Category Archives: Memorandum

Posts with the category “Memo” contain no new stuff for the Internet community but provide some useful aggregations of information for certain IT related things.

Zehn Vorteile von IPv6!

Das moderne Internetprotokoll IPv6 gilt als so komplex und umständlich, dass manche Administratoren beharrlich beim vertrauten, aber veralteten IPv4 bleiben. Zehn Praxisbeispiele belegen, warum viele Netzwerkanwendungen besser und kostengünstiger auf IPv6 laufen und wie Admins davon profitieren.

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Netzwerkprotokolle: Nachschlagewerk für Wireshark

Wenn es im Netzwerk knirscht, versuchen Admins den Fehler in Analyse-Tools wie Wireshark anhand von Paketmitschnitten einzukreisen. Jedoch hat der Herr viel mehr Netzwerkprotokolle gegeben, als sich ein Admin-­Hirn in allen Details merken kann. Eine Referenzdatei, die zahlreiche korrekte Protokoll­abläufe enthält, gibt Orientierung.

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Netzwerkmitschnitte mit tshark analysieren

Haben Sie mal Netzwerkmitschnitte untersucht, ohne zu wissen, was genau Sie suchen? Mit Wireshark wird das leicht zu einer Odyssee: Das Analysewerkzeug filtert zwar fabelhaft, reagiert bei großen Datenmengen aber schnell zäh.

Was bei solchen Problemstellungen hilft ist: tshark! Ein Tool, mit welchem Sie auch große Packet Captures einfach anhand gängiger Kriterien durchforsten können.

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Server-Verfügbarkeit: Monitoring-Werkzeuge

Angreifer verwenden gern Ping und Traceroute, um Server im Internet ausfindig zu machen. Das bringt viele Security-Admins in Versuchung, den Ping- und Traceroute-Verkehr mittels ihrer Firewall in ihrem Netz zu unterbinden. Doch damit behindern sie nur die Arbeit von Server-Administratoren, denn es gibt noch viel mehr Möglichkeiten, Server aufzuspüren.

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Palo Packet Capture: Choosing the Right Filter

Palo Alto firewalls have a nice packet capture feature. It enables you to capture packets as they traverse the firewall. While you might be familiar with the four stages that the Palo can capture (firewall, drop, transmit, receive), it’s sometimes hard to set the correct filter – especially when it comes to NAT scenarios. (At least it was hard for me…)

I am using the packet capture feature very often for scenarios in which the IP connections are in fact working (hence no problems at the tx/rx level nor on the security policy/profile) but where I want to verify certain details of the connection itself. I’m simply using the Palo as a capturing device here, similar to a SPAN port on a switch. (Yes, I’m aware of all disadvantages of not using a real TAP and a real capture device.) In the end, I want a single pcap which shows all relevant packets for a client-server connection, even if NAT is in place. Wireshark should be able to correlate the incoming/outgoing packets into a single TCP stream. Furthermore, I definitely want to use a filter to limit the amount of captured packets. This is how I’m doing it:

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Pi-hole Installation Guide

You probably know already the concept of the Pi-hole. If not: It’s a (forwarding) DNS server that you can install on your private network at home. All your clients, incl. every single smartphone, tablet, laptop, and IoT devices such as smart TVs or light bulb bridges, can use this Pi-hole service as their DNS server. Now here’s the point: it not only caches DNS entries, but blocks certain queries for hostnames that are used for ads, tracking, or even malware. That is: You don’t have to use an ad- or track-blocker on your devices (which is not feasible on smart TVs or smartphone apps, etc.), but you’re blocking this kind of sites entirely. Nice approach!

Yes, there are already some setup tutorials for the Pi-hole out there. However, it’s not only about installing the mere Pi-hole, but setting it up with your own recursive DNS server (since the default installation forwards to public DNS servers), using DNSSEC, and adding some more adlists. That’s why I am listing my installation procedure here as well. However, it’s not a complete beginners guide. You’ll need some basic Linux know-how.

