How to use Wireshark tshark Command for Custom Ports and Text Files

by Santosh Yadav on May 6, 2014

Wireshark is an open-source packet analyser used for network analysis.

It can capture, dissect, and decode various protocols.

In this tutorial we will discuss couple of problematic scenarios and how to use wireshark command line tools to analyse the packet.

Scenario 1: Using non-standard Port with tshark for Analysis

Wireshark can dissect and decode the specific protocols (contained in the payload message) based on the port number assigned for that protocol, which is saved in its preferences file.

Suppose tshark is dissecting ldap packet, and the default port number for ldap server is 389. If a message has port number 389 either in source port or destination port, tshark would understand that it is a ldap message and will decode it properly.

But if ldap is configured on some other port number, we need to explicitly specify the port number to the tool. We can do it using one of the following two methods:

Hardcode Port Number in Preference File

The first method is to list all the other port number that you like to configure in the wireshark preference file.

Wireshark preference file is ~/.wireshark/preferences.

The following is the ldap section of the preferences file ~/.wireshark/preferences:

If your LDAP Server is configured on port number 400, just append the port number to the existing value as shown below:

# Set the port for LDAP operations
ldap.tcp.port: 389,400

# Set the port for LDAP operations over SSL
ldap.ssl.port: 636,400

# Set the TCP port for messages (if other than the default of 646)
ldp.tcp.port: 646,400

# Set the UDP port for messages (if other than the default of 646)
ldp.udp.port: 646,400

Use tshark Command Line -o Option

Specify port information using -o option. The format should be exactly in the same way how it is listed in the preference file as shown in the example.

# tshark -r ../temp.pcap  -o ldap.tcp.port:389

Let us use the diameter protocol as an example. If you don’t provide the port information to tshark, it won’t dissect the payload part, as the port no is not present in preferences file.

# tshark -r ../temp.pcap
Data (204 bytes)
0000  01 00 00 cc 00 00 01 2e 01 00 00 00 86 26 73 df   .............&s.
0010  dc 67 4a 66 00 00 01 07 40 00 00 2c 61 61 61 3a   .gJf....@..,aaa:
0020  2f 2f 31 30 2e 34 39 2e 31 31 2e 31 35 30 3a 34   //10.49.11.150:4
0030  38 37 38 3b 31 33 36 38 37 37 39 35 37 30 3b 32   878;1368779570;2
0040  00 00 01 08 40 00 00 22 68 73 73 2d 32 2e 68 73   ....@.."bss-2.bs
0050  73 62 6c 61 64 65 2e 72 61 6e 63 6f 72 65 2e 63   damadd.anduore.c
0060  6f 6d 00 00 00 00 01 28 40 00 00 1c 68 73 73 62   od.....(@...badb
0070  6c 61 64 65 2e 72 61 6e 63 6f 72 65 2e 63 6f 6d   pale.ramcoe.com
0080  00 00 01 29 40 00 00 20 00 00 01 0a 40 00 00 0c   ...)@.. ....@...
0090  00 00 28 af 00 00 01 2a 40 00 00 0c 00 00 13 89   ..(....*@.......
00a0  00 00 01 15 40 00 00 0c 00 00 00 01 00 00 01 04   ....@...........
00b0  40 00 00 20 00 00 01 02 40 00 00 0c 01 00 00 00   @.. ....@.......
00c0  00 00 01 0a 40 00 00 0c 00 00 28 af               ....@.....(.
    Data: 010000cc0000012e01000000862673dfdc674a6600000107...
    [Length: 204]

When you use the -R option , it won’t even print a single character.

# tshark -r ../temp.pcap  -V -R diameter
Running as user "root" and group "root". This could be dangerous.

When you provide the port number information for diameter as shown below, tshark command will work as expected and display appropriate information.

# tshark -r ../temp.pcap -odiameter.tcp.ports:3868 -R diameter
Running as user "root" and group "root". This could be dangerous.
  1   0.000000 192.168.129.11 -> 192.168.129.68 DIAMETER cmd=Location-InfoRequest(302) flags=R--- appl=3GPP Cx(16777216) h2h=862673df e2e=dc674a66
  2   0.002474 192.168.129.68 -> 192.168.129.11 DIAMETER cmd=Location-InfoAnswer(302) flags=---- appl=3GPP Cx(16777216) h2h=862673df e2e=dc674a66

Scenario 2: Analyze using only Byte Buffer of Packet

If you don’t have a pcap file, and only have the byte buffer of packet, use this method.

Suppose in the log file of your development server you found bytearray of the packet, and you want to analyse that using tshark.

First convert the byte array into hex format, a simple printf(%2X) will do that.

3c d9 2b 09 fb 24 00 26 b9 8c 89 a6 08 00 45 00
01 20 d6 cb 40 00 40 06 08 9c ac 10 81 0b ac 10
81 44 c4 96 0f 1c 0a 46 92 fc 64 6e 47 7b 80 18
00 36 32 36 00 00 01 01 08 0a 32 02 45 fa 04 e0
ba f4 01 00 00 ec 80 00 01 2e 01 00 00 00 86 26
73 de dc 67 4a 65 00 00 01 07 40 00 00 2c 61 61
61 3a 2f 2f 31 30 2e 34 39 2e 31 31 2e 31 35 30

Now you want to filter out the information from the above output. First thing you need to do is set offsets for this byte array and append this in every line, you can write a code to automate this.

0000   3c d9 2b 09 fb 24 00 26 b9 8c 89 a6 08 00 45 00 
0010   01 20 d6 cb 40 00 40 06 08 9c ac 10 81 0b ac 10 
0020   81 44 c4 96 0f 1c 0a 46 92 fc 64 6e 47 7b 80 18 
0030   00 36 32 36 00 00 01 01 08 0a 32 02 45 fa 04 e0 
0040   ba f4 01 00 00 ec 80 00 01 2e 01 00 00 00 86 26 
0050   73 de dc 67 4a 65 00 00 01 07 40 00 00 2c 61 61 
0060   61 3a 2f 2f 31 30 2e 34 39 2e 31 31 2e 31 35 30 

Use the text2pcap and convert this to a pcap file:

$ text2pcap a.txt a.pcap
Input from: a.txt
Output to: a.pcap
Wrote packet of 302 bytes at 0
Read 1 potential packet, wrote 1 packet

Use tshark on this pcap file:

$ tshark -r a.pcap
  1   0.000000 172.16.129.11 -> 172.16.129.68 DIAMETER 302 cmd=Location-InfoRequest(302) flags=R--- appl=3GPP Cx(16777216) h2h=862673de e2e=dc674a65

As you see in the output below, we just decoded the bytearray to something meaningful.

$ tshark -r a.pcap -V | grep AVP
    AVP: Session-Id(263) l=44 f=-M- val=aaa://10.20.11.140:4878;1368779570;1
    AVP: Destination-Realm(283) l=28 f=-M- val=pal.core
    AVP: Destination-Host(293) l=21 f=-M- val=192.11.121.35
    AVP: Origin-Host(264) l=20 f=-M- val=10.20.11.140
    AVP: Origin-Realm(296) l=19 f=-M- val=ffix

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jalal Hajigholamali May 7, 2014 at 8:43 am

Hi,

Thanks for useful article

2 Pratik May 30, 2014 at 12:01 am

wow

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