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Brunnhilde - Siegfried-based characterization tool for directories and disk images

Version: Brunnhilde 1.8.1

Build Status

Generates aggregate reports of files in a directory or disk image based on input from Richard Lehane's Siegfried.

For the graphical user interface (GUI) version of Brunnhilde, see Brunnhilde GUI.

Brunnhilde runs Siegfried against a specified directory or disk image, loads the results into a sqlite3 database, and queries the database to generate reports to aid in triage, arrangement, and description of digital archives. The program will also check for viruses unless specified otherwise, and will optionally run bulk_extractor against the given source. Outputs include:

  • report.html: Includes some provenance information on the scan itself, aggregate statistics for the material as a whole (number of files, begin and end dates, number of unique vs. duplicate files, etc.), and detailed reports on content found (file formats, file format versions, MIME types, last modified dates by year, unidentified files, Siegfried warnings/errors, duplicate files, and -optionally - potential personal identifiable information found by bulk_extractor).
  • csv_reports folder: Contains CSV results queried from database on file formats, file format versions, MIME types, last modified dates by year, unidentified files, Siegfried warnings and errors, and duplicate files.
  • siegfried.csv: Full CSV output from Siegfried

Optionally, outputs may also include:

  • tree.txt: Tree report of the directory structure of directory or file system on disk image (in Linux and macOS only)
  • bulk_extractor folder: Contains bulk_extractor outputs (if selected).
  • carved_files folder: Contains files carved from disk images by tsk_recover or HFS Explorer (generated in -d mode; can be deleted at end of process by passing the -r or --remove files flag to Brunnhilde).
  • dfxml.xml: A fiwalk-generated Digital Forensics XML file describing the volumes, filesystems, and files on a disk (generated in -d mode for non-HFS disk images).
  • logs folder: Contains log files for ClamAV and bulk_extractor (if selected).
  • siegfried.sqlite: SQLite3 database generated from Siegfried CSV (deleted at end of processing by default, but may be retained by using the -k flag.)

All outputs are placed into a new directory named after the identifier passed to Brunnhilde as the last argument.

For the most accurate statistics with Siegfried 1.6+, it is advised to force Siegfried to make single identifications for files with multiple filetypes. This can be accomplished with roy using the following command:

roy build -multi 0  

For a more detailed explanation of how multiple identifications are handled by Siegfried, see


Brunnhilde and all of its dependencies are already installed in BitCurator version 1.7.106+. In versions 1.8.0+, a terminal launcher for Brunnhilde is included in the "Forensics and Reporting" folder on the BitCurator desktop.

Brunnhilde minimally requires that Python 2 or 3 and Siegfried are installed on your system to characterize directories of content. Characterizing disk images introduces additional dependencies. For more information, see Dependencies.

sudo pip install brunnhilde

Once installed, you can call brunnhilde with just [arguments].

If an older version of Brunnhilde is installed on your system, you can upgrade to the latest version with:

sudo pip install brunnhilde --upgrade


usage: [-h] [-a] [-b] [--ssn_mode SSN_MODE] [-d] [--hfs]
                     [--resforks] [--tsk_imgtype TSK_IMGTYPE]
                     [--tsk_fstype TSK_FSTYPE]
                     [--tsk_sector_offset TSK_SECTOR_OFFSET] [--hash HASH]
                     [-k] [-l] [-n] [-r] [-t] [-V] [-w] [-z]
                     [--save_assets SAVE_ASSETS] [--load_assets LOAD_ASSETS]
                     source destination basename

positional arguments:
  source                Path to source directory or disk image
  destination           Path to destination for reports
  basename              Accession number or identifier, used as basename for

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -a, --allocated       Instruct tsk_recover to export only allocated files
                        (recovers all files by default)
  -b, --bulkextractor   Run Bulk Extractor on source (Linux and macOS only)
  --ssn_mode SSN_MODE   Specify ssn_mode for Bulk Extractor (0, 1, or 2)
  -d, --diskimage       Use disk image instead of dir as input (Linux and
                        macOS only)
  --hfs                 Use for raw disk images of HFS disks
  --resforks            Extract AppleDouble resource forks from HFS disks
  --tsk_imgtype TSK_IMGTYPE
                        Specify format of image type for tsk_recover. See
                        tsk_recover man page for details
  --tsk_fstype TSK_FSTYPE
                        Specify file system type for tsk_recover. See
                        tsk_recover man page for details
  --tsk_sector_offset TSK_SECTOR_OFFSET
                        Sector offset for particular volume for tsk_recover to
  --hash HASH           Specify hash algorithm
  -k, --keepsqlite      Retain Brunnhilde-generated sqlite db after processing
  -l, --largefiles      Enable virus scanning of large files
  -n, --noclam          Skip ClamScan Virus Check
  -r, --removefiles     Delete 'carved_files' directory when done (disk image
                        input only)
  -t, --throttle        Pause for 1s between Siegfried scans
  -v, --verbosesf       Log verbose Siegfried output to terminal while processing
  -V, --version         Display Brunnhilde version
  -w, --showwarnings    Add Siegfried warnings to HTML report
  -z, --scanarchives    Decompress and scan zip, tar, gzip, warc, arc with
  --save_assets SAVE_ASSETS
                        Specify filepath location to save JS/CSS files for use
                        in subsequent runs (this directory should not yet
  --load_assets LOAD_ASSETS
                        Specify filepath location of JS/CSS files to copy to
                        destination (instead of downloading)

For file paths containing spaces in directory names, enclose the entire path in single or double quotes or make sure spaces are escaped properly (e.g. CCA\ Finding\ Aid\ Demo\).

