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Kcore Memory File Read Detection


The ProcKcoreRead signature identifies attempts to access and read the /proc/kcore file, a crucial system file that mirrors the physical memory of the Linux system.


The /proc/kcore file is a unique entity in Linux systems. It offers an image of the physical memory in the ELF core dump file format. This means it provides a comprehensive snapshot of the entire system's memory. While this can be useful for certain legitimate debugging scenarios, malicious actors can also leverage it to acquire a comprehensive memory dump, potentially containing sensitive data, credentials, or other valuable information.

Reading the /proc/kcore file can be a significant step for adversaries aiming for techniques such as container escapes. It's a tactic that can give them detailed insights into the host system, which could be subsequently exploited for more advanced attacks.

The ProcKcoreRead signature vigilantly watches for any attempts to read this file and raises alerts if such activities are detected.


The central aim of this signature is to detect and raise alerts concerning unauthorized access and reading of the /proc/kcore file. Monitoring this file is vital since any unauthorized reads can be indicative of adversarial intentions, such as gleaning host memory data for potential container escape strategies.


  • ID: TRC-1021
  • Version: 1
  • Name: Kcore memory file read
  • EventName: proc_kcore_read
  • Description: The signature tracks any read operations on the /proc/kcore file. This file provides a complete dump of the host's physical memory. Unauthorized access to it can suggest an attacker's attempts to gain insights into the host memory, potentially aiming for container escapes or other privilege escalation techniques.
  • Properties:
  • Severity: 2 (Moderate to low threat level)
  • Category: privilege-escalation
  • Technique: Escape to Host
  • Kubernetes_Technique: N/A
  • id: attack-pattern--4a5b7ade-8bb5-4853-84ed-23f262002665
  • external_id: T1611


When a potential threat is pinpointed, the signature returns a Finding data structure, which contains:

  • SigMetadata: Metadata detailing the threat as per the signature's information.
  • Event: The specific event details that instigated the signature's activation.
  • Data: Currently set to nil, which denotes no additional data accompanies this structure.

Events Used

The signature relies on the following event for its operations:

  • security_file_open: Activates when a file is accessed. The signature examines the accessed file's pathname and flags to determine if there's an attempt to read the /proc/kcore file.