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Shane Alcock admin

Libprotoident

Libprotoident is a library that performs application layer protocol identification for flows. Unlike many techniques that require capturing the entire packet payload, only the first four bytes of payload sent in each direction, the size of the first payload-bearing packet in each direction and the TCP or UDP port numbers for the flow are used by libprotoident. Libprotoident features a very simple API that is easy to use, enabling developers to quickly write code that can make use of the protocol identification rules present in the library without needing to know anything about the applications they are trying to identify.

29

Apr

2016

After what seems like forever, I've finally managed to put together a new libprotoident release that includes all of the new protocol rules I've developed over the past couple of years. This release adds support for around 70 new protocols, including QUIC, SPDY, Cisco SSL VPN, Weibo and Line. A further 28 protocols have had their rules refined and improved, including BitTorrent, QQ, WeChat, Xunlei and DNS.

The lpi_live tool has been removed in this release, as this has been decommissioned in favour of the lpicollector tool.

Also, please note that libflowmanager 2.0.4 is required to build the libprotoident tools. Older versions of libflowmanager will fail the configure check.

The full list of changes can be found in the libprotoident ChangeLog.

Download libprotoident 2.0.8 here!

04

Apr

2016

Started writing up a short paper on the unexpected traffic analysis I've been doing for the past few weeks. Made decent progress -- I've got a mostly complete draft, just missing a conclusion and an abstract.

Spent a decent chunk of Thursday dealing with the fallout from upgrading influxdb to 0.11 on prophet. This broke most of our existing rollup tables, as the data type that we were now inserting (int) was no longer compatible with the data type that we apparently used to insert (float). Compounding matters was influxdb's lack of visibility into what data types are associated with any given column. Ended up trashing and re-creating the database (somewhat by accident) which fixed the problem, but not an ideal solution if we ever roll this out in production.

513 assignment was due at 5pm on Friday, so dealt with a few final queries from students. 20 submissions in the end, so a bit of marking to do next week.

30

Mar

2016

Continued making progress with my unidentified mice flows in libprotoident. Added a whole pile of new rules, mostly for various Chinese apps again. Have probably done enough now that I can draw a line under this and start writing the paper itself; there are a few obvious patterns that I would like to identify but this has consumed a lot of time already.

Answered a handful of questions from 513 students -- mostly intelligent ones, so I'm reasonably confident about how the class is going overall. Due date is this coming Friday, so we'll know for sure soon enough.

21

Mar

2016

Helped finish off the funding proposal in the first half of the week.

Continued working with libprotoident. This week I gave up on the elephant flows and started looking at the mice flows. Found some interesting stuff; the highlight being a huge number of flows on TCP port 80 that seem to be associated with the Baidu web browser. The behaviour of these flows is particularly odd: connect to server, send a FIN with seqno N, retransmit FIN a few times, send a non-FIN packet with 1 byte of payload (0x00) and seqno N-1 (incredibly invalid TCP behaviour!), server sends a RST. End result is > 150,000 flows over a week on port 80 with a single outgoing byte of payload.

Added some filters on the Endace probe to see if we can find people doing this traffic on campus, as the Baidu browser is pretty well-known for having a tendency to leak all sorts of private data back to its masters. Found multiple staff PCs that appear to be doing this sort of traffic, so Brad and I will try to prepare a report for ITS next week.

Met with Nathan at Lightwire on Thursday afternoon re: AMP and netevmon. Came away with plenty of ideas and suggestions for improvements we can make and hopefully we also helped Nathan understand parts of our system better as well. The good news is that netevmon seems to mostly be picking up valid events, but even so the number and frequency of these events can be overwhelming so we need better control over what events are shown to the user.

14

Mar

2016

Worked on the next MBIE funding proposal document. Still got a fair way to go so this will probably eat up a lot of next week too.

