TCP/IP Dump


TCP/IP is standard protocol for all type of communication between computers.  IP (Internet Protocol) provides functionality at the network layer (addressing and routing) while TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) provides (virtual) end-to-end connectivity.  The TCP/IP family includes a host of other useful protocols such as ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol), IGMP (Internet Group Management Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol).  But majority of today’s networks use TCP/IP only. 


Communication between computers using TCP/IP takes place through the exchange of packets.  A Packet is a PDU (Protocol Data Unit) and the IP layer.  The PDU and the TCP layer is called segment while a PDU at the data-link layer such as Ethernet is called a frame. However the term packet is generically used to describe the data unit that is exchanged between TCP/IP layers and between two computers.

This is how Ethernet Frame looks:



   +---------------------------------------------------------------+
   |         |            |              |              |          |   
   | Ethernet|     IP     |     TCP      | Encapsulated | Ethernet |  
   | Header  |    Header  |    Header    |    Data      | Trailer  |  
   |         |            |              |              |  (FCS)   |  
   +----------------------------------------------------------------+
                <- 20 bytes -> <- 40 bytes ->                                     
       
            <---------- max length = 1500 bytes ---------->




TCP/IP dump is a utility that allows a user to intercept and capture packets passing through a network interface.  This is an extremely nifty little utility which can help a user to troubleshoot network applications.  This Utility captures all the packets received by a network interface.

Syntax:

tcpdump [ -AdDefIKlLnNOpqRStuUvxX ] [ -B buffer_size ] [ -c count ] 

         [ -C file_size ] [ -G rotate_seconds ] [ -F file ] 

         [ -i interface ] [ -m module ] [ -M secret ] 

         [ -r file ] [ -s snaplen ] [ -T type ] [ -w file ] 

         [ -W filecount ] 

         [ -E spi@ipaddr algo:secret,... ] 

         [ -y datalinktype ] [ -z postrotate-command ] [ -Z user ] 
         [ expression ] 
 
