GSoC 2018 – Easily Expandable WIDS – Second Update

In this blog post I’d like to present the recent progress made for Eewids. This time, our main focus was the performance of the current setup. Besides we did some minor improvements, mostly adding some more dashboards to Grafana to visualize the data captured. This blog post focuses the results regarding Kismet as a component of Eewids. Continue reading “GSoC 2018 – Easily Expandable WIDS – Second Update”

GSoC 2018 – Easily Expandable WIDS – First Update

In this blog post I’d like to present the recent changes made in Eewids, why they were done and what’s to come next. For an introduction of Eewids see here.

In general the steps done the last weeks aimed mainly at the easiness of use and testing the main concept – having an easily expandable framework at hand. Thus, a RogueAP detection was added and visualization based on InfluxData tools and Grafana were included. Both steps were much more easy to achieve because of the architecture of Eewids.

Starting Eewids most easily

For everyone potentially interested in using Eewids it would have been a big hassle to compile Kismet (git development version) by herself. As Eewids is completely based on Docker container most of the components didn’t need to get installed. And that’s quite important. No one wants to compile, start and administrate all the stuff: Kismet, Eewids’ Parser, RabbitMQ, InfluxDB, Telegraf, Grafana and finally the plugins added to Eewids (like the RogueAP detection, see below). While all these components are provided by Docker container and can get started by simply hitting ‘docker-compose up’, the Wi-Fi card had to get accessed directly so far. Therefore, it was necessary to have a recent version of Kismet’s remote capture, which is not included in any major Linux distribution yet.

Luckily Kismet’s developer found a solution to this problem and documented it. We adapted this to the needs of Eewids and now have a solution in which one can start Eewids easily on a local machine, needing nothing more than a compatible Wi-Fi card, docker and docker-compose. Please see the of Eewids for more information and try it yourself! 😉

Renaming fields of captured data

To make the captured data of Eewids as accessible as possible for developers many field names saved in the message broker RabbitMQ were changed to be quite similar to Wireshark’s “Display Filter Reference”. See here.

Hearing Map for RogueAP detection

A simple RogueAP detection which existed before have been expanded by a hearing map. Now a whitelist contains not only valid ESSID:BSSID pairs, but also the information which remote capture is able to see which AP. Thus, an attacker can not use a valid ESSID:BSSID pair of a AP which is located in a different building to cover an EvilTwin attack. See here for more information.

Add a visualization tool: Grafana

We develop Eewids to make it easy to add new functions to it. To test this claim and to actually extend functionality by a way to analyze and visualize what’s happening arround, we added Grafana. It connects easily to different datasets (like InfluxDB, Elastic etc.) and let you create graphs and lists etc. As a starting point we added InfluxDB to save our captured data, Telegraf to get the data out of RabbitMQ and to send them to InfluxDB and Grafana to use the data from the InfluxDB.

Which would have been a hassle to implement on a local machine was quite easy with docker and a already existing dataset provided by Eewids in RabbitMQ. Thus, it only took us some hours to find out how to use this software. Even this time was not related to Eewids itself, but just to the missing basic understanding of Telegraf, InfluxDB and Grafana. That is to say if anyone who already know these tools would have liked to add these to Eewids could have done this easily. And this is the objective of Eewids.

We consider this a successful proof of concept. We used InfluxDB for Grafana, because we expect new things to come which depends on/use InfluxDB. Likewise we can imagine the fast and forward implementation of Elastic and the related tools and software. We’d glad to see this adapted in the future as well. 🙂

What comes next?

Now that we have a visualization tool (Grafana) added, it would make sense to extend it with more information, letting alerts visualized etc. Furthermore, we’d like to improve the “backend” features for developers. That means we would like to create some templates to easily start using Eewids data and adding detection methods. Let’s see how it works out!

GSoC 2018 – Easily Expandable WIDS – Introduction


I am Alex and I want to create a framework for making an easily expandable wireless intrusion detection system this summer. The objective is to create a working environment which can be expanded with microservices to detect attacks on Wi-Fi networks and which fits easily within rather large organizations instead of small private setups.

All the things are happening on GitHub and thus this introduction is based on the README I created having this blog post in mind.


