Capture TLS traffic

TLS is a cryptographic protocol that provides secure communications on top of an existing application protocol, like HTTP or MySQL.

Packetbeat intercepts the initial handshake in a TLS connection and extracts useful information which helps an operator to diagnose problems as well as strengthen the security of his or her network and systems. It does not decrypt any information from the encapsulated protocol nor does it reveal any sensitive information such as cryptographic keys. TLS versions 1.0 to 1.3 and SSL 3.0 are supported.

It works by intercepting the client and server "hello" messages, which contain the negotiated parameters for the connection such as cryptographic ciphers and protocol versions. It can also intercept TLS alerts, which are sent by one of the parties to signal a problem with the negotiation, such as an expired certificate or a cryptographic error.

An example of indexed event:

  "tls": {
    "handshake_completed": true,
    "server_certificate": {
      "version": 3,
      "issuer": {
        "organization": "GlobalSign nv-sa",
        "common_name": "GlobalSign CloudSSL CA - SHA256 - G3",
        "country": "BE"
      },
      "subject": {
        "organization": "Fastly, Inc.",
        "locality": "San Francisco",
        "province": "California",
        "common_name": "r2.shared.global.fastly.net",
        "country": "US"
      },
      "not_before": "2017-11-30T16:52:06.000Z",
      "not_after": "2018-11-09T20:51:05.000Z",
      "alternative_names": [
        "elastic.co"
      ],
      "serial_number": "19260053873395556258503998518",
      "signature_algorithm": "SHA256-RSA",
      "public_key_algorithm": "RSA"
    },
    "server_certificate_chain": [
      {
        "not_after": "2025-08-19T00:00:00.000Z",
        "version": 3,
        "serial_number": "1438827024893517455116777811697460",
        "signature_algorithm": "SHA256-RSA",
        "public_key_algorithm": "RSA",
        "not_before": "2015-08-19T00:00:00.000Z",
        "issuer": {
          "organizational_unit": "Root CA",
          "common_name": "GlobalSign Root CA",
          "country": "BE",
          "organization": "GlobalSign nv-sa"
        },
        "subject": {
          "country": "BE",
          "organization": "GlobalSign nv-sa",
          "common_name": "GlobalSign CloudSSL CA - SHA256 - G3"
        }
      }
    ],
    "resumed": false,
    "client_hello": {
      "extensions": {
        "server_name_indication": [
          "www.elastic.co"
        ],
        "supported_groups": [
          "secp256r1",
          "secp384r1",
          "secp521r1"
        ],
        "ec_points_formats": [
          "uncompressed"
        ],
        "signature_algorithms": [
          "rsa_pkcs1_sha256",
          "rsa_pkcs1_sha1",
          [...]
        ],
        "application_layer_protocol_negotiation": [
          "h2",
          "h2-16",
          [...]
        ],
      },
      "version": "3.3",
      "supported_ciphers": [
        "TLS_EMPTY_RENEGOTIATION_INFO_SCSV",
        "TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384",
        [...]
      ],
      "supported_compression_methods": [
        "NULL"
      ]
    },
    "server_hello": {
      "extensions": {
        "ec_points_formats": [
          "uncompressed",
          "ansiX962_compressed_prime",
          "ansiX962_compressed_char2"
        ],
        "application_layer_protocol_negotiation": [
          "h2"
        ],
      },
      "version": "3.3",
      "selected_cipher": "TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256",
      "selected_compression_method": "NULL"
    },
  }

The client_hello contains the algorithms and extensions supported by the client, as well as the maximum TLS version it supports (3.3).

The server_hello contains the final settings for the TLS session: The selected cipher, compression method, TLS version to use and other extensions such as application layer protocol negotiation (ALPN).

The resumed key indicates if the session has been resumed (true) or a full handshake has been performed (false). When true, an additional field is present: resumption_method which is id if the session has been resumed using session IDs (stateful) or ticket if it has resumed using session tickets (stateless).

See the TLS fields section for more detailed information.

The following settings are specific to the TLS protocol. Here is a sample configuration for the tls section of the packetbeat.yml config file:

packetbeat.protocols:
- type: tls
  send_certificates: true
  include_raw_certificates: true

Configuration options

The send_certificates and include_raw_certificates settings are useful for limiting the amount of data Packetbeat indexes, as multiple certificates are usually exchanged in a single transaction, and those can take a considerable amount of storage.

Also see Common protocol options.

send_certificates

This setting causes the certificates presented by the client and server to be included in the event. The server’s certificate is indexed in the server_certificate field and its certification chain in the server_certificate_chain field. For the client, the client_certificate and client_certificate_chain fields are used.

The default is true.

include_raw_certificates

When send_certificates is true, you can set include_raw_certificates to include the raw certificate encoded in PEM format as a raw field.

If send_certificates is false, this setting is ignored. The default is false.