cxtracker, daemonlogger, forensics, Information, OpenSourceSoftware, Security

cxtracker updates (0.9.7 beta)

Thanks to Ian Firns that has implemented custom output formating (sancp like), pcap indexing and pcap capturing (daemonlogger-style)…!

Starting from commit 6b32fb24db, cxtracker can now, additional to writing flowdata, also do packet-capturing and outputting indexing data about where in the pcap(s) the flow starts and ends. This should potentially bring down the time needed to carve a session out of a big pcap. Right now, all this is just in beta, but the functionality is there, and there is also an example perl-script to carve out a session based on index-data.

Output fields of interest:
%spf pcap file containing start packet in session
%spo pcap file offset of start packet in session
%epf pcap file containing last packet in session
%epo pcap file offset of last packet in session

Example on a indexed pcap output, using: “%spf|%spo|%epf|%epo”

So, basically, if you have a 1 GB pcap file, normally you could use tcpdump with a BPF filter to care out the session you where looking for, reading and searching the whole 1 GB pcap file.

With this addition to cxtracker, you would now be able to spool right to the start-byte off the session and start carving from there until the end-byte of the session. So if the session is placed say 450 MB into the pcap, and ends at 550 MB into the pcap, you basically only have to read and carve in 100 MB of pcap data. In the example perl script (, the file handle for the file is opened, it would seek to the right place in the pcap (_not_ reading 450 MB of data from your disk) and start reading 100 MB data from your disk and carving+filtering and then close the file handle.

We would love to have some feedbacks here, and to have people test it. Again, it is still beta, so be aware 🙂

Note: Idexing pcap files is nothing new, the sancp project did add alike features, but was never properly released.

cxtracker, daemonlogger, Debian, forensics, Linux Distributions, OpenSourceSoftware, PADS, Security, Sguil, Snort, Suricata, Ubuntu

Ubuntu repo for sguil

I have spent the last week setting up a Ubuntu Launchpad PPA for my packages I used to hoste here on my blog.

The URL to my PPA is :

I pack the packages mainly for Lucid Lynx 10.04.
To try them out, you can add the following in /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb lucid main
deb-src lucid main

To add my key to you Ubuntu installation:
apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 4B04D050

Then you should be able to apt-get update, and then apt-get install my packages 🙂

Please try them out and give me feedback!
You will find my howto on how to configure them here.

Happy F8’ing!

cxtracker, daemonlogger, forensics, fpcgui, Information, OpenSourceSoftware, Security, Sguil, Snort, Suricata

Full Packet Capture GUI (FPCGUI)

I started a little project of mine that I have been thinking about since the summer of 2008 (Also see this post). I saw that it was a problem finding vendors selling a cheap setup for a full packet capture solution. The recommendation was to set up a Linux server on your own, run tcpdump and spool pcaps to disk. Well, once you have all that data, you need some way to manage it. I thought about using sancp to index the connections, and tools like tcpxtract, foremost, dsniff, chaosreader, tcptrace and combine features from xplico to add some extra value and possibilities on top.

So I started my project back in september 09, calling it FPCGUI (Full Packet Capture Graphical User Interface). It is currently supporting daemonlogger/tcpdump/sancp for spooling pcaps with a wrapper script that puts pcaps in directories based on “year-month-date”. cxtracker/sancp can be used for connection profiling/tracking, writing session data to disk, where I have written which picks up the session data files and inserts them to a mysql database. If I now have an interest in seeing all the traffic from one host, I can do a search in my webgui and get the data. I can do rather interesting queries on all the data from cxtracker/sancp, and get interesting results.

freebsd search

I use cxtracker in my setup, as it collects meta data on both IPv4 and IPv6 connections. I have also managed to store IPv4 and IPv6 addresses in the mysql database in a reasonable and usable way.

IPv6 search

I have just finished writing a PHP webgui, where I can enter a search term, and get a list (or just a single session if I’m specific enough), click on the session of choice, and up pops a download dialog, where I can choose to open the pcap straight away in wireshark! The pcap of the specific session is carved out from the pcaps for the relevant period (days) when the session took place. More or less the same functionality you find in a Sguil stack setup. I wrote the php-gui in such a way, that it can take search terms via an URL, like “?srcip=” and so on, making it easier to integrate with other applications.


