A new series of papers is available from the Honeynet Project: “Know Your Tools” deals with specific types of honeypots and explains how to use them. The first paper in this series deals with Picviz, a tool to visualize data based on parallel coordinates plots. Picviz is a parallel coordinates plotter which enables easy scripting from various input (tcpdump, syslog, iptables logs, apache logs, etc..) to visualize data and discover interesting aspects of that data quickly. Picviz uncovers previously hidden data that is difficult to identify with traditional analysis methods. The paper is available at http://www.honeynet.org/node/499.


This document explains how Picviz can be used to spot attacks. We will use three examples in this paper; analysis of ssh connection logs, demonstration of the graphical interface on network data generated by a port scanner and the use of Picviz command line to discover attacks towards an Apache web server. Picviz can handle large amounts of data, as illustrated by the last example in which two years of raw Apache access logs are analyzed. We will show how we can find attacks that previously have been hidden and discover them in a very short time! We hope Picviz will make you more efficient in analyzing any kind of log files, including network traffic, and able to spot abnormalities even with large dataset.