Packet Detectives Episode 1: The Case of the Retransmissions

Original Entry by : Michael Morris

Demystifying Network Investigations with Packet Data

By Michael Morris, Director of Global Business Development, Endace


Michael Morris, Director of Global Business Development, Endace

As I talk to security analysts, network operations engineers and applications teams around the world a common theme regularly emerges: that troubleshooting security or performance issues with log or flow data alone just doesn’t cut it.

Most folks report spending way too many hours troubleshooting problems only to realize they just don’t have enough detail to know exactly what happened. Often this results in more finger pointing and unresolved issues. Too much time spent investigating issues also causes other alerts to start piling up, resulting in stress and undue risk to the organisation from a backlog of alerts that never get looked at.

On the other hand, those that use full packet capture data to troubleshoot problems report significantly faster resolution times and greater confidence because they can see exactly what happened on the wire.

Many folks I talk to also say they don’t have the expertise necessary to troubleshoot issues using packet data. But it’s actually much easier than you might expect. Packet decode tools – like Wireshark – are powerful and quite self-explanatory. And there’s tons of resources available on the web to help you out. You don’t need to be a mystical, networking guru to gain valuable insights from packet data!

Getting to the relevant packets is quick and easy too thanks to the EndaceProbe platform’s integration with solutions from our Fusion Partners like Cisco, IBM, Palo Alto Networks, Splunk and many others. Analysts can quickly pivot from alerts in any of those tools directly to related packet data with a single click, gaining valuable insights into their problems quickly and confidently.

To help further, we thought it would be useful to kick-off a video series of “real-world” investigation scenarios to show just how easily packet data can be used to investigate and resolve difficult issues (security or performance-related) in your network.

So here’s the first video in what we hope to make a regular series. Watch as industry-renowned SharkFest presenter and all-round Wireshark guru, Betty Dubois, walks us through investigating an application slow-down that is problems for users. The truth is in the packets …

We hope you find this video useful. Please let us know if you have ideas for other examples you’d like to see.