Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tool review: NetworkMiner Professional 1.2

I've been slow in undertaking this review as NetworkMiner's Erik Hjelmvik sent me NetworkMiner Professional 1.1 when it was released and 1.2 is now available.
Seeing Richard Bejtlich's discussion of Pro 1.2 has served to get me off the schnide and is helpful as I will point you to his post as an ideal primer while I go into to a bit deeper detail as to some of NetworkMiner's power as well as what distinguishes Professional from the free edition.
I covered NetworkMiner in toolsmith in August 2008 back when it was version 0.84. Erik has accomplished all of his goals for improvement as identified in the article including reporting, faster parsing of large PCAP files (.735 MB/s at the command-line),  more protocols implemented, and PIPI (Port Independent Protocol Identification). NetworkMiner Professional 1.2 incorporates all of the above.
To exemplify NetworkMiner Professional's PIPI capabilities, I changed my lab web server port to 6667, then set NetworkMiner to grab a live capture while browsing to the reconfigured server.
Note: you need to Run as Administrator to grab the interface on Windows 7.
Sure, it's more likely that someone would be more likely to hide evil traffic over port 80 but you get the point. As Richard said, "PIPI has many security implications for discovery and (preferably) denial of covert channels, back doors, and other policy-violating channels."
Note as seen in Figure 1 that NetworkMiner Professional clearly differentiates HTTP traffic regardless of the fact that it traversed port 6667.

Figure 1
I was a bit surprised to note that the Hosts view as seen in Figure 1 did not identify that any data was pushed as cleartext although it unequivocally identified the admin/password combination I sent in both the Cleartext view and the Credentials view.
I used an 18.8MB PCAP from the Xplico sample set as it includes a plethora of protocols and carve-able content with which to test NetworkMiner Professional.
Exporting results to CSV for reporting is as easy as File --> Export to CSV and selecting output of your choosing. As seen in Figure 2 I opted for Messages as NetworkMiner Professional cleanly carved out an MSN to Yahoo email session (HTTPS, anyone?).

Figure 2
Geo IP localization is a real standout too. You'll see it in play as you explore host details in Hosts view as seen in Figure 3.
Figure 3
You may find host coloring useful too should you wish to tag hosts for easy identification later as seen in Figure 4.

Figure 4
Finally, I am most excited about NetworkMinerCLI for command-line scripting support. 
I ran a PCAP taken from a VM infected with Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Banload.MC through NetworkMinerCLI and was amply rewarded for my efforts...right after I excluded the output directory from AV detection.
Figure 5 shows the command executed at the prompt coupled with the resulting assembled files and CSVs populated to the output directory as seen via Windows Explorer.

Figure 5
The assembled files included all the malicious binaries disguised as JPGs as downloaded from the evil server. File carving network forensic analysis juju with easy CLI scripting. Bonus!

In closing, NetworkMiner Professional 1.2 is a mature, highly useful tool and well worthy of consideration for purchase by investigators and analysts tasked with NFAT activity. 
I'm glad to provide further feedback via email and recommend you reach out to Erik as well via info [at] if you have questions.

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