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Tcpdump Examples

I found this write up on hackertarget.com and thought it was one of the best write ups on TCP dump I have seen. Please visit their site to find this original article and many more. Knowing tcpdump is an essential skill that will come in handy for any system administrator, network engineer or security professional.

First The Basics

Breaking down the Tcpdump Command Line

The following command uses common parameters often seen when wielding the tcpdump scalpel.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -i eth0 -nn -s0 -v port 80
-i : Select interface that the capture is to take place on, this will often be an ethernet card or wireless adapter but could also be a vlan or something more unusual. Not always required if there is only one network adapter. -nn : A single (n) will not resolve hostnames. A double will not resolve hostnames or ports. This is handy for not only viewing the IP / port numbers but also when capturing a large amount of data, as the name resolution will slow down the capture. -s0 : Snap length, is the size of the packet to capture. -s0 will set the size to unlimited - use this if you want to capture all the traffic. Needed if you want to pull binaries / files from network traffic. -v : Verbose, using (-v) or (-vv) increases the amount of detail shown in the output, often showing more protocol specific information. port 80 : this is a common port filter to capture only traffic on port 80, that is of course usually HTTP.

Display ASCII text

Adding -A to the command line will have the output include the ascii strings from the capture. This allows easy reading and the ability to parse the output using grep or other commands. Another option that shows both hexadecimal output and ASCII is the -X option.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -A -s0 port 80
 

Capture on Protocol

Filter on UDP traffic. Another way to specify this is to use protocol 17 that is udp. These two commands will produce the same result. The equivalent of the tcp filter is protocol 6.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -i eth0 udp
:~$ sudo tcpdump -i eth0 proto 17
 

Capture Hosts based on IP address

Using the host filter will capture traffic going to (destination) and from (source) the IP address.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -i eth0 host 10.10.1.1
Alternatively capture only packets going one way using src or dst.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -i eth0 dst 10.10.1.20
 

Write a capture file

Writing a standard pcap file is a common command option. Writing a capture file to disk allows the file to be opened in Wireshark or other packet analysis tools.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -i eth0 -s0 -w test.pcap
 

Line Buffered Mode

Without the option to force line (-l) buffered (or packet buffered -C) mode you will not always get the expected response when piping the tcpdump output to another command such as grep. By using this option the output is sent immediately to the piped command giving an immediate response when troubleshooting.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -i eth0 -s0 -l port 80 | grep 'Server:'
 

Combine Filters

Throughout these examples you can use standard logic to combine different filters.
and or &&
or or ||
not or !
 

Practical Examples

In many of these examples there are a number of ways that the result could be achieved. As seen in some of the examples it is possible to focus the capture right down to individual bits in the packet.
The method you will use will depend on your desired output and how much traffic is on the wire. Capturing on a busy gigabit link may force you to use specific low level packet filters.
When troubleshooting you often simply want to get a result. Filtering on the port and selecting ascii output in combination with grep, cut or awk will often get that result. You can always go deeper into the packet if required.
For example when capturing HTTP requests and responses you could filter out all packets except the data by removing SYN /ACK / FIN however if you are using grep the noise will be filtered anyway. Keep it simple.
This can be seen in the following examples, where the aim is to get a result in the simplest (and therefore fastest) manner.

1. Extract HTTP User Agents

Extract HTTP User Agent from HTTP request header.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -nn -A -s1500 -l | grep "User-Agent:"
By using egrep and multiple matches we can get the User Agent and the Host (or any other header) from the request.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -nn -A -s1500 -l | egrep -i 'User-Agent:|Host:'
 

2. Capture only HTTP GET and POST packets

Going deep on the filter we can specify only packets that match GET.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -s 0 -A -vv 'tcp[((tcp[12:1] & 0xf0) >> 2):4] = 0x47455420'
Alternatively we can select only on POST requests. Note that the POST data may not be included in the packet captured with this filter. It is likely that a POST request will be split across multiple TCP data packets.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -s 0 -A -vv 'tcp[((tcp[12:1] & 0xf0) >> 2):4] = 0x504f5354'
The hexadecimal being matched in these expressions matches the ascii for GET and POST.
As an explanation tcp[((tcp[12:1] & 0xf0) >> 2):4] first determines the location of the bytes we are interested in (after the TCP header) and then selects the 4 bytes we wish to match against.

