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This really is dependent on the language, if it's compiled then what compiler was used. The question is... how secure is the value stored in "plainText" (at REFERENCE 1)? Without using a special secure class this variable will reside in memory until it is overwritten. Not all languages provide a "secure class" for data. Freeing memory does not ...


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You are right, this is a common problem for code handling sensitive data. In the .Net managed environment, even if you zeroed out your string, you would still run into problems, due to movement of the string as a result of garbage collection. The garbage collector wants to defragment the heap and therefore can move your string around. Moving of course ...


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In .Net you can use secure string to have some level of protection against memory reading like that : http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.security.securestring(v=vs.110).aspx


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You can hash/extract each artifact (in a VM) and compare that with a malware database. I assume you have already taken a forensically sound image of the system of course.



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