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First responder's evidence disk

The First Responder's Evidence Disk, or FRED, is a script based incident response tool. It was designed to capture volatile information from a computer system for later analysis without modifying anything on the victim. It consists of a batch file used to execute a set of known good tools that gather the state of a victim computer system. It was similar to the IRCR program and has been widely imitated by other tools. Many other incident response tools used names similar to FRED.


The program was distributed as a compressed 1.44 MB floppy image. The examiner runs this image on a safe system and writes the FRED program out to a piece of removable media such as a floppy disk or USB device. The examiner then connects this device to the victim machine. When run, the FRED program writes information out to an audit file on the removable device. The examiner takes this audit file back to the safe system for later analysis. The audit file can also be sent to other investigators if desired.


FRED was developed by Jesse Kornblum for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations starting in the fall of 2000 and was first released in 2001. The tool was publicly unveiled the following year at the DFRWS Conference. Although the component parts of FRED were not released, mostly due to licensing restrictions, Kornblum did present a paper, Preservation of Fragile Digital Evidence by First Responders, that included the FRED script.

A version of the FRED script was later incorporated into the Helix disk.

There was a proposal for a program to process the audit files into HTML, but this never came to fruition.

Since 2004 FRED has been maintained by the Air Force Computer Emergency Response Team. The current version of FRED (version 4) has been redesigned as a single executable, with remote collection capabilities, and uses Native API functions. The audit file uses PKI for encryption to protect the contents from tampering and disclosure. The publicly available version has the remote functionality as well as the PKI encryption capabilities turned off.


The desire for a recursive MD5 program for FRED inspired the development of md5deep.

See Also