Existing WIDS Tools

Analyzing 0x90/wifi-arsenal especially in search of wireless intrusion detection systems (WIDS) I realized that there just is no complete ready-to-go solution yet, at least regarding free and open source software (FOSS). For me a WIDS should serve the following needs:

  • detection of most of the known Wi-Fi attacks
  • scalability and thus being able to work within big organizations
  • simple expandability (there are always more attacks to come ;-))

Although there is indeed software on GitHub which can be used to detect Wi-Fi attacks, they are usually specialized on some attacks and/or they are hobby projects which would not fit in setups of bigger environments. Please have a look at the defence-related Wi-Fi tools on the wifi-arsenal list.

An exception should be mentioned: Kismet. It is probably the most famous and complete FOSS Wi-Fi solution and very popular. Still, it does not seem to fulfill the above necessities completely. And it is probably not the objective of Kismet to be a full-featured WIDS either. Instead it has many features for pentesting Wi-Fi networks and other interesting stuff.

Why Not Just Expanding Existing Programs?

One solution would be to simply add needed functionality to Kismet. And this is definitely a good idea and I encourage everyone to improve the code of Kismet. Some needs mentioned above could be solved with a microservice approach more generally though. This is exactly what EEWIDS tries to achieve. By creating a containerized framework EEWDIS enables

  • scalability
  • working easily in setups of bigger organizations
  • the possibility to add functionality easily (see below)

Main Idea of EEWIDS

Simple layout sketch of EEWIDS
Simple layout sketch of EEWIDS

Basis Kismet

EEWIDS uses Kismet as a basis. Thus, it uses Kismet’s advantages and tries to add functionality by using container techniques. As Kismet is under heavy development right now, EEWIDS uses the git version of Kismet right away, which is completely different to the last release from 2016. The Kismet remote capture (which replaces the former Kismet drone) is the only piece of software, which can not be containerized. The Kismet remote capture has to run on the machine which contains a Wi-Fi card which is able to monitor the traffic. As Kismet is very popular the Kismet remote capture will already run on many different machines and platforms, e.g. on OpenWrt. Therefore, it is better to use Kismet as a basis for capturing the data instead of building an own system.

The Kismet remote capture will send the data to a Kismet server instance which is running in a container. By using the Kismet server we will be informed about every attack which Kismet did detect and thus we can reuse the work already done on this side. EEWIDS will attach to the Kismet server to:

  • pull the pcap-ng data stream which contains all data captured
  • pull all alerts raised by Kismet server itself

Message Broker RabbitMQ

Both kind of information will be parsed and submitted to a Message Broker afterwards. The Message Broker is the central point of EEWIDS. By using RabbitMQ – one of the most popular systems of its kind – it is easily possible to subscribe to a needed information. This is supposed to be the big advantage for developers. Thus, instead of capturing and parsing Wi-Fi packets itself, a detection method only needs to subscribe to the needed information and will receive it directly from the Message Broker. Furthermore, the developer can use any programming language or system which is needed for this kind of detection, without bothering C++ or other stuff, which may would be necessary for Kismet plugins.

Analyzing and Visualization

The actual analyzing is done in services dedicated to this task. E.g. instead of parsing packages, looking for Beacons and analyzing it afterwards, a service will just subscribe to all Beacon frames. All other frames are not of interest. The service does not need to parse the Beacon frames, it just needs to access the json-formatted information it got from the Message Broker, e.g. data[‘wlan.ssid’] or data[‘wlan.bssid’]. This can be done independent of the programming language, as most of them already have modules for json and are able to access RabbitMQ. This setup should indeed work for every language which already has a client listed on RabbitMQ website.

Another advantage is the freedom of choice of visualization/analyzing software. It is easily possible to include either influxdata’s TICK stack or the elastic stack, both Open Source analyzing software which also have anomaly detection methods. These stacks and other software already have interfaces to access RabbitMQ and to read json-formatted data and thus it is easy to extract the collected information as needed.

This should make it easy to extend EEWIDS in various ways. Let’s see what can happen.


The usability on a developers perspective depends on the availability of logged frame information actually stored in RabbitMQ and the existence of easily adaptable templates. Furthermore, it has to be as easy and straight-forward to deploy the system as possible. That’s why I’d like to focus on three things:

  • the parsing of Kismet’s pcap-ng files should be as complete as feasable
  • there should exist templates for some major programming language to describe the usage
  • the deployment should work straight forward