USB device artifacts tracker

forensics, cybersecurity, infosec, usb-history, usb-devices, security, usb-events
pip install usbrip==2.2.2.post1



usbrip-version.svg pypi-download.svg python-version.svg license.svg arch-linux.svg built-with-love.svg

usbrip (inherited from "USB Ripper", not "USB R.I.P.") is an open source forensics tool with CLI interface that lets you keep track of USB device artifacts (aka USB event history, "Connected" and "Disconnected" events) on Linux machines.

Table of Contents:


usbrip is a small piece of software written in pure Python 3 (using some external modules, though, see Dependencies/PIP) which parses Linux log files (/var/log/syslog*, /var/log/messages* or journalctl output, depending on the distro) for constructing USB event history tables. Such tables may contain the following columns: "Connected" (date & time), "User", "VID" (vendor ID), "PID" (product ID), "Product", "Manufacturer", "Serial Number", "Port" and "Disconnected" (date & time).

Besides, it also can:

  • export gathered information as a JSON dump (and open such dumps, of course);
  • generate a list of authorized (trusted) USB devices as a JSON (call it auth.json);
  • search for "violation events" based on the auth.json: show (or generate another JSON with) USB devices that do appear in history and do NOT appear in the auth.json;
  • *when installed with -s flag* create crypted storages (7zip archives) to automatically backup and accumulate USB events with the help of crontab scheduler;
  • search additional details about a specific USB device based on its VID and/or PID.

Quick Start

usbrip is available for download and installation at PyPI (the latest version is always on GitHub, though):

~$ pip3 install usbrip


screenshot-1.png screenshot-2.png

Git Clone

For simplicity, lets agree that all the commands where ~/usbrip$ prefix is appeared are executed in the ~/usbrip directory which is created as a result of git clone:

~$ git clone usbrip && cd usbrip


System Log Structure

usbrip supports two types of format:

  1. Non-modified — standard syslog structure for GNU/Linux (ex. "Mar 18 13:56:07"). This type of timestamp does not provide the information about years.
  2. Modified (recommended) — upgraded structure of system log files which provides high precision timestamps ("%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S.%f%z", ex. "2019-08-09T06:15:49.655261-04:00").

The modified structure could be configured via RSYSLOG_FileFormat format if you are using rsyslog, for example.

  1. Comment out the following line in /etc/rsyslog.conf:
$ActionFileDefaultTemplate RSYSLOG_TraditionalFileFormat
  1. Add custom .conf file for usbrip:
~$ echo '$ActionFileDefaultTemplate RSYSLOG_FileFormat' | sudo tee /etc/rsyslog.d/usbrip.conf
  1. (optional) Delete existing log files:
~$ sudo rm -f /var/log/syslog* /var/log/messages*
  1. Restart the service:
~$ sudo systemctl restart rsyslog


So far, I have provided slight compatibility with the journald demon out-of-the-box. You may want to take a look at this blogpost (in Russian) where the author suggests some cool hints for converting various timestamps in order not to break usbrip when working on different distros.

DEB Packages

  • python3.6 (or newer) interpreter
  • python3-venv
  • p7zip-full (used by storages module)
~$ sudo apt install python3-venv p7zip-full -y

PIP Packages

usbrip makes use of the following external modules:


To resolve Python dependencies manually (it's not necessary actually because pip or can automate the process, see Installation) create a virtual environment (optional) and run pip from within:

~/usbrip$ python3 -m venv venv && source venv/bin/activate
(venv) ~/usbrip$ pip install -r requirements.txt

Or let the pipenv one-liner do all the dirty work for you:

~/usbrip$ pipenv install && pipenv shell

After that you can run usbrip portably:

(venv) ~/usbrip$ python -m usbrip -h
(venv) ~/usbrip$ python -h


There are two ways to install usbrip into the system: pip or

pip or

First of all, usbrip is pip installable. This means that after git cloning the repo you can simply fire up the pip installation process and after that run usbrip from anywhere in your terminal like so:

~/usbrip$ python3 -m venv venv && source venv/bin/activate
(venv) ~/usbrip$ pip install .

