Top 3 Process Monitoring Tools for Malware Analysis

Process Monitoring Tools

When we run a program for malware analysis, a new process is created. Monitoring these processes is crucial to understand the behavior of the malware and to devise effective countermeasures. This is where process monitoring tools come into play.

Process monitoring tools enable security professionals to track the activities of various processes, identify suspicious behavior, and take necessary actions to mitigate threats.

This article explores three prominent process monitoring tools: Process Hacker, Process Explorer, and Procmon all of which are indispensable in the toolkit of malware analysts.

1. Process Hacker

Process Hacker is an open-source, feature-rich process viewer and system monitor. It provides detailed information about system processes, services, and network connections. Its real-time monitoring capabilities make it an invaluable tool for malware analysis.

Process Hacker provides detailed information about each process, including its threads, memory usage, and handles. It offers advanced termination capabilities, allowing users to terminate stubborn processes that are difficult to kill using standard tools.

The tool also includes service management features, enabling users to start, stop, and configure services directly from the interface. Moreover, Process Hacker allows for network monitoring, helping users identify suspicious connections. Its functionality can be extended with various plugins available for different monitoring needs.

Process Hacker helps analysts observe how malware interacts with the system, track its network activity, and identify any persistent components. The ability to terminate processes and services is particularly useful when dealing with malware that resists removal.

2. Process Explorer (SysInternals)

Process Explorer, developed by SysInternals (a Microsoft subsidiary), is a powerful process management tool that provides an in-depth view of the system’s processes and their dependencies. It is widely used for its intuitive interface and comprehensive monitoring capabilities.

Process Explorer displays processes in a tree structure, showing parent-child relationships through its hierarchical view. It allows users to examine the dynamic link libraries (DLLs) and handles opened by each process. Users can access detailed information about process properties, including CPU and memory usage, security details, and more.

The tool integrates with VirusTotal, enabling users to check processes against VirusTotal’s database to detect malware. Furthermore, Process Explorer offers the ability to suspend and resume processes, allowing for behavior analysis without terminating them.

Process Explorer is particularly useful for identifying and analyzing malicious processes, understanding their structure, and examining their resource usage. The VirusTotal integration provides an added layer of security by allowing quick checks against known malware signatures.

3. Procmon (SysInternals)

Procmon (Process Monitor) is another tool from SysInternals that provides real-time monitoring of file system, registry, and process/thread activity. It combines the functionalities of two legacy tools: Filemon and Regmon.

Procmon allows users to track real-time activity on the file system, registry, and network. It includes advanced filtering options to focus on specific events and reduce noise. The tool logs and reviews events, helping users identify patterns and anomalies. Users can export collected data for further analysis. Moreover, Procmon provides a stack trace for each event, allowing users to understand the sequence of operations.

Procmon’s ability to monitor real-time activity is crucial for detecting malware behavior as it interacts with the file system and registry. Analysts can use this tool to identify unauthorized changes, track the creation of new files or registry entries, and understand the persistence mechanisms employed by malware.


Process monitoring tools like Process Hacker, Process Explorer, and Procmon are essential for malware analysis, offering different levels of insight into system processes and activities. By leveraging these tools, security professionals can detect, analyze, and mitigate malware effectively, ensuring the integrity and security of their systems.

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