Capture and dissect network traffic

1 04 2009

Currently I am doing research at the University of Minho in the group of distributed systems, with duration of one year. My job is to find a way to identify specific links between a user and a distributed system. The general idea is to draw a map of services in a distributed system. This post only refers to the first milestone.

The proposal was to make such a system using Snort.

Snort

Snort is a Network intrusion detection system, that means with Snort you can detect malicious activity in your network. We can detect many types of network attacks. We can identify DoS, DDoS attacks, port scans, cracking attempts, and much more.

Snort can operate in two different ways. We can set up Snort to run in passive mode, putting it to listen in promiscuous mode. That is, because Ethernet network switches send traffic to all computers connected to itself, we get traffic addressed to other machines on the network. To do this we only need to connect to the network and turn Snort on in our machine, no one knows that we are recording every traffic (including traffic destined for other computers).

Snort may also run in active mode. This “active” is not able to modify the data channel, but to be able to be installed in a network, a router for example and reap more information than in passive mode. Thus it makes sense to use the capacity of rules that Snort supports, to filter the traffic that it read.

To do this, Snort capture all packets that pass the network and interprets each. As the rules we have defined Snort tries to find these patterns in each packet, or each set of packets and take certain actions for each of them.

For example, if a large number of TCP requests reach a particular host, to a large number of ports in a short space of time we probably are the target of a port scan. NIDS like Snort know how to find these patterns and alerting the network administrator.

Objective

Our aim was to use Snort to capture all traffic into passive mode.

root@pig:# snort -u snort -g snort -D -d -l /var/log/snort -c /etcsnort/snort.debian.conf -i eth0

We are saving the logs in binary (tcpdump format), for that I use the “-d -l /dir/” flags. I prefer to save all the packets into binary because is more easier to parse, than the structure of files and directories that Snort creates by default.

I started by trying to use some language that advised me to try to do the parsing of the file created by snort. Initially started to use python, but only find a tcpdump parser and could not get more than one file translated in tcpdump to hexadecimal.
After that I tried to use Haskell and I was amazed!

Haskell and packet parsing

House is a Haskell Operative System done by The Programatica Project.

This is a system than can serve as a platform for exploring various ideas relating to low-level and system-level programming in a high-level functional language.

And indeed helped me a lot in doing my job. This project have already done a lot of parsers for network packets. It implements the Ethernet, IPv4, IPv6, TCP, UDP, ICMP, ARP and I think is all.

The libpcap (tcpdump parser) is already implemented in Haskell too, so is very simple to parse a complete packet:

getPacket :: [Word8] -> InPacket
getPacket bytes =  toInPack $ listArray (0,Prelude.length bytes-1) $ bytes

-- Ethernet | IP | TCP | X
getPacketTCP :: [Word8] -> Maybe (NE.Packet (NI4.Packet (NT.Packet InPacket)))
getPacketTCP bytes = doParse $ getPacket bytes :: Maybe (NE.Packet (NI4.Packet (NT.Packet InPacket)))

As you can see is too easy to have a compete structure of a packet parsed with this libraries. The problem is that they don’t have already implemented a application packet parser. So, according to that image:

This is the level of depth we can go with this libraries. What is very good, but not perfect for me :S

My supervisor told me to start searching a new tool to do this job. I was sad because I could not do everything in Haskell. But it is already promised that I will continue this project in Haskell. You can see the git repo here.

I find tshark, a great tool to dissect and analyze data inside tcpdump files.

The power of tshark

tshark is the terminal based Wireshark, with it we can do everything we do with wireshark.

Show all communications with the IP 192.168.74.242

root@pig:# tshark -R "ip.addr == 192.168.74.242" -r snort.log
...
7750 6079.816123 193.136.19.96 -> 192.168.74.242 SSHv2 Client: Key Exchange Init
7751 6079.816151 192.168.74.242 -> 193.136.19.96 TCP ssh > 51919 [ACK] Seq=37 Ack=825 Win=7424 Len=0 TSV=131877388 TSER=1789588
7752 6079.816528 192.168.74.242 -> 193.136.19.96 SSHv2 Server: Key Exchange Init
7753 6079.817450 193.136.19.96 -> 192.168.74.242 TCP 51919 > ssh [ACK] Seq=825 Ack=741 Win=7264 Len=0 TSV=1789588 TSER=131877389
7754 6079.817649 193.136.19.96 -> 192.168.74.242 SSHv2 Client: Diffie-Hellman GEX Request
7755 6079.820784 192.168.74.242 -> 193.136.19.96 SSHv2 Server: Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange Reply
7756 6079.829495 193.136.19.96 -> 192.168.74.242 SSHv2 Client: Diffie-Hellman GEX Init
7757 6079.857490 192.168.74.242 -> 193.136.19.96 SSHv2 Server: Diffie-Hellman GEX Reply
7758 6079.884000 193.136.19.96 -> 192.168.74.242 SSHv2 Client: New Keys
7759 6079.922576 192.168.74.242 -> 193.136.19.96 TCP ssh > 51919 [ACK] Seq=1613 Ack=1009 Win=8960 Len=0 TSV=131877415 TSER=1789605
...

