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TCPDUMP - The Easy Tutorial

Networking TCPdump
Last update: 02-09-2010




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TCPdump is a very powerful command line interface packet sniffer.

It must be launched as root or with superuser rights because of the its use of the promiscuous mode or to be sure to have sufficent privilileges on a network device or a socket.

Wireshark (formerly ethereal) can be used as an alternative to TCPdump but with a GUI interface. Wireshark can be used to read the logs captured by TCPdump too.

1. TCPDUMP DOWNLOAD 2. TCPDUMP SYNTAX 3. TCPDUMP EXAMPLES



1. TCPDUMP DOWNLOAD:

To download TCPdump:

#apt-get install tcpdump
To see the TCPdump dependencies:

#apt-cache depends tcpdump
tcpdump
   Depends: libc6
   Depends: libpcap0.8
   Depends: libssl0.9.8


To see the installed TCPdump version:

#apt-cache policy tcpdump
tcpdump:
   Installed: 3.9.4-2ubuntu0.1
   Candidate: 3.9.4-2ubuntu0.1
   Version table:
  *** 3.9.4-2ubuntu0.1 0
            500 http://security.ubuntu.com dapper-security/main Packages
            100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
         3.9.4-2 0
            500 http://ch.archive.ubuntu.com dapper/main Packages



2. TCPDUMP SYNTAX

Syntax:
Protocol
Direction
Host(s)
Value
Logical Operations
Other expression
Example:
tcp
dst
10.1.1.1
80
and
tcp dst 10.2.2.2 3128
Protocol:
Values: ether, fddi, ip, arp, rarp, decnet, lat, sca, moprc, mopdl, tcp and udp.
If no protocol is specified, all the protocols are used.

Direction:
Values: src, dst, src and dst, src or dst
If no source or destination is specified, the "src or dst" keywords are applied.
For example, "host 10.2.2.2" is equivalent to "src or dst host 10.2.2.2".

Host(s):
Values: net, port, host, portrange.
If no host(s) is specified, the "host" keyword is used.
For example, "src 10.1.1.1" is equivalent to "src host 10.1.1.1".

Logical Operations:
Values: not, and, or.
Negation ("not") has highest precedence. Alternation ("or") and concatenation ("and") have equal precedence and associate left to right.
For example,
"not tcp port 3128 and tcp port 23" is equivalent to "(not tcp port 3128) and tcp port 23".
"not tcp port 3128 and tcp port 23" is NOT equivalent to "not (tcp port 3128 and tcp port 23)".



3. TCPDUMP USE

To display the Standard TCPdump output:

#tcpdump
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on eth0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 96 bytes

21:57:29.004426 IP 192.168.1.2.1034 > valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014: UDP, length 53
21:57:31.228013 arp who-has 192.168.1.2 tell 192.168.1.1
21:57:31.228020 arp reply 192.168.1.2 is-at 00:04:75:22:22:22 (oui Unknown)
21:57:38.035382 IP 192.168.1.2.1034 > valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014: UDP, length 53
21:57:38.613206 IP valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014 > 192.168.1.2.1034: UDP, length 36


To display the verbose output:

#tcpdump -v
tcpdump: listening on eth0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 96 bytes

22:00:11.625995 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 128, id 30917, offset 0, flags [none], proto: UDP (17), length: 81) 192.168.1.2.1034 > valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014: UDP, length 53
22:00:20.691903 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 128, id 31026, offset 0, flags [none], proto: UDP (17), length: 81) 192.168.1.2.1034 > valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014: UDP, length 53
22:00:21.230970 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 114, id 4373, offset 0, flags [none], proto: UDP (17), length: 64) valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014 > 192.168.1.2.1034: UDP, length 36
22:00:26.201715 arp who-has 192.168.1.2 tell 192.168.1.1
22:00:26.201726 arp reply 192.168.1.2 is-at 00:04:11:11:11:11 (oui Unknown)
22:00:29.706020 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 128, id 31133, offset 0, flags [none], proto: UDP (17), length: 81) 192.168.1.2.1034 > valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014: UDP, length 53
22:00:38.751355 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 128, id 31256, offset 0, flags [none], proto: UDP (17), length: 81) 192.168.1.2.1034 > valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014: UDP, length 53


Network interfaces available for the capture:

#tcpdump -D
1.eth0
2.any (Pseudo-device that captures on all interfaces)
3.lo


To display numerical addresses rather than symbolic (DNS) addresses:

#tcpdump -n
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on eth0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 96 bytes