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syslog-ng with TLS: Installation Guide

Some years ago I wrote a blog post called “Basic syslog-ng Installation“. While I used it myself quite often in my labs or at the customers’ sites, it shows only basic UDP transport which is both unreliable and insecure. So, let’s have a look at a fresh installation of syslog-ng with TLS support for security reasons. However, TCP and UDP as transport are covered as well for the support of legacy systems.

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Nping aka Layer 4 Ping

I was missing a generic layer 4 ping in my toolbox. Initially searching for a mere TCP ping, I have found Nping which completely satisfies my needs and gives so much more. ;)

What’s a layer 4 ping, and why? –> A normal ping (= ICMP echo-request) reveals whether the destination IP address, that is: the mere server/VM, is up and running. That’s great for a layer 3 networker since routing to and from the destination is already working. However, it does NOT reveal whether or not a service at layer 4 (TCP or UDP) is up and running as well. That’s what a layer 4 ping is about: sending TCP SYNs to the port in question, waiting for a “SYN ACK” (port is listening) or “RST”/no reply (port is not available). Common use cases: Waiting for a service to start again after an upgrade, or waiting for new firewall policies (to allow or deny) a certain port.

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I Love IPv6 Addressing!

Probably the biggest prejudice when it comes to IPv6 is: “I don’t like those long addresses – they are hard to remember.” While this seems to be obvious due to the length and hexadecimal presentation of v6 addresses, it is NOT true. In the end, you’ll love IPv6 addresses in your own networks. This is why – summed up in one poster:

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Basic TCP and UDP Demos w/ netcat and telnet

I am currently working on a network & security training, module “OSI Layer 4 – Transport”. Therefore I made a very basic demo of a TCP and UDP connection in order to see the common “SYN, SYN-ACK, ACK” for TCP while none of them for UDP, “Follow TCP/UDP Stream” in Wireshark, and so on. I wanted to show that it’s not that complicated at all. Every common application/service simply uses these data streams to transfer data aka bytes between a client and a server.

That is: Here are the Linux commands for basic lab, a downloadable pcap, and, as always, some Wireshark screenshots:

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Adding your NTP Server to the NTP Pool Project

You have a running NTP server with a static IP address? What about joining the NTP Pool project by adding your server to the pool? You will give something back to the Internet community and feel good about it. ;)

It doesn’t matter if you’re running a Raspberry Pi with GPS/DCF77 on your home, or a fully-featured NTP appliance such as the ones from Meinberg on your enterprise DMZ. Just a few clicks and your server will be used by the NTP Pool’s round-robin DNS. Here’s a simple tutorial:

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Monitoring a Meinberg LANTIME NTP Server

Monitoring a Meinberg LANTIME appliance is much easier than monitoring DIY NTP servers. Why? Because you can use the provided enterprise MIB and load it into your SNMP-based monitoring system. Great. The MIB serves many OIDs such as the firmware version, reference clock state, offset, client requests, and even more specific ones such as “correlation” and “field strength” in case of my phase-modulated DCF77 receiver (which is called “PZF” by Meinberg). And since the LANTIME is built upon Linux, you can use the well-known system and interfaces MIBs as well for basic coverage. Let’s dig into it:

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Monitoring a GPS NTP Server

Beyond monitoring Linux OS and basic NTP statistics of your stratum 1 GPS NTP server, you can get some more values from the GPS receiver itself, namely the number of satellites (active & in view) as well as the GPS fix and dilution of precision aka DOP. This brings a few more graphs and details. Nice. Let’s go:

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Monitoring a DCF77 NTP Server

Now that you’re monitoring the Linux operating system as well as the NTP server basics, it’s interesting to have a look at some more details about the DCF77 receiver. Honestly, there is only one more variable that gives a few details, namely the Clock Status Word and its Event Field. At least you have one more graph in your monitoring system. ;)

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