Channel 14 Darknet streams IP packets, in packet capture library (libpcap) format (also known as “PCAP”), received from various darknets. These darknets are instrumented to observe and collect any network traffic that attempts to access inactive IP addresses. This data provides evidence of scanning and unsolicited connection attempts to unused IP address space.

Darknets (also known as “dark space telescopes”) are blocks of unused IP address space connected to the Internet. The IP addresses in a darknet are inactive and there is no legitimate reason for any system on the Internet to attempt connections to a service within a darknet. Because of this, traffic observed in a darknet is typically the result of a network scan, probes looking for vulnerable systems, or other suspicious behaviors.

Monitoring traffic from channel 14 can be useful for solving a number of challenges, some examples include:

Additional information about analyzing and acquiring Darknet data from SIE is available at:

About Security Information Exchange (SIE)

The Security Information Exchange (SIE), from Farsight Security® Inc., is a scalable and adaptable real-time data streaming and information sharing platform. SIE collects and provides access to more than 200,000 observations per-second of raw data from its global sensor network. Farsight also applies unique and proprietary methods for improving usability of the data, directly sharing the refined intelligence with SIE customers and DNSDB®, one of the world’s largest passive DNS (pDNS) databases.

The diverse set of data available from SIE includes the following and is relevant and useful for practitioners in various technology roles:

Each unique set of data in SIE is known as a channel and the data acquired from a specific channel can be customized to meet the needs of each customer, enabling you to subscribe to and access only the channels needed to solve your problem. A channel in SIE may be the result from analyzing the data or a subset of data from other channels.

Data Format for Darknet

Channel Name Darknet
Description Captured packets destined for unused network space. Can be used to monitor scanning activity and back-scatter from large spoofing attacks
Channel Number 14
Bit Rate <1Kb/sec
Bit Rate (Peak) 3K/sec
Payloads <1/sec
Payloads (Peak) 5K/sec
Available via SIE Batch No
Available via SIE Remote Access (SRA) Yes

Peak traffics listed above are based on recent traffic data for the channel. Due to the nature of the traffic, it is possible there will be spikes above that value.

Using Darknet Data

A sample Darknet record looks like this:

21:54:39.324920 IP 999.999.999.1.99999 > 999.999.999.251.99999: Flags [S], seq 1512317368,
    win 65535, length 0
    0x0000:  434f 4745 4e54 e0ac f127 b40f 0800 4528  COGENT...'....E(
    0x0010:  0028 d431 0000 ed06 e6d7 0000 0000 9543  .(.1.......^o..C
    0x0020:  54fb c1f4 3413 5a24 21b8 0000 0000 5002  T...4.Z$!.....P.
    0x0030:  ffff 2b60 0000 0000 0000 0000            ..+`........

SIE Access Methods

Data from SIE can be accessed and acquired using the following methods:

For additional information about SIE access methods, please see the SIE Technical Overview document.

Direct Connect

SIE Direct Connect allows a customer to physically connect a server to the Farsight SIE network for maximum data throughput. This can be done in one of two ways:

If a blade server is leased from Farsight, it will be pre-installed with the essential software components needed to acquire, process, compress, buffer, and transfer data from SIE channels to the customer’s data center for additional analysis, enrichment, and storage.

If a customer uses their own server, an order can be submitted for a cross-connect to the SIE switches hosted at select Equinix data centers (Ashburn DC3 and Palo Alto SV8). An FSI account manager can help guide cross-connect provisioning details, hosting, or colocation options.

For additional information about SIE connection methods, please see the SIE Technical Overview document. A Farsight’s sales representatives is happy to share a copy of this document with you. This will help inform and guide you in understanding which connection method will work best for you.

SIE Remote Access (SRA)

SIE Remote Access (SRA) enables a customer to remotely connect to the Security Information Exchange (SIE) from anywhere on the Internet. SRA provides access to SIE channel data on customer’s local servers, allowing their analysis and processing systems to be located in their own data centers rather than physically co-located at a Farsight’s data center.

Due to the technical limitations of transporting high bitrate SIE channels across the Internet, the SRA access method is not available for all SIE channels. Please reference the SIE Channel Guide for channels that can be accessed using SRA.

SRA uses the Advanced Exchange Access (AXA) transport protocol which enables SRA sessions to perform the following:

The streaming search and filtering capabilities of AXA enables SRA to access and acquire meaningful and relevant data from SIE while avoiding the costs of transporting enormous volumes of data across the Internet.

Note: For high volume channels accessed using SRA, it is expected that customer’s will specify a search or filter for IP addresses and DNS domain names or hostnames of interest. The SRA service will only collect and send