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National Software Reference Library

United States Department of Justice

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The NSRL collects software from various sources and computes message digests from them. The digests are stored in the Reference Data Set (RDS) which can be used to identify "known" files on digital media. This will help alleviate much of the effort involved in determining which files are important as evidence on computers or file systems that have been seized as part of criminal investigations. Although the RDS hashset contains some malicious software (such as steganography and hacking tools) it does not contain illicit material (e.g. indecent images). NIST maintains a collection of original software media in order to provide repeatability of the calculated hash values, ensuring admissibility of this data in court. As of June 1 2010 the Reference Data Set is at version 2.29 and contains over 17 million unique hash values. The data set is available at no cost to the public.