NMDecrypt Expert Updates - Version 2.3

When I first wrote about NMDecrypt Expert in this blog I mentioned some limitations. There have also been bugs reported since then. I decided I would fix some of these problems and address some of the limitations. My hope is to make this tool even more useful, but also to point out other ways community members could help extend the functionality further and get involved now that our Experts are open source. Below I will call some of these updates out explicitly.

Now You Can Select a IPv4/IPv6 Conversation

Previously you had to select the specific TCP conversation in order for the expert to work. This TCP conversation also had to contain the full TLS/SSL session setup, because the expert needs this data to do the decryption. However there are cases where a single IE session would spawn multiple TLS/SSL sessions, with only the first session containing the TLS/SSL session setup. Now, the expert can work in situations where multiple SSL sessions exist with two given restrictions:

  1. The trace can only contain traffic that is associated with the private key you’ve provided. If there is other traffic that happens simultaneously, the expert will fail. Community: It should be possible to compare the certificate path provided with the one used during negotiation. With this mapping you could potentially decrypt all traffic that uses the same certificate. Perhaps we could also just ignore the failures and continue on.
  2. Sessions can’t be intermingled. When the expert decrypts traffic, there’s a running check called a MAC (Message Authentication Code). State between separate TCP conversations is not maintained. So data from another TCP session messes up the MAC calculation and the expert fails. The work around for this problem is to manually save each TCP session in order to another file. This is simple using the Frame Buffer manager feature in the UI. Just select each TCP conversation, Ctrl+A to select all frames, and right click to open the Frame Buffer manager. Once you create a new file continue to add frames from each session in order to the same file, and then close the file once you are done. Community: While it might be hard to maintain state in the expert, I think it would be simple to make multiple passes though the capture file; limiting each pass to a single TCP conversation.

Support for Alternate Network Paths

The expert examines the traffic and derives a fully qualified path from the frame it’s examining. For instance if the path it sees is Ethernet.IPv4.IPv6.TCP, it uses this as a seed to understand the root for the TLS/SSL specific data. However, each of these is verified against known paths. In order to support new paths, I’ve added a few more common paths for wireless and ESP over IPv4/IPv6. Incidentally there was also a bug fix for IPv6 traffic that I fixed in this area. Community: If there are other network paths that we need to support, this is a very easy change. Also related to this is the support for TLS/SSL for other protocols. Currently we support LDAP and HTTP, but this would be easily extended to support other protocols.

TCP Fragmented Data

The Expert depended on the ability of Network Monitor parser to properly re-assemble TCP data. However, there are certain limitations where data does not align on a TCP frame boundary. This is because TCP streams data and therefore it’s possible for the data to break on non-frame bounds. However, from the TLS/SSL perspective, the data that describes each data segment is described by the protocol. So I modified the expert to find when there was not enough data to account for a full TLS/SSL Segment. In those cases, I reassembled that data manually. Community: There are bound to be problems between various versions of TLS/SSL. My main test case was TLS 1.0, so be aware for variances in other protocols that could cause issues.

Get Involved

The link to the latest version of the expert is available on our Expert Codeplex site. By highlighting some of the remaining issues I’m hoping to get more community involvement to further update this expert. And with the move to the OuterCurve Foundation contributing has never been easier.