Continued trying to identify the remaining Unknown applications in the Waikato Sept 15 traces. Only managed to identify one new protocol (Xunlei Accelerated) but this did account for 14G of unknown traffic on TCP port 8080 so that has gotten rid of the biggest outstanding quantity of unknown traffic. The rest are looking like they might get the better of me -- it's almost all Chinese in origin and I can identify the parent company (Tencent, CERNET, Taobao etc) but actually figuring out which of the myriad of apps these companies own is mostly just trial and error at this stage.

07

Mar

2016

Continued working away at the Unknown traffic from my libprotoident port study. Added new protocols for Telegram Messenger and Kuguo, as well as improved DNS (especially TCP DNS) and NTP matching. I still have a bit more Unknown traffic to identify before I'd be comfortable putting the results in a paper, but we're getting closer.

Gave my 513 lectures this week. Looking forward to seeing how the class get on with my assignment.

Met with Ryan Jones who is doing an Honours project that will use netevmon to try and find events in the CSC data. Gave him access to the code and a few hints to start out, but I imagine I'll have to dedicate some more time to this over the course of the year.

01

Mar

2016

My fixes to Andy's InfluxDB code seems to be resulting in consistent and correct bins being stored in the rollup tables. Threw netevmon at the development system to see if it can cope, which it seems to be doing OK. There's still a bit of a concern around long-term memory usage, but I'll see how that pans out over the next couple of weeks.

Spent the rest of my week concentrating on finishing up JP's summer study on unexpected traffic on typically open ports. Managed to improve a few existing rules to recognise more traffic, as well as add new rules for QQ video chat and what appears to be a C&C covert channel for some Chinese malware using UDP port 53. Started framing up a paper for IMC based on this study.

Did some final prep work for the libtrace lectures and assignment for 513.

18

Dec

2015

Finished up the implementation chapter of the libtrace paper. Added a couple of diagrams to augment some of the textual explanations. Got Richard S. to read over what I've got so far and made a few tweaks based on his feedback.

Spent a decent chunk of time looking at Unknown UDP port 80 traffic in libprotoident. Found a clear pattern that was contributing most of the traffic, which I traced back to Tencent. Unfortunately Tencent publishes a lot of applications so that knowledge wasn't conclusive on its own.

My initial suspicion was that it might have been game traffic so I downloaded and played a few popular multiplayer games via the Tencent games client, capturing the network traffic and comparing it against my current unknown traffic. No luck, but then I had the bright idea to look a bit more closely at video call traffic in WeChat (a messaging app). Sure enough, once I was able to successfully create two WeChat accounts and get a video call going between them, I started seeing the traffic I wanted.

Also added rules for Acer Cloud and OpenTracker over UDP.

07

Dec

2015

Started writing some content for the parallel libtrace paper. Managed to churn out an introduction, a background and a little bit of the implementation section.

Fixed a couple of bugs in netevmon prior to the deployment: crashing when trying to reconnect to a restarted NNTSC and some confusing event descriptions for changepoint events.

Finished setting up a mobile app test environment for JP. I've configured my old iPhone to act as an extra client for 2-way communication apps (messaging etc.). So far the environment has already been helpful, as we've managed to identify one of the major outstanding patterns as being used by the Taobao mobile shopping app.

30

Nov

2015

Finished up the demo for STRATUS forum and helped Harris put together both a video and a live website.

Spent a bit of time trying to fix some unintuitive traceroute events that we were seeing on lamp. The problem was arising when a normally unresponsive hop was responding to traceroute, which was inserting an extra AS transition into our "path".

Rebuilt DPDK and Ostinato on 10g-dev2 after Richard upgraded it to Jessie so that I can resume my parallel libtrace development and testing once he's done with his experiments.

Installed and tested a variety of Android emulators to try and setup an environment where JP and I can more easily capture mobile app traffic. Turned out Bluestacks on my iMac ended up being the most useful, as the others I tried either lacked the Google Play Store (so finding and installing the "official" apps would be hard) or needed more computing power than I had available.