Options



-A
Print each packet (minus its link level header) in ASCII. Handy for capturing web pages.
-B
Set the operating system capture buffer size to buffer_size.
-c
Exit after receiving count packets.
-C
Before writing a raw packet to a savefile, check whether the file is currently larger than file_size and, if so, close the current savefile and open a new one. Savefiles after the first savefile will have the name specified with the -wflag, with a number after it, starting at 1 and continuing upward. The units of file_size are millions of bytes (1,000,000 bytes, not 1,048,576 bytes).
-d
Dump the compiled packet-matching code in a human readable form to standard output and stop.
-dd
Dump packet-matching code as a C program fragment.
-ddd
Dump packet-matching code as decimal numbers (preceded with a count).
-D
Print the list of the network interfaces available on the system and on which tcpdump can capture packets. For each network interface, a number and an interface name, possibly followed by a text description of the interface, is printed. The interface name or the number can be supplied to the -i flag to specify an interface on which to capture.
This can be useful on systems that don't have a command to list them (e.g., Windows systems, or UNIX systems lacking ifconfig -a); the number can be useful on Windows 2000 and later systems, where the interface name is a somewhat complex string.
The -D flag will not be supported if tcpdump was built with an older version of libpcap that lacks the pcap_findalldevs() function.
-e
Print the link-level header on each dump line.
-E
Use spi@ipaddr algo:secret for decrypting IPsec ESP packets that are addressed to addr and contain Security Parameter Index value spi. This combination may be repeated with comma or newline seperation.
Note that setting the secret for IPv4 ESP packets is supported at this time.
Algorithms may be des-cbc, 3des-cbc, blowfish-cbc, rc3-cbc, cast128-cbc, or none. The default is des-cbc. The ability to decrypt packets is only present if tcpdump was compiled with cryptography enabled.
secret is the ASCII text for ESP secret key. If preceeded by 0x, then a hex value will be read.
The option assumes RFC2406 ESP, not RFC1827 ESP. The option is only for debugging purposes, and the use of this option with a true `secret' key is discouraged. By presenting IPsec secret key onto command line you make it visible to others, via ps(1) and other occasions.
In addition to the above syntax, the syntax file name may be used to have tcpdump read the provided file in. The file is opened upon receiving the first ESP packet, so any special permissions that tcpdump may have been given should already have been given up.
-f
Print `foreign' IPv4 addresses numerically rather than symbolically (this option is intended to get around serious brain damage in Sun's NIS server --- usually it hangs forever translating non-local internet numbers).
The test for `foreign' IPv4 addresses is done using the IPv4 address and netmask of the interface on which capture is being done. If that address or netmask are not available, available, either because the interface on which capture is being done has no address or netmask or because the capture is being done on the Linux "any" interface, which can capture on more than one interface, this option will not work correctly.
-F
Use file as input for the filter expression. An additional expression given on the command line is ignored.
-G
If specified, rotates the dump file specified with the -w option every rotate_seconds seconds. Savefiles will have the name specified by -w which should include a time format as defined by strftime(3). If no time format is specified, each new file will overwrite the previous.
If used in conjunction with the -C option, filenames will take the form of `file<count>'.
-i
Listen on interface. If unspecified, tcpdump searches the system interface list for the lowest numbered, configured up interface (excluding loopback). Ties are broken by choosing the earliest match.
On Linux systems with 2.2 or later kernels, an interface argument of ``any'' can be used to capture packets from all interfaces. Note that captures on the ``any'' device will not be done in promiscuous mode.
If the -D flag is supported, an interface number as printed by that flag can be used as the interface argument.
-I
Put the interface in "monitor mode"; this is supported only on IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi interfaces, and supported only on some operating systems.
Note that in monitor mode the adapter might disassociate from the network with which it's associated, so that you will not be able to use any wireless networks with that adapter. This could prevent accessing files on a network server, or resolving host names or network addresses, if you are capturing in monitor mode and are not connected to another network with another adapter.
This flag will affect the output of the -L flag. If -I isn't specified, only those link-layer types available when not in monitor mode will be shown; if -I is specified, only those link-layer types available when in monitor mode will be shown.
-K
Don't attempt to verify IP, TCP, or UDP checksums. This is useful for interfaces that perform some or all of those checksum calculation in hardware; otherwise, all outgoing TCP checksums will be flagged as bad.
-l
Make stdout line buffered. Useful if you want to see the data while capturing it. E.g., 
``tcpdump  -l  |  tee dat'' or ``tcpdump  -l   > dat  &  tail  -f  dat''.
-L
List the known data link types for the interface, in the specified mode, and exit. The list of known data link types may be dependent on the specified mode; for example, on some platforms, a Wi-Fi interface might support one set of data link types when not in monitor mode (for example, it might support only fake Ethernet headers, or might support 802.11 headers but not support 802.11 headers with radio information) and another set of data link types when in monitor mode (for example, it might support 802.11 headers, or 802.11 headers with radio information, only in monitor mode).
-m
Load SMI MIB module definitions from file module. This option can be used several times to load several MIB modules into tcpdump.
-M
Use secret as a shared secret for validating the digests found in TCP segments with the TCP-MD5 option (RFC 2385), if present.
-n
Don't convert addresses (i.e., host addresses, port numbers, etc.) to names.
-N
Don't print domain name qualification of host names. E.g., if you give this flag then tcpdump will print ``nic'' instead of ``nic.ddn.mil''.
-O
Do not run the packet-matching code optimizer. This is useful only if you suspect a bug in the optimizer.
-p
Don't put the interface into promiscuous mode. Note that the interface might be in promiscuous mode for some other reason; hence, `-p' cannot be used as an abbreviation for `ether host {local-hw-addr} or ether broadcast'.
-q
Quick (quiet?) output. Print less protocol information so output lines are shorter.
-R
Assume ESP/AH packets to be based on old specification (RFC1825 to RFC1829). If specified, tcpdump will not print replay prevention field. Since there is no protocol version field in ESP/AH specification, tcpdump cannot deduce the version of ESP/AH protocol.
-r
Read packets from file (which was created with the -w option). Standard input is used if file is ``-''.
-S
Print absolute, rather than relative, TCP sequence numbers.
-s
Snarf snaplen bytes of data from each packet rather than the default of 65535 bytes. Packets truncated because of a limited snapshot are indicated in the output with ``[|proto]'', where proto is the name of the protocol level at which the truncation has occurred. Note that taking larger snapshots both increases the amount of time it takes to process packets and, effectively, decreases the amount of packet buffering. This may cause packets to be lost. You should limit snaplen to the smallest number that will capture the protocol information you're interested in. Setting snaplen to 0 sets it to the default of 65535, for backwards compatibility with recent older versions oftcpdump.
-T
Force packets selected by "expression" to be interpreted the specified type. Currently known types are aodv (Ad-hoc On-demand Distance Vector protocol), cnfp (Cisco NetFlow protocol), rpc (Remote Procedure Call), rtp(Real-Time Applications protocol), rtcp (Real-Time Applications control protocol), snmp (Simple Network Management Protocol), tftp (Trivial File Transfer Protocol), vat (Visual Audio Tool), and wb (distributed White Board).
-t
Don't print a timestamp on each dump line.
-tt
Print an unformatted timestamp on each dump line.
-ttt
Print a delta (micro-second resolution) between current and previous line on each dump line.
-tttt
Print a timestamp in default format proceeded by date on each dump line.
-ttttt
Print a delta (micro-second resolution) between current and first line on each dump line.
-u
Print undecoded NFS handles.
-U
Make output saved via the -w option ``packet-buffered''; i.e., as each packet is saved, it will be written to the output file, rather than being written only when the output buffer fills.
The -U flag will not be supported if tcpdump was built with an older version of libpcap that lacks the pcap_dump_flush() function.
-v
When parsing and printing, produce (slightly more) verbose output. For example, the time to live, identification, total length and options in an IP packet are printed. Also enables additional packet integrity checks such as verifying the IP and ICMP header checksum.
When writing to a file with the -w option, report, every 10 seconds, the number of packets captured.
-vv
Even more verbose output. For example, additional fields are printed from NFS reply packets, and SMB packets are fully decoded.
-vvv
Even more verbose output. For example, telnet SB ... SE options are printed in full. With -X Telnet options are printed in hex as well.
-w
Write the raw packets to file rather than parsing and printing them out. They can later be printed with the -r option. Standard output is used if file is ``-''. See pcap-savefile(5) for a description of the file format.
-W
Used in conjunction with the -C option, this will limit the number of files created to the specified number, and begin overwriting files from the beginning, thus creating a 'rotating' buffer. In addition, it will name the files with enough leading 0s to support the maximum number of files, allowing them to sort correctly.
Used in conjunction with the -G option, this will limit the number of rotated dump files that get created, exiting with status 0 when reaching the limit. If used with -C as well, the behavior will result in cyclical files per timeslice.
-x
When parsing and printing, in addition to printing the headers of each packet, print the data of each packet (minus its link level header) in hex. The smaller of the entire packet or snaplen bytes will be printed. Note that this is the entire link-layer packet, so for link layers that pad (e.g. Ethernet), the padding bytes will also be printed when the higher layer packet is shorter than the required padding.
-xx
When parsing and printing, in addition to printing the headers of each packet, print the data of each packet, including its link level header, in hex.
-X
When parsing and printing, in addition to printing the headers of each packet, print the data of each packet (minus its link level header) in hex and ASCII. This is very handy for analysing new protocols.
-XX
When parsing and printing, in addition to printing the headers of each packet, print the data of each packet, including its link level header, in hex and ASCII.
-y
Set the data link type to use while capturing packets to datalinktype.
-z
Used in conjunction with the -C or -G options, this will make tcpdump run " command file " where file is the savefile being closed after each rotation. For example, specifying -z gzip or -z bzip2 will compress each savefile using gzip or bzip2.
Note that tcpdump will run the command in parallel to the capture, using the lowest priority so that this doesn't disturb the capture process.
And in case you would like to use a command that itself takes flags or different arguments, you can always write a shell script that will take the savefile name as the only argument, make the flags & arguments arrangements and execute the command that you want.
-Z
Drops privileges (if root) and changes user ID to user and the group ID to the primary group of user.
This behavior can also be enabled by default at compile time.


