Velociraptor 0.6.9 Release

Mike Cohen 2023-05-05

I am very excited to announce the latest Velociraptor release 0.6.9 is now LIVE and available for download. This release has been in the making for a few months now and has a lot of new features and bug fixes.

In this post I will discuss some of the interesting new features.

GUI improvements

The GUI was updated in this release to improve user workflow and accessibility.

Table filtering and sorting

Previously, table filtering and sorting required a separate dialog. In this release the filtering controls were moved to the header of each column making it more natural to use.

Filtering tables.
Filtering tables.

VFS GUI improvements

The VFS UI allows the user to collect files from the endpoint in a familiar tree based user interface. In previous versions it was only possible to schedule a single download at a time. This proved problematic when the client was offline or transferring a large file because the user had no way to kick off the next download until the first file was fully fetched.

In this release the GUI was revamped to support multiple file downloads at the same time. Additionally it is now possible to schedule a file download by right clicking the download column in the file table and selecting “Download from client”.

Initiating file download in the VFS. Note multiple files can be scheduled at the same time, and the bottom details pane can be closed
Initiating file download in the VFS. Note multiple files can be scheduled at the same time, and the bottom details pane can be closed

Hex viewer and file previewer GUI

In release 0.6.9 a new hex viewer was introduced. This viewer makes it possible to quickly triage uploaded files from the GUI itself, implementing some common features:

  1. The file can be viewed as a hex dump or a strings style output.
  2. The viewer can go to an arbitrary offset within the file, or page forward or backwards.
  3. The viewer can search forward or backwards in the file for a Regular Expression, String, or a Hex String.

The hex viewer previewer is available for artifacts that define a column of type preview_uploads including the File Upload table within the flow GUI.

The hex viewer UI can be used to quickly inspect an uploaded file
The hex viewer UI can be used to quickly inspect an uploaded file

Artifact pack import GUI improvements

Velociraptor allows uploading an artifact pack - a simple Zip file containing artifact definitions. For example, the artifact exchange is simply a zip file with artifact definitions.

Previously artifact packs could only be uploaded in their entirety and always had an “Exchange” prefix prepended. However in this release the UI was revamped to allow only some artifacts to be imported from the pack and customize the prefix.

It is now possible to import only some of the artifacts in a pack
It is now possible to import only some of the artifacts in a pack

Direct SMB support

Windows file sharing is implemented over the SMB protocol. Within the OS, accessing remote file shares happens transparently, for example by mapping the remote share to a drive using net use command or accessing a file name starting with a UNC path (e.g. \\ServerName\Share\File.exe).

While Velociraptor can technically also access UNC shares by using the usual file APIs and providing a UNC path, in reality this does not work because Velociraptor is running as the local System user which normally does not have network credentials so it can not map remote shares.

This limitation is problematic because sometimes we need to access remote shares (e.g. to verify hashes, perform yara scans etc). Until this release the only workaround for this limitation was to install the Velociraptor user as a domain user account with credentials.

As of the 0.6.9 release SMB is supported directly within the Velociraptor binary as an accessor. This means that all plugins that normally operate on files can also operate on a remote SMB share transparently. Velociraptor does not rely on the OS to provide credentials to the remote share, instead credentials can be passed directly to the smb accessor to access the relevant smb server.

The new accessor can be used in any VQL that needs to use a file, but to make it easier there is a new artifact called the Windows.Search.SMBFileFinder artifact that allows for flexible file searches on an SMB share.

Searching a remote SMB share
Searching a remote SMB share

Using SMB for distributing tools

Velociraptor can manage third party tools within its collected artifacts by instructing the endpoint to download the tool from an external server or the velociraptor server itself.

It is sometimes convenient to download external tools from an external server (e.g. a cloud bucket) due to bandwidth considerations.

Previously this server could only be a HTTP server, but in many deployments it is actually simpler to download external tools from an SMB share.

In this release Velociraptor accepts an SMB URL as the serve URL parameter within the tool configuration screen.

Serving a third party tool from an SMB server
Serving a third party tool from an SMB server

You can configure the remote share with read only permissions (read these instructions for more details on configuring SMB).

The offline collector

The offline collector is a popular mode of running Velociraptor, where the artifacts to collect are pre-programmed into the collector which stores the results in a zip file. The offline collector can be pre-configured to encrypt and upload the collection automatically to a remote server without user interaction, making it ideal for using remote agents or people to manually run the collector without needing further training.

In this release the Velociraptor offline collector added two more upload targets. It is now possible to upload to an SMB server and to Azure Blob Storage.

SMB server uploads

Because the offline collector is typically used to collect large volumes of data, it is beneficial to upload the data to a networked server close to the collected machine. This avoids cloud network costs and bandwidth limitations and works very well in air gapped networks.

You can now simply create a new share on any machine, by adding a local Windows user with password credentials, exporting a directory as a share and adjusting the upload user’s permissions to only be able to write on the share and not read from it. It is now safe to embed these credentials in the offline collector - which can only upload data but not read or delete other data.

See the full instructions of how to configure the offline collector for SMB upload.

Azure Blob storage service.

Velociraptor can also upload collections to an Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage bucket. However until now, Velociraptor did not support the Azure offering. Many users requested direct support for Azure blob storage, which is now in 0.6.9.

