Combining pcap (packet capture) files

Motivation: I wanted to combine 2 or more packet capture, or pcap, files in order to create an example:

  • One that contains just malicious (or simulated malicious) network traffic
  • Another contains legitimate, non-malicious network traffic

Many example packet capture files focus either specifically on malware, exploits, C2 traffic, etc. (like Security Onion’s list of PCAPs for Testing) or on examples of legitimate traffic (like Wireshark’s Sample Captures). I wanted to create an example that would interweave such sources and intersperse malicious and legitimate traffic, as they would typically occur concurrently.

In addition to tcpdump, there are three CLI tools provided by Wireshark that I used to help accomplish this:

  • capinfos – provides high-level data about a packet capture file
  • mergecap – combines 2 or more packet capture files
  • editcap – modified packet details, such as timestamps, in a packet capture file

Continue reading Combining pcap (packet capture) files

Modifying a packet capture with Scapy

My motivation was to start from a known good packet capture, for example, a DNS request and reply, and modify that request to create something interesting: an example to examine in Wireshark, or positive and negative test cases for an IDS software (Snort, Suricata).

I haven’t done much with Scapy before, but it seemed like the right tool for the task. My planned steps were as follows:

  1. Take pcap (packet capture)
  2. Import pcap via scapy
  3. Modify pcap
  4. Export pcap
  5. View pcap in Wireshark

Continue reading Modifying a packet capture with Scapy

Python Flask and VirtualBox networking

I had been using the Python socket module to create a very basic client-server for testing purposes, but soon I wanted to have something slightly more standard, like an HTTP server. I decided to try the Python Flask framework.

First I set up a Flask server on a CentOS 7 Linux VM running on VirtualBox:

# yum install python-pip
# pip install Flask
# mkdir flask-server && cd flask-server

I created the file as described on the Flask homepage:

from flask import Flask
app = Flask(__name__)

def hello():
    return "Hello World!"

Likewise, I started running Flask:

# flask run
 * Serving Flask app "hello"
 * Running on (Press CTRL+C to quit)

Then I set up port forwarding in VirtualBox on my desktop host so that I could communicate with the virtual machine, using the following settings:

Name: flask
Protocol: TCP
Host IP:
Host Port: 9500
Guest IP:
Guest Port: 5000

VirtualBox port forwarding rules
VirtualBox port forwarding rules

I tested it in a browser (Firefox) on my desktop at

No connection. Firefox endlessly tries to load the file.

I tried from the local machine itself:

# curl http://localhost:5000/
Hello World!

I tried running tcpdump to see what the network traffic to that port looked like:

# tcpdump -n -i enp0s3 port 5000
14:54:11.938625 IP > Flags [S], seq 3067208705, win 65535, options [mss 1460], length 0

Over and over I saw the same SYN packet from the client host, but the server never replied with a SYN-ACK.

I also noted that the local port was labeled commplex-main. This label is from /etc/services:

# grep commplex /etc/services
commplex-main   5000/tcp                #
commplex-main   5000/udp                #
commplex-link   5001/tcp                #
commplex-link   5001/udp                #

I don’t know what commplex-main is, but since I’m not running anything else on port 5000 other than Flask, it shouldn’t matter.

It turned out there were 2 separate problems:

  1. Flask was listening only on localhost
  2. firewalld was blocking the requests from external hosts

To fix the first, run Flask with the host flag:

# flask run --host=
 * Serving Flask app "hello"
 * Running on (Press CTRL+C to quit)

(This is mentioned in the Flask Quickstart guide, under Externally Visible Server.)

You can also specify an alternative port, e.g.:

# flask run --host= --port=56789
 * Serving Flask app "hello"
 * Running on (Press CTRL+C to quit)

To fix the latter temporarily, I disabled firewalld:

systemctl stop firewalld
systemctl disable firewalld

Obviously, if you are dealing with a machine connected directly to the Internet, this would be a terrible solution. You’d want to add rules allowing only the hosts and ports from which you expect to receive connections. But for testing communications between my desktop and a virtual host running on it, this seemed like a quick solution.

After those 2 changes, I was able to load the sample “hello” Flask app in a browser:

The text "Hello World!" loaded in Firefox
The text “Hello World!” loaded in Firefox