Brunnhilde will accept absolute or relative paths for source and destination.

Example commands: -z "/home/bcadmin/Desktop/Folder to Scan" /home/bcadmin/Desktop brunnhilde-test-0 : will result in a new directory "brunnhilde-test-0" on the BitCurator desktop containing various reports on input source "Folder to Scan". -nz . /Users/twalsh/Desktop/ ARCH123456 : will result in new directory "ARCH123456" on Mac desktop containing various reports on current working directory (-n skips ClamAV virus scan).

Virus scanning

By default, Brunnhilde will use ClamAV to scan the contents of a directory or files in a disk image. Findings are written to a log and to the terminal. If any threats are found, Brunnhilde will print a warning to the terminal and direct the user to the ClamAV log file.

By default, the maximum filesize and scansize for ClamAV are limited. To enable scanning of large files and large numbers of files, pass --largefiles as an argument. This will enable scans of unlimited size and scanning of files up to 4GB (files larger than 4GB are not supported by clamscan).

To disable virus scanning, pass -n or --noclam as an argument. Virus scanning is skipped in Windows regardless of the options passed to Brunnhilde.

Siegfried options

By default, Brunnhilde uses the following Siegfried command:

sf -csv -hash md5 DIR > CSV  

To enable scanning of archive files (zip, tar, gzip, warc, arc), pass -z or --scanarchives as an argument.

To force Siegfried to pause for 1 second between file scans, pass -t or --throttle as an argument.

To force Siegfried to log verbose output to the terminal while processing, pass -v or --verbosesf as an argument.

Specifying hash type

Brunnhilde uses the md5 hash algorithm by default. Other options are sha1, sha256, sha512, or none.

To change the type of hash used, pass --hash HASH as an argument to Brunnhilde, replacing HASH with your choice of sha1, sha256, or sha512.

If the user specifies not to calculate checksums with --hash none, the resulting CSV outputs and HTML report will not contain information calculated from hash values, namely information about duplicate files in the source.

Report completeness

In order to to keep the HTML from being excessively large, Brunnhilde does not include Siegfried warnings in the HTML report by default (the CSV is still created).

To include Siegfried warnings in the report, pass -w or --showwarnings as an argument.


To enable scanning of files with bulk_extractor, pass -b or --bulkextractor as arguments. This is disabled by default. Results are written to a 'bulk_extractor' sub-directory. In addition, running bulk_extractor adds a "Personal Identifiable Information (PII)" section to the HTML report to enable quick scanning of these results.

Specify the ssn_mode passed to bulk_extractor with --ssn_mode INT. Valid choices are 0, 1, or 2. If not specified, Brunnhilde will default to 1. See the following explanation of the modes from the bulkextractor 1.5 release notes:

SSN recognition: you are now able to specify one of three SSN recognition modes:  

-S ssn_mode=0 SSN’s must be labeled “SSN:”. Dashes or no dashes are okay.  
-S ssn_mode=1 No “SSN” required, but dashes are required.  
-S ssn_mode=2 No dashes required. Allow any 9-digit number that matches SSN allocation range.  

Calling bulk_extractor from Brunnhilde is not supported in Windows.

Using disk images as input

In -d mode, Brunnhilde uses SleuthKit's tsk_recover to export files from a disk image into a "carved files" directory for analysis. This works with raw images by default. In BitCurator or any other environment where libewf has been compiled into SleuthKit, Brunnhilde's -d mode also supports forensic disk image formats, including aff and ewf (E01). Due to the limitations of SleuthKit, Brunnhilde does not yet support characterizing disks that use the UDF filesystem.

Note: tsk_recover does not retain file system dates, so the date reporting functionality of Brunnhilde is limited for non-HFS disk images. It is advised to create DFXML or similar files to retain/analyze file system metadata such as date stamps. In Brunnhilde 1.6.0+, a fiwalk-generated DFXML file is created for all non-HFS disk images.

By default, Brunnhilde will keep a copy of the files exported from disk images in a "carved_files" directory. If you do not wish to keep a copy of these files after reporting is finished, you can pass the -r or --removefiles flags as arguments to Brunnhilde, which will cause it to delete the "carved_files" directory once all other tasks have finished.