23

Nov

2015

Played around with getting netevmon to produce some useful events from the Ceilometer data and updated amp-web to be able to show those events on the dashboard. Some of our existing detection algorithms (Plateau, BinSegChangepoint, Changepoint) worked surprisingly well so we should have something useful to demo at the STRATUS forum on Friday.

Helped Brendon get netevmon up and running on lamp. There were a few issues unfortunately, mostly due to permission issues and R being terrible, but managed to get things running eventually. Spent a bit of time fixing some redundant event groups that we observed from the lamp data which were a side-effect from the fact that a group of traceroute events can be combined with both latency increase and decrease events. We also worked together to track down some bad IP traceroute paths that were being inserted into the database -- new amplets were not including a 'None' entry for non-responsive hops which NNTSC was expecting so an 11 hop path with 6 non-responsive hops was being recorded as a 5 hop contiguous path. Updated NNTSC to recognise a missing address field as a non-responsive hop.

Gave JP a crash course in libprotoident development so he can get started on his summer project.

27

Oct

2015

Spent the early part of my week reading over Dan's and Darren's revised Honours reports and offering a final batch of suggestions.

Continued poking at libprotoident and the unknown traffic on various Web ports. Finally managed to get Blade and Soul (a Chinese MMO) installed and running and was able to confirm that it was responsible for some of my unknown flows.

Started turning my attention towards our STRATUS research this week. Initially, we are going to look at general metrics that we can extract from cloud infrastructure and see if any of our existing event detection techniques are useful for finding anomalous behaviour. For a start, we are using data collected by the Ceilometer module on the Waikato OpenStack instance. Spent some time bringing Harris up to speed on NNTSC and netevmon so that he can experiment with the data within our system. In the meantime, I'm going to take a closer look at the data that we've collected to see which series will be most suitable to focus on in the short term.

Gave more details about our STRATUS work / goals to the designers who will be producing a poster about our research for the upcoming STRATUS forum.

Also played with a service called ThisData which claimed to offer something similar to what we have envisioned from STRATUS. ThisData is certainly pretty, but doesn't really seem to offer much more than daily revision control for your cloud data.

19

Oct

2015

Spent a fair chunk of my week proof-reading, first a document responding to questions about the BTM project, then Dan and Darren's Honours reports.

Tracked down and fixed a bug in parallel libtrace where ticks were messing with the ordered combiner, causing some packets to be sent to the reporter out of order. Also managed to replicate and fix the memory leak bug that was causing Yindong's wdcap on wraith to invoke the OOM killer.

Continued poking at unknown port 443 and port 80 traffic in libprotoident. Most of my time was spent trying to install and capture traffic from various Chinese applications that I had reason to suspect were causing most of my remaining unknown traffic, with mixed success.

12

Oct

2015

Finally released the libtrace4 beta on Tuesday, after doing some final testing with the DAG cards in the 10G dev machines.

Managed to find a few more protocols to add to libprotoident, but am now trying to move towards releasing a new version. Starting having a closer look at TCP port 80 and TCP port 443 traffic in my Waikato traces, with the aim of trying to get as much traffic correctly classified as I can prior to doing an in-depth analysis of what is actually using those ports.

Spent Friday afternoon reading over Darren's honours report and providing some hopefully useful feedback.

05

Oct

2015

Fixed the issues with BSD interfaces in parallel libtrace. Ended up implementing a "bucket" data structure for keeping track of buffers that contain packets read from a file descriptor. Each bucket effectively maintains a reference counter that is used to determine when libtrace has finished with all the packets stored in a buffer. When the buffer is no longer needed, it can be freed. This allows us to ensure packets are not freed or overwritten without needing to memcpy the packet out of the buffer it was read into.

Added bucket functionality to both RT and BSD interfaces. After a few initial hiccups, it seems to be working well now.

Continued testing libtrace with various operating systems / configurations. Replaced our old DAG configuration code that uses a deprecated API call to use the CSAPI. Just need to get some traffic on our DAG development box so I can make sure the multiple-stream code works as expected.

