The Python Forensics Handbook

Handbook Sections

IN DEVELOPMENT - More sections will release over the coming weeks/months/as time permits. Feel free to contribute as you have an idea or time to assist, otherwise stay tuned!

This handbook has 7 sections covering common tasks for developing Python scripts for use in DFIR. Each section contains short, portable code blocks that can drop into a new script with minimal tweaking. This way, you can quickly build out your custom script without needing to re-invent the wheel each time.

This handbook is not intended to be read in order - if anything this outline is the main launching point to find the correct page containing the code block you wish to reference.

Please feel free to contribute your own sections with the snippets that have worked well for you, even if a similar section already exists. This handbook is hosted on GitHub at and available to read online at Please consider submitting a pull request with your additions!

Section 1 - Essential Script Elements

This chapter covers code blocks that are useful across scripts and are not DFIR specific, but solid practices to integrate into projects to allow for uniformity.

  • Argparse
    • Command line parameter handling

  • Logging
    • Writing status and error messages to the console and log file

  • Open Files
    • Read text files with varying UTF encodings.

  • CSV Generation
    • For better or worse, CSV reports are very common in DFIR and this code block covers several methods for generating a CSV

  • Recursive File Exploration
    • Quick example of code to explore directories and access nested files.

  • Parallel Processing
    • Simple implementation of multithreading and multiprocessing

Section 2 - Registry Hives with YARP

  • Using yarp to open a single hive
    • Opening a hive and recovering data available in transaction logs

  • Parse registry hive keys and values
    • Building off our prior code to parse specific artifacts from an NTUSER.DAT hive, including string and binary values. Uses classes in a manner that is very flexible and permits extending functionality as needed with minimal effort.

  • Searching for a pattern across hive keys and values.
    • Looking for a provided pattern across the entire hive.

Section 3 - Event Logs

  • Using python-evtx
    • Opening evtx files

  • Parsing Logins (with types, levels, privs)
    • Parse out the commonly investigated 4624/4672 events

  • Parsing Logouts (durations)
    • Parse 4624/4634 events to get information on user sessions

  • Parsing Powershell decoding
    • Reassemble PowerShell strings in events and decode commands

Section 4 - Text logs

  • Handling IIS Logs
    • Parse common fields in IIS logs into a report

  • Handling Syslog
    • Parse common syslog formats into a report

  • Adding in GeoIP
    • Function to add GeoIP recognition

Section 5 - API calls & JSON data

  • VirusTotal

  • HybridAnalysis

  • Manipulating JSON

Section 6 - SQLite & macOS/mobile/browsers

  • macOS Activity
    • KnowledgeC

  • Andriod SMS

  • Google Chome History DB

Section 7 - Opening forensic images

  • LibEWF
    • Expose an E01 as a raw image

  • PyTSK
    • Read data from a raw image (MBR)

    • Read data from a file (hashing)

    • Iterate through folders (file listing)

    • Perform targetted reads (file sigs)

Indices and tables