Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, Dana Gardner, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

The Ins and Outputs of TCPDUMP

The Ins and Outputs of TCPDUMP
By: Nicholas Beris

As a Network Engineer, I spend a lot of time on, in, and around the terminal. Many of the systems that I work with are remote and taking the time to download a packet capture in the middle of an emergency call and waiting for Wireshark to get the necessary details is just too much of a hassle. (Plus, it makes me feel like I’m an operator in the Matrix with the scrolling code.) Now don’t get me wrong, Wireshark is a great tool and has many uses, but a lot of times it’s just not practical. Besides, are you really going to download the packets from a snort alert and pump them into Wireshark? This my friends is where Tcpdump comes into play and shines.

What is Tcpdump?

Tcpdump is the most commonly and widely used tool to analyze and intercept various types of Ethernet traffic. A network administrator, security auditor, or anyone else dealing in the end to end connectivity of their infrastructure will find this tool pre-installed most of time. Many times when working with third party vendors, sometimes you have to prove that its isn’t your network, firewall, or NAT causing the issue with the application and its just poor coding on their end.

First we will look at some simple traffic and in this case will be an apt install of 2 packages.

The following is the command that I used to to ‘capture’ or record this network traffic.

tcpdump -s 1500 -Avvvn -i wlan0 -w package.pcap host 208.100.4.53

Command Breakdown

tcpdump: Name of the application.

-s 1500: Snap length is how much of the packet to get. The default is 65535 bytes. Setting the snap length to 0 sets it to it’s default. (According to the man page for my version)

-A: Prints the packet in ASCII. Useful for plain text traffic and application troubleshooting.

-vvv: Very very verbose – Prints more information about the packet such as TTL and a lot more

-n: Won’t convert address to human names

-i: Which interface to listen and capture on

-w: Write the packet to said file name

host: The remote peer

Now that we have successfully written the packets to a file we can now analyze the traffic. In any type of troubleshooting situation you have to start at square one. Lets open this file and pipe it into something useful instead of filling the scroll back buffer and missing the first essential connection details.

Since the TCP/IP stack has retransmission as part of the protocol if the first few packets fail then the rest of the connection is doomed.

tcpdump -s 1500 -Avvvn -r package.pcap | less

The -r switch reads the file instead of writing it. Since we already filtered out any other traffic with the host argument we don’t need to be as detailed in our command. The | (pipe) means direct the standard output (console screen) to another application, in the case “less”. This give us the ability to scroll through the whole .pcap file.

The first the 3 packets represent the 3 way-handshake which every TCP connection must go through to set up the connection.

12:26:58.632628 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 64, id 20547, offset 0, flags [DF]
, proto TCP (6), length 60)
10.0.1.38.59181 > 208.100.4.53.80: Flags [S], cksum 0xb5e9 (cor
rect), seq 1526109302, win 5840, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 68
00437 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
E.. .
..&.d.5.-.PZ..v...................
.g.5........

12:26:58.663268 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 51, id 0, offset 0, flags [DF], pr
oto TCP (6), length 60)
208.100.4.53.80 > 10.0.1.38.59181: Flags [S.], cksum 0x7075 (co
rrect), seq 2554095472, ack 1526109303, win 5792, options [mss 1460
,sackOK,TS val 2580458519 ecr 6800437,nop,wscale 7], length 0
E..<..@.3.g..d.5
..&.P.-. .....g.5....

12:26:58.663321 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 64, id 20548, offset 0, flags [DF]
, proto TCP (6), length 52)
10.0.1.38.59181 > 208.100.4.53.80: Flags [.], cksum 0xb5ab (cor
rect), ack 1, win 46, options [nop,nop,TS val 6800445 ecr 258045851
9], length 0
E..4PD@.@.
.
..&.d.5.-.PZ..w. .g.=....

And now my host is sending its HTTP GET request to the remote HTTP server. Remember when I said in the beginning that I was going to install two packages? Well you can see two GET requests made to the server in the output below. Can you tell what I was installing?

