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DNS Gazer: Passive DNS query/reply logging tool for security monitoring

mizutani profile image Masayoshi Mizutani ・4 min read

This post is an introduction of DNS gazer. DNS Gazer is a passive DNS packet analysis and logging tool for security monitoring. From security operation view, DNS query and reply logs are important to detect and investigate a security incident. An attacker who compromised the system use an unique and strange domain name. These domain names are often shared as IOC (Indicator Of Compromise). Then,

  • A security operator can detect malware infection, trojan activity and so on by comparing domain names that are appeared in internal DNS query/reply logs and shared ones.
  • Some malware uses DNS query to communicate with C2 (Command & Control) server. A security operator can find out which host communicates with C2 server in incident response.

To gathering DNS query and reply logs, DNS Gazer has following advantages.

  • Not only storing log to local file, but also continuously sending logs to fluentd.
  • Support both of a "transaction log" including query + reply and a "record log" that is extracted from DNS packet as indivisual record of each DNS section (Qeustion, Answer, etc.)

Getting started

Use case 1: Sending DNS transaction logs from network interface eth0 to fluentd on localhost and port 24224

$ dns-gazer -i eth0 -f localhost:24224
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Then, fluentd receives following logs.

2017-12-21 17:58:00.000000000 +0900 dns-gazer.dns.tx: {
  "client_addr": "10.139.96.169",
  "client_port": 53684,
  "query": [
    {
      "name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.",
      "section": "question",
      "type": "A"
    }
  ],
  "query_ts": 1444531212.628222,
  "reply": [
    {
      "name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.",
      "section": "question",
      "type": "A"
    },
    {
      "data": "23.100.102.231",
      "name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.",
      "section": "answer",
      "type": "A"
    }
  ],
  "reply_ts": 1444531212.643494,
  "server_addr": "210.196.3.183",
  "server_port": 53,
  "status": "success",
  "tx_id": 23904
}
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(Pretty printed for readability)

Use case 2: Printing DNS transaction logs from eth0 to stdout

$ dns-gazer -i eth0 -t -
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Then, output following logs to stdout.

2015-10-11T02:40:12+00:00   dns-gazer.dns.tx    {"client_addr": "10.139.96.169", "client_port": 53684, "query": [{"name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.", "section": "question", "type": "A"}], "query_ts": 1.44453e+09, "reply": [{"name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.", "section": "question", "type": "A"}, {"data": "23.100.102.231", "name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.", "section": "answer", "type": "A"}], "reply_ts": 1.44453e+09, "server_addr": "210.196.3.183", "server_port": 53, "status": "success", "tx_id": 23904}
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Use case 3: Printing not only DNS transaction logs but also "record logs" from eth0 to stdout

"Record log" means logs per DNS record. dns-gazer splits a DNS query/reply to multiple records by -R optoin. The record logs are for log managemennt system based on non-nested dictionary data type, such as Graylog. The record logs don't have nested dictionary and array.

$ dns-gazer -r captured.pcap -R -t -
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Then, output flowwing logs to stdout.

2015-10-11T02:40:12+00:00   dns-gazer.dns.record    {"client_addr": "10.139.96.169", "client_port": 53684, "msg_type": "query", "name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.", "section": "question", "server_addr": "210.196.3.183", "server_port": 53, "tx_id": 23904, "type": "A"}
2015-10-11T02:40:12+00:00   dns-gazer.dns.tx    {"client_addr": "10.139.96.169", "client_port": 53684, "query": [{"name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.", "section": "question", "type": "A"}], "query_ts": 1.44453e+09, "reply": [{"name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.", "section": "question", "type": "A"}, {"data": "23.100.102.231", "name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.", "section": "answer", "type": "A"}], "reply_ts": 1.44453e+09, "server_addr": "210.196.3.183", "server_port": 53, "status": "success", "tx_id": 23904}
2015-10-11T02:40:12+00:00   dns-gazer.dns.record    {"client_addr": "10.139.96.169", "client_port": 53684, "msg_type": "reply", "name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.", "section": "question", "server_addr": "210.196.3.183", "server_port": 53, "tx_id": 23904, "type": "A"}
2015-10-11T02:40:12+00:00   dns-gazer.dns.record    {"client_addr": "10.139.96.169", "client_port": 53684, "data": "23.100.102.231", "msg_type": "reply", "name": "bf-pro-front.cloudapp.net.", "section": "answer", "server_addr": "210.196.3.183", "server_port": 53, "tx_id": 23904, "type": "A"}

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How to use

Setup (Docker image)

DNS gazer docker images is available by this Dockerfile at mztn/dns-gazer

Requirements

  • Environment variables
    • DEVICE: Specify monitoring device, such as eth0. That will be passed to -i option.
    • FLUENTD_ADDRESS: Destination of fluentd forward input plugin, e.g. 127.0.0.1:24224 That will be passed to -f option.
  • network
    • --net=host is required because the docker container need to monitor network interface directly.

Example

$ docker run --net=host -e DEVICE=eth0 -e FLUENTD_ADDRESS=localhost:24224 mztn/dns-gazer
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Setup (Build source code)

Prerequisite

  • Support OS: Linux and macOSX
    • Linux >= 4.4.0
    • macOSX >= 10.12.6
  • C++11 compiler (Recommend: clang++ >= 3.9)
  • CMake >= 3.5.1
  • libpcap >= 1.7.4
  • libmsgpack >= 0.5.9

Build & install

$ git clone --recurse-submodules git@github.com:m-mizutani/dns-gazer.git
$ cd dns-gazer
$ cmake .
$ make
$ sudo make install
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If you have extra third party package directory (such as HomeBrew) and required libraries are in there, you can specify INC_DIR and LIB_DIR for cmake.

$ cmake -DINC_DIR=/opt/include -DLIB_DIR=/opt/lib .
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