Examples

  • To print all packets arriving at or departing from sundown:
    • tcpdump host sundown
  • To print traffic between helios and either hot or ace:
    • tcpdump host helios and \( hot or ace \)
  • To print all IP packets between ace and any host except helios:
    • tcpdump ip host ace and not helios
  • To print all traffic between local hosts and hosts at Berkeley:
    • tcpdump net ucb-ether
  • To print all ftp traffic through internet gateway snup: (note that the expression is quoted to prevent the shell from (mis-)interpreting the parentheses):
    • tcpdump 'gateway snup and (port ftp or ftp-data)'
  • To print traffic neither sourced from nor destined for local hosts (if you gateway to one other net, this stuff should never make it onto your local net).
    • tcpdump ip and not net localnet
  • To print the start and end packets (the SYN and FIN packets) of each TCP conversation that involves a non-local host.
    • tcpdump 'tcp[tcpflags] & (tcp-syn|tcp-fin) != 0 and not src and dst net localnet'
  • To print all IPv4 HTTP packets to and from port 80, i.e. print only packets that contain data, not, for example, SYN and FIN packets and ACK-only packets. (IPv6 is left as an exercise for the reader.)
    • tcpdump 'tcp port 80 and (((ip[2:2] - ((ip[0]&0xf)<<2)) - ((tcp[12]&0xf0)>>2)) != 0)'
  • To print IP packets longer than 576 bytes sent through gateway snup:
    • tcpdump 'gateway snup and ip[2:2] > 576'
  • To print IP broadcast or multicast packets that were not sent via Ethernet broadcast or multicast:
    • tcpdump 'ether[0] & 1 = 0 and ip[16] >= 224'
  • To print all ICMP packets that are not echo requests/replies (i.e., not ping packets):
    • tcpdump 'icmp[icmptype] != icmp-echo and icmp[icmptype] != icmp-echoreply'


TCP IP packet format


ASCII representation from RFC 791


    0                   1                   2                   3  
    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |Version|  IHL  |Type of Service|          Total Length         |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |         Identification        |Flags|      Fragment Offset    |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |  Time to Live |    Protocol   |         Header Checksum       |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |                       Source Address                          |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |                    Destination Address                        |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |                    Options                    |    Padding    |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
                                                                    
                       IP Header Format                             

ASCII representation from RFC 793


    0                   1                   2                   3  
    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |          Source Port          |       Destination Port        |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |                        Sequence Number                        |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |                    Acknowledgment Number                      |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |  Data |           |U|A|P|R|S|F|                               |
   | Offset| Reserved  |R|C|S|S|Y|I|            Window             |
   |       |           |G|K|H|T|N|N|                               |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |           Checksum            |         Urgent Pointer        |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |                    Options                    |    Padding    |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
   |                             data                              |
   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

                            TCP Header Format


1 comment:

  1. All clinches in one move. thanks for the informative stuff!
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