Brunnhilde also includes some options for more granular control of tsk_recover:

-a: Export only allocated files (by default, Brunnhilde passes the -e option to tsk_recover, instructing it to extract all files from disk images, including deleted files, for reporting)
--tsk_fstype: Specify file system type in image (if not specified, tsk_recover will make best guess; to see possible values, type tsk_recover -f list in a terminal)
--tsk_imgtype: Specify disk image type (if not specified, tsk_recover will make best guess; to see possible values, type tsk_recover -i list in a terminal)
--tsk_sector_offset: Specify which volume on a disk to extract files from based on sector offset (see tsk_recover man page for more details)

An example command for these values might be: -d --tsk_fstype fat --tsk_imgtype ewf --tsk_sector_offset 59 sampleimage.E01 . test

Disk image mode is not supported in Windows.

HFS-formatted disk images

Important note: unhfs, the command-line version of HFSExplorer, until recently had a bug that prevented some files from being extracted from HFS disks. Be sure that you have the bugfix release of HFSExplorer installed. In BitCurator 1.7.106+, this issue is fixed in the standard installation.

To characterize HFS formatted disks in Brunnhilde, pass both the -d and --hfs flags as arguments, and be sure to use a raw disk image as the source (HFSExplorer is unable to process forensically packaged disk images). This functionality works "off the shelf" in BitCurator. Non-BitCurator environments will require you to install additional dependencies.

To extract AppleDouble resource forks from HFS-formatted disk images, pass the --resforks flag in addition to -d and --hfs.


All dependencies are already installed in BitCurator 1.7.106+. See instructions below for installing dependencies if you wish to use Brunnhilde in a different environment (Linux, Mac, or Windows).

Internet connection

In order to ensure that the CSS and JavaScript files needed for the Brunnhilde HTML report are included with the report and thus not a preservation risk, these assets are downloaded from this Github repository every time Brunnhilde runs.

If you want to run Brunnhilde without an internet connection:

  • The first time you run Brunnhilde, use the --save_assets argument to specify a directory to which Brunnhilde can copy the CSS and JS assets needed for the report. This can be a relative or absolute path. Ideally this path should be memorable and should not yet exist.
  • In subsequent runs, use the --load_assets argument to specify a directory from which Brunnhilde can copy the CSS and JS assets rather than downloading them from Github. This removes the need for an internet connection when running Brunnhilde after the first time.

Core requirements (all operating systems)

For Brunnhilde to report on any directory of content, the following must be installed in addition to Brunnhilde:

  • Python (2.7 or 3.4+; Python 3 is recommended)
  • Siegfried: Brunnhilde is now compatible with all version of Siegfried, including 1.6+. It does not support MIME-Info or FDD signatures: for Brunnhilde to work, Siegfried must be using the PRONOM signature file only. If you have been using MIME-Info or FDD signatures as a replacement for or alongside PRONOM with Siegfried 1.5/1.6 on your machine, entering roy build -multi 0 in the terminal should return you to Siegfried's default PRONOM-only identification mode and allow Brunnhilde to work properly.
  • requests Python module: For downloading CSS and JS files for HTML report from this repository. This should be automatically installed as a dependency when Brunnhilde is installed via pip.

Additional dependencies (for full functionality in Linux and macOS)

Functions such as reporting on the contents of disk images, scanning for personally identifiable information (PII), and virus scanning introduce additional dependencies.

  • SleuthKit: Carves files from and creates DFXML reports for disk images containing FAT, NTSF, HFS+, EXT2/3, ISO9660, UFS, RAW, SWAP, and YAFFS2 file systems. Note: SleuthKit works only with raw disk images by default, and has additional dependencies such as libewf and afflib that may or may not be installed depending on installation method for working with forensically-packaged disk images.
  • HFSExplorer: Carves files from disk images containing HFS file system
  • bulk_extractor: Scans for PII
  • ClamAV: Scans for viruses
  • tree: Reports on directory structure


Note: Assumes Debian-based distro. If other, use appropriate package manager or build from source.

  • HFSExplorer: Download bin files from bugfix snapshot and move to /usr/share/hfsexplorer.
  • bulk_extractor: Build from source distribution using instructions found here.
  • Other dependencies:
# sleuthkit 
git clone git://
cd sleuthkit
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

# clamav
sudo apt-get install clamav
sudo freshclam

# tree
sudo apt-get install tree


Note: If not already installed on your system, first install Homebrew.

  • HFSExplorer: Download bin files from bugfix snapshot, unzip, rename directory to 'hfsexplorer' and move to /usr/local/share.
  • Other dependencies:
brew install sleuthkit
brew install bulk_extractor
brew install clamav
brew install tree


Note: Windows support for Brunnhilde is limited. Normal reporting of directories should work without issue. Scanning of disk images, virus scanning, generating tree reports, and running bulk_extractor are not currently supported in Windows.


  • Canadian Centre for Architecture
  • Tim Walsh

This project was initially developed in 2016-2017 for the Canadian Centre for Architecture by Tim Walsh, Digital Archivist, as part of the development of the Archaeology of the Digital project.


Thank you to Richard Lehane for writing Siegfried, Ross Spencer for ideas and help, Kevin Powell for suggesting the additions of ClamAV and bulk_extractor and writing the initial code to integrate these tools, Brian Dietz for suggesting improvements in tsk_recover and macOS functionality, and to the PRONOM team at the UK National Archives for building and maintaining such a wonderful tool.

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