Scalable Extraction, Aggregation, and Response to Network Intelligence

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1 Scalable Extraction, Aggregation, and Response to Network Intelligence

2 Agenda Explain the two major limitations of using Netflow for Network Monitoring Scalability and Visibility How to resolve these issues through a combination of Deep Packet Inspection and IPFIX Mediation Applications of this approach to Cybersecurity and Network Monitoring Mantaro s work in this area

3 Netflow Introduction Netflow is a protocol that was introduced by Cisco and is used for flow reporting on network traffic Information is typically reported on a flow basis, rather than on a packet basis However it is possible to report on packets via sampling The two popular versions are Netflow v5 and Netflow v9 Other equipment vendors have their own variants but they are similar Netflow IPFIX NetStream Jflow Rflow Cflowd

4 Information Reported in Netflow v5 Source and Destination IP addresses SNMP indices of input and output interface IP address of next hop Packets in the flow NETFLOW Total L3 bytes in flow Sysuptime of start and end of flow Source and Destination ports IP protocol, TOS, TCP flag info L7-Application L6-Presentation L5 - Session L4 -Transport L3- Network L2 Data Link L1 -Physical OSI Model

5 The difference between Netflow v5 and v9 Netflow v9 added support for IPv6 addresses Concept of a template was introduced in Netflow v9 A template is a packet that is used to describe the structure of subsequent Netflow packets of the same identifier It is like a recipe that tells the Collector the format of the information to follow The advantage of this scheme is that the data sets are purely an identifier and associated data. They do not have any other parsing information which makes transport more efficient Netflow v5 Netflow v9 Flow Header Flow Record Flow Header Template Template Template Flow Header Data Record Data Record Data Record Fixed Format Extensible Format

6 Pros and Cons of Netflow Pro Gives flow level traffic visibility which enables numerous applications Con Adds processing load to routers and switches Reports on L3 and L4 information as well as flow timing Reports on flow length Supported on many different networking devices natively Is often run in sampled mode to reduce strain on the router and misses fidelity on small flows Higher layer visibility limited to IP protocol field Only reports L3 and L4 metadata Collection Architecture Doesn t Scale Well to 10Gbps rates How Do We Address These Issues?

7 Problem 1 More Visibility Needed We d Like to See More Than L3 and L4 Metadata for better Situational Awareness Combine Deep Packet Inspection with IPFIX!

8 IPFIX Introduced in 2008 IPFIX was standardized by the IETF in Jan 2008 It uses the template based approach started in Netflow v9 Added Two Very Important New Features: 1. An Enterprise specific field 2. Variable length fields It is space efficient and gives us flexibility to include Enterprise specific data!

9 IPFIX Framework and Nomenclature Packet Headers Metering Process Exporting Process IPFIX Collecting Process Collecting Process Observation Point Exporting Process Exporter Collector

10 Deep Packet Inspection for L4 through L7 Visibility IPFIX has enterprise specific fields Mantaro has created one to encapsulate metadata extracted through Deep Packet Inspection What we do is report session level metadata using an IPFIX enterprise specific field The DPI engine can extract application layer metadata from different protocols (700 protocols and about 4000 metadata attributes) Mantaro IPFIX L7-Application L6-Presentation L5 - Session L4 -Transport L3- Network L2 Data Link L1 -Physical

11 Problem 2 Scaling of Metadata Collection to Multi-Gigabit Speeds How can we architect the system to scale? Leverage Session Level Metadata and use IPFIX Mediation!

12 Session Versus Packet Level Extraction To do a wide survey of the network, you cannot work at the packet level The session level is the only way to scale to multi-gigabit speeds and beyond. Ideally you d like to do this without having to rely on sampling. By reporting at the session level, you perform an information reduction exercise which reduces metadata rates by 100 times.

13 Packet Based Metadata Reporting MySQL Limit Doesn t Scale: DB can t keep up

14 Flow Based Metadata Reporting Scales to below MySQL limit!

15 Current Monitoring Paradigm Network Traffic Exporter 1 Observation Point Network Traffic Exporter 2 Observation Point Netflow Collector Metadata Database Network Traffic Exporter 3 Collection Point Observation Point Does Not Scale Metadata Overwhelms Database

16 IPFIX Mediation IPFIX Mediation was proposed to provide Aggregation Correlation Filtering Data Record modification Preprocessing Reduces Load on Exporter Preprocesses IPFIX for the Collector

17 IPFIX Mediation Architecture Exporter 1 Mediator Anonymization Collector 1 Exporter 2 Aggregation Conversion Correlation Collector 2 Selection Exporter N Mediator N Collector N

18 Advantages of this solution Unparalleled visibility into application layer data Scales to higher network speeds Standards Based meaning no lock in to existing vendors Scales to multiple observation points Architecture enables new applications Flexibility with mediation capabilities Session based reporting reduces monitoring information

19 Mantaro s Work In This Area Created an IPFIX Exporter capable of reporting on 700 protocols and about 4000 metadata attributes Created an IPFIX Collector that can log and store these attributes to a database Currently designing a standards compliant IPFIX Mediator Have created numerous applications to show the utility of the system

20 Mantaro s Approach Enables: Network Performance Monitoring Traffic Profiling Network Asset Discovery Network Forensics IM and Investigation Network Profiling Application Intelligent Firewall

21 Thank You! Please visit the Mantaro booth for a demonstration of our system For more information please contact us at

22 References RFC 5470 RFC 6183 draft-ietf-ipfix-mediators-problem-statement-09 draft-claise-ipfix-mediation-protocol-04

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