IVRE flow is a beta feature meant to analyze network flows between hosts. It can be seen as:

  • a recon tool for the case of an unknown network (hence its apparition in IVRE/DRUNK)
  • a cartography tool to get a better understanding of a supposedly known network (but there is no such thing as a “known network”)
  • a monitoring tool to spot unwanted flows in your network


Data insertion

There are two tools for data insertion, the first is bro-based:

$ bro -r capture_file.pcap
$ ivre bro2db ./*.log
$ ivre flowcli

The second can take either argus logs or netflow logs:

$ argus -m -r capture_file.pcap -w flows.argus
$ ivre flow2db flows.argus


$ ivre flow2db flows.nfdump


$ ivre flow2db -t iptables iptables-from-syslog.log

Any of these tools can be called with ‘–init’ to reinitialize the DB.

Data exploration

The main exploration tool are the CLI (ivre flowcli) and the Web UI (<ivre-web-root>/flow.html).


You can access the CLI through ivre flowcli. Features include:

  • Searching for flows and nodes with filters (see the Flow Filters section of this document)
  • Producing top values for given criteria
  • Plotting flows amounts over hours of days, on average.

See ivre flowcli -h for usage details.

Web UI


The central view is a graph representing the network:

  • nodes represent hosts; white ones represent hosts that have incoming network flows, grey ones those who do not have any
  • edges represent network flows; same [proto, dport] couple will have the same color

Flows are aggregated by destination port (or code, for icmp), two different connection from the same source to the same destination on the same destination port (so called dport) but with different source ports will be aggregated on the same edge.

On the bottom of the graph, there is a timeline, representing the amount of different flows during some time ranges. This timeline can be played by going to the Display pane.

On the left, there is a control pane with 3 tabs:

  • Explore: Allows to explore and reduce the dataset to display with node-based or edge-based queries. See the next section for more details. It also allows to navigate through the data (limit/skip) and change the query mode. At the top of this pane, there is a count of the flows, servers and clients matching the current query. Note that servers can also be counted as clients if they have outgoing flows.
  • Display: Allows to change the way data is displayed (size of nodes and edges, timeline precision).
  • Details: Details on the currently selected item.

Hover nodes and edges to display their basic properties in the Details tab. Click on an edge or a node to query the database for more information, including any associated metadata (for example DNS queries happening on a network flow).

There are two ways of filtering the data:

  • Right click on a node or edge and Filter by/Filter out by attribute
  • Write filters yourself

See the Flow Filter section of this document for more information on the filter syntax.

The Display pane allows to change the size of nodes and edges based on some criteria:

  • On nodes, available keywords are $in and $out, to make the size proportional to the number of incoming or outgoing flows of a node.
  • On edges, a property can be specified (for example scbytes, the number of bytes from the server to the client).

Do not forget to increase the Size scale to make the result more visible.

The Display pane also allows to change the amount of time slots to represent on the timeline (capped by the actual time precision set in ivre.conf). The timeline can also be played on the graph by clicking the ‘Play timeline’ button.

Raw Database queries

Ivre flow module is currently built on top of neo4j. The query language of this database is quite intuitive and the user is encouraged to execute his own custom queries. The model is as follows:

   |                |
   \                /

As an example, the following query returns the most common (proto, dport):

MATCH (f:Flow)
RETURN [f.proto, f.dport], count(*) AS cnt

Flow Filters

To write filters, the syntax is as follows:

[!][ANY|ALL|ONE|LEN ][src.|dst.][meta.]<attribute> [<operator> <value>]
[OR <other filter>]

The [src.|dst.] part is only available for node filters.

The special keywords ANY, ALL, ONE and LEN are for working with array attributes:

  • ALL: matches if all the elements of the array fullfil the predicate
  • ANY: the same if any of the elements match
  • ONE: the same if exactly one of the elements match
  • LEN: the predicate will use the len of the array

Some examples:

  • Node filter dst.addr = will match all the flows whose destination is a host with address
  • Node filter addr =~ 192\.168\.1\..* will match all the flows that come from or go to a host whose address matches the 192\.168\.1\..* regex (sorry, CIDR masks are on their way to be implemented).
  • Edge filter dport > 10000 will match all the flows with a dport (destination port) above 10000. !dport <= 10000 will match the same flows plus the ones that do not have any destination port.
  • Edge filter meta.query =~ .*google.* will match all the flows that have an associated metadata which have a query attribute that match the .*google.* regex.
  • Edge filter ANY sports < 1024 will match flows with at least one source port < 1024.
  • Edge filter LEN sports = 1 will match flows with only one known source port.
  • Filter ANY meta.answers =~ .*example.com will match any metadata that contain an array attribute answers where at least one entry matches '.*example.com'.

Available operators are:

  • = or : (equality)
  • !=
  • <, <=, >, >=
  • =~