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Let Me In


Let Me In

An outline of how incident responders can get into a locked system


In the field of Incident Response (IR), time is of the essence and a locked system may cause an investigation to become delayed, or even worse, over. For the purpose of this paper, a locked system should be considered either a live or a dead system that requires authentication on the Operating System (OS) level. Over the years there have been a few tricks to get around this type of restraint, however, some methods are not maintained by the community, do not work because of system updates, or the responder is simply not aware of them.

The intent of this article is to inform the IR community of current techniques available to overcome these types of situations while also providing a brief technical overview of what each technique involves. Although this paper includes techniques that will also work on Macintosh and Linux platforms, the primary focus of this paper will be unlocking a Windows system. Windows is still the most dominant platform on the market and is what an incident responder is most likely to encounter.



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