22:02:36.111595 IP 192.168.1.2.1034 > 68.142.64.164.27014: UDP, length 53
22:02:36.669853 IP 68.142.64.164.27014 > 192.168.1.2.1034: UDP, length 36
22:02:41.702977 arp who-has 192.168.1.2 tell 192.168.1.1
22:02:41.702984 arp reply 192.168.1.2 is-at 00:04:11:11:11:11
22:02:45.106515 IP 192.168.1.2.1034 > 68.142.64.164.27014: UDP, length 53
22:02:50.392139 IP 192.168.1.2.138 > 192.168.1.255.138: NBT UDP PACKET(138)
22:02:54.139658 IP 192.168.1.2.1034 > 68.142.64.164.27014: UDP, length 53
22:02:57.866958 IP 125.175.131.58.3608 > 192.168.1.2.9501: S 3275472679:3275472679(0) win 65535


To display the quick output:

#tcpdump -q
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on eth0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 96 bytes

22:03:55.594839 IP a213-22-130-46.cpe.netcabo.pt.3546 > 192.168.1.2.9501: tcp 0
22:03:55.698827 IP 192.168.1.2.9501 > a213-22-130-46.cpe.netcabo.pt.3546: tcp 0
22:03:56.068088 IP a213-22-130-46.cpe.netcabo.pt.3546 > 192.168.1.2.9501: tcp 0
22:03:56.068096 IP 192.168.1.2.9501 > a213-22-130-46.cpe.netcabo.pt.3546: tcp 0
22:03:57.362863 IP 192.168.1.2.1034 > valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014: UDP, length 53
22:03:57.964397 IP valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014 > 192.168.1.2.1034: UDP, length 36
22:04:06.406521 IP 192.168.1.2.1034 > valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014: UDP, length 53
22:04:15.393757 IP 192.168.1.2.1034 > valve-68-142-64-164.phx3.llnw.net.27014: UDP, length 53


Capture the traffic of a particular interface:

tcpdump -i eth0
To capture the UDP traffic:

#tcpdump udp
To capture the TCP port 80 traffic:

#tcpdump port http
To capture the traffic from a filter stored in a file:

#tcpdump -F file_name
To create a file where the filter is configured (here the TCP 80 port)

#vim file_name
port 80
To stop the capture after 20 packets:

#tcpdump -c 20
To send the capture output in a file instead of directly on the screen:

#tcpdump -w capture.log
To read a capture file:

#tcpdump -r capture.log
reading from file capture.log, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet)

09:33:51.977522 IP 192.168.1.36.40332 > rr.knams.wikimedia.org.www: P 1548302662:1548303275(613) ack 148796145 win 16527
09:33:52.031729 IP rr.knams.wikimedia.org.www > 192.168.1.36.40332: . ack 613 win 86
09:33:52.034414 IP rr.knams.wikimedia.org.www > 192.168.1.36.40332: P 1:511(510) ack 613 win86
09:33:52.034786 IP 192.168.1.36.40332 > rr.knams.wikimedia.org.www: . ack 511 win 16527


The captured data isn't stored in plain text so you cannot read it with a text editor, you have to use a special tool like TCPdump (see above) or Wireshark (Formerly Ethereal) which provides a graphical interface.

The capture.log file is opened with Wireshark.


To display the packets having "www.openmaniak.com" as their source or destination address:

#tcpdump host www.openmaniak.com
To display the FTP packets coming from 192.168.1.100 to 192.168.1.2:

#tcpdump src 192.168.1.100 and dst 192.168.1.2 and port ftp
To display the packets content:

#tcpdump -A
Packets capture during a FTP connection. The FTP password can be easily intercepted because it is sent in clear text to the server.

tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on ath0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 96 bytes
20:53:24.872785 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: S 4155598838:4155598838(0) win 5840
....g....................
............
20:53:24.879473 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: . ack 1228937421 win 183
....g.I@.............
........
20:53:24.881654 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: . ack 43 win 183
....g.I@.......8.....
......EN
20:53:26.402046 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: P 0:10(10) ack 43 win 183
....g.I@......`$.....
...=..ENUSER teddybear

20:53:26.403802 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: . ack 76 win 183
....h.I@.............
...>..E^
20:53:29.169036 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: P 10:25(15) ack 76 win 183
....h.I@......#c.....
......E^PASS wakeup

20:53:29.171553 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: . ack 96 win 183
....h.I@.,...........
......Ez
20:53:29.171649 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: P 25:31(6) ack 96 win 183
....h.I@.,...........
......EzSYST

20:53:29.211607 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: . ack 115 win 183
....h.I@.?.....j.....
......Ez
20:53:31.367619 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: P 31:37(6) ack 115 win 183
....h.I@.?...........
......EzQUIT

20:53:31.369316 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: . ack 155 win 183
....h.I@.g...........
......E.
20:53:31.369759 IP ubuntu.local.40205 > 192.168.1.2.ftp: F 37:37(0) ack 156 win 183
....h.I@.h.....e.....
......E.


We see in this capture the FTP username (teddybear) and password (wakeup).

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