Investigate: Reconstruction Types in the Event Analysis View

Document created by RSA Information Design and Development on Mar 27, 2018Last modified by RSA Information Design and Development on Sep 11, 2018
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When hunting for possible threats in captured network data, you can drill into different points of interest in the data. If a session contains suspicious events, you can examine the list of events for the session and you can also safely view a reconstruction of the event with features that help to identify patterns. (See Beginning an Investigation for the different methods to access the Event Analysis view.)

Note: If you are analyzing events on a 10.6.x or 11.0.0.x service from an 11.1 or 11.2 NetWitness Server, the download behavior in the Event Analysis view varies for files, PCAPs, logs, payloads, and meta values. You may see an event payload on a 10.6.x or 11.0.0.x service to which you do not have permission, but you will not be able to download files or payloads.

In the Event Analysis view, you can select the format for the reconstruction: Packet Analysis, File Analysis, or Text Analysis, Email (Version 11.1 and later), and Web (Version 11.1 and later). When the medium meta key tags an event as a log event or endpoint event , only the Text Analysis is available. The default reconstruction for network events is Text Analysis; however, for a network event the last reconstruction format that was open overrides the default. The Email and Web reconstructions open the event in the Events view and are described in "Select the Event Analysis Type" in Examine Events in the Event Analysis View

This figure is an example of the Network Event Details: Text Analysis panel in a web browser window that is wide enough to display the reconstruction format options in a row.

example of Event Analysis view with format options in a row

When the browser window is too narrow to display all the view options horizontally, the options are presented in a drop-down list.

example of Event Analysis view with format options in a drop-down menu

Within each type of analysis, settings are available to enhance your analysis. If you change a setting, the setting is preserved between browser refreshes and logins within the same browser. These are the preserved settings:

  • The currently selected reconstruction: Text Analysis, Packet Analysis, or File Analysis.
  • Whether the Event Meta panel is open or closed.
  • Whether the Event header is open or closed.
  • Whether the Request or Response, or both are displayed.
  • Whether packet payloads are displayed in the Packet Analysis panel.
  • Whether shaded bytes are displayed in the Packet Analysis panel.
  • Whether other common file types are highlighted in the Packet Analysis panel.
  • The number of packets per page in the Packet Analysis panel.
  • Whether compressed or uncompressed text is displayed in the Text Analysis panel.
  • The text decode setting in the Text Analysis panel of a network event.

The Text Analysis Panel

You can view all types of events (network events, log events, and endpoint events) in their original text format in the Text Analysis panel. Pagination controls add flexibility when paging through the reconstructed text of an event.

Note: Endpoint events are available for investigation in Version 11.1 and later. Pagination controls are available in Version 11.2 and later.

The Text Analysis panel for some network events can be quite large. To ensure the best rendering, an excessively large payload is truncated to fit. If a single reconstructed request or response in the reconstructed event exceeds the maximum number of bytes, the header indicates that the message has been truncated. This figure illustrates a single response that has been truncated because it exceeds the maximum number of bytes (Version 11.2).

reconstruction of an event in which a message has been truncated

Version 11.1 handles large payloads differently; the payload for a single event is limited to 2500 packets. When the packet limit is reached, a warning in the footer advises the limit has been reached and provides the total number of packets in the event. This figure shows the tooltip displayed when you hover over the warning.

Footer showing that the maximum number of packets has been reached

Note: The Show More option is still available for messages that are truncated; however, the entire text of the message is not visible without downloading the raw payload.

In the Text Analysis panel, network events, log events, and endpoint events are presented differently.

  • For network events, Investigate provides the direction of the packet (Request or Response) and contents of each packet in text format. If you are reconstructing a network event, the Text Analysis panel is scrollable. When you scroll, the text identification information as well as the Request and Response labels remain visible rather than scrolling out of view.
  • Log events and endpoint events have no request or response; only the raw event is displayed in the Text Analysis panel.

For each type of event (network, log, or endpoint), there are several differences:

  • The Event header includes information relevant to each type of event.
  • There are different options for exporting.

Below is an example of the Text Analysis panel for each type of event, a network event, a log event, and an endpoint event.

example of a network event in the Text Analysis panel

log event in the Text Analysis panel

an endpoint event in the Text Analysis view

Note: The calculated packet count, calculated packet size, and calculated payload size in the Event header may be different than the same statistics in the Event Meta panel because the metadata is sometimes written before event parsing completes and may include packet duplicates.

The Packet Analysis Panel

The Packet Analysis panel is for network events only. The Packet Analysis panel is scrollable, and the packet identification information as well as the Request and Response labels remain visible rather than scrolling out of view.

initial view of an event in the Packet Analysis panel

In the Packet Analysis panel, the headings provide the direction of the packet (Request or Response), the packet number, the packet start time, the packet ID and the sequence, and the payload size. All packets begin with a header, and some packets have a footer. Some packets have a payload.

In Version 11.1 pagination controls add flexibility when paging through packets.

The metadata in the hexadecimal and ASCII data is highlighted in blue; when you place the cursor over the highlighted metadata, the meta key/meta value information is displayed in a hover box.

example of a information displayed in a hover box

Common file signatures are highlighted with an orange background. When you place the cursor over the highlighted text, the description of the file type is displayed in a hover box.

potential Windows executable highlighted

The File Analysis Panel

The File Analysis panel shows a list of files associated with the selected network event. This is an example of the File Analysis panel.

initial view of the File Analysis panel

You can select one file, one or more files, or all files to export to your local file system. When files are selected, the Export Files button becomes active and reflects the number of files selected.

File Analysis panel with files selected

Caution: Caution is advised when unzipping and opening files that are associated with a default application; for example, an Excel spreadsheet may automatically open in Excel before you have a chance to verify it is safe.

Analytical Tools for Each Type of Event Analysis

The analytical tools in the Event Analysis view are designed to help analysts find the relevant information for different types of events (network event, log event, and endpoint event). This table lists the actions you can take by event type. The rest of this section provides procedures for performing the actions.

                                                                                                                                       
ActionNetwork EventLog EventEndpoint Event
View the Text Analysis panel
View the File Analysis panel   
View the Packet Analysis panel   
Open, close, and adjust the size of panels
Adjust the display of requests and responses   
Show or hide the Event Header in the Text Analysis panel
Expand truncated text entries in the Text Analysis panel   
Switch between a compressed and decompressed view of payloads in the Text Analysis panel   
View highlighted bytes in the Packet Analysis panel   
Highlight common file types in the Packet Analysis panel   
Display only the payload in the Packet Analysis panel   
Shade bytes in the Packet Analysis panel when viewing payload only   
Perform URL and Base64 encoding and decoding in the Text Analysis panel   
View decompressed text for an HTTP network session in the Text Analysis panel   
View event metadata for an event in the Text Analysis panel
Download a network event (as a PCAP file, payload only, request only, or response only) in the Packet Analysis panel or the Text Analysis panel   
Export files from a network event in the File Analysis panel   
Download the file for a log event in the Text Analysis panel   
Download the file for an endpoint event in the Text Analysis panel  
Open the current endpoint event in Text Analysis panel  
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