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SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 1
Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab
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1 Overview
Packet sniffing and spoofing are two important concepts in network security; they are two major threats
in network communication. Being able to understand these two threats is essential for understanding security measures in networking. There are many packet sniffing and spoofing tools, such as Wireshark,
Tcpdump, Netwox, Scapy, etc. Some of these tools are widely used by security experts, as well as by
attackers. Being able to use these tools is important for students, but what is more important for students in
a network security course is to understand how these tools work, i.e., how packet sniffing and spoofing are
implemented in software.
The objective of this lab is two-fold: learning to use the tools and understanding the technologies underlying these tools. For the second object, students will write simple sniffer and spoofing programs, and gain
an in-depth understanding of the technical aspects of these programs. This lab covers the following topics:
• How the sniffing and spoofing work
• Packet sniffing using the pcap library and Scapy
• Packet spoofing using raw socket and Scapy
• Manipulating packets using Scapy
Readings and Videos. Detailed coverage of sniffing and spoofing can be found in the following:
• Chapter 15 of the SEED Book, Computer & Internet Security: A Hands-on Approach, 2nd Edition,
by Wenliang Du. See details at https://www.handsonsecurity.net.
• Section 2 of the SEED Lecture, Internet Security: A Hands-on Approach, by Wenliang Du. See details
at https://www.handsonsecurity.net/video.html.
Lab environment. This lab has been tested on the SEED Ubuntu 20.04 VM. You can download a pre-built
image from the SEED website, and run the SEED VM on your own computer. However, most of the SEED
labs can be conducted on the cloud, and you can follow our instruction to create a SEED VM on the cloud.
Note for Instructors. There are two sets of tasks in this lab. The first set focuses on using tools to conduct
packet sniffing and spoofing. It only requires a little bit of Python programming (usually a few lines of
code); students do not need to have a prior Python programming background.
The second set of tasks is designed primarily for Computer Science/Engineering students. Students need
to write their own C programs from the scratch to do sniffing and spoofing. This way, they can gain a deeper
understanding on how sniffing and spoofing tools actually work. Students need to have a solid programming
background for these tasks. The two sets of tasks are independent; instructors can choose to assign one set
or both sets to their students, depending on their students’ programming background.
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 2
2 Environment Setup using Container
In this lab, we will use two machines that are connected to the same LAN. We can either use two VMs or
use two containers. Figure 1 depicts the lab environment setup using containers. We will do all the attacks
on the attacker container, while using the other container as the user machine.
`
User
10.9.0.5
Attacker
10.9.0.1
Network: 10.9.0.0/24
Figure 1: Lab environment setup
2.1 Container Setup and Commands
Please download the Labsetup.zip file to your VM from the lab’s website, unzip it, enter the Labsetup
folder, and use the docker-compose.yml file to set up the lab environment. Detailed explanation of the
content in this file and all the involved Dockerfile can be found from the user manual, which is linked
to the website of this lab. If this is the first time you set up a SEED lab environment using containers, it is
very important that you read the user manual.
In the following, we list some of the commonly used commands related to Docker and Compose. Since
we are going to use these commands very frequently, we have created aliases for them in the .bashrc file
(in our provided SEEDUbuntu 20.04 VM).
$ docker-compose build # Build the container image
$ docker-compose up # Start the container
$ docker-compose down # Shut down the container
// Aliases for the Compose commands above
$ dcbuild # Alias for: docker-compose build
$ dcup # Alias for: docker-compose up
$ dcdown # Alias for: docker-compose down
All the containers will be running in the background. To run commands on a container, we often need
to get a shell on that container. We first need to use the "docker ps" command to find out the ID of
the container, and then use "docker exec" to start a shell on that container. We have created aliases for
them in the .bashrc file.