(venv) ~/usbrip$ usbrip -h

Or if you want to resolve Python dependencies locally (without bothering PyPI), use

~/usbrip$ python3 -m venv venv && source venv/bin/activate
(venv) ~/usbrip$ python install

(venv) ~/usbrip$ usbrip -h

👽 Note: you'd likely want to run the installation process while the Python virtual environment is active (like it is shown above).

Secondly, usbrip can also be installed into the system with the ./installers/ script.

When using the ./installers/ some extra features become available:

  • the virtual environment is created automatically;
  • the storage module becomes available: you can set a crontab job to backup USB events on a schedule (the example of crontab jobs can be found in usbrip/cron/usbrip.cron).

⚠️ Warning: if you are using the crontab scheduling, you want to configure the cron job with sudo crontab -e in order to force the storage update submodule run as root as well as protect the passwords of the USB event storages. The storage passwords are kept in /var/opt/usbrip/usbrip.ini.

The ./installers/ script removes all the installation artifacts from your system.

To install usbrip use:

~/usbrip$ chmod +x ./installers/
~/usbrip$ sudo -H ./installers/ [-l/--local] [-s/--storages]
~/usbrip$ cd

~$ usbrip -h
  • When -l switch is enabled, Python dependencies are resolved from local .tar packages (./3rdPartyTools/) instead of PyPI.
  • When -s switch is enabled, not only the usbrip project is installed, but also the list of trusted USB devices, history and violations storages are created.

👽 Note: when using -s option during installation, make sure that system logs do contain at least one external USB device entry. It is a necessary condition for usbrip to successfully create the list of trusted devices (and as a result, successfully create the violations storage).

After the installation completes, feel free to remove the usbrip folder.


When installed, the usbrip uses the following paths:

  • /opt/usbrip/ — project's main directory;
  • /var/opt/usbrip/usbrip.ini — usbrip configuration file: keeps passwords for 7zip storages;
  • /var/opt/usbrip/storage/ — USB event storages: history.7z and violations.7z (created during the installation process);
  • /var/opt/usbrip/log/ — usbrip logs (recommended to log usbrip activity when using crontab, see usbrip/cron/usbrip.cron);
  • /var/opt/usbrip/trusted/ — list of trusted USB devices (created during the installation process);
  • /usr/local/bin/usbrip — symlink to the /opt/usbrip/venv/bin/usbrip script.


Cron jobs can be set as follows:

~/usbrip$ sudo crontab -l > tmpcron && echo "" >> tmpcron
~/usbrip$ cat usbrip/cron/usbrip.cron | tee -a tmpcron
~/usbrip$ sudo crontab tmpcron
~/usbrip$ rm tmpcron

To uninstall usbrip use:

~/usbrip$ chmod +x ./installers/
~/usbrip$ sudo ./installers/ [-a/--all]
  • When -a switch is enabled, not only the usbrip project directory is deleted, but also all the storages and usbrip logs are deleted too.

And don't forget to remove the cron job.



# ---------- BANNER ----------

$ usbrip banner
Get usbrip banner.

# ---------- EVENTS ----------

$ usbrip events history [-t | -l] [-e] [-n <NUMBER_OF_EVENTS>] [-d <DATE> [<DATE> ...]] [--user <USER> [<USER> ...]] [--vid <VID> [<VID> ...]] [--pid <PID> [<PID> ...]] [--prod <PROD> [<PROD> ...]] [--manufact <MANUFACT> [<MANUFACT> ...]] [--serial <SERIAL> [<SERIAL> ...]] [--port <PORT> [<PORT> ...]] [-c <COLUMN> [<COLUMN> ...]] [-f <FILE> [<FILE> ...]] [-q] [--debug]
Get USB event history.

$ usbrip events open <DUMP.JSON> [-t | -l] [-e] [-n <NUMBER_OF_EVENTS>] [-d <DATE> [<DATE> ...]] [--user <USER> [<USER> ...]] [--vid <VID> [<VID> ...]] [--pid <PID> [<PID> ...]] [--prod <PROD> [<PROD> ...]] [--manufact <MANUFACT> [<MANUFACT> ...]] [--serial <SERIAL> [<SERIAL> ...]] [--port <PORT> [<PORT> ...]] [-c <COLUMN> [<COLUMN> ...]] [-f <FILE> [<FILE> ...]] [-q] [--debug]
Open USB event dump.

