Wireshark is a popular open-source network protocol analyzer that is used to troubleshoot and analyze network traffic. One of the protocols that Wireshark supports is SS7 (Signaling System 7), a protocol used to manage and control telephone calls and other communications on traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) networks.
In this article, we will explore the concept of SS7 traffic analysis using Wireshark, how it works, and some of the tools and techniques that can be used to analyze SS7 traffic with Wireshark.
What is Wireshark?
Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer that is used to capture and analyze network traffic. It is available for free and is widely used by network administrators, security analysts, and other professionals to troubleshoot network issues, detect security threats, and analyze network performance.
Wireshark supports a wide range of network protocols, including TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, DNS, and SS7, among others. It allows users to capture and analyze network traffic in real-time or from saved capture files, and provides a range of tools and features for analyzing network traffic, such as packet filtering, protocol decoding, and statistical analysis.
What is SS7 Traffic Analysis?
SS7 traffic analysis refers to the process of analyzing SS7 signaling messages that are used to manage and control telephone calls and other communications on traditional PSTN networks. SS7 signaling messages are transmitted over dedicated signaling links between different network elements, such as switches and routers.
SS7 traffic analysis can be used for a variety of purposes, such as troubleshooting network issues, detecting security threats, and monitoring network performance. It involves capturing and analyzing SS7 signaling messages using a protocol analyzer, such as Wireshark, and interpreting the results to identify potential issues or vulnerabilities in the network.
How to Analyze SS7 Traffic with Wireshark
To analyze SS7 traffic with Wireshark, follow these steps:
- Install Wireshark: Download and install Wireshark on your computer from the official website.
- Capture SS7 Traffic: Connect your computer to the SS7 network and start capturing SS7 traffic using Wireshark. To do this, select the appropriate network interface in Wireshark and start the capture.
- Filter SS7 Traffic: Apply a filter to the captured traffic to isolate SS7 signaling messages. To do this, use the SS7 filter provided by Wireshark or create your own custom filter.
- Analyze SS7 Traffic: Analyze the captured SS7 traffic using Wireshark’s tools and features, such as packet decoding, protocol analysis, and statistical analysis. Look for patterns and anomalies in the traffic that may indicate network issues or security threats.
- Interpret Results: Interpret the results of the SS7 traffic analysis to identify potential issues or vulnerabilities in the network. Use this information to troubleshoot network issues, detect security threats, and optimize network performance.
Tools and Techniques for SS7 Traffic Analysis with Wireshark
There are several tools and techniques that can be used to analyze SS7 traffic with Wireshark, including:
- Packet Decoding: Wireshark’s packet decoding feature allows users to view the contents of SS7 signaling messages and decode the messages into human-readable format. This can help users understand the structure and content of the messages and identify potential issues or vulnerabilities in the network.
- Protocol Analysis: Wireshark’s protocol analysis feature allows users to analyze SS7 signaling messages at the protocol level, such as verifying message integrity, checking message sequencing, and analyzing message routing. This can help users detect potential security threats or network issues.
- Statistical Analysis: Wireshark’s statistical analysis feature allows users to analyze SS7 traffic patterns and identify potential anomalies or trends in the traffic. This can help users detect network issues or performance bottlenecks.
- Custom Filters: Wireshark allows users to create custom filters to isolate specific types of SS7 traffic for analysis. For example, users can create filters to isolate traffic from specific network elements or to filter traffic based on specific signaling parameters.
- Expert Analysis: Wireshark’s expert analysis feature provides detailed feedback and recommendations on potential issues or vulnerabilities in the SS7 traffic. This can help users identify and resolve issues quickly and efficiently.
Best Practices for SS7 Traffic Analysis with Wireshark
To ensure effective and efficient SS7 traffic analysis with Wireshark, consider the following best practices:
- Use Filters: Use Wireshark’s filters to isolate SS7 traffic from other network traffic and focus on the specific signaling messages you want to analyze.
- Use Statistical Analysis: Use Wireshark’s statistical analysis features to identify patterns and trends in SS7 traffic and detect potential issues or vulnerabilities.
- Analyze Complete Call Flows: Analyze complete call flows rather than individual messages to gain a better understanding of the network behavior and identify potential issues.
- Collaborate with Other Experts: Collaborate with other network experts, such as SS7 engineers or security analysts, to gain additional insights and knowledge about the network behavior.
Wireshark is a powerful tool for analyzing SS7 traffic and detecting potential network issues and security threats. By following best practices and using the tools and techniques outlined in this article, users can effectively analyze SS7 traffic with Wireshark and optimize network performance and security.
However, it’s important to note that SS7 networks are becoming less common and are being replaced by newer signaling technologies, such as Diameter. As such, it’s important for network professionals to stay up-to-date on emerging signaling technologies and the tools and techniques used to analyze them.