$ dockps // Alias for: docker ps --format "{{.ID}} {{.Names}}"
$ docksh

// Alias for: docker exec -it /bin/bash
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 3
// The following example shows how to get a shell inside hostC
$ dockps
b1004832e275 hostA-10.9.0.5
0af4ea7a3e2e hostB-10.9.0.6
9652715c8e0a hostC-10.9.0.7
$ docksh 96
root@9652715c8e0a:/#
// Note: If a docker command requires a container ID, you do not need to
// type the entire ID string. Typing the first few characters will
// be sufficient, as long as they are unique among all the containers.
If you encounter problems when setting up the lab environment, please read the “Common Problems”
section of the manual for potential solutions.
2.2 About the Attacker Container
In this lab, we can either use the VM or the attacker container as the attacker machine. If you look at
the Docker Compose file, you will see that the attacker container is configured differently from the other
containers. Here are the differences:
• Shared folder. When we use the attacker container to launch attacks, we need to put the attacking
code inside the attacker container. Code editing is more convenient inside the VM than in containers,
because we can use our favorite editors. In order for the VM and container to share files, we have
created a shared folder between the VM and the container using the Docker volumes. If you look
at the Docker Compose file, you will find out that we have added the following entry to some of the
containers. It indicates mounting the ./volumes folder on the host machine (i.e., the VM) to the
/volumes folder inside the container. We will write our code in the ./volumes folder (on the
VM), so they can be used inside the containers.
volumes:
- ./volumes:/volumes
• Host mode. In this lab, the attacker needs to be able to sniff packets, but running sniffer programs
inside a container has problems, because a container is effectively attached to a virtual switch, so it
can only see its own traffic, and it is never going to see the packets among other containers. To solve
this problem, we use the host mode for the attacker container. This allows the attacker container to
see all the traffics. The following entry used on the attacker container:
network_mode: host
When a container is in the host mode, it sees all the host’s network interfaces, and it even has the
same IP addresses as the host. Basically, it is put in the same network namespace as the host VM.
However, the container is still a separate machine, because its other namespaces are still different
from the host.
Getting the network interface name. When we use the provided Compose file to create containers for
this lab, a new network is created to connect the VM and the containers. The IP prefix for this network is
10.9.0.0/24, which is specified in the docker-compose.yml file. The IP address assigned to our
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 4
VM is 10.9.0.1. We need to find the name of the corresponding network interface on our VM, because
we need to use it in our programs. The interface name is the concatenation of br- and the ID of the network
created by Docker. When we use ifconfig to list network interfaces, we will see quite a few. Look for
the IP address 10.9.0.1.
$ ifconfig
br-c93733e9f913: flags=4163 mtu 1500
inet 10.9.0.1 netmask 255.255.255.0 broadcast 10.9.0.255
...
Another way to get the interface name is to use the "docker network" command to find out the
network ID ourselves (the name of the network is seed-net:
$ docker network ls
NETWORK ID NAME DRIVER SCOPE
a82477ae4e6b bridge bridge local
e99b370eb525 host host local
df62c6635eae none null local
c93733e9f913 seed-net bridge local
3 Lab Task Set 1: Using Scapy to Sniff and Spoof Packets
Many tools can be used to do sniffing and spoofing, but most of them only provide fixed functionalities.
Scapy is different: it can be used not only as a tool, but also as a building block to construct other sniffing
and spoofing tools, i.e., we can integrate the Scapy functionalities into our own program. In this set of tasks,
we will use Scapy for each task.
To use Scapy, we can write a Python program, and then execute this program using Python. See the
following example. We should run Python using the root privilege because the privilege is required for
spoofing packets. At the beginning of the program (Line ➀), we should import all Scapy’s modules.
# view mycode.py
#!/usr/bin/env python3
from scapy.all import * ➀
a = IP()
a.show()
# python3 mycode.py
###[ IP ]###
version = 4
ihl = None
...
// Make mycode.py executable (another way to run python programs)
# chmod a+x mycode.py
# mycode.py
We can also get into the interactive mode of Python and then run our program one line at a time at the
Python prompt. This is more convenient if we need to change our code frequently in an experiment.
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 5
# python3
>>> from scapy.all import *
>>> a = IP()
>>> a.show()
###[ IP ]###
version = 4
ihl = None
...
