608] to 608.dmp
Writing services.exe [   624] to 624.dmp
Writing lsass.exe [   656] to 656.dmp
Writing fontdrvhost.ex [   748] to 748.dmp

We recommend saving that output for mapping purposes, since THOR will only report the file names upon a YARA rule match, e.g. 748.dmp, and not the name of the executable fontdrvhost.exe.

Using THOR, we can now scan the extracted process memory images.

user@linux:~$ ./thor-linux-64 --lab -p /mnt/mem-dumps/procs/

Without a valid lab license, we can simulate that behaviour using the following command (see Lab Scanning for more details and flags used in lab scan mode):

user@linux:~$ ./thor-linux-64 -a Filescan --intense -p /mnt/mem-dumps/procs/

The output of such a scan will look like this

[?%] Worker 01: /mnt/mem-dumps/procs/3812.dmp          [_______________________________]Progress: 286 MB
[?%] Worker 01: /mnt/mem-dumps/procs/3812.dmp          [_______________________________]Progress: 343 MB
Alert YARA Score Rule Match
  TARGET: /mnt/mem-dumps/procs/3812.dmp
  TYPE: file
  NAME: SUSP_Encoded_UA_Mozilla
  SCORE: 50
  DESCRIPTION: Detects encoded keyword - User-Agent: Mozilla/
  SIGTYPE: internal
  CHUNK_OFFSET: 366000000
  TAGS: SUSP, T1027
  MATCHING_STRINGS: Str1: "VzZXItQWdlbnQ6IE1vemlsbGEv" in "dDBRMD0NClVzZXItQWdlbnQ6IE1vemlsbGEvNS4wIChjb2" at 0x1672eacc
  MODIFIED: Tue Jun 15 11:38:13 2021
  CHANGED: Tue Jun 15 11:38:13 2021
  TARGET_SIZE: 610324480
[?%] Worker 01: /mnt/mem-dumps/procs/3812.dmp          [_______________________________]Progress: 400 MB
[?%] Worker 01: /mnt/mem-dumps/procs/3812.dmp          [_______________________________]Progress: 457 MB

The match includes an offset, e.g. CHUNK_OFFSET: 366000000, and a matching string, e.g. Str1: "VzZXItQWdlbnQ6IE1vemlsbGEv" which help you to locate the correct section in the dump file using a hex editor for further analysis.

17.3. Scanning a Fileserver

The recommendation for scanning a fileserver is running THOR directly on the system. If that is not possible, because the operating system of the fileserver is not supported by THOR, we recommend a dedicated system to perform a filescan on the shares. The system should have at least 2 CPU cores and 2 GB of RAM.

The recommended flags to run THOR are:

C:\temp\thor>thor64.exe --module Filescan --alldrives --path X: --path Y: --path Z:


The --alldrives flag is only available with a lab license

If needed or desired, the scan can be adapted using the following flags. In general, the following options are not recommended but can help in special scenarios.

  • --resume

    • If a previous scan failed (e.g. because of a exceeded max. runtime) the scan can be resumed, if the same flags (and additional the resume flag) are used to start the scan.

  • --max-runtime 0

    • Default is 7 days. Change this value if your scans need more time.

  • --path \\fileserver01\shareA

    • If permissions allow anonymous access, the shares can be accessed using the UNC path and do not need to be mounted.

  • --nosoft

    • If your scanning system has too little system resources, the softmode is automatically enabled. This flag prevents that.

  • --all-module--lookback --lookback 8

    • Only scans files that were modified within the last 8 days. Faster scan time but vulnerable to timestomping attacks.

  • --diff

    • Only scans new files or files that were modified since the last scan. Faster scan time but vulnerable to timestomping attacks. THOR DB is needed for diff, so cannot be used in combination with --nothordb.

  • --max_file_size ?????

    • Maximum file size In bytes. The default is 20 MB. If you need to scan bigger files, you might need to increase the maximum file size.

  • --no<feature>

    • Disable features like scanning eventlog files (--noevtx), if your share contains files that trigger special feature checks of THOR, that are not desired. Please see Scan Module Names and Feature names for a list of module/feature names and the respective command line argument to disable them.

  • --allfiles

    • Scan all files, independent of file extensions or magic headers. Use --max_file_size_intense instead of --max_file_size. (Caution: This will increase the scan time drastically!)

If the share is not accessible anonymously, you need to mount the shares using valid user credentials. This has to be done before the scan and access granted to the user running the THOR scan. If you use ASGARD to launch THOR the user performing the scan is NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM.

The usage of diff and lookback are generally not recommended, but can be used if your fileshare scan does not finish in the timeframe you desire. Another option is to use multiple dedicated systems to run scans on the fileserver shares in parallel.