12:26:58.663524 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 64, id 20549, offset 0, flags [DF]
, proto TCP (6), length 435)
10.0.1.38.59181 > 208.100.4.53.80: Flags [P.], cksum 0x0d68 (correct), seq 1:384, ack 1, win 46, options [nop,nop,TS val 6800445 ecr 2580458519], length 383
E...PE@.@. A
..&.d.5.-.PZ..w. .g.=....GET /debian/pool/main/a/awn-extras-applets/awn-applets-c-extras_0.4.0-3_amd64.deb HTTP/1.1
Host: mirror.steadfast.net
Connection: keep-alive
User-Agent: Debian APT-HTTP/1.3 (0.8.10.3)

GET /debian/pool/main/a/awn-extras-applets/awn-applets-python-extras_0.4.0-3_all.deb HTTP/1.1
Host: mirror.steadfast.net
Connection: keep-alive
User-Agent: Debian APT-HTTP/1.3 (0.8.10.3)

How do we know that the server even received our request? TCP will always send an ACK, or in the case of a corrupt packet, a reset (RST) the last packet. As you can see in the following output there is the acknowledge of the GET request and then the server’s HTTP 200 OK response.

12:26:58.693420 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 51, id 52036, offset 0, flags [DF]
, proto TCP (6), length 52)
208.100.4.53.80 > 10.0.1.38.59181: Flags [.], cksum 0xb406 (cor
rect), ack 384, win 54, options [nop,nop,TS val 2580458549 ecr 6800
445], length 0
E..4.D@.3....d.5
..&.P.-. ...5.g.=
12:26:58.750220 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 51, id 52037, offset 0, flags [DF]
, proto TCP (6), length 1500)
208.100.4.53.80 > 10.0.1.38.59181: Flags [.], seq 1:1449, ack 3
84, win 54, options [nop,nop,TS val 2580458605 ecr 6800445], length
1448
E....E@.3....d.5
..&.P.-. ...m.g.=HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2012 16:27:03 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.3 (CentOS)
Last-Modified: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 07:02:03 GMT
ETag: "2ae23c67-1e17e-48bb8254eb0c0"
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 123262
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

And as they say “the rest is history”. Well, technically the rest is of the TCP stream for my packages, but if you are troubleshooting further than the initial connections you are going to need to roll up your sleeves and have a firm grasp of the TCP protocol. If you’re not as strong at reading packet captures or understanding how the whole TCP/IP stacks work, then this is the best way to learn with simple, easy to define and read traffic. In my next entry I plan on going more in depth with situational examples.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Hurricane Labs

Christina O’Neill has been working in the information security field for 3 years. She is a board member for the Northern Ohio InfraGard Members Alliance and a committee member for the Information Security Summit, a conference held once a year for information security and physical security professionals.

@ThingsExpo Stories
China Unicom exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, in November 2016. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE FDD, TD-LTE), fixed-line broadband, ICT, data communica...
As businesses adopt functionalities in cloud computing, it’s imperative that IT operations consistently ensure cloud systems work correctly – all of the time, and to their best capabilities. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Bernd Harzog, CEO and founder of OpsDataStore, will present an industry answer to the common question, “Are you running IT operations as efficiently and as cost effectively as you need to?” He will expound on the industry issues he frequently came up against as an analyst, and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place in November in Silicon Valley, California.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sudarshan Krishnamurthi, a Senior Manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems, will discuss how IT and operational technology (OT) work together, as opposed to being in separate siloes as once was traditional. Attendees will learn how to fully leverage the power of IoT in their organization by bringing the two sides together and bridging the communication gap. He will also look at what good leadership must entail in order to accomplish this, and how IT managers ca...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outlyer, a monitoring service for DevOps and operations teams, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outlyer is a monitoring service for DevOps and Operations teams running Cloud, SaaS, Microservices and IoT deployments. Designed for today's dynamic environments that need beyond cloud-scale monitoring, we make monitoring effortless so you...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, CTO and founder of Striim, will delve into four enterprise-scale, business-critical case studies where streaming analytics serves as the key to enabling real-time data integration and right-time insights in hybrid cloud, IoT, and fog computing environments. As part of this discussion, he will also present a demo based on its partnership with Fujitsu, highlighting their technologies in a healthcare IoT use-case. The demo showcases the tracking of pati...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Ge...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...