Managed to add another two protocols to libprotoident: Google Hangouts and Warthunder.

28

Sep

2015

Finished the parallel libtrace HOWTO guide. Pretty happy with it and hopefully it should ease the learning curve for users who want to move over to the parallel API once released.

Continued working towards the beta release of libtrace4. Started testing on my usual variety of operating systems, fixing any bugs or warnings that cropped up along the way. It looks like there are definitely some issues with using the parallel API with BSD interfaces, so that will need to be resolved before I can do the release.

Now that I've got a full week of Waikato trace, I've been occasionally looking at the output from running lpi_protoident against the whole week and seeing if there are any missing protocols I can identify and add to libprotoident. Managed to add another 6 new protocols this week, including Diablo 3 and Hearthstone.

Met with Rob and Stephen from Endace on Thursday morning and had a good discussion about how we are using the Endace probe and what we can do to get more out of it.

24

Aug

2015

Continued working on wdcap4. The overall structure is in place and I'm now adding and testing features one at a time. So far, I've got snapping, direction tagging, VLAN stripping and BPF filtering all working. Checksum validation is working for IP and TCP; just need to test it for other protocols.

Still adding and updating protocols in libprotoident. The biggest win this week was being able to identify Shuijing (Crystal): a protocol for operating a CDN using P2P.

Helped Brendon roll out the latest develop code for ampsave, NNTSC, ampy and amp-web to skeptic. This brings skeptic in line with what is running on prophet and will allow us to upgrade the public amplets without their measurement data being rejected.

17

Aug

2015

Noticed a bug in my Plateau parameter evaluation which meant that Time Series Variability changes were being included in the set of Plateau events. Removing those meant that my results were a lot saner. The best set of parameters now gives a 83% precision rating and the average delay is now below 5 minutes. Started on a similar analysis for the next detector -- the Changepoint detector.

Continued updating libprotoident. I've managed to capture a few days of traffic from the University now, so that is introducing some new patterns that weren't present in my previous dataset. Added new rules for MongoDB, DOTA2, Line and BMDP.

Still having problems with long duration captures being interrupted, either by the DAG dropping packets or by the RT protocol FIFO filling up. This prompted me to start working on WDCap4: the parallel libtrace edition. It's a complete re-write from scratch so I am taking the time to carefully consider every feature that currently exists in WDCap and deciding whether we actually need it or whether we can do it better.

10

Aug

2015

Made a video demonstrating BSOD with the current University capture point. The final cut can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJlDY0XvbA4

Alistair King got in touch and requested that libwandio be separated from libtrace so that he can release projects that use libwandio without having libtrace as a dependency as well. With his help, this was pretty straightforward so now libwandio has a separate download page on the WAND website.

Continued my investigation into optimal Plateau detector parameters. Used my web-app to classify ~230 new events in a morning (less than 5 of which qualified as significant) and merged those results back into my original ground truth. Re-ran the analysis comparing the results for each parameter configuration against the updated ground truth. I've now got an "optimal" set of parameters, although the optimal parameters still only achieve 55% precision and 60% recall.

Poked around at some more unknown flows while waiting for the Plateau analysis to run. Managed to identify some new BitTorrent and eMule clients and also added two new protocols: BDMP and Trion games.

03

Aug

2015

Continued digging into the unknown traffic in the day-long Waikato trace I captured last week. Diminishing returns are starting to really kick in now, but I've still managed to add another 9 new protocols (including SPDY) and improved the rules for a further 8.

Worked on a series of scripts to process the results of running the Plateau detector using a variety of different possible configurations (e.g. history and trigger buffer sizes, sensitivity thresholds etc). The aim is to find the optimal set of parameters based on the ground truth we already have. Of course, some parameter combinations are going to produce events that we have never seen before so I've also had to write code to find these events and generate suitable graphs so I can use my web-app to quickly manually classify them appropriately.

Spent a fair bit of time helping Yindong with his experiments.