Show with a triple: (time, code http, http content size), separated by ‘,’ and between quotation marks.

root@pig:# tshark -r snort.log -R http.response -T fields -E header=y -E separator=',' -E quote=d -e frame.time_relative -e http.response.code -e http.content_length
...
"128.341166000","200","165504"
"128.580181000","200","75332"
"128.711618000","200","1202"
"149.575548000","206","1"
"149.719938000","304",
"149.882290000","404","338"
"150.026474000","404","341"
"150.026686000","404","342"
"150.170295000","304",
"150.313576000","304",
"150.456650000","304",
...

Show a tuple of arity 4 with: (time, source ip, destination ip, tcp packet size).

root@pig:# tshark -r snort.log -R "tcp.len>0" -T fields -e frame.time_relative -e ip.src -e ip.dst -e tcp.len
...
551.751252000   193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  48
551.751377000   192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   144
551.961545000   193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  48
551.961715000   192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   208
552.682260000   193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  48
552.683955000   192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   1448
552.683961000   192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   1448
552.683967000   192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   512
555.156301000   193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  48
555.158474000   192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   1448
555.158481000   192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   1400
556.021205000   193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  48
556.021405000   192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   160
558.874202000   193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  48
558.876027000   192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   1448
...

Show with a triple: (source ip, destination ip, port of destination ip).

root@pig:# tshark -r snort.log -Tfields  -e ip.src -e ip.dst -e tcp.dstport
...
192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   37602
192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   37602
193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  22
192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   37602
193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  22
193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  22
192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   37602
192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   37602
192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   37602
193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  22
193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  22
193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  22
193.136.19.96   192.168.74.242  22
192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   37602
192.168.74.242  193.136.19.96   37602
...

Statistics

Hierarchy of protocols

root@pig:# tshark -r snort.log -q -z io,phs
frame                                    frames:7780 bytes:1111485
  eth                                    frames:7780 bytes:1111485
    ip                                   frames:3992 bytes:848025
      tcp                                frames:3908 bytes:830990
        ssh                              frames:2153 bytes:456686
        http                             frames:55 bytes:19029
          http                           frames:5 bytes:3559
            http                         frames:3 bytes:2781
              http                       frames:2 bytes:2234
                http                     frames:2 bytes:2234
          data-text-lines                frames:10 bytes:5356
        tcp.segments                     frames:3 bytes:1117
          http                           frames:3 bytes:1117
            media                        frames:3 bytes:1117
      udp                                frames:84 bytes:17035
        nbdgm                            frames:50 bytes:12525
          smb                            frames:50 bytes:12525
            mailslot                     frames:50 bytes:12525
              browser                    frames:50 bytes:12525
        dns                              frames:34 bytes:4510
    llc                                  frames:3142 bytes:224934
      stp                                frames:3040 bytes:182400
      cdp                                frames:102 bytes:42534
    loop                                 frames:608 bytes:36480
      data                               frames:608 bytes:36480
    arp                                  frames:38 bytes:2046

Conversations

We use: -z conv,TYPE,FILTER

TYPE could be:

  • eth,
  • tr,
  • fc,
  • fddi,
  • ip,
  • ipx,
  • tcp,
  • udp

And the filters are used to restrict the statistics.

root@pig:# tshark -r snort.log -q -z conv,ip,tcp.port==80
================================================================================
IPv4 Conversations
Filter:tcp.port==80
                                |           | |    Total    |
                                |Frames Bytes | |Frames Bytes | |Frames Bytes |
193.136.19.148  192.168.74.242 141    13091    202   259651    343   272742
192.168.74.242  128.31.0.36     22     6858     28     4784     50    11642
================================================================================

IO

We use: -z io,stat,INT,FILTER,…,FILTER

root@pig:# tshark -r snort.log -q -z io,stat,300,'not (tcp.port=22)'
===================================================================
IO Statistics
Interval: 300.000 secs
Column #0:
                |   Column #0
Time            |frames|  bytes
000.000-300.000    2161    543979
300.000-600.000    1671    264877
600.000-900.000     508     46224
900.000-1200.000     185     12885
1200.000-1500.000     201     14607
1500.000-1800.000     187     13386
1800.000-2100.000     189     13887
2100.000-2400.000     187     13386
2400.000-2700.000     189     13887
2700.000-3000.000     187     13386
3000.000-3300.000     185     12885
3300.000-3600.000     189     13887
3600.000-3900.000     210     15546
3900.000-4200.000     189     13887
4200.000-4500.000     187     13386
4500.000-4800.000     185     12885
4800.000-5100.000     189     13887
===================================================================

Conclusion

With tshark we could do everything we want to know what is inside a network packet. The trick is to understand the statistics that tshark generate, and know how to ask it.

Now my work will get a machine to run Snort in an active mode and begin to understand how to use Snort to do all this work of collecting information.

If you feel interested and understand Portuguese, see the presentation:


Actions

Information

One response

11 01 2010
online stock trading guru

I usually don’t post on Blogs but ya forced me to, great info.. excellent! … I’ll add a backlink and bookmark your site.

I’m Out! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: