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Cincan wrapper for dockerized command-line tools

Project description

CinCan command

The tool cincan command provide for a convenient use of the native command-line tools provided as docker images.

:warning: Currently the tool is a proof-of-concept under construction.


As prerequisite you must have installed Docker for running the tools, and Python 3 and pip Python package management program for the command program. Consult your system documentation how to install them.

The command program is then installed using pip for Python 3:

% sudo pip install cincan-command

If you invoke the pip installation with sudo the command cincan should be added to your path. Otherwise, you may need to do that yourself.

NOTE: You may want to install the tool into virtualenv to avoid conflicts with other Python applications you may have. Please consult appropriate documentation.

You can check that all works as follows:

% cincan list

If all goes well you get a list of the tools dockerized in the 'Cincan' project. However, you can use any dockerized tools as long as they meet the requirements listed in the end of this document. First time running this will take a while as it must fetch information of the tools and cache it locally.

Running tools with cincan

Invoking tools

A tool can be invoked with cincan using 'run' sub-command like this:

% cincan run <tool> <parameters..>

As you may remember you get the list of tools dockerized in 'Cincan' project with cincan list. For example the tool cincan/pywhois:

% cincan run cincan/pywhois

Many tools give you help information, if you invoke them without arguments, for example:

% cincan run cincan/tshark

More help is available with options like -h or --help, depending on the tool.

Input and output files

As the tools are actually ran on docker container, possible input and output files must be transferred into and out from the container. As default, this happens transparently as running the tools without docker. For example, if you have file myfile.pcap, the following command should give you JSON-formatted output from 'tshark':

% cincan run cincan/tshark -r myfile.pcap
cincan/tshark: <= myfile.pcap in

If you redirect output to a file, the file should be downloaded from the container as you would expect, for example:

% cincan run cincan/tshark -r myfile.pcap -w result.pcap
cincan/tshark: <= myfile.pcap in
cincan/tshark: => result.pcap

Use argument -q to get rid of the log indicating which files are copied in or out, e.g.

% cincan -q run cincan/tshark -r myfile.pcap -w result.pcap

Please note that -q is before the run sub command.

Limitations for input/output

Output files are only fetched to the current directory and to it's sub directories. This is a safety feature to block dockerized tools for overwriting arbitrary filesystem files. E.g. the following does not produce any output files to /tmp.

% cincan run cincan/tshark -r myfile.pcap -w /tmp/result.pcap

However, depending on the WORKDIR value of the container, you may get unexpected files to current directory, such as tmp/result.pcap in the sample above.

As default, the 'cincan' tool treat all existing files listed in command line arguments as input files, so it may also upload output files if those already exists when command is invoked. E.g. when you run the following command several times you notice that the file result.pcap gets uploaded to the container only to be overwritten.

% cincan run cincan/tshark -r myfile.pcap -w result.pcap
cincan/tshark: <= myfile.pcap in
cincan/tshark: <= result.pcap in
cincan/tshark: => result.pcap

This may become problem e.g. when you must give the command and output directory which contains a lot of data already and all that data gets (unnecessarily) copied to the container.

Avoid uploading content from output directories

On many cases a tool writes files into an output directory and you may run the tool several times to produce many files to the output directory. However, as 'cincan' does not know which files are output and which are input, it repeatedly copies also the output files from the previous runs to container. This may process may slow down your work and requires extra disk space.

This is avoided by using run argument --mkdir (or -d) to explicitly create output directory into container without copying over any possible content.

For example, consider the tool 'volatility' which expects you to give an output dump directory when extracting process data, e.g. the following extracts the memory dump of process 123 to directory dump/

% cincan run cincan/volatility -f image.raw --dump-dir dump/ memdump -p 123
cincan/volatility: <= image.raw
cincan/volatility: <= dump
cincan/volatility: => dump/123.dmp

However, if you extract again you notice that the already extracted file gets copied into the container as potential input file:

% cincan run cincan/volatility -f image.raw --dump-dir dump/ memdump -p 456
cincan/volatility: <= image.raw
cincan/volatility: <= dump
cincan/volatility: <= dump/123.dmp
cincan/volatility: => dump/456.dmp

This can easily slow down your analysis a lot when many process files are copied around unnecessarily. You can address this by explicitly creating dump/ directory to the container this way:

% cincan run -d dump cincan/volatility -f image.raw --dump-dir dump/ memdump -p 789
cincan/volatility: <= image.raw
cincan/volatility: <= dump
cincan/volatility: => dump/789.dmp

You can provide the argument many times to create multiple directories.

Input and output file filtering

You can explicitly filter input files, which are copied to the container, and output files, which are copied from the container. The filtering is done by giving a glob-style pattern by run command arguments --in-filter (or -I) for input file filtering and --out-filter (or -O) for output file filtering. Negative filters for filtering-out files are prefixed with ^.

Argument Description
--in-filter pattern Match files to upload by the pattern
--in-filter ^pattern Filter out files to upload which match the pattern
--out-filter pattern Match files to download by the pattern
--out-filter ^pattern Filter out files to download which match the pattern

For example, consider the previous case with tool 'volatility'. An alternative approach would be to filter out copying of files under dump/ like this:

% cincan run -I "^dump/*" cincan/volatility -f image.raw --dump-dir dump memdump -p 789
cincan/volatility: <= image.raw
cincan/volatility: <= dump
cincan/volatility: => dump/789.dmp

Providing tool input as tar file

Instead of letting the tool to figure out the input files from command-line, you can provide the input files directly as tar-file. When this is done, the tool does not try to apply any logic to upload files, so you have the full control. You cannot use input file filtering with this approach.

The input tar file is specified with option --in (or -i ) and you can provide a file or use - to read from standard input. For example:

% tar c myfile.pcap | cincan run --in - cincan/tshark -r myfile.pcap

Getting tool output as tar file

You can also request the tool output files in a tar container. This is done with argument --out (or -o). You can provide for the argument either a file name or -for standard output. You can also apply output file filtering to limit the number of files copied into the output tar archive.

For example, the following should write file output.tar

% cincan run --out output.tar cincan/tshark -r myfile.pcap -w output.pcap

All run options

The following table lists all command-line options available for the run -sub command:

Option Description
--in tar-file -i Upload input to container in a tar
--out tar-file -o Download output files from container to a tar
--in-filter pattern -I Filter input files, prefix ^ to negate the filter
--out-filter pattern -O Filter output files, prefix ^ to negate the filter
--mkdir directory -d Mark output directory, not uploaded as input
--network value Network to connect (see help of docker run --network)
--user name User to run with (see help of docker run --user)
--cap-add CAP Add kernel capability (see help of docker run --cap-add)
--cap-drop CAP Drop kernel capability (see help of docker run --cap-drop)

Invoking tool without 'cincan' wrapper

Sometimes you cannot use the services provided by the 'cincan' frontend. For example, as files are copied around you may ran out of disk space or experience long delays when working with large files. An another reason might be use of some 'docker' options which are not available in the 'cincan' tool.

Good luck with that! (seriously, no pun intended) Please consult Docker documentation for details.

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