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sdhash is tool that allows two arbitrary blobs of data to be compared for similarity based on common strings of binary data. It is designed to provide quick results during triage and initial investigation phases. It has been in active development since 2010 with the explicit goal of becoming fast, scalable, and reliable.

There two general classes of problems where sdhash can provide significant benefits–fragment identification and version correlation.

In fragment identification, we search for a smaller piece of data inside a bigger piece of data (“needle-in-a-haystack”). For example:

Block vs. file correlation: given a chunk of data (disk block/network packet /RAM page/etc), we can search a reference collection of files to identify whether the chunk came from any of them.

File vs. RAM/disk image: given a file and a target image, we can efficiently determine if any pieces of the file can be found on the image (that includes deallocated storage).

In version correlation, we are interested in correlating data objects (files) that are comparable in size and, thus, similar ones can be viewed as versions. These are two basic scenarios in which this is useful–identifying related documents and identifying code versions.

In all cases, the use of the tool is the same, however the interpretation may differ based on the circumstances.

Current version info:

sdhash 4.0 by Vassil Roussev, Candice Quates [] 12/2013

Usage: sdhash  
  -r [ --deep ]                   generate SDBFs from directories and files
  -f [ --target-list ]            generate SDBFs from list(s) of filenames
  -c [ --compare ]                compare SDBFs in file, or two SDBF files
  -g [ --gen-compare ]            compare all pairs in source data
  -t [ --threshold ] arg (=1)     only show results >=threshold
  -b [ --block-size ] arg         hashes input files in nKB blocks
  -p [ --threads ] arg            restrict compute threads to N threads
  -s [ --sample-size ] arg (=0)   sample N filters for comparisons
  -z [ --segment-size ] arg       set file segment size, 128MB default
  -o [ --output ] arg             send output to files
  --separator arg (=pipe)         for comparison results: pipe csv tab
  --hash-name arg                 set name of hash on stdin
  --fast                          shrink sdbf filters for speedup
  --large                         create larger (1M content) filters
  --validate                      parse SDBF file to check if it is valid
  --details                       parse SDBF-LG file for contents
  --index                         generate indexes while hashing
  --index-search arg              search directory of reference indexes
  --config-file arg (=sdhash.cfg) use config file
  --verbose                       warnings, debug and progress output
  --version                       show version info
  -h [ --help ]                   produce help message


Papers/Version history/etc: