Volatility plugin to extract FileVault 2 VMK's
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This is a volatility plugin which attempts to extract Apple FileVault 2 Volume Master Keys.

Writeup is here: https://tribalchicken.com.au/security/extracting-filevault-2-keys-with-volatility/

I have tested with OS X:

  • 10.9
  • 10.10
  • 10.11
  • 10.12 (macOS)

NOTE: Has not (yet) been tested on 32-bit OS X.

How it works

Filevault appears to keep the volume master key in a consistently identifiable region of read only kernel memory. The method used by the plugin is very simple, as all the information is already exposed by Volatility.

In a nutshell, the plugin searches through the memory map of kernel space, searching for a string that is aligned on a map boundary and repeated exactly 0x430 bytes later.

Thats all there is to it (The writeup linked above has further information).


filevault2.py is a plugin for the Volatility Framework. You can either place the plugin in the plugins directory at volatility/plugins, or alternatively, you can place the plugin in a separate directory and point volatility to it with --plugins

For example, using a directory called "Plugins":

voldev$ ls plugins
voldev$ volatility --plugins=plugins/ --profile=MacElCapitan_10_11_6_15G1004 -f osx10_11_6.vmem mac_filevault2

Common Problems

Volatility tells you it needs something to do

Volatility doesn't know about the plugin. Check the location of the plugin, and run volatility --info to determine if it is detected

"No suitable address space mapping found"

This isn't an issue with the plugin, but either the profile selected does not match the memory image or the image is in a format that is not understood. Ensure you have the correct profile selected (Keep in mind in some cases there can be different builds of the same OS X version)

The plugin doesn't find anything

There could be many causes.

  • The drive is not FileVault protected.
  • The memory image does not contain the key (Image captured after key is evicted from memory, overwritten during acquisition, etc)
  • The key exists but the plugin doesn't find it.

If you suspect the plugin isn't working for you then I would love to know.