$ usbrip events gen_auth <OUT_AUTH.JSON> [-a <ATTRIBUTE> [<ATTRIBUTE> ...]] [-e] [-n <NUMBER_OF_EVENTS>] [-d <DATE> [<DATE> ...]] [--user <USER> [<USER> ...]] [--vid <VID> [<VID> ...]] [--pid <PID> [<PID> ...]] [--prod <PROD> [<PROD> ...]] [--manufact <MANUFACT> [<MANUFACT> ...]] [--serial <SERIAL> [<SERIAL> ...]] [--port <PORT> [<PORT> ...]] [-f <FILE> [<FILE> ...]] [-q] [--debug]
Generate a list of trusted (authorized) USB devices.

$ usbrip events violations <IN_AUTH.JSON> [-a <ATTRIBUTE> [<ATTRIBUTE> ...]] [-t | -l] [-e] [-n <NUMBER_OF_EVENTS>] [-d <DATE> [<DATE> ...]] [--user <USER> [<USER> ...]] [--vid <VID> [<VID> ...]] [--pid <PID> [<PID> ...]] [--prod <PROD> [<PROD> ...]] [--manufact <MANUFACT> [<MANUFACT> ...]] [--serial <SERIAL> [<SERIAL> ...]] [--port <PORT> [<PORT> ...]] [-c <COLUMN> [<COLUMN> ...]] [-f <FILE> [<FILE> ...]] [-q] [--debug]
Get USB violation events based on the list of trusted devices.

# ---------- STORAGE ----------

$ usbrip storage list <STORAGE_TYPE> [-q] [--debug]
List contents of the selected storage (7zip archive). STORAGE_TYPE is "history" or "violations".

$ usbrip storage open <STORAGE_TYPE> [-t | -l] [-e] [-n <NUMBER_OF_EVENTS>] [-d <DATE> [<DATE> ...]] [--user <USER> [<USER> ...]] [--vid <VID> [<VID> ...]] [--pid <PID> [<PID> ...]] [--prod <PROD> [<PROD> ...]] [--manufact <MANUFACT> [<MANUFACT> ...]] [--serial <SERIAL> [<SERIAL> ...]] [--port <PORT> [<PORT> ...]] [-c <COLUMN> [<COLUMN> ...]] [-q] [--debug]
Open selected storage (7zip archive). Behaves similary to the EVENTS OPEN submodule.

$ usbrip storage update <STORAGE_TYPE> [-a <ATTRIBUTE> [<ATTRIBUTE> ...]] [-e] [-n <NUMBER_OF_EVENTS>] [-d <DATE> [<DATE> ...]] [--user <USER> [<USER> ...]] [--vid <VID> [<VID> ...]] [--pid <PID> [<PID> ...]] [--prod <PROD> [<PROD> ...]] [--manufact <MANUFACT> [<MANUFACT> ...]] [--serial <SERIAL> [<SERIAL> ...]] [--port <PORT> [<PORT> ...]] [--lvl <COMPRESSION_LEVEL>] [-q] [--debug]
Update storage — add USB events to the existing storage (7zip archive). COMPRESSION_LEVEL is a number in [0..9].

$ usbrip storage create <STORAGE_TYPE> [-a <ATTRIBUTE> [<ATTRIBUTE> ...]] [-e] [-n <NUMBER_OF_EVENTS>] [-d <DATE> [<DATE> ...]] [--user <USER> [<USER> ...]] [--vid <VID> [<VID> ...]] [--pid <PID> [<PID> ...]] [--prod <PROD> [<PROD> ...]] [--manufact <MANUFACT> [<MANUFACT> ...]] [--serial <SERIAL> [<SERIAL> ...]] [--port <PORT> [<PORT> ...]] [--lvl <COMPRESSION_LEVEL>] [-q] [--debug]
Create storage — create 7zip archive and add USB events to it according to the selected options.

$ usbrip storage passwd <STORAGE_TYPE> [--lvl <COMPRESSION_LEVEL>] [-q] [--debug]
Change password of the existing storage.

# ---------- IDs ----------

$ usbrip ids search [--vid <VID>] [--pid <PID>] [--offline] [-q] [--debug]
Get extra details about a specific USB device by its <VID> and/or <PID> from the USB ID database.

