With PAN-OS version 8.0 Palo Alto Networks introduced another IPv6 feature, namely “NDP Monitoring for Fast Device Location“. It basically adds a few information to the existing neighbor cache such as the User-ID (if present) and a “last reported” timestamp. That is: the admin has a new reporting window within the Palo Alto GUI that shows the reported IPv6 addresses along with its MAC addresses. This is really helpful for two reasons: 1) a single IPv6 node can have multiple IPv6 addresses which makes it much more difficult to track them back to the MAC address and 2) if SLAAC is used you now have a central point where you can look up the MAC-IPv6 bindings (comparable to the DHCP server lease for legacy IPv4).
In the legacy IPv4 world, the DHCP server allocates IPv4 addresses and thereby stores the MAC addresses of the clients. In the IPv6 world, if SLAAC (autoconfiguration) is used, no network or security device per se stores the binding between the MAC (layer 2) and the IPv6 (layer 3) addresses from the clients. That is, a subsequent analysis of network behaviour corresponding to concrete IPv6 addresses and their client machines is not possible anymore. The mapping of “identity to IP” is not done automatically somewhere.
A simple way to overcome this issue is to install a service that captures Duplicate Address Detection (DAD) messages from all clients on the subnet in order to store the bindings of MAC and IPv6 addresses. This can be done with a small Tcpdump script on a dedicated Ethernet interface of a Linux host.
In this blog post I will present a use case for storing these bindings, the concept of the DAD messages, a Tcpdump script for doing this job, and the disadvantages and alternatives of this method.