3. Extract HTTP Request URL's

Simply parse Host and HTTP Request location from traffic. By not targeting port 80 we may find these requests on any port such as HTTP services running on high ports.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -s 0 -v -n -l | egrep -i "POST /|GET /|Host:"

tcpdump: listening on enp7s0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 262144 bytes
 POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.1
 Host: dev.example.com
 GET /wp-login.php HTTP/1.1
 Host: dev.example.com
 GET /favicon.ico HTTP/1.1
 Host: dev.example.com
 GET / HTTP/1.1
 Host: dev.example.com 
 

4. Extract HTTP Passwords in POST Requests

Lets get some passwords from the POST data. Will include Host: and request location so we know what the password is used for.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -s 0 -A -n -l | egrep -i "POST /|pwd=|passwd=|password=|Host:"

tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on enp7s0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 262144 bytes
11:25:54.799014 IP 10.10.1.30.39224 > 10.10.1.125.80: Flags [P.], seq 1458768667:1458770008, ack 2440130792, win 704, options [nop,nop,TS val 461552632 ecr 208900561], length 1341: HTTP: POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.1
.....s..POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.1
Host: dev.example.com
.....s..log=admin&pwd=notmypassword&wp-submit=Log+In&redirect_to=http%3A%2F%2Fdev.example.com%2Fwp-admin%2F&testcookie=1
 

5. Capture Cookies from Server and from Client

MMMmmm Cookies! Capture cookies from the server by searching on Set-Cookie: (from Server) and Cookie: (from Client).
:~$ sudo tcpdump -nn -A -s0 -l | egrep -i 'Set-Cookie|Host:|Cookie:'

tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on wlp58s0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 262144 bytes
Host: dev.example.com
Cookie: wordpress_86be02xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxc43=admin%7C152xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxfb3e15c744fdd6; _ga=GA1.2.21343434343421934; _gid=GA1.2.927343434349426; wordpress_test_cookie=WP+Cookie+check; wordpress_logged_in_86be654654645645645654645653fc43=admin%7C15275102testtesttesttestab7a61e; wp-settings-time-1=1527337439
 

6. Capture all ICMP packets

See all ICMP packets on the wire.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -n icmp

tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on enp7s0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 262144 bytes
11:34:21.590380 IP 10.10.1.217 > 10.10.1.30: ICMP echo request, id 27948, seq 1, length 64
11:34:21.590434 IP 10.10.1.30 > 10.10.1.217: ICMP echo reply, id 27948, seq 1, length 64
11:34:27.680307 IP 10.10.1.159 > 10.10.1.1: ICMP 10.10.1.189 udp port 59619 unreachable, length 115
 

7. Show ICMP Packets that are not ECHO/REPLY (standard ping)

Filter on the icmp type to select on icmp packets that are not standard ping packets.
:~$ sudo tcpdump 'icmp[icmptype] != icmp-echo and icmp[icmptype] != icmp-echoreply'

tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on enp7s0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 262144 bytes
11:37:04.041037 IP 10.10.1.189 > 10.10.1.20: ICMP 10.10.1.189 udp port 36078 unreachable, length 156
 

8. Capture SMTP / POP3 Email

It is possible to extract email body and other data, in this example we are only parsing the email recipients.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -nn -l port 25 | grep -i 'MAIL FROM\|RCPT TO'
 

9. Troubleshooting NTP Query and Response

In this example we see the NTP query and response.
:~$ sudo tcpdump dst port 123

tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on eth0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 65535 bytes
21:02:19.112502 IP test33.ntp > 199.30.140.74.ntp: NTPv4, Client, length 48
21:02:19.113888 IP 216.239.35.0.ntp > test33.ntp: NTPv4, Server, length 48
21:02:20.150347 IP test33.ntp > 216.239.35.0.ntp: NTPv4, Client, length 48
21:02:20.150991 IP 216.239.35.0.ntp > test33.ntp: NTPv4, Server, length 48
 

10. Capture SNMP Query and Response

Using onesixtyone the fast SNMP protocol scanner we test an SNMP service on our local network and capture the GetRequest and GetResponse. For anyone who has had the (dis)pleasure of troubleshooting SNMP, this is a great way to see exactly what is happening on the wire. You can see the OID clearly in the traffic, very helpful when wrestling with MIBS.
:~$ onesixtyone 10.10.1.10 public

Scanning 1 hosts, 1 communities
10.10.1.10 [public] Linux test33 4.15.0-20-generic #21-Ubuntu SMP Tue Apr 24 06:16:15 UTC 2018 x86_64
:~$ sudo tcpdump -n -s0  port 161 and udp
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on wlp58s0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 262144 bytes
23:39:13.725522 IP 10.10.1.159.36826 > 10.10.1.20.161:  GetRequest(28)  .1.3.6.1.2.1.1.1.0
23:39:13.728789 IP 10.10.1.20.161 > 10.10.1.159.36826:  GetResponse(109)  .1.3.6.1.2.1.1.1.0="Linux testmachine 4.15.0-20-generic #21-Ubuntu SMP Tue Apr 24 06:16:15 UTC 2018 x86_64"
 

11. Capture FTP Credentials and Commands

Capturing FTP commands and login details is straight forward. After the authentication is established an FTP session can be active or passive this will determine whether the data part of the session is conducted over TCP port 20 or another ephemeral port. With the following command you will USER and PASS in the output (which could be fed to grep) as well as the FTP commands such as LIST, CWD and PASSIVE.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -nn -v port ftp or ftp-data
 

12. Rotate Capture Files

When capturing large amounts of traffic or over a long period of time it can be helpful to automatically create new files of a fixed size. This is done using the parameters -W, -G and -C.
In this command the file capture-(hour).pcap will be created every (-G) 3600 seconds (1 hour). The files will be overwritten the following day. So you should end up with capture-{1-24}.pcap, if the hour was 15 the new file is (/tmp/capture-15.pcap).
:~$ tcpdump  -w /tmp/capture-%H.pcap -G 3600 -C 200
 

13. Capture IPv6 Traffic

Capture IPv6 traffic using the ip6 filter. In these examples we have specified the TCP and UDP protocols using proto 6 and proto 17.
tcpdump -nn ip6 proto 6
IPv6 with UDP and reading from a previously saved capture file.
tcpdump -nr ipv6-test.pcap ip6 proto 17
 

14. Detect Port Scan in Network Traffic

In the following example you can see the traffic coming from a single source to a single destination. The Flags [S] and [R] can be seen and matched against a seemingly random series of destination ports. These ports are seen in the RESET that is sent when the SYN finds a closed port on the destination system. This is standard behaviour for a port scan by a tool such as Nmap.
We have another tutorial on Nmap that details captured port scans (open / closed / filtered) in a number of Wireshark captures.
:~$ tcpdump -nn

21:46:19.693601 IP 10.10.1.10.60460 > 10.10.1.199.5432: Flags [S], seq 116466344, win 29200, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 3547090332 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
21:46:19.693626 IP 10.10.1.10.35470 > 10.10.1.199.513: Flags [S], seq 3400074709, win 29200, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 3547090332 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
21:46:19.693762 IP 10.10.1.10.44244 > 10.10.1.199.389: Flags [S], seq 2214070267, win 29200, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 3547090333 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
21:46:19.693772 IP 10.10.1.199.389 > 10.10.1.10.44244: Flags [R.], seq 0, ack 2214070268, win 0, length 0
21:46:19.693783 IP 10.10.1.10.35172 > 10.10.1.199.1433: Flags [S], seq 2358257571, win 29200, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 3547090333 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
21:46:19.693826 IP 10.10.1.10.33022 > 10.10.1.199.49153: Flags [S], seq 2406028551, win 29200, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 3547090333 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
21:46:19.695567 IP 10.10.1.10.55130 > 10.10.1.199.49154: Flags [S], seq 3230403372, win 29200, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 3547090334 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
21:46:19.695590 IP 10.10.1.199.49154 > 10.10.1.10.55130: Flags [R.], seq 0, ack 3230403373, win 0, length 0
21:46:19.695608 IP 10.10.1.10.33460 > 10.10.1.199.49152: Flags [S], seq 3289070068, win 29200, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 3547090335 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
21:46:19.695622 IP 10.10.1.199.49152 > 10.10.1.10.33460: Flags [R.], seq 0, ack 3289070069, win 0, length 0
21:46:19.695637 IP 10.10.1.10.34940 > 10.10.1.199.1029: Flags [S], seq 140319147, win 29200, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 3547090335 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
21:46:19.695650 IP 10.10.1.199.1029 > 10.10.1.10.34940: Flags [R.], seq 0, ack 140319148, win 0, length 0
21:46:19.695664 IP 10.10.1.10.45648 > 10.10.1.199.5060: Flags [S], seq 2203629201, win 29200, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 3547090335 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
21:46:19.695775 IP 10.10.1.10.49028 > 10.10.1.199.2000: Flags [S], seq 635990431, win 29200, options [mss 1460,sackOK,TS val 3547090335 ecr 0,nop,wscale 7], length 0
21:46:19.695790 IP 10.10.1.199.2000 > 10.10.1.10.49028: Flags [R.], seq 0, ack 635990432, win 0, length 0
 

15. Example Filter Showing Nmap NSE Script Testing

In this example the Nmap NSE script http-enum.nse is shown testing for valid urls against an open HTTP service.
On the Nmap machine:
:~$ nmap -p 80 --script=http-enum.nse targetip
On the target machine:
:~$ tcpdump -nn port 80 | grep "GET /"

GET /w3perl/ HTTP/1.1
GET /w-agora/ HTTP/1.1
GET /way-board/ HTTP/1.1
GET /web800fo/ HTTP/1.1
GET /webaccess/ HTTP/1.1
GET /webadmin/ HTTP/1.1
GET /webAdmin/ HTTP/1.1
 

16. Capture Start and End Packets of every non-local host

This example is straight out of the tcpdump man page. By selecting on the tcp-syn and tcp-fin packets we can show each established TCP conversation with timestamps but without the data. As with many filters this allows the amount of noise to be reduced in order to focus in on the information that you care about.
:~$ tcpdump 'tcp[tcpflags] & (tcp-syn|tcp-fin) != 0 and not src and dst net localnet'
 

17. Capture DNS Request and Response

Outbound DNS request to Google public DNS and the A record (ip address) response can be seen in this capture.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -i wlp58s0 -s0 port 53

tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on wlp58s0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 262144 bytes
14:19:06.879799 IP test.53852 > google-public-dns-a.google.com.domain: 26977+ [1au] A? play.google.com. (44)
14:19:07.022618 IP google-public-dns-a.google.com.domain > test.53852: 26977 1/0/1 A 216.58.203.110 (60)
 

18. Capture HTTP data packets

Only capture on HTTP data packets on port 80. Avoid capturing the TCP session setup (SYN / FIN / ACK).
tcpdump 'tcp port 80 and (((ip[2:2] - ((ip[0]&0xf)<<2)) - ((tcp[12]&0xf0)>>2)) != 0)'
 

19. Capture with tcpdump and view in Wireshark

Parsing and analysis of full application streams such as HTTP is much easier to perform with Wireshark (or tshark) rather than tcpdump. It is often more practical to capture traffic on a remote system using tcpdump with the write file option. Then copy the pcap to the local workstation for analysis with Wireshark.
Other than manually moving the file from the remote system to the local workstation it is possible to feed the capture to Wireshark over the SSH connection in real time. This tip is a favorite, pipe the raw tcpdump output right into wireshark on your local machine. Don't forget the not port 22 so you are not capturing your SSH traffic.
:~$ ssh [email protected] 'tcpdump -s0 -c 1000 -nn -w - not port 22' | wireshark -k -i -
Another tip is to use count -c on the remote tcpdump to allow the capture to finish otherwise hitting ctrl-c will not only kill tcpdump but also Wireshark and your capture.

20. Top Hosts by Packets

List the top talkers for a period of time or number of packets. Using simple command line field extraction to get the IP address, sort and count the occurrances. Capture is limited by the count option -c.
sudo tcpdump -nnn -t -c 200 | cut -f 1,2,3,4 -d '.' | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr | head -n 20

tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on enp7s0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 262144 bytes
200 packets captured
261 packets received by filter
0 packets dropped by kernel
    108 IP 10.10.211.181
     91 IP 10.10.1.30
      1 IP 10.10.1.50
 

21. Capture all the plaintext passwords

In this command we are focusing on standard plain text protocols and chosing to grep on anything user or password related. By selecting the -B5 option on grep the aim is to get the preceding 5 lines that may provide context around the captured password (hostname, ip address, system).
:~$ sudo tcpdump port http or port ftp or port smtp or port imap or port pop3 or port telnet -l -A | egrep -i -B5 'pass=|pwd=|log=|login=|user=|username=|pw=|passw=|passwd=|password=|pass:|user:|username:|password:|login:|pass |user '
 

22. DHCP Example

And our final tcpdump example is for monitoring DHCP request and reply. DHCP requests are seen on port 67 and the reply is on 68. Using the verbose parameter -v we get to see the protocol options and other details.
:~$ sudo tcpdump -v -n port 67 or 68

tcpdump: listening on enp7s0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 262144 bytes
14:37:50.059662 IP (tos 0x10, ttl 128, id 0, offset 0, flags [none], proto UDP (17), length 328)
    0.0.0.0.68 > 255.255.255.255.67: BOOTP/DHCP, Request from 00:0c:xx:xx:xx:d5, length 300, xid 0xc9779c2a, Flags [none]
   Client-Ethernet-Address 00:0c:xx:xx:xx:d5
   Vendor-rfc1048 Extensions
     Magic Cookie 0x63825363
     DHCP-Message Option 53, length 1: Request
     Requested-IP Option 50, length 4: 10.10.1.163
     Hostname Option 12, length 14: "test-ubuntu"
     Parameter-Request Option 55, length 16: 
       Subnet-Mask, BR, Time-Zone, Default-Gateway
       Domain-Name, Domain-Name-Server, Option 119, Hostname
       Netbios-Name-Server, Netbios-Scope, MTU, Classless-Static-Route
       NTP, Classless-Static-Route-Microsoft, Static-Route, Option 252
14:37:50.059667 IP (tos 0x10, ttl 128, id 0, offset 0, flags [none], proto UDP (17), length 328)
    0.0.0.0.68 > 255.255.255.255.67: BOOTP/DHCP, Request from 00:0c:xx:xx:xx:d5, length 300, xid 0xc9779c2a, Flags [none]
   Client-Ethernet-Address 00:0c:xx:xx:xx:d5
   Vendor-rfc1048 Extensions
     Magic Cookie 0x63825363
     DHCP-Message Option 53, length 1: Request
     Requested-IP Option 50, length 4: 10.10.1.163
     Hostname Option 12, length 14: "test-ubuntu"
     Parameter-Request Option 55, length 16: 
       Subnet-Mask, BR, Time-Zone, Default-Gateway
       Domain-Name, Domain-Name-Server, Option 119, Hostname
       Netbios-Name-Server, Netbios-Scope, MTU, Classless-Static-Route
       NTP, Classless-Static-Route-Microsoft, Static-Route, Option 252
14:37:50.060780 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 64, id 53564, offset 0, flags [none], proto UDP (17), length 339)
    10.10.1.1.67 > 10.10.1.163.68: BOOTP/DHCP, Reply, length 311, xid 0xc9779c2a, Flags [none]
   Your-IP 10.10.1.163
   Server-IP 10.10.1.1
   Client-Ethernet-Address 00:0c:xx:xx:xx:d5
   Vendor-rfc1048 Extensions
     Magic Cookie 0x63825363
     DHCP-Message Option 53, length 1: ACK
     Server-ID Option 54, length 4: 10.10.1.1
     Lease-Time Option 51, length 4: 86400
     RN Option 58, length 4: 43200
     RB Option 59, length 4: 75600
     Subnet-Mask Option 1, length 4: 255.255.255.0
     BR Option 28, length 4: 10.10.1.255
     Domain-Name-Server Option 6, length 4: 10.10.1.1
     Hostname Option 12, length 14: "test-ubuntu"
     T252 Option 252, length 1: 10
     Default-Gateway Option 3, length 4: 10.10.1.1
 

Wrapping Up

These tcpdump examples, tips and commands are intended to give you a base understanding of the possibilities. Depending on what you are trying to achieve there are many ways that you could go deeper or combine different capture filters to suit your requirements.
Combining tcpdump with Wireshark is a powerful combination, particularly when you wish to dig into full application layer sessions as the decoders can assemble the full stream. We recently did a major update to our Wireshark Tutorial.
Thanks for reading, check out the man page for more detail and if you have any comments or suggestions please drop me a note using the contact form. Happy Packet Analysis!

Symptoms

As people become more focused on securing their home network, the idea of a "enterprise" firewall for home use is not out of the ordinary. Of course, this focus has grown over time because of teleworking/job requirements but also because some people realize that securing their home network is just as important as securing their "enterprise" network. Of course for us gamers, this causes an issue. I have be given the benefit to use my own Palo Alto Networks (PAN) PA-220 firewall for home use. While the initial setup didn't cause any issues, I had one major issue which was almost make or break for keeping the PA-220. The issue of course was my Xbox One did not function properly and I could not update games, group chat, or do anything an Xbox One should do.

Issue

When connecting to the Xbox Live service or PlayStation Network the console establishes client connections to the service. When hosting some games, or using some applications, a connection from the Xbox Live service or PlayStation Network inbound to the console is required. If these inbound connections can not be established then the console will report that strict NAT has been detected.

The consoles are compatible with uPnP devices to allow dynamic opening of TCP and UDP ports to forward traffic required for connectivity to the service. uPnP-enabled routers allow port forwarding to be configured on the device dynamically based on requests coming from internal devices. In a uPnP environment, the console will request the appropriate ports be forwarded to allow the traffic.

Palo Alto Networks firewalls are not compatible with uPnP. Requests from a console via uPnP to open ports will be ignored by the firewall. A 1-to-1 static NAT mapping must be created to forward the appropriate ports to the console from the Xbox Live service or PSN.

Resolution

The following is my configuration setup to fix my Xbox One as well as other gaming consoles which need Universal Plug and Play (UPnP).

Quick Tangent: While UPnP is a great idea to make home networking easier, it opens up the inside resources to many potential attacks. At a basic level, UPnP allows devices to discover each other on the same network dynamically so that all devices can communicate with each other for data sharing and entertainment purposes. While this sounds good, the security risk is that UPnP also dynamically adds port forwarding to the home router without human invention. This dynamic port forwarding allows for any and all ports to have access inside the network from the outside Internet without no protection. It is for this reason that any "enterprise" firewall will NEVER support UPnP. Of course, when it comes to gaming and our relaxation time, we don't care about the risks we just want our games to work.

The following configuration assumes that all basic connectivity has already been configured on your PA-220. The following configuration is my current setup and has never had any issues since the day I configured it.

The below is an extremely basic PA-220 configuration but the security policy that I want to highlight is the Outbound-Xbox Rule.

All firewall polices are created under Polices>>Security>>Add

Note: The Outbound-Xbox NAT must be above the general Outbound Internet Rule otherwise the Xbox traffic will never hit the dedicated Xbox NAT rule (this to be created next).

Xbox Security Rule:

I configured my Xbox Security Policy to use the dedicated or reserved ip address, this will be the source address (Creating a DHCP address reservation is not covered in this article)

  • The source is my dedicated Xbox/Gaming reserved address as I only wanted to NAT my Xbox traffic

  • The destination is to my UnTrust Zone or Outside security zone.

  • Application: This is the bread and butter of Palo Alto's Next Generation Firewall

  • The list in the image below are the applications which I have fingerprinted at the time of this article. As applications default ports change and Microsoft adds more application, this field will need to be updated from time to time.
    • Please note: A Layer 4 firewall rule will work but what is the point in having a Ferrari in the garage if you're not going to use it to its potential.

  • Action; of course allow

All other options not covered

The below is an extremely basic PA-220 configuration but the NAT policy that I want to highlight is the Xbox_NAT rule.

All firewall NAT polices are created under Polices>>NAT>>Add

Xbox NAT Rule:

I configured my Xbox NAT Policy to have a dedicated source address (Creating a DHCP address is not covered in this article)
  • The packet source is from the Trust/Inside Network
  • The packet destination is to my UnTrust Zone or Outside
  • The packet destination interface is the interface facing my ISP/Dynamic Client
  • The source is my dedicated Xbox/Gaming reserved address as I only wanted to NAT my Xbox traffic
  • The packet destination and service are set to ANY as we want all traffic from the Xbox to be NAT'd

The FOLLWING IS THE SECRET TO FIXING ALL UPnP ISSUES
  • Translated Packet
  • The source translated packet must be a fixed static-ip address
  • The IP missing below MUST be the IP address given to your home "modem" now firewall by the ISP.
    • NOTE: If the address assigned to your Internet Layer3 link ever changes, this NAT rule MUST be updated. Since having this implemented for over a year, I have never had to change this address as the ISP want to be stable and followings the basic rules of DHCP. My ISP always assigned me the same address when my DHCP reservation renews
  • The last major configuration is to check "bi-drectional: yes".

If the above NAT rule and security policy are configured with the proper information, all UPnP issues with be a problem of the past. I have never had an issue except to add applications to my security policy from time-to-time. I have used this configuration on multiple PA-220s and it works every time without any issues. Without the above rules, some games might work but group chat will always be broken.

For information on how to configure a static 1-to-1 destination NAT policy, or bi-directional NAT mapping please refer to the Understanding PAN-OS NAT document.

Please enjoy and hopefully this will help anyone avoid the headaches and research that I went through along with trail and error. Also, hopefully this configuration will allow everyone, including myself, the ability to keep our games but also make sure we are securing and protecting on valuable resources on the inside of the network. With this configuration, we have the ability to function without any issues as well as protect the network from UPnP vulnerabilities that all gaming systems rely on; especially Xbox/Microsoft.