Patreon allows anyone to create a personal webpage, create and post content to the page, and charge visitors (patrons) to access the content. That’s all there is to it.
Patreon is one of the first of these types of platforms to take a foothold in this space, and is still working through growing pains. But, all in all, it works as advertised. The vast majority of content on Patreon is not computer related. That which is computer related, even less is DF/IR related. But it is there, I have seen more DFIR pages being created and expect more to be created. You could be next to create your own Patreon page!
Of course, I’m talking about Patreon because DFIR Training has its own Patreon page where I am creating content, giving access to courses, podcasting, and blogging exclusively for members. But just as important, I want to bring Patreon to your attention for several more reasons:
Here’s the thing on training, books, references, resources, and even how time works: nothing is truly free , and even those who give everything freely, eventually cannot continue at some point. Platforms like Patreon help DFIR content creators and software developers further their efforts. Actually, they help creators develop faster like spraying nitrous oxide into an engine. As an example, Github (or any platform providing free storage for free software) is a wonderful resource of open source tools, but you will find that so many tools are started but eventually abandoned. This is not because the tool failed, but because the time and effort needed to sustain development cannot continue without eating away at other aspects of life.
There's a neat story that I like to tell in order to make a point about supporting DFIR tool/content developers. A small software was developed years ago and the developer was giving it away as freeware while asking for donations. I donated and emailed the developer that I thought his tool was really neat. I donated because I really liked the tool and hoped it be developed further. Ten years later (probably a little less?), that small free tool evolved to become a major contender in the forensic software industry. I had maybe a .000001% impact on its development with my donation and verbal support, but I surely feel good that I helped it even a little.
I will say that there are a few free small forensics tools available today, that if the developers tweaked their goals just a little, could end up in the same boat of running neck in neck with the big named forensic software companies in a few years. Unless they eventually give up development because the time required becomes too much to keep giving it away. This hurts the community and our forward momentum.
On the DFIR Training Patreon list, I selected several DFIR related Patreon accounts as potentially good DFIR references. You will recognize some of the accounts right away. Phill Moore , Eric Zimmerman , and other respected members of the DFIR field have created Patreon pages. Consider supporting those who you wish to continue in their efforts of supporting the field with what you can, when you can.
Another point on free DFIR stuff. Everyone can access the free stuff, but not everyone chooses or has the opportunity to access the non-free (especially the expensive!) stuff, like training and software. This is an unfortunate fact in any industry, in that ‘things’ cost money, and to access certain ‘things’, you have to pay for access and use, such as licensing fees. I see Patreon offering a sliver of hope of not going broke for some cool DFIR content, as much of it is still free on Patreon. Eric Zimmerman’s tools are a primary example of the awesomeness you can get for free, and support directly with what you can, when you can. Patrick Wardle is yet another with amazing tools that he gives away and at the same time, is supported on his Patreon page. Pretty cool.
As to the DFIR Training Patreon page, I plan on stuffing it with exclusive content for the members and ask that you check it out. You just might find some cool stuff :)