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Anti-Debugging Technique Detection


The antiDebugging signature is designed to detect processes that employ anti-debugging techniques to thwart or block the efforts of debuggers. This tactic can be a significant indicator of software or malware attempting to conceal its operations, avoid analysis, or thwart reverse engineering efforts.


Debugging is a standard and indispensable technique for developers and security researchers alike. It allows for the examination of software in operation, making it possible to identify issues, vulnerabilities, or understand the software's behavior. Some malicious software or even certain commercial applications incorporate anti-debugging mechanisms to deter analysis.

The antiDebugging signature closely monitors for the usage of the ptrace system call with the PTRACE_TRACEME request. The ptrace system call allows a process to control another, enabling debugging. When a process invokes ptrace with PTRACE_TRACEME, it's essentially asking to be traced by its parent, which can be a technique to determine if it's currently being debugged.


The primary goal of this signature is to identify and raise alerts about processes that utilize the PTRACE_TRACEME request with ptrace. Detection of such activity can signify attempts by software or malware to engage in defense evasion by deploying execution guardrails against debugging.


  • Name: Anti-Debugging
  • Description: The signature identifies processes that employ the PTRACE_TRACEME request with ptrace as an anti-debugging technique. This behavior can indicate a program's attempt to evade analysis or thwart reverse engineering.
  • Tags: linux, container
  • Properties:
  • Severity: 3 (Moderate to high threat level)
  • MITRE ATT&CK: Defense Evasion: Execution Guardrails


Upon detection of an anti-debugging effort, the signature returns a Finding data structure, which encompasses:

  • SigMetadata: Metadata that offers comprehensive details about the threat according to the signature's specifications.
  • Event: A detailed account of the specific event that triggered the signature's alert system.
  • Data: Contains the specific ptrace request used, which, in this context, would be "PTRACE_TRACEME".

Events Used

The signature's operations hinge primarily on the following event:

  • ptrace: Activated when the ptrace system call is used. The signature specifically examines the request type to determine if there's an invocation of PTRACE_TRACEME, indicating an anti-debugging attempt.