Capturing Decrypted TLS Traffic with Arkime - Security Boulevard

Capturing Decrypted TLS Traffic with Arkime

PolarProxy and Arkime Logo

The latest version of Arkime (The Sniffer Formerly Known As Moloch)
can now be fed with a real-time stream of decrypted HTTPS traffic from PolarProxy.
All that is needed to enable this feature is to include “pcapReadMethod=pcap-over-ip-server
in Arkime’s config.ini file and start PolarProxy with the
–pcapoveripconnect” option.
PolarProxy will then connect to Arkime’s PCAP-over-IP listener on TCP port 57012 and send it a copy of all TLS packets it decrypts.

Note: The required PCAP-over-IP feature is available in Arkime 2.7.0 and
PolarProxy 0.8.16.

About Arkime

Arkime is an open source packet capture solution
that indexes the PCAP data it collects.
Arkime also comes with a web frontend for browsing and searching through the captured,
and indexed, network traffic.
The Arkime project recently changed name from Moloch,
probably in an attempt to convince users that the tool doesn’t eat children.

How to Install Arkime with PolarProxy

This guide demonstrates how TLS traffic, or more specifically HTTPS traffic,
can be decrypted and ingested in real-time into Arkime.

The TLS decryption is performed with
which is a transparent TLS interception proxy that is freely available
under a Creative Commons BY-ND 4.0 license.

TLS decryption with PolarProxy and Arkime. TLS added and removed here.

PolarProxy and Arkime can be installed on a server to intercept, decrypt,
index and store decrypted TLS network traffic from multiple clients on a network.
It is even possible to install PolarProxy and Arkime on separate servers,
so that PolarProxy forwards a stream of decrypted traffic to the Arkime server.
However, to avoid unnecessary complexity, Arkime and PolarProxy are installed locally
on a Linux client in this howto guide.
The Linux client is a Ubuntu 20.04.1 machine, but the instructions can also be used on other Linux flavors
that use systemd, such as Arch, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, SUSE and Red Hat Linux.

Download and Install Arkime

Arkime can be downloaded as a pre-built installation packages for CentOS and Ubuntu here:

Note: You can alternatively visit the
Arkime GitHub page
if there is no pre-built installation package for your Linux distro
or you prefer to build Arkime from source.

After installing the Arkime package, configure Arkime by running:

sudo /data/moloch/bin/Configure

Found interfaces: lo;enp0s3

Semicolon ‘;’ seperated list of interfaces to monitor [eth1]

  • Enter “none” as the interface to monitor (the interface setting will be ignored when Arkime gets configured as a PCAP-over-IP server)
  • Install the ElasticSearch server by typing “yes” when prompted

Edit /data/moloch/etc/config.ini and add
to configure Arkime to listen for PCAP-over-IP connections.

pcapReadMethod=pcap-over-ip-server in Arkime's config.ini

Next, enable and start the ElasticSearch systemd service.

sudo systemctl enable elasticsearch.service

sudo systemctl start elasticsearch.service

Initiate the Arkime search cluster.

/data/moloch/db/ http://localhost:9200 init

Create a new admin user.

/data/moloch/bin/ admin “Admin User” THEPASSWORD –admin

Note: Feel free to pick a more secure password than “THEPASSWORD” for the admin user.

You can now enable and start the Moloch capture and viewer services.

sudo systemctl enable molochcapture.service

sudo systemctl start molochcapture.service

sudo systemctl enable molochviewer.service
sudo systemctl start molochviewer.service

Verify that Arkime now listens for incoming connections on TCP port 57012.

ss -nta | grep 57012

LISTEN 0 10*

Install PolarProxy to Decrypt TLS Traffic

Create a user for PolarProxy’s systemd service and download
PolarProxy like this:

sudo adduser –system –shell /bin/bash proxyuser
sudo mkdir /var/log/PolarProxy
sudo chown proxyuser:root /var/log/PolarProxy/
sudo chmod 0775 /var/log/PolarProxy/
sudo su – proxyuser
mkdir ~/PolarProxy
cd ~/PolarProxy/
curl | tar -xzf –

Copy the default PolarProxy service config to the systemd location.

sudo cp /home/proxyuser/PolarProxy/PolarProxy.service /etc/systemd/system/PolarProxy.service

Modify /etc/systemd/system/PolarProxy.service by adding
at the end of the ExecStart command.

