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SIFT Workstation


Option 1: SIFT VM Appliance Download:

Option 2: SIFT Easy Installation:

  1. Download Ubuntu 16.04 ISO file and install Ubuntu 16.04 on any system
  2. Install SIFT-CLI using these install instructions
  3. Run ‘sudo sift install’ to install the latest version of SIFT
  4. Congrats — you now have a SIFT workstation!!
  • Login = sansforensics
  • Password = forensics

Finding any bugs or install issues? If you are experiencing errors in SIFT itself, please submit errors, bugs, and recommended updates here: https://github.com/sans-dfir/sift/issues

SIFT Workstation Overview


The SIFT Workstation is a group of free open-source incident response and forensic tools designed to perform detailed digital forensic examinations in a variety of settings. It can match any current incident response and forensic tool suite. SIFT demonstrates that advanced incident response capabilities and deep dive digital forensic techniques to intrusions can be accomplished using cutting-edge open-source tools that are freely available and frequently updated.

Who Created the SIFT?

Rob Lee and his team created and continually update the SIFT Workstation. It’s successfully used for incident response and digital forensics and is available to the community as a public service. With over 100,000 downloads to date, the SIFT continues to be the most popular open-source incident-response and digital forensic offering next to commercial source solutions.

Offered as an open source and free project, the SIFT Workstation is taught only in the following incident response courses at SANS:

“Even if SIFT were to cost tens of thousands of dollars, it would still be a very competitive product,” says, Alan Paller, director of research at SANS. “At no cost, there is no reason it should not be part of the portfolio in every organization that has skilled incident responders.”

“The SIFT Workstation has quickly become my “go to” tool when conducting an exam. The powerful open source forensic tools in the kit on top of the versatile and stable Linux operating system make for quick access to most everything I need to conduct a thorough analysis of a computer system,” said Ken Pryor, GCFA Robinson, IL Police Department

Key new features of SIFT include:

  • Ubuntu LTS 16.04 Base
  • 64-bit base system
  • Better memory utilization
  • Auto-DFIR package update and customizations
  • Latest forensic tools and techniques
  • VM Appliance ready to tackle forensics
  • Cross compatibility between Linux and Windows
  • Option to install stand-alone system via SIFT-CLI installer
  • Online Documentation Project at http://sift.readthedocs.org/
  • Expanded Filesystem Support

Download SIFT Workstation VM Appliance

Download SIFT Workstation Virtual Appliance (.ova format)

Having trouble downloading SIFT?

If you are having trouble downloading the SIFT Kit, please contact sift-support@sans.org and include the URL you were given, your IP address, browser type, and if you are using a proxy of any kind.

SIFT Login/Password:

After downloading the toolkit, use the credentials below to gain access.

  • Login = sansforensics
  • Password = forensics
  • $ sudo su –
    • Use to elevate privileges to root while mounting disk images.

Manual SIFT Installation


Our goal is to make the installation (and upgrade) of the SIFT workstation as simple as possible, so we create the SIFT Command Line project, which is a self-container binary that can be downloaded and executed to convert your Ubuntu installation into a SIFT workstation. Check the entire project out at https://github.com/sans-dfir/sift

  • To install the SIFT on Ubuntu 16.04 system:
    1. Install Ubuntu 16.04 on a system
    2. Download and install SIFT-CLI Tool by following these install instructions here: https://github.com/sans-dfir/sift-cli#installation
    3. $ sudo sift install

    To install the SIFT on Windows 10 system:

    1. Install Windows 10 Creators Edition or later on a system
    2. Open PowerShell as Administrator and run: Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online

    -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

  • Launch Ubuntu Bash Shell from a windows PS or command prompt
  • Download and install SIFT-CLI Tool by following these install instructions here: https://github.com/sans-dfir/sift-cli#installation
  • $ sudo sift install

SIFT Workstation Capabilities

A key tool during incident response helping incident responders identify and contain advanced threat groups. The SIFT provides the ability to securely examine raw disks, multiple file systems, and evidence formats. It places strict guidelines on how evidence is examined (read-only) verifying that the evidence has not changed.

File system support

  • iso9660 (ISO9660 CD)
  • hfs (HFS+)
  • raw (Raw Data)
  • swap (Swap Space)
  • memory (RAM Data)
  • fat12 (FAT12)
  • fat16 (FAT16)
  • fat32 (FAT32)
  • ext2 (EXT2)
  • ext3 (EXT3)
  • ext4 (EXT4)
  • ufs1 (UFS1)
  • ufs2 (UFS2)
  • vmdk

Evidence Image Support

  • raw (Single raw file (dd))
  • aff (Advanced Forensic Format)
  • afd (AFF Multiple File)
  • afm (AFF with external metadata)
  • afflib (All AFFLIB image formats (including beta ones))
  • ewf (Expert Witness format (encase))
  • split raw (Split raw files) via affuse
  • affuse – mount 001 image/split images to view single raw file and metadata
  • split ewf (Split E01 files) via mount_ewf.py
  • mount_ewf.py – mount E01 image/split images to view single raw file and metadata
  • ewfmount – mount E01 images/split images to view single raw file and metadata

Incident Response Support

  • F-Response Tool Suite Compatible
  • Rapid Scripting and Analysis
  • Threat Intelligence and Indicator of Compromise Support
  • Threat Hunting and Malware Analysis Capabilities

Software Includes:

  • log2timeline (Timeline Generation Tool)
  • Rekall Framework (Memory Analysis)
  • Volatility Framework (Memory Analysis)
  • 3rd Party Volatility Plugins
  • bulk_extractor
  • autopsy
  • afflib
  • afflib-tools
  • ClamAV
  • dc3dd
  • imagemounter
  • libbde
  • libesedb
  • libevt
  • libevtx
  • libewf
  • libewf-tools
  • libewf-python
  • libfvde
  • libvshadow
  • lightgrep
  • log2timeline
  • Plaso
  • Qemu
  • regripper and plugins
  • SleuthKit
  • 100s more tools -> See Detailed Package Listing

SIFT Workstation and REMNux Compatibility

Important Note: The current version of REMnux only works with Ubuntu 14.04, NOT 16.04. Therefore it is currently NOT compatible with the newest version of the SIFT workstation. However, once REMnux is updated to work with 16.04, it will be compatible with SIFT.

SIFT Workstation How-Tos

Report Bugs

As with any release, there will be bugs and requests; please report all issues and bugs to the following website and location.


SIFT Recommendations

SIFT workstation is playing an essential role for the Brazilian national prosecution office, especially due to Brazilian government budgetary constraints. Its incident response and forensic capabilities are bundled on a way that allows an investigation to be conducted much faster than it would take if not having the right programs grouped on such great Linux distribution. The new version, which will be bootable, will be even more helpful. I’d highly recommend SIFT for government agencies or other companies as a first alternative, for acquisition and analysis, from the pricey forensics software available on the market.

– Marcelo Caiado, M.Sc., CISSP, GCFA, EnCE

What I like the best about SIFT is that my forensic analysis is not limited because of only being ableto run an incident response or forensic tool on a specific host operating system. With the SIFT VM Appliance, I can create snapshots to avoid cross-contamination of evidence from case to case, and easily manage system and AV updates to the host OS on my forensic workstation. Not to mention, being able to mount forensic images and share them as read-only with my host OS, where I can run other forensic tools to parse data, stream-lining the forensic examination process.

– Brad Garnett www.digitalforensicsource.com