Example screenshot of what happens when you click on an event:
I have associated the pcap files with: ‘Content-Type: application/pcap-capture’ and set firefox to spawn wireshark for those files automatic 🙂

So now I’m one step closer to having Full Packet Capture with my Sourcefire 3D system! Just need to find out what part of the 3D webgui code to hack, to add my custom <click here to get the pcap of the session that triggered the event> 🙂 Of course I can enter the data manually, but I’m lazy, and I like to hack stuff 🙂

The project i hosted here. Any thoughts are more than welcome.

cxtracker, OpenSourceSoftware, Security

cxtracker and mmap libpcap

I just compiled Phil Wood’s memory map enabled libpcap and compiled cxtracker against it.

From earlier test, comparing sancp and cxtracker, it seems that cxtracker is in the range of 25 to 30% less CPU intensive than sancp with regular libpcap.

Output from pidstat:

Average: PID %user %system %CPU CPU Command
Average: 28269 1.42 5.75 7.17 – sancp
Average: 27383 1.12 4.44 5.56 – cxtracker

Running cxtracker with mmap libpcap, the results are even better:

Average: PID %user %system %CPU CPU Command
Average: 5450 1.98 8.97 10.95 – sancp
Average: 5322 1.38 2.79 4.16 – cxtracker

As you see, over 60% less CPU usage!
The memory usage is of course higher, but thats the price you have to pay for less CPU usage…

The tests are done about 5 minutes after sancp and cxtracker is started, and the summary are generated from a 5 second interval with 60 counts with pidstat.

cxtracker, forensics, Information, OpenSourceSoftware, Security, Sguil

cxtracker update

I started out writing cxtracker and PRADS in perl, as my C fu was kinda rusty, and perl programmers claimed that perl was fast enough… It turned out, that perl was not fast enough for my purpose, but it added to my perl skillz at least.

So I wanted to rewrite cxtracker and PRADS in C, and the last three weeks, I have re-learned C and rewritten cxtracker. It has been many late hours and small bugs have been annoying me way too much. But I have had the chance to play more with debuggers and C which I find very interesting and pleasing.

cxtracker can now be used instead of sancp in a sguil setup. cxtracker is also meant to be used in another little project I have going, FPCGUI (Full Packet Capture GUI), but thats another blog entry soon to come.
cxtracker also logs IPv6 traffic, something that sancp does not. Sguil does not eat IPv6 yet, so to use cxtracker with sguil, a bpf filer for not inspecting IPv6 traffic should be used.

On my sensors, cxtracker seems to use about 20-30% lesser CPU time than sancp, which makes me really happy! The memory footprint is the same as sancp.

The reason I started with cxtracker as my first C project, is that it is a corner stone in my other projects, FPCGUI and PRADS. In FPCGUI, cxtracker is used to track IP sessions and storing them to a DB. In PRADS, it also tracks sessions, so one can limit the amount of data to check for service signatures in (Just check xx first packets, or xxx bytes of data after initial connection).

cxtracker is hosted on github :

git clone git://

It uses libpcap and I have yet only tried to compile it on Ubuntu and Debian machines (x86 and x86_64).

To test it:

# libpcap and a build environment is needed.

$ git clone git://
$ cd cxtracker/src/
$ make
$ ./cxtracker -h

$ cxtracker [options]


-i : network device (default: eth0)
-b : berkeley packet filter
-d : directory to dump sessions files in
-u : user
-g : group
-D : enables daemon mode
-h : this help message
-v : verbose

$ ./cxtracker -i eth0 -D -d /nsm_data/sensor-hostname/sancp/ -u nsm -g nsm -b ‘ip’

If you try out cxtracker, feedback is more than welcome!

cxtracker, Information, OpenSourceSoftware, Security, Sguil

CxTracker – A passive network connection tracker…

I just tested my latest perl project, cxtracker, with sguil.

CxTracker (Connection Tracker) is a passive network connection tracker for profiling, history, auditing and network discovery. It can be used as an replacement for sancp in the sguil setup.

I started implementing this because I am thinking of making prads a bit more connection oriented. In stead of branching prads, I started a small perl script, and I quickly saw that it could do well as a standalone daemon in my sguil environment. So it now has its own life.

I will polish a bit more on it, and then start porting the functionality into prads for some performance testing. The idea, is that making prads aware of connections, one can do regexp on parts of the traffic, and not the whole traffic (to save cpu cycles on tcp/udp service/client detection).

Check it out/Clone it! Feedback is always wellcome!

“Know your connections!”