3.1 Task 1.1: Sniffing Packets
Wireshark is the most popular sniffing tool, and it is easy to use. We will use it throughout the entire lab.
However, it is difficult to use Wireshark as a building block to construct other tools. We will use Scapy
for that purpose. The objective of this task is to learn how to use Scapy to do packet sniffing in Python
programs. A sample code is provided in the following:
#!/usr/bin/env python3
from scapy.all import *
def print_pkt(pkt):
pkt.show()
pkt = sniff(iface=’br-c93733e9f913’, filter=’icmp’, prn=print_pkt)
The code above will sniff the packets on the br-c93733e9f913 interface. Please read the instruction
in the lab setup section regarding how to get the interface name. If we want to sniff on multiple interfaces,
we can put all the interfaces in a list, and assign it to iface. See the following example:
iface=[’br-c93733e9f913’, ’enp0s3’]
Task 1.1A. In the above program, for each captured packet, the callback function print pkt() will be
invoked; this function will print out some of the information about the packet. Run the program with the
root privilege and demonstrate that you can indeed capture packets. After that, run the program again, but
without using the root privilege; describe and explain your observations.
// Make the program executable
# chmod a+x sniffer.py
// Run the program with the root privilege
# sniffer.py
// Switch to the "seed" account, and
// run the program without the root privilege
# su seed
$ sniffer.py
Task 1.1B. Usually, when we sniff packets, we are only interested certain types of packets. We can do
that by setting filters in sniffing. Scapy’s filter use the BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter) syntax; you can find the
BPF manual from the Internet. Please set the following filters and demonstrate your sniffer program again
(each filter should be set separately):
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 6
• Capture only the ICMP packet
• Capture any TCP packet that comes from a particular IP and with a destination port number 23.
• Capture packets comes from or to go to a particular subnet. You can pick any subnet, such as
128.230.0.0/16; you should not pick the subnet that your VM is attached to.
3.2 Task 1.2: Spoofing ICMP Packets
As a packet spoofing tool, Scapy allows us to set the fields of IP packets to arbitrary values. The objective
of this task is to spoof IP packets with an arbitrary source IP address. We will spoof ICMP echo request
packets, and send them to another VM on the same network. We will use Wireshark to observe whether our
request will be accepted by the receiver. If it is accepted, an echo reply packet will be sent to the spoofed IP
address. The following code shows an example of how to spoof an ICMP packets.
>>> from scapy.all import *
>>> a = IP() ➀
>>> a.dst = ’10.0.2.3’ ➁
>>> b = ICMP() ➂
>>> p = a/b ➃
>>> send(p) ➄
.
Sent 1 packets.
In the code above, Line ➀ creates an IP object from the IP class; a class attribute is defined for each IP
header field. We can use ls(a) or ls(IP) to see all the attribute names/values. We can also use a.show()
and IP.show() to do the same. Line ➁ shows how to set the destination IP address field. If a field is not set,
a default value will be used.
>>> ls(a)
version : BitField (4 bits) = 4 (4)
ihl : BitField (4 bits) = None (None)
tos : XByteField = 0 (0)
len : ShortField = None (None)
id : ShortField = 1 (1)
flags : FlagsField (3 bits) = ()
frag : BitField (13 bits) = 0 (0)
ttl : ByteField = 64 (64)
proto : ByteEnumField = 0 (0)
chksum : XShortField = None (None)
src : SourceIPField = ’127.0.0.1’ (None)
dst : DestIPField = ’127.0.0.1’ (None)
options : PacketListField = [] ([])
Line ➂ creates an ICMP object. The default type is echo request. In Line ➃, we stack a and b together
to form a new object. The / operator is overloaded by the IP class, so it no longer represents division;
instead, it means adding b as the payload field of a and modifying the fields of a accordingly. As a result,
we get a new object that represent an ICMP packet. We can now send out this packet using send() in
Line ➄. Please make any necessary change to the sample code, and then demonstrate that you can spoof an
ICMP echo request packet with an arbitrary source IP address.
