Inhale – Malware Analysis Automation Tool

Inhale Malware Analysis
Inhale Malware Analysis

Inhale is a malware analysis and classification tool that is capable of automating and scaling many static analysis operations.

This is the beta release version, for testing purposes, feedback, and community development.


Inhale started as a series of small scripts that used when collecting and analyzing a large amount of malware from diverse sources. There are plenty of frameworks and tools for doing similar work, but none of them really matched my work flow of quickly finding, classifying, and storing information about a large number of files. Some also require expensive API keys and other services that cost money.

The developers have ended up turning these scripts into something that people can quickly set up and use, whether you run from a research server, a laptop, or a low cost computer like a Raspberry Pi.


Inhale is built to run on Linux using Python3, ElasticSearch, radare2, yara and binwalk. jq is also needed to pretty print output from the database. Here are some of the basic instructions to install.


Install requirements

python3 -m pip install -r requirements.txt


Installing ElasticSearch (Debian)


wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -

sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https

echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/elastic-7.x.list

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install elasticsearch

sudo service elasticsearch start

You can also install manually by following this documentation

Additionally you can set up a full ELK stack for visualization and data analysis purposes. It is not necessary for using this tool.

ELK Stack was a collection of three open-source products — Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana — all developed, managed and maintained by Elastic. The introduction and subsequent addition of Beats turned the stack into a four legged project and led to a renaming of the stack as the Elastic Stack.

Elasticsearch is an open source, full-text search and analysis engine, based on the Apache Lucene search engine.

Installing radare2

It’s important to install radare2 from the repo, and not your package manager. Package manager versions don’t come with all the bells and whistles required for inhale.

git clone

cd radare2


Installing Yara

YARA is a software aimed at (but not limited to) helping malware researchers to identify and classify malware samples. With YARA you can create descriptions of malware families (or whatever you want to describe) based on textual or binary patterns. Each description, a.k.a rule, consists of a set of strings and a boolean expression which determine its logic.

Here is the full Yara Documentation

sudo apt-get install automake libtool make gcc


tar xvzf v3.10.0.tar.gz

cd yara-3.10.0/




sudo make install

If you get any errors about shared objects, try this to fix it.

sudo sh -c 'echo "/usr/local/lib" >> /etc/'

sudo ldconfig

Installing binwalk

Binwalk is a fast, easy to use for analyzing, reverse engineering, and extracting firmware images.

It’s most likely best to simply install binwalk from the repo.

git clone

cd binwalk

sudo python3 install


More information on installing additional features for binwalk is located here.


Specify the file you are scraping by type:

  • -f infile
  • -d directory
  • -u url
  • -r recursive url

Other options:

  • -t TAGS        Additional Tags
  • -b             Turn off binwalk signatures with this flag
  • -y YARARULES   Custom Yara Rules
  • -o OUTDIR      Store scraped files in specific output dir (default:./files//)
  • -i             Just print info, don’t add files to database


Running will perform all of the analysis on a given file/directory/url and print it to your terminal.

  • View info on /bin/ls, but don’t add to the database
    python3 -f /bin/ls -i
  • Add directory ‘malwarez’ to database
    python3 -d malwarez
  • Download this file and add to the database
    python3 -u

Querying the Database

Use to query (Soon to be a nice script) *something* | jq .


Data Model

The following is the current data model used for the elasticsearch database. Not every one of these will be used for every given file. Any r2_* tags are typically reserved for binaries of some sort.

Name              Description

  • filename     The full path of the binary
  • file_ext       The file extension
  • filesize        The file size
  • filetype       Filetype based on magic value. Not as reliable as binwalk signatures.
  • md5            The files MD5 hash
  • sha1            The files SHA1 hash
  • sha256       The files SHA256 hash
  • added         The date the file was added
  • r2_arch     Architecture of the binary file
  • r2_baddr  The binary’s base address
  • r2_binsz   The size of the program code
  • r2_bits     Architecture bits – 8/16/32/64 etc.
  • r2_canary  Whether or not stack canaries are enabled
  • r2_class    Binary Class
  • r2_compiled  The date that the binary was compiled
  • r2_dbg_file    The debug file of the binary
  • r2_intrp         The interpreter that the binary calls if dynamically linked
  • r2_lang           The language of the source code
  • r2_lsyms        Whether or not there are debug symbols
  • r2_machine   The machine type, usually means the CPU the binary is for
  • r2_os               The OS that the machine is supposed to run on
  • r2_pic             Whether or not there is Position Independent Code
  • r2_relocs        Whether or not there are relocations
  • r2_rpath         The run-time search path – if applicable
  • r2_stripped   Whether or not the binary is stripped
  • r2_subsys     The binary’s subsystem
  • r2_format     The binary format
  • r2_iorw         Whether ioctl calls are present
  • r2_type         The binary type, whether or not it’s an executable, shared object etc.
  • yara               Contains a list of yara matches
  • binwalk        Contains a list of binwalk signatures and their locations in the binary
  • tags              Any user defined tags passed with the -t flag.
  • url                The origin url if a file was remotely downloaded
  • urls              Any URLs that have been pulled from the binary

Solutions to Issues

There are some known issues with this project (mainly to do with versions from package managers), and here I will track anything that has a solution for it.

ElasticSearch index field limit

If you get an error like this:

elasticsearch.exceptions.RequestError: RequestError(400, 'illegal_argument_exception', 'Limit of total fields [1000] in index [inhaled] has been exceeded')


You may have an older version of elasticSearch. You can upgrade, or you can increase the fields limit with this one liner.

curl -XPUT 'localhost:9200/inhaled/_settings' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' -d'{ "index" : { "mapping" : { "total_fields" : { "limit" : "100000" }}}}'


Future Features

  • Re-doing the bot plugin for Discord / Matrix
  • Additional binary analysis features – pulling import/export tables, hashing of specific structures in the header, logging all strings etc.
  • Checking if the file is the database before adding. This feature was removed previously due to specific issues with older versions of ES.
  • Configuration options for requests such as: user agent, timeout, proxy etc.
  • Dockerization of this entire project.

Download Inhale Malware Analysis 

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