Packetbeat is a network package analyser used to capture network traffic. It can be used to extract useful fields of information from network transactions before shipping them to one or more destinations, including Logstash. This is useful for troubleshooting and detecting performance hits.

Install

  Package managers Apt/Yum users can install from official repositories.

deb (Debian/Ubuntu)

sudo apt-get install libpcap0.8
curl -L -O https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/beats/packetbeat/packetbeat-oss-6.4.0-amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i packetbeat-oss-6.4.0-amd64.deb

rpm (Redhat/Centos/Fedora)

sudo yum install libpcap
curl -L -O https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/beats/packetbeat/packetbeat-oss-6.4.0-x86_64.rpm
sudo rpm -vi packetbeat-oss-6.4.0-x86_64.rpm

macOS

curl -L -O https://artifacts.elastic.co/downloads/beats/packetbeat/packetbeat-oss-6.4.0-darwin-x86_64.tar.gz 
tar xzvf packetbeat-oss-6.4.0-darwin-x86_64.tar.gz

Windows

  • Download and install WinPcap from this page. WinPcap is a library that uses a driver to enable packet capturing.

  • Download the Packetbeat Windows zip file from the official downloads page.

  • Extract the contents of the zip file into C:\Program Files.

  • Rename the packetbeat-<version>-windows directory to Packetbeat.

  • Open a PowerShell prompt as an Administrator (right-click the PowerShell icon and select Run As Administrator). If you are running Windows XP, you may need to download and install PowerShell.

  • Run the following commands to install Packetbeat as a Windows service:

    PS > cd 'C:\Program Files\Packetbeat'
    PS C:\Program Files\Packetbeat> .\install-service-packetbeat.ps1
    
      If script execution is disabled on your system, you need to set the execution policy for the current session to allow the script to run. For example: PowerShell.exe -ExecutionPolicy UnRestricted -File .\install-service-packetbeat.ps1.
  My OS isn't here! Don't see your system? Check out the official downloads page for more options (including 32-bit versions).

Locate the configuration file

deb/rpm /etc/packetbeat/packetbeat.yml
mac/win <EXTRACTED_ARCHIVE>/packetbeat.yml

Configure Packetbeat to select the network interface

Select the network interface from which to capture the traffic.

On Linux: Packetbeat supports capturing all messages sent or received by the server on which Packetbeat is installed. For this, use any as the device:

packetbeat.interfaces.device: any

On OS X, capturing from the any device does not work. You would typically use either lo0 or en0 depending on which traffic you want to capture.

On Windows, run the following command to list the available network interfaces:

PS C:\Program Files\Packetbeat> .\packetbeat.exe -devices

0: \Device\NPF_{113535AD-934A-452E-8D5F-3004797DE286} (Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Desktop Adapter)

In this example, there is only one network card, with the index 0, installed on the system. If there are multiple network cards, remember the index of the device you want to use for capturing the traffic.

Modify the device line to point to the index of the device:

packetbeat.interfaces.device: 0
  There's also a full example configuration file called packetbeat.full.yml that shows all the possible options.

Configure protocols

In the protocols section, configure the ports on which Packetbeat can find each protocol. If you use any non-standard ports, add them here. Otherwise, the default values should do just fine.

packetbeat.protocols.dns:
  ports: [53]

  include_authorities: true
  include_additionals: true

packetbeat.protocols.http:
  ports: [80, 8080, 8081, 5000, 8002]

packetbeat.protocols.memcache:
  ports: [11211]

packetbeat.protocols.mysql:
  ports: [3306]

packetbeat.protocols.pgsql:
  ports: [5432]

packetbeat.protocols.redis:
  ports: [6379]

packetbeat.protocols.thrift:
  ports: [9090]

packetbeat.protocols.mongodb:
  ports: [27017]

packetbeat.protocols.cassandra:
  ports: [9042]

Configure output

We'll be shipping to Logstash so that we have the option to run filters before the data is indexed.
Comment out the elasticsearch output block.

## Comment out elasticsearch output
#output.elasticsearch:
#  hosts: ["localhost:9200"]

Uncomment and change the logstash output to match below.

output.logstash:
    hosts: ["your-logstash-host:your-port"]
    loadbalance: true
    ssl.enabled: true

Validate configuration

Let's check the configuration file is syntactically correct.

deb/rpm

sudo chown -R root /etc/packetbeat
sudo chmod go-w /etc/packetbeat/packetbeat.yml
packetbeat -e -c /etc/packetbeat/packetbeat.yml

mac
Ran from the extracted archive dir

sudo chown root packetbeat.yml
sudo ./packetbeat -e -c packetbeat.yml

win
Ran from the extracted archive dir, this time using the command prompt and not PowerShell.

packetbeat -e -c packetbeat.yml

Start Packetbeat

Ok, time to start ingesting data!

deb

$ sudo service packetbeat start

mac

$ sudo ./packetbeat -e -c packetbeat.yml -d "publish"

win

PS C:\Program Files\Packetbeat> Start-Service packetbeat