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...a simple, self-contained modular host-based IOC scanner

Spyre is a simple host-based IOC scanner built around the YARA pattern matching engine and other scan modules. The main goal of this project is easy operationalization of YARA rules and other indicators of compromise.

Users need to bring their own rule sets. The awesome-yara repository gives a good overview of free yara rule sets out there.

Spyre is intended to be used as an investigation tool by incident responders. It is not meant to evolve into any kind of endpoint protection service.

Getting Started

Using Spyre is easy:

  1. Add YARA signatures. In its default configuration, Spyre will read YARA rules for file and process scanning from filescan.yar and procscan.yar, respectively. The following options exist for providing rules files to Spyre (and will be tried in this order):

    1. Add the rule files to a ZIP file and append that ZIP file to the binary.
    2. Add the rule files to a ZIP file whose base name is identical to the scanner binary's base name, i.e. if the Spyre binary is called spyre or spyre.exe, use
    3. Put the rule files and the scanner binary into the same directory.

    ZIP file contents may be encrypted using the password infected (AV industry standard) to prevent antivirus software from scanning the ruleset, classifying it as malicious content and preventing the scan.

    YARA rule files may contain include statements.

  2. Deploy, run the scanner

  3. Collect report and evidence


Run-time configuration is done via an optional file spyre.yaml.

If a ZIP file has been appended to the Spyre binary, configuration and other files such as YARA rules are only read from this ZIP file. Otherwise, they are read from the directory into which the binary has been placed.

See the example-configuration/ subdirectory for an example.

Global configuration

  • hostname / command line switch --set-hostname: Explicitly set the hostname that will be used in the log file and in the report. This is usually not needed.

  • max-file-size / command line switch --max-file-size: Maximum size for files to be scanned using expensive file scanning modules such as YARA. Default: 32MB

  • proc-ignore-names / command line switch --proc-ignore: Names of processes that will not be scanned using process memory scanning modules.

  • paths / command line switch --path: Paths to be scanned using file scanning modules. Default: / (Unix) or all fixed drives (Windows).

  • report / comand line switch --report: Set one or more report targets. Default: spyre_${hostname}_${time}.log in the current working directory, using the plain format. A different output format can be specified by appending ,format=FORMAT.

    The following formats are currently supported:

    • plain, the default, a simple human-readable text format
    • tsjson, a JSON document that can be imported into Timesketch

    The hostname and time variables are only expanded in the target filename.

    Note: Configuration of report targets is likely to change in one of the next releases.

  • high-priority / command line switch --high-priority: In its default configuration (with this setting disabled), Spyre instructs the OS scheduler to lower the priorities of CPU time and I/O operations, in order to avoid disruption of normal system operation.

  • command line switch --loglevel=LEVEL: Set the log level. Valid: trace, debug, info, notice, warn, error, quiet.

Module-specific configuration

There are currently three areas for which scanning modules can be implemented: System-level checks, file scans, and process scans.

Listed below are the currently implemented modules and supported configuration parameters.

  • system
    • eventobj (Windows)
      • iocs
    • registry (Windows)
      • iocs
    • winkernelobj (Windows)
      • iocs
    • findwindow (Windows)
      • iocs
  • file
    • yara
      • rule-files
      • fail-on-warnings
  • proc
    • yara
      • rule-files
      • fail-on-warnings

Please refer to the example configuration file example-spyre.yaml for hints on how to describe indicators of compromise for each module.

Notes about YARA rules

YARA is configured with default settings, plus the following explicit switches (cf.

  • --disable-magic
  • --disable-cuckoo
  • --enable-dotnet
  • --enable-macho
  • --enable-dex

For file scans, the following variables are defined:

  • filename,
  • filepath,
  • extension,
  • filetype (not currently populated while scanning)

For process scans, the variables pid and executable are defined.

The spyre_collect_limit metavariable can be used to limit the number of writes collected from matching files or to inhibit collecting files altogether. This can be useful to limit the size of evidence packages and to avoid collecting sensitive information.


Spyre can be built for 32bit and 64bit Linux and Windows targets.

Debian Buster (10.x) and later

On a Debian/buster system (or a chroot) in which the following packages have been installed:

  • make
  • gcc
  • gcc-multilib
  • gcc-mingw-w64
  • autoconf
  • automake
  • libtool
  • pkg-config
  • wget
  • patch
  • sed
  • golang-$VERSION-go, e.g. golang-1.8-go. The Makefile will automatically select the newest version unless GOROOT has been set.
  • git-core
  • ca-certificates
  • zip

This describes the build environment that is exercised regularly via CI.

Fedora 30 and later

The same build has also been successfully tried on Fedora 30 with the following packages installed:

  • make
  • gcc
  • mingw{32,64}-gcc
  • mingw{32,64}-winpthreads-static
  • autoconf
  • automake
  • libtool
  • pkgconf-pkg-config
  • wget
  • patch
  • sed
  • golang
  • git-core
  • ca-certificates
  • zip

Once everything has been installed, just type make. This should download archives for musl-libc, openssl, yara, build those and then build spyre.

The bare spyre binaries are created in _build/<triplet>/.

Running make release creates a ZIP file that contains those binaries for all supported architectures.

Generating binaries compatible with ancient Windows XP, Windows Server 2003

Compatibility with these systems was removed with Go 1.11, so a Go 1.10 toolchain is required. Since Go 1.10 does not support Go modules, third-party Go dependencies have to be vendored: Use a newer Go version do this (just run go vendor) and set GOROOT to point to the Go 1.10 toolchain before running make.


Currently, cross-compiling is not supported.

  • GCC from Xcode
  • Build-dependencies from Homebrew:
    • gnu-make
    • autoconf
    • automake
    • libtool
    • pkg-config
    • wget
    • gpatch
    • gnu-sed
    • gnu-tar
    • go
    • git
    • ca-certificates
    • zip

The system-supplied make is too old because Apple decided to be allergic to GPLv3. gmake from Homebrew works fine.




Copyright 2018-2020 DCSO Deutsche Cyber-Sicherheitsorganisation GmbH

Copyright 2020-2021 Spyre Project Authors (see: AUTHORS.txt)


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

See the LICENSE file for the full license text.