$ usbrip ids download [-q] [--debug]
Update (download) the USB ID database.


To get a list of module names use:

$ usbrip -h

To get a list of submodule names for a specific module use:

$ usbrip <module> -h

To get a list of all switches for a specific submodule use:

$ usbrip <module> <submodule> -h


  • Show the event history of all USB devices, supressing banner output, info messages and user interaction (-q, --quiet), represented as a list (-l, --list) with latest 100 entries (-n NUMBER, --number NUMBER):

    $ usbrip events history -ql -n 100
  • Show the event history of the external USB devices (-e, --external, which were actually disconnected) represented as a table (-t, --table) containing "Connected", "VID", "PID", "Disconnected" and "Serial Number" columns (-c COLUMN [COLUMN ...], --column COLUMN [COLUMN ...]) filtered by date (-d DATE [DATE ...], --date DATE [DATE ...]) and PID (--pid <PID> [<PID> ...]) with logs taken from the outer files (-f FILE [FILE ...], --file FILE [FILE ...]):

    $ usbrip events history -et -c conn vid pid disconn serial -d '1995-09-15' '2018-07-01' --pid 1337 -f /var/log/syslog.1 /var/log/syslog.2.gz

    👽 Note: there is a thing to remember when working with filters. There are 4 types of filtering available: only external USB events (devices that can be pulled out easily, -e); by date (-d); by fields (--user, --vid, --pid, --product, --manufact, --serial, --port) and by number of entries you get as the output (-n). When applying different filters simultaneously, you will get the following behaviour: firstly, external and by date filters are applied, then usbrip will search for specified field values in the intersection of the last two filters, and in the end it will cut the output to the number you defined with the -n option. So think of it as an intersection for external and by date filtering and union for by fields filtering. Hope it makes sense.

  • Build the event history of all USB devices and redirect the output to a file for further analysis. When the output stream is NOT terminal stdout (| or > for example) there would be no ANSI escape characters (color) in the output so feel free to use it that way. Also notice that usbrip uses some UNICODE symbols so it would be nice to convert the resulting file to UTF-8 encoding (with encov for example) as well as change newline characters to Windows style for portability (with awk for example):

    usbrip history events -t | awk '{ sub("$", "\r"); print }' > usbrip.out && enconv -x UTF8 usbrip.out

    Remark: you can always get rid of the escape characters by yourself even if you have already got the output to stdout. To do that just copy the output data to usbrip.out and add one more awk instruction:

    awk '{ sub("$", "\r"); gsub("\\x1B\\[[0-?]*[ -/]*[@-~]", ""); print }' usbrip.out && enconv -x UTF8 usbrip.out
  • Generate a list of trusted USB devices as a JSON-file (trusted/auth.json) with "VID" and "PID" attributes containing the first three devices connected on November 30, 1984:

    $ usbrip events gen_auth trusted/auth.json -a vid pid -n 3 -d '1984-11-30'

    ⚠️ Warning: there are cases when different USB flash drives might have identical serial numbers. This could happen as a result of a manufacturing error or just some black hats were able to rewrite the drive's memory chip which turned out to be non-one-time programmable and so on... Anyways, «No system is safe». usbrip does not handle such cases in a smart way so far, namely it will treat a pair of devices with identical SNs (if there exists one) as the same device regarding to the trusted device list and gen_auth module.

  • Search the event history of the external USB devices for violations based on the list of trusted USB devices (trusted/auth.json) by "PID" attribute, restrict resulting events to those which have "Bob" as a user, "EvilUSBManufacturer" as a manufacturer, "1234567890" as a serial number and represent the output as a table with "Connected", "VID" and "PID" columns:

    $ usbrip events violations trusted/auth.json -a pid -et --user Bob --manufact EvilUSBManufacturer --serial 1234567890 -c conn vid pid
  • Search for details about a specific USB device by its VID (--vid VID) and PID (--pid PID):

    $ usbrip ids search --vid 0781 --pid 5580
  • Download the latest version of usb_ids/usb.ids database:

    $ usbrip ids download

Credits & References

Post Scriptum

Yep, the banner and info messages style is inspired by the sqlmap project (⌒_⌒;)

If this tool has been useful for you, feel free to buy me a coffee ☕️