Moloch - An Open Source, Large Scale, Full Packet Capturing, Indexing, And Database System

Moloch is an open source, large scale, full packet capturing, indexing, and database system. Moloch augments your current security infrastructure to store and index network traffic in standard PCAP format, providing fast, indexed access. An intuitive and simple web interface is provided for PCAP browsing, searching, and exporting. Moloch exposes APIs which allow for PCAP data and JSON formatted session data to be downloaded and consumed directly. Moloch stores and exports all packets in standard PCAP format allow you to also use your favorite PCAP ingesting tools, such as wireshark, during your analysis workflow.

Access to Moloch is protected by using HTTPS with digest passwords or by using an authentication providing web server proxy. All PCAPs are stored on the sensors and are only accessed using the Moloch interface or API. Moloch is not meant to replace an IDS but instead work along side them to store and index all the network traffic in standard PCAP format, providing fast access. Moloch is built to be deployed across many systems and can scale to handle tens of gigabits/sec of traffic. PCAP retention is based on available sensor disk space. Meta data retention is based on the Elasticsearch cluster scale. Both can be increased at anytime and are under your complete control.

Sessions Tab

SPI View Tab

Building
For advanced users, if you wish to build Moloch yourself run ./easybutton-build.sh --install which will download all the prerequisites, build, and install. make config can be used to perform a initial moloch configuration. The RPM & DEB files are much easier to deal with then building yourself and are recommended.

Components
The Moloch system is comprised of 3 components
  1. capture - A threaded C application that monitors network traffic, writes PCAP formatted files to disk, parses the captured packets and sends meta data (SPI data) to elasticsearch.
  2. viewer - A node.js application that runs per capture machine and handles the web interface and transfer of PCAP files.
  3. elasticsearch - The search database technology powering Moloch.

Building and Installing
Moloch is a complex system to build and install manually. The following are rough guidelines.

Installing Elasticsearch
Recommended version 5.6.x for Moloch 0.18 and later. Download elasticsearch.
Important: At this time all development is done with elasticsearch 5.6.7.
Inside the installed $MOLOCH_PREFIX/db directory run the
db.pl http://A_ES_HOSTNAME:9200 init script.
Building Capture
Use the ./easybutton-build.sh script to download all thirdparty libraries and build moloch.

Building Viewer
  1. Install Node.js version 6.x, currently 8.x is not supported. (Moloch versions before 0.18 required 4)
  2. In the viewer directory run npm install.

Configuration
  1. Make sure you download the latest freely available GeoIP and RIR files.
  2. Edit the config.ini file.
  3. In the viewer directory, run addUser.js to add users. Pass the --admin flag if you want admin users that can edit users from the web site. This is a good test if elasticsearch and config.ini are setup correctly:
    node addUser.js <userid> "<Friendly Name>" <password> [--admin]
  4. Edit the db/daily.sh script, and set it up in the crontab on one machine.

Get it Running
If you've made it this far, you are awesome!
On each capture machine you need to run at least one moloch-capture and one moloch-viewer. Using make config will create startup files, or you can find the source files for make config in the release directory.

Test it Out
Point your browser to any Moloch instance at https://<hostname>:<port> and start tinkering!

Advanced Configuration
Hardware Requirements

Moloch is built to run across many machines for large deployments. For demo, small network, or home installations everything on a single machine is fine.
For larger installations please see the FAQ for recomended configurations.
The following are rough guidelines for capturing large amounts of data with high bit rates, obviously tailor for your specific situation. It is not recommended to run the capture and elasticsearch processes on the same machines for highly utilized GigE networks.
  1. Moloch capture/viewer systems read FAQ Entry
  2. Moloch elasticsearch systems read FAQ Entry

Example Configuration
Here is an example system setup for monitoring 8x GigE highly-utilized networks, with an average of ~5 Gigabit/sec, with ~7 days of pcap storage.
  • capture/viewer machines
    • 5x HP Apollo 4200
    • 64GB of memory
    • 80TB of disk
    • Running Moloch and Suricata
  • elasticsearch machines
    • 10x HP DL380-G7
    • 128GB of memory
    • 6TB of disk
    • Each system running 1 node

Security Information

Ports Used
  • tcp 8005 - Moloch web interface
  • tcp 9200-920x (configurable upper limit) - Elasticsearch service ports
  • tcp 9300-930x (configurable upper limit) - Elasticsearch mesh connections

Important Considerations
  • Elasticsearch provides NO security, so iptables MUST be used allowing only Moloch machines to talk to the elasticsearch machines (ports 9200-920x) and for them to mesh connect (ports 9300-930x). An example with 3 ES machines 2 nodes each and a viewer only machine::
    for ip in moloches1 moloches2 moloches3 molochvieweronly1; do
    iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 9300 -s $ip -j ACCEPT iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 9200 -s $ip -j ACCEPT iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 9301 -s $ip -j ACCEPT iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 9201 -s $ip -j ACCEPT
    done iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 9300 -j DROP iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 9200 -j DROP iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 9301 -j DROP iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 9201 -j DROP
  • Moloch machines should be locked down, however they need to talk to each other (port 8005), to the elasticsearch machines (ports 9200-920x), and the web interface needs to be open (port 8005).
  • Moloch viewer should be configured to use SSL.
    • It's easiest to use a single certificate with multiple DNs.
    • Make sure you protect the cert on the filesystem with proper file permissions.
  • It is possible to set up a Moloch viewer on a machine that doesn't capture any data that gateways all requests.
    • It is also possible to place apache in front of moloch, so it can handle the authentication and pass the username on to moloch
    • This is how we deploy it
  • A shared password stored in the Moloch configuration file is used to encrypt password hashes AND for inter-Moloch communication.
    • Make sure you protect the config file on the filesystem with proper file permissions.
    • Encrypted password hashes are used so a new password hash can not be inserted into elasticsearch directly in case it hasn't been secured.

FAQ
For answers to frequently asked questions, please see the FAQ.

Wiki
We use GitHub’s built-in wiki located at https://github.com/aol/moloch/wiki.

Upgrading
Upgrading is easy if using the RPM/DEB files.
  • Download and install the latest version, pay attention to any special instructions
  • You might need to upgrade the database with /data/moloch/db/db.pl http://localhost:9200 upgrade
  • Restart the moloch capture and viewer processes
If upgrading from source it is a manual process.
  • Update the moloch repository from github
  • Build the moloch system using "easybutton-build.sh"
  • Shut down currently running old capture and viewer processes
  • Optionally use "make install" to copy the new binaries and other items and/or push the new items to the capture hosts
  • Run "npm update" in the viewer directory if not using "make install"
  • Make sure ES is running and update the database using the "db/db.pl host:port upgrade" script
  • Start the new capture and viewer processes

Moloch - An Open Source, Large Scale, Full Packet Capturing, Indexing, And Database System Moloch - An Open Source, Large Scale, Full Packet Capturing, Indexing, And Database System Reviewed by Lydecker Black on 9:25 AM Rating: 5