PolarProxy.service with --pcapoveripconnect

It’s now time to enable and start the PolarProxy service.

sudo systemctl enable PolarProxy.service
sudo systemctl start PolarProxy.service

Verify that PolarProxy has connected to Arkime’s PCAP-over-IP listener on TCP port 57012.

ss -nta | grep 57012

LISTEN 0 10*



Take it For a Test Run

PolarProxy is listening for incoming TLS connections on TCP port 10443.
We can therefore run traffic through the TLS decryption proxy with this curl command:

curl –insecure –connect-to

The decrypted traffic will show up in Arkime if everything is working.
Open http://localhost:8005/sessions in a browser and look for a connection to

Note: The Arkime username and password is admin/THEPASSWORD if you’ve followed the instructions in this tutorial.

Also: You might have to wait a minute or two for the traffic to appear in Arkime’s user interface.

Moloch Sessions showing curl connection to

Trust PolarProxy’s Root CA Certificate

The root CA certificate used by your PolarProxy service must be trusted by both the operating system and browser
in order to run TLS traffic through the decryption proxy without errors.
Follow these instructions to add trust the root CA:

sudo mkdir /usr/share/ca-certificates/extra

sudo openssl x509 -inform DER -in /var/log/PolarProxy/polarproxy.cer -out /usr/share/ca-certificates/extra/PolarProxy-root-CA.crt

sudo dpkg-reconfigure ca-certificates
  • Select the “extra/PolarProxy-root-CA.crt” Certificate Authority
  • Press <Ok>

Start Firefox

  • Download the root CA certificate from: http://localhost:10080/polarproxy.cer
  • Open: about:preferences#privacy
  • Scroll down to “Certificates” and click “View Certificates”
  • Import > Select “polarproxy.cer”
  • Select: ☑ Trust this CA to identify websites

Firefox: Trust this CA to identify websites

Configure Firewall Redirect of Outgoing HTTPS Traffic

The final step in this tutorial is to redirect the local user’s outgoing HTTPS traffic to the PolarProxy service
listening on TCP port 10443.
Add the following lines at the top of /etc/ufw/before.rules (before the “*filter” section) to redirect outgoing HTTPS traffic to the local PolarProxy service listening on port 10443.



-A OUTPUT -m owner –uid 1000 -p tcp –dport 443 -j REDIRECT –to 10443


Firefox: Trust this CA to identify websites

Note: The UFW config in “before.rules” is equivalent to running “iptables -t nat -A OUTPUT -m owner –uid 1000 -p tcp –dport 443 -j REDIRECT –to 10443”

Make sure to modify the uid value (1000) in the firewall rule to match that of the local user
that PolarProxy should decrypt the HTTPS traffic for.
You can see your uid value by running the command “id -u“.
You can even redirect traffic from several users to PolarProxy,
but it’s important that you DON’T forward the outgoing HTTPS traffic from the “proxyuser” account.
You will otherwise generate an infinite firewall redirect loop,
where outgoing HTTPS traffic from PolarProxy is redirected back to PolarProxy again.
You can check the proxyuser’s uid with the command “id -u proxyuser“.

After saving before.rules, reload UFW to activate the port redirection.

sudo ufw reload

Surf ‘n’ Snoop

Your Linux machine is now configured to send decrypted HTTPS traffic to Arkime for inspection.
Open Firefox and visit some websites, then go back to Arkime and have a look at the traffic.
Again, remember that there might be a few minutes’ delay before the traffic appears in Arkime’s user interface

HTTP/2 Session in Moloch

You’ll probably notice that the majority of all HTTPS traffic is actually using the HTTP/2 protocol.
Unfortunately Arkime’s http2 support is still quite limited, but I’m hoping it will improve in future releases.

Luckily, both Wireshark and
NetworkMiner (which
runs fine in Linux by the way)
can be used to parse and extract contents from HTTP/2 traffic.
Just hit Arkime’s “Download PCAP” button and open the capture file in a tool of your choice.

NetworkMiner 2.6 showing files ectracted from HTTP/2 traffic

Image: NetworkMiner in Linux with files extracted from decrypted HTTP/2 traffic

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from NETRESEC Network Security Blog authored by Erik Hjelmvik. Read the original post at: