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Network Security Through Data Analysis, 2nd Edition by Michael Collins

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Chapter 10. Reference and Lookup: Tools for Figuring Out Who Someone Is

Each alert or logfile line that reports an event provides some basic information about the source of the event. Just from the IP address, you can derive information about geographic location and do a reverse DNS lookup. This chapter covers tools that help you track the identity of a host.

This chapter is focused on the idea of “walking up” the OSI stack, mentioned in “The Basics of Network Layering”. I like to view the OSI layer as a sequence of lookup processes. Each layer offers a different piece of addressing information, such as the MAC address at layer 2, the IP address at 3, and the ports at 4. This information is moved between layers through the agency of various referencing systems: ARP maps IP addresses to MAC addresses, DNS maps domain names to IP addresses, and so on. Again, the abstraction isn’t perfect—DNS translation doesn’t move us up or down the OSI stack—but by walking up each layer, we can describe what the addresses mean and when they are relevant to investigation.

The remainder of this chapter is structured as follows: a section on MAC addresses, then IPv4 and IPv6, followed by internet-layer information, then DNS, then higher-level protocols. Finally comes a discussion of other important tools that don’t fit into the layering model—in particular, reputation databases and malware repositories.

A general comment on the data discussed in this chapter: much of what is referenced here is maintained ...

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