Snort, Logstash, Elastic Search and Kibana…

After having fun with Suricata’s new eve/json logging format and the Logstash/Elastic Search/Kibana combination (see this and this), I wanted to get my Snort events into Elastic Search as well.  Using my idstools python library I wrote u2json, a tool that will process a unified2 spool directory (much like barnyard) and convert the events to Suricata-style JSON.

Usage is relatively simple, assuming Snort is logging to /var/log/snort, the following command line should do:

  idstools-u2json -c /etc/snort/snort.conf 
--directory /var/log/snort
--prefix unified2.log
--follow --bookmark
--output /var/log/snort/alerts.json

As the output is in the same format as Suricata’s you can refer to this guide for the Logstash setup.

One extra step I did was use Logstash to add an “engine” field to each entry.  This can be accomplished by adapting the following Logstash configuration:

input {
file {
path => ["/var/log/suricata/eve.json"]
codec => json
type => "suricata-json"
file {
path => ["/var/log/snort/alerts.json"]
codec => json
type => "snort-json"

filter {
if [type] == "suricata-json" {
mutate {
add_field => {
"engine" => "suricata"

if [type] == "snort-json" {
mutate {
add_field => {
"engine" => "snort"

Checkout out the documentation for information.

Easy Unified2 File Reading in Python

I recently consolidated my Python code bits for dealing with Snort and Suricata unified2 log files into a project called idstools. While I’ll be adding more than just unified2 reading support, that is about it for now.

While it can be installed with pip (pip install idstools), if you just want to play around with it I suggest cloning the repo (git clone You can then use the REPL or write test scripts from within the directory without having to install the library (yeah, basic stuff for Python developers).

idstools does come with a few example programs that demonstrate unified2 file reading, namely,, and (a simple clone of the Snort provided u2spewfoo).

Basic Unified2 File Reading

from idstools import unified2

reader = unified2.FileEventReader("tests/merged.log")
for event in reader:
    print("Event:n%s" % str(event))

This few lines of code will iterate through each record in the specified unified2 log files, aggregate the records into events and return each event as a dict.

If straight up record is reading is more what you are after then check out unified2.FileRecordReader, or the lower level unified2.read_record function.

Each event is represented as a dict containing the fields of a unified2 event record, with the associated packets represented as a list in event[“packets”] and extra data records represented as a list in event[“extra-data”].

Resolving Event Message and Classification Names

To make event reading just a little more useful, code to map signature and classifications IDs to descriptions is provided.
from idstools import maps

# Create and populate the signature message map.
sigmap = maps.MsgMap()

# Get the description for 1:498.
print("Message for 1:498: %s" % (sigmap.get(1, 498).msg))

# Create and populate the classification map.
classmap = maps.ClassificationMap()
print("The description for classification id 9 is %s, with priority %d." % (
        classmap.get(9).description, classmap.get(9).priority))
The example program is a complete example of reading events from one or more files, resolving event descriptions and classification names and printing the event in a “fast” like style.

Spool Reading

idstools also contains a spool reader for processing a unified2 spool directory as commonly used by Snort and Suricata.  It supports bookmarking, deleting files, and open and close hooks which can be used to implement custom archiving.
from idstools import spool

def my_open_hook(reader, filename):
    print("File %s has been opened." % (filename))

def my_close_hook(reader, filename):
    print("File %s has been closed." % (filename))

reader = spool.Unified2EventSpoolReader(
    "/var/log/snort", "merged.log", delete_on_close=False,

for event in reader:
    print("Read event with generator-id %d, signature-id %d." % (
            event["signature-id"], event["generator-id"]))
To see a more complete directory spool process, check out the example program.To learn more checkout idstools over at GitHub, PyPI, or the work-in-progress documentation on Read the Docs.

Some NSM type RPMs.

I’ve always maintained more or less up to date Snort RPMs for RHEL for personal use and have recently added Suricata. As they may be useful for others I have cleaned them up a little and made a YUM repository for EL6 i386 and x86_64. See the for more info.

A few things to note:

  • These RPMs use a prefix of /opt/nsm to prevent conflict with similar RPMs you may have installed, its a little bit out of the norm for RPMs and I’m open to comments…
  • Snort and Suricata packages will never be automatically upgraded as often upgrading to a new version requires some administration work such as updating your configuration files. To facilitate this the packages have their version as part of the name and “-latest” pseudo-packages are provided which will always install the latest RPM but you will have to “snort-select” or “suricata-select” the new version to make it active. I’ll probably have to add some more detailed documentation about this on the wiki.
As I’m also a regular Fedora user I’ll probably add Fedora builds at some point as its little effort to me. If Fedora builds would be useful to you please let me know and I may do it sooner than later.