Network forensics

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Network forensics is the process of capturing information that moves over a network and trying to make sense of it in some kind of forensics capacity. A network forensics appliance is a device that automates this process.

There are both open source and proprietary network forensics systems available.

General

System License User Interface Supported Platform Supported Protocols Refs
Argus Open Source Command Line, GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt L2 addresses, tunnel identifiers (MPLS, GRE, ESP, etc...), protocol ids, SAP's, hop-count, options, L4 transport identification (RTP, RTCP detection), host flow control indication; netflow
Chaosreader Open Source Command Line, GUI Solaris, RedHat, Windows FTP files, HTTP transfers (HTML, GIF, JPEG, ...), SMTP emails, ... from the captured data inside network traffic logs
DataEcho Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt L2 addresses, tunnel identifiers (MPLS, GRE, ESP, etc...), protocol ids, SAP's, hop-count, options, L4 transport identification (RTP, RTCP detection), host flow control indication; netflow
Junkie Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt L2 addresses, tunnel identifiers (MPLS, GRE, ESP, etc...), protocol ids, SAP's, hop-count, options, L4 transport identification (RTP, RTCP detection), host flow control indication; netflow
kisMAC Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt L2 addresses, tunnel identifiers (MPLS, GRE, ESP, etc...), protocol ids, SAP's, hop-count, options, L4 transport identification (RTP, RTCP detection), host flow control indication; netflow
kismet Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt L2 addresses, tunnel identifiers (MPLS, GRE, ESP, etc...), protocol ids, SAP's, hop-count, options, L4 transport identification (RTP, RTCP detection), host flow control indication; netflow
n2disk Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt L2 addresses, tunnel identifiers (MPLS, GRE, ESP, etc...), protocol ids, SAP's, hop-count, options, L4 transport identification (RTP, RTCP detection), host flow control indication; netflow
net-sniff-ng Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt L2 addresses, tunnel identifiers (MPLS, GRE, ESP, etc...), protocol ids, SAP's, hop-count, options, L4 transport identification (RTP, RTCP detection), host flow control indication; netflow
netfse Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt
netsleuth Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt
NetworkMiner Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt
ntop Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt
OSSEC Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt
Snort Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt
Wireshark Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt
xplico Open Source Command Line /GUI via ArgusEye Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, AIX, IRIX, Windows (under Cygwin) and OpenWrt


System License User Interface Supported Platform Supported Protocols Refs

Open Source Network Forensics

Commercial Network Forensics

Deep-Analysis Systems

Flow-Based Systems

Hybrid Systems

These systems combine flow analysis, deep analysis, and security event monitoring and reporting.

Tips and Tricks

  • The time between two events triggered by an intruder (as seen in logfiles, for example) can be helpful. If it is very short, you can be pretty sure that the actions were performed by an automated script and not by a human user.

See also