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 7
3.3 Task 1.3: Traceroute
The objective of this task is to use Scapy to estimate the distance, in terms of number of routers, between
your VM and a selected destination. This is basically what is implemented by the traceroute tool. In
this task, we will write our own tool. The idea is quite straightforward: just send an packet (any type) to the
destination, with its Time-To-Live (TTL) field set to 1 first. This packet will be dropped by the first router,
which will send us an ICMP error message, telling us that the time-to-live has exceeded. That is how we get
the IP address of the first router. We then increase our TTL field to 2, send out another packet, and get the
IP address of the second router. We will repeat this procedure until our packet finally reach the destination.
It should be noted that this experiment only gets an estimated result, because in theory, not all these packets
take the same route (but in practice, they may within a short period of time). The code in the following
shows one round in the procedure.
a = IP()
a.dst = ’1.2.3.4’
a.ttl = 3
b = ICMP()
send(a/b)
If you are an experienced Python programmer, you can write your tool to perform the entire procedure
automatically. If you are new to Python programming, you can do it by manually changing the TTL field in
each round, and record the IP address based on your observation from Wireshark. Either way is acceptable,
as long as you get the result.
3.4 Task 1.4: Sniffing and-then Spoofing
In this task, you will combine the sniffing and spoofing techniques to implement the following sniff-andthen-spoof program. You need two machines on the same LAN: the VM and the user container. From
the user container, you ping an IP X. This will generate an ICMP echo request packet. If X is alive, the
ping program will receive an echo reply, and print out the response. Your sniff-and-then-spoof program
runs on the VM, which monitors the LAN through packet sniffing. Whenever it sees an ICMP echo request,
regardless of what the target IP address is, your program should immediately send out an echo reply using the
packet spoofing technique. Therefore, regardless of whether machine X is alive or not, the ping program
will always receive a reply, indicating that X is alive. You need to use Scapy to do this task. In your report,
you need to provide evidence to demonstrate that your technique works.
In your experiment, you should ping the following three IP addresses from the user container. Report
your observation and explain the results.
ping 1.2.3.4 # a non-existing host on the Internet
ping 10.9.0.99 # a non-existing host on the LAN
ping 8.8.8.8 # an existing host on the Internet
Hint: You need to understand how the ARP protocol works in order to correctly explain your observation.
You also need to know a little bit about routing. The following command help you find the router for a
specified destination:
ip route get 1.2.3.4
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 8
4 Lab Task Set 2: Writing Programs to Sniff and Spoof Packets
For this set up of tasks, you should compile the C code inside the host VM, and then run the code inside the
container.
4.1 Task 2.1: Writing Packet Sniffing Program
Sniffer programs can be easily written using the pcap library. With pcap, the task of sniffers becomes
invoking a simple sequence of procedures in the pcap library. At the end of the sequence, packets will
be put in buffer for further processing as soon as they are captured. All the details of packet capturing are
handled by the pcap library. The SEED book provides a sample code, showing how to write a simple sniffer
program using pcap. We include the sample code in the following (see the book for detailed explanation).
#include
#include
/* This function will be invoked by pcap for each captured packet.
We can process each packet inside the function.
*/
void got_packet(u_char *args, const struct pcap_pkthdr *header,
const u_char *packet)
{
printf("Got a packet\n");
}
int main()
{
pcap_t *handle;
char errbuf[PCAP_ERRBUF_SIZE];
struct bpf_program fp;
char filter_exp[] = "icmp";
bpf_u_int32 net;
// Step 1: Open live pcap session on NIC with name eth3
// Students needs to change "eth3" to the name
// found on their own machines (using ifconfig).
handle = pcap_open_live("eth3", BUFSIZ, 1, 1000, errbuf);
// Step 2: Compile filter_exp into BPF psuedo-code
pcap_compile(handle, &fp, filter_exp, 0, net);
if (pcap_setfilter(handle, &fp) !=0) {
pcap_perror(handle, "Error:");
exit(EXIT_FAILURE);
}
// Step 3: Capture packets
pcap_loop(handle, -1, got_packet, NULL);
pcap_close(handle); //Close the handle
return 0;
}
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 9
// Note: don’t forget to add "-lpcap" to the compilation command.
// For example: gcc -o sniff sniff.c -lpcap
Tim Carstens has also written a tutorial on how to use pcap library to write a sniffer program. The
tutorial is available at http://www.tcpdump.org/pcap.htm.
Task 2.1A: Understanding How a Sniffer Works In this task, students need to write a sniffer program to
print out the source and destination IP addresses of each captured packet. Students can type in the above code
or download the sample code from the SEED book’s website (https://www.handsonsecurity.
net/figurecode.html). Students should provide screenshots as evidences to show that their sniffer program can run successfully and produces expected results. In addition, please answer the following
questions:
• Question 1. Please use your own words to describe the sequence of the library calls that are essential
for sniffer programs. This is meant to be a summary, not detailed explanation like the one in the
tutorial or book.
• Question 2. Why do you need the root privilege to run a sniffer program? Where does the program
fail if it is executed without the root privilege?
• Question 3. Please turn on and turn off the promiscuous mode in your sniffer program. Can you
demonstrate the difference when this mode is on and off? Please describe how you can demonstrate
this.
Task 2.1B: Writing Filters. Please write filter expressions for your sniffer program to capture each of
the followings. You can find online manuals for pcap filters. In your lab reports, you need to include
screenshots to show the results after applying each of these filters.
• Capture the ICMP packets between two specific hosts.
• Capture the TCP packets with a destination port number in the range from 10 to 100.
Task 2.1C: Sniffing Passwords. Please show how you can use your sniffer program to capture the password when somebody is using telnet on the network that you are monitoring. You may need to modify
your sniffer code to print out the data part of a captured TCP packet (telnet uses TCP). It is acceptable if
you print out the entire data part, and then manually mark where the password (or part of it) is.
4.2 Task 2.2: Spoofing
When a normal user sends out a packet, operating systems usually do not allow the user to set all the
fields in the protocol headers (such as TCP, UDP, and IP headers). OSes will set most of the fields, while
only allowing users to set a few fields, such as the destination IP address, the destination port number, etc.
However, if users have the root privilege, they can set any arbitrary field in the packet headers. This is called
packet spoofing, and it can be done through raw sockets.
Raw sockets give programmers the absolute control over the packet construction, allowing programmers
to construct any arbitrary packet, including setting the header fields and the payload. Using raw sockets is
quite straightforward; it involves four steps: (1) create a raw socket, (2) set socket option, (3) construct the
packet, and (4) send out the packet through the raw socket. There are many online tutorials that can teach
you how to use raw sockets in C programming. We have linked some tutorials to the lab’s web page. Please
read them, and learn how to write a packet spoofing program. We show a simple skeleton of such a program.
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 10
int sd;
struct sockaddr_in sin;
char buffer[1024]; // You can change the buffer size
/* Create a raw socket with IP protocol. The IPPROTO_RAW parameter
* tells the sytem that the IP header is already included;
* this prevents the OS from adding another IP header. */
sd = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_RAW, IPPROTO_RAW);
if(sd < 0) {
perror("socket() error"); exit(-1);
}
/* This data structure is needed when sending the packets
* using sockets. Normally, we need to fill out several
* fields, but for raw sockets, we only need to fill out
* this one field */
sin.sin_family = AF_INET;
// Here you can construct the IP packet using buffer[]
// - construct the IP header ...
// - construct the TCP/UDP/ICMP header ...
// - fill in the data part if needed ...
// Note: you should pay attention to the network/host byte order.
/* Send out the IP packet.
* ip_len is the actual size of the packet. */
if(sendto(sd, buffer, ip_len, 0, (struct sockaddr *)&sin,
sizeof(sin)) < 0) {
perror("sendto() error"); exit(-1);
}
Task 2.2A: Write a spoofing program. Please write your own packet spoofing program in C. You need to
provide evidences (e.g., Wireshark packet trace) to show that your program successfully sends out spoofed
IP packets.
Task 2.2B: Spoof an ICMP Echo Request. Spoof an ICMP echo request packet on behalf of another
machine (i.e., using another machine’s IP address as its source IP address). This packet should be sent to a
remote machine on the Internet (the machine must be alive). You should turn on your Wireshark, so if your
spoofing is successful, you can see the echo reply coming back from the remote machine.
Questions. Please answer the following questions.
• Question 4. Can you set the IP packet length field to an arbitrary value, regardless of how big the
actual packet is?
• Question 5. Using the raw socket programming, do you have to calculate the checksum for the IP
header?
• Question 6. Why do you need the root privilege to run the programs that use raw sockets? Where
does the program fail if executed without the root privilege?
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 11
4.3 Task 2.3: Sniff and then Spoof
In this task, you will combine the sniffing and spoofing techniques to implement the following sniff-andthen-spoof program. You need two VMs on the same LAN. From VM A, you ping an IP X. This will
generate an ICMP echo request packet. If X is alive, the ping program will receive an echo reply, and
print out the response. Your sniff-and-then-spoof program runs on VM B, which monitors the LAN through
packet sniffing. Whenever it sees an ICMP echo request, regardless of what the target IP address is, your
program should immediately send out an echo reply using the packet spoofing technique. Therefore, regardless of whether machine X is alive or not, the ping program will always receive a reply, indicating that X
is alive. You need to write such a program in C, and include screenshots in your report to show that your
program works. Please also attach the code (with adequate amount of comments) in your report.
5 Guidelines
5.1 Filling in Data in Raw Packets
When you send out a packet using raw sockets, you basically construct the packet inside a buffer, so when
you need to send it out, you simply give the operating system the buffer and the size of the packet. Working
directly on the buffer is not easy, so a common way is to typecast the buffer (or part of the buffer) into
structures, such as IP header structure, so you can refer to the elements of the buffer using the fields of
those structures. You can define the IP, ICMP, TCP, UDP and other header structures in your program. The
following example show how you can construct an UDP packet:
struct ipheader {
type field;
.....
}
struct udpheader {
type field;
......
}
// This buffer will be used to construct raw packet.
char buffer[1024];
// Typecasting the buffer to the IP header structure
struct ipheader *ip = (struct ipheader *) buffer;
// Typecasting the buffer to the UDP header structure
struct udpheader *udp = (struct udpheader *) (buffer
+ sizeof(struct ipheader));
// Assign value to the IP and UDP header fields.
ip->field = ...;
udp->field = ...;
SEED Labs – Packet Sniffing and Spoofing Lab 12
5.2 Network/Host Byte Order and the Conversions
You need to pay attention to the network and host byte orders. If you use x86 CPU, your host byte order
uses Little Endian, while the network byte order uses Big Endian. Whatever the data you put into the packet
buffer has to use the network byte order; if you do not do that, your packet will not be correct. You actually
do not need to worry about what kind of Endian your machine is using, and you actually should not worry
about if you want your program to be portable.
What you need to do is to always remember to convert your data to the network byte order when you
place the data into the buffer, and convert them to the host byte order when you copy the data from the buffer
to a data structure on your computer. If the data is a single byte, you do not need to worry about the order,
but if the data is a short, int, long, or a data type that consists of more than one byte, you need to call
one of the following functions to convert the data:
htonl(): convert unsigned int from host to network byte order.
ntohl(): reverse of htonl().
htons(): convert unsigned short int from host to network byte order.
ntohs(): reverse of htons().
You may also need to use inet addr(), inet network(), inet ntoa(), inet aton() to
convert IP addresses from the dotted decimal form (a string) to a 32-bit integer of network/host byte order.
You can get their manuals from the Internet.
6 Submission
You need to submit a detailed lab report, with screenshots, to describe what you have done and what you
have observed. You also need to provide explanation to the observations that are interesting or surprising.
Please also list the important code snippets followed by explanation. Simply attaching code without any
explanation will not receive credits.