During a security investigation responders need to quickly retrieve common pieces of information that include items such as logs, configured services, cron jobs, patch state, user accounts, and much more. These pieces of information are known as forensic artifacts, and their location and format vary drastically across systems.

We have built a framework to describe forensic artifacts that allows them to be collected and customised quickly using GRR. This collection was initially contained inside the GRR repository, but we have now moved it out to a separate repository to make access simple for other tools.


The goals of the GRR artifacts implementation are:

  • Describe artifacts with enough precision that they can be collected automatically without user input.
  • Cover modern versions of Mac, Windows, and Linux and common software products of interest for forensics.
  • Provide a standard variable interpolation scheme that allows artifacts to simply specify concepts like “all user home directories”, %TEMP%, %SYSTEMROOT% etc.
  • Allow grouping across operating systems and products e.g. “Chrome Web History” artifact knows where the web history is for Chrome on Mac, Windows and Linux.
  • Allow grouping of artifacts into high level concepts like persistence mechanisms, and investigation specific meta-artifacts.
  • To create simple, shareable, non-GRR-specific human-readable definitions that allow people unfamiliar with the system to create new artifacts. i.e. not XML or a domain specific language.
  • The ability to write new artifacts, upload them to GRR and be able to collect them immediately.