Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Natalie Lerner, Dana Gardner

Related Topics: Security, XML, SOA & WOA, Adobe Flex, Web 2.0

Security: Article

Capture File Filtering with Wireshark

Needle in a Haystack

Intrusion detection tools that use the libpcap C/ C++ library [1] for network traffic capture (such as Snort [2] and Tcpdump [1]) can output packet capture information to a file for later reference. The format of this capture file is known as pcap. By capturing packet data to a file, an investigator can return later to study the history of an intrusion attempt – or to turn up other important clues about clandestine activity on the network.

Of course, the traffic history data stored in a pcap file is much too vast to study by just viewing the file manually. Security experts use specialized filtering tools to search through the file for pertinent information. One way to look for clues in a pcap file is to use the Wireshark protocol analysis tool [3] and its accompanying command-line utility tshark.

Wireshark is included by default on many Linux distros, and if not, it is available through the leading package repositories. You can also download Wireshark through the project website [4]. In this article, I describe how to use Wireshark and tshark to search a pcap file for information on network activity. I will assume you already have a pcap file ready for investigation. For more on how to capture a pcap file with Tcp-dump, see my article “Intruder Detection with Tcpdump,” which is available online at the ADMIN magazine website [5].

tshark at the Command Line
The tshark utility is a simple tool included with the Wireshark package that lets you filter the contents of a pcap file from the command line. To get a view of the most significant activity, I use the following command:

$ tshark ‑nr dumpfile1.gz ‑qz "io,phs" > details.txt

The ‑n switch disables network object name resolution, ‑r indicates that packet data is to be read from the input file, in this case dumpfile1.gz. The ‑z allows for statistics to display after it finishes reading the capture file, the ‑q flag specifies that only the statistics are printed, and the > redirection
sends the output to the file called details.txt. See Figure 1 for the output of this information. To view a list of help commands used with tshark, type:

$ tshark ‑h

And for a list of ‑z arguments type:

$ tshark ‑z help

Figure 1

Say you would like to know whether a particular IP address appeared in a packet dump and what port it was connecting on. The following command line checks the dump file for the IP address 98.139.126.21:

$ tshark ‑V ‑nr dumpfile.gz ip.src == 98.139.126.21 | grep "Source port" | awk {'print $3'} | sort ‑n | uniq 80

The resulting output on the line following the command shows that the packet dump file recorded IP address 98.139.126.21 having connections on port 80.

If you were given a packet dump file and asked to find possible IRC traffic on your network, how would you do it? First, you would need to know what port numbers were associated with IRC traffic, and that could be accomplished with Google or by issuing the following command:

$ grep irc /usr/share/nmap/nmap‑services | grep tcp

Figure 2 shows the results of the preceding command.

Figure 2

Now I can search the packet dump and look for evidence of IRC traffic using the following commands:

$ tshark ‑nr dumpfile1.gz 'ip.addr==172.16.134.191 and tcp.port >=  6667 and tcp.port <= 6670 and irc' |  awk {'print $3,$4,$5,$6'} | sort ‑n | uniq ‑c

Figure 1: tshark statistics output.
Figure 2: Locating IRC port numbers with grep.
Figure 3: IRC connections found in the packet dump.
Figure 4: The Wireshark startup window.

The breakdown of this command is shown in Table 1, and the output is in Figure 3.

Figure 3

In the GUI
The Wireshark GUI application is easier on the eyes, and it provides some options that aren’t available at the command line. You can start Wireshark from the Application menu or from the terminal.  To load a capture file, select Open in the startup window (Figure 4) or select File | Open from the menubar.  Once you have a packet capture file loaded, you can start searching packet dumps within the Wireshark interface.

Figure 4

The Filter box below the Wireshark toolbar lets you enter criteria for the search. For instance, to search for all the Canonical Name records within the capture file, type in the following filter: dns.resp.type == CNAME (see Figure 5).  After you enter a filter, remember to clear the filter text to see the full file before starting a new search.

Figure 5

Table 1: Parts of a tshark Command

Option Description
‘ip.addr==172.16.134.191         This is my network
and tcp.port >= 6667                   Start of the port range
and tcp.port <= 6670                   End of the port range
and irc’                                           Searches for IRC traffic only
awk {‘print $3,$4,$5,$6’}             Prints the third through sixth patterns from each matching line
sort ‑n                                            Sorts according to string numerical value
uniq ‑c                                            Only prints the number of matches that are unique

Digging deeper, if I want to know how long a client resolver cached the IP address associated with the name cookex.amp.gapx.yahoodns.net (Figure 6), I would enter the following filter:

dns.resp.name == "cookex.amp.gapx. yahoodns.net"

Figure 6

The filter ip.addr == 10.37.32.97 gives information on all communications that involve 10.37.32.97 in the packet dump. If needed, use && to isolate to a specific protocol. The filter ip.dst == 10.37.32.97 or ip.src == 10.37.32.97 looks for a source or destination IP address.

How could I find the password used over Telnet between two IP addresses? For example, if a user at 172.21.12.5 is using Telnet to access a device at 10. 37. 140.160, I can enter:

ip.dst == 10.37.140.160 && ip.src == 172.21.12.5 && telnet.data contains "Password"

The preceding command will list the connections that meet the search requirement, and you can right-click on the packet and click Follow TCP Stream to view the password. (See Figures 7 and 8.)

Figure 7

Figure 8

Note: A much easier way to get the password on the network, if you were sniffing the traffic instead of reading from a capture file, would be to use ettercap, as follows:

$ ettercap ‑Tzq //23

To discover whether someone was viewing a suspicious web page, I can perform a filter search to find out what picture the person at IP address 10.225.5.107 was viewing at Yahoo (216.115.97.236) with the following filter:

ip.dst == 10.225.5.107 && ip.src == 216.115.97.236 && (image‑jfif || image‑gif)

Figure 9

Figure 9 shows the results. If you then right-click on a line in the output and select Follow TCP Stream for the results shown in Figure 10.
The second line in the Follow TCP Stream output specifies that wynn‑ rovepolitico.jpg is the image this person was viewing on the site.

Figure 10

Conclusion
Wireshark can do more than just watch the wires in real time. If you save a snapshot of network activity in a capture file in the pcap format, you can use Wireshark to search through the file to look for clues about nefarious activity.

In this article, I described how to search for information in a capture file using Wireshark and the tshark command-line tool.

Info

[1] Tcpdump and Libpcap: http://www.tcpdump.org/
[2] Snort: http://www..snort.org
[3] Wireshark: http://www.wireshark.org/
[4] Wireshark Download: http://www.wireshark.org/download.html
[5] “Intruder Detection with Tcpdump” by David J. Dodd: http://www.admin‑magazine.com/Articles/Intruder‑Detection‑with‑tcpdump/

More Stories By David Dodd

David J. Dodd is currently in the United States and holds a current 'Top Secret' DoD Clearance and is available for consulting on various Information Assurance projects. A former U.S. Marine with Avionics background in Electronic Countermeasures Systems. David has given talks at the San Diego Regional Security Conference and SDISSA, is a member of InfraGard, and contributes to Secure our eCity http://securingourecity.org. He works for Xerox as Information Security Officer City of San Diego & pbnetworks Inc. http://pbnetworks.net a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) located in San Diego, CA and can be contacted by emailing: dave at pbnetworks.net.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...