See this for all The details about how to configure Azure for safe uploads, but similar to the other methods, credentials embedded in the offline collector can only be used to upload data and not read or delete data in the storage account.

Debugging VQL queries

One of the points of feedback we received from our annual user survey was that although VQL is an extremely powerful language, users struggled with debugging and understanding how the query proceeds. Unlike a more traditional programming language (e.g. Python), there is no debugger where users can pause execution and inspect variables, or add print statements to see what data is passed between parts of the query.

We took this feedback on board and in release 0.6.9 the EXPLAIN keyword was introduced. The EXPLAIN keyword can be added before any SELECT in the VQL statement to place that SELECT statement into tracing mode.

As a recap the general syntax of the VQL statement is:

SELECT vql_fun(X=1, Y=2), Foo, Bar
FROM plugin(A=1, B=2)

When a query is in tracing mode:

  1. All rows emitted from the plugin are logged with their types
  2. All parameters into any function are also logged
  3. When a row is filtered because it did not pass the WHERE clause this is also logged

This additional tracing information can be used to understand how data flows throughout the query.

Explaining a query reveals details information on how the VQL engine handles data flows
Explaining a query reveals details information on how the VQL engine handles data flows

You can use the EXPLAIN statement in a notebook or within an artifact as collected from the endpoint (although be aware that it can lead to extremely verbose logging).

Inspect the details by clicking on the logs button
Inspect the details by clicking on the logs button

For example in the above query we can see:

  1. The clients() plugin generates a row.
  2. The timestamp() function received the last_seen_at value
  3. The WHERE condition rejected the row because the last_seen_at time was more than 60 seconds ago.

Locking down the server

Another concern raised in our survey was the perceived risk of having Velociraptor permanently installed. Due to its high privilege and efficient scaling there is a risk that a Velociraptor administrator account compromise can be escalated to compromise the entire domain.

While this risk is not higher than any other domain wide administration tool, in some deployment scenarios, Velociraptor does not need this level of access normally. While in an incident response situation, it is necessary to promote Velociraptor’s level of access easily.

In the 0.6.9 release, Velociraptor has introduced lock down mode. When a server is locked down certain permissions are removed (even from administrators). The lockdown is set in the config file, helping to mitigate the risk of a Velociraptor server admin account compromise.

After initial deployment and configuration, the administrator can set the server in lockdown by adding the following configuration directive to the server.config.yaml and restarting the server:

lockdown: true

After the server is restarted the following permissions will be denied:


Therefore it will still be possible to read existing collections, and continue collecting client monitoring data but not edit artifacts or start new hunts or collections.

During an active IR the server may be taken out of lockdown by removing the directive from the configuration file and restarting the service. Usually the configuration file is only writable by root and the Velociraptor server process is running as a low privilege account which can not write to the config file. This combination makes it difficult for a compromised Velociraptor administrator account to remove the lockdown and use Velociraptor as a lateral movement vehicle.

Audit events

Velociraptor maintains a number of log files over its operation, normally stored in the <filestore>/logs directory. While the logs are rotated and separated into different levels, the most important log type is the audit log which records auditable events. Within Velociraptor auditable events are security critical events such as:

  • Starting a new collections from a client
  • Creating a new hunt
  • Modifying an artifact
  • Updating the client monitoring configuration

Previous versions of Velociraptor simply wrote those events to the logging directory but this can be deleted if the server becomes compromised.

In 0.6.9 there are two ways to forward auditable events off the server

  1. Using remote syslog services
  2. Uploading to external log management systems e.g. Opensearch/Elastic using the Elastic.Events.Upload artifact.

Additionally, auditable events are now emitted as part of the Server.Audit.Logs artifact so they can be viewed or searched in the GUI by any user.

The server&rsquo;s audit log is linked from the Welcome page
The server&rsquo;s audit log is linked from the Welcome page

Inspecting user activity through the audit log
Inspecting user activity through the audit log

Because audit events are available now as part of the server monitoring artifact, it is possible for users to develop custom VQL server monitoring artifacts to forward or respond to auditable events just like any other event on the client or the server. This makes it possible to forward events (e.g. to Slack or Discord) as demonstrated by the Elastic.Events.Upload artifact above.

Tool definitions can now specify an expected hash

Velociraptor supports pushing tools to external endpoints. A Velociraptor artifact can define an external tool, allowing the server to automatically fetch the tool and upload it to the endpoint.

Previously the artifact could only specify the URL where the tool should be downloaded from. However in this release it is also possible to declare the expected hash of the tool. This prevents potential substitution attacks effectively by pinning the third-party binary hash.

While sometimes the upstream file may legitimately change (e.g. due to a patch), Velociraptor will not automatically accept the new file when the hash does not match the expected hash.

Mismatched hash
Mismatched hash

In the above I modified the expected hash to be slightly different from the real tool hash. Velociraptor refuses to import the binary but provides a button allowing the user to accept this new hash instead. This should only be done if the administrator is convinced the tool hash was legitimately updated.


There are many more new features and bug fixes in the latest release.

If you like the new features, take Velociraptor for a spin! It is available on GitHub under an open source license. As always please file issues on the bug tracker or ask questions on our mailing list . You can also chat with us directly on discord .

If you want to master Velociraptor, consider joining us at the full Velociraptor training course held this year at the Blackhat Conference and delivered by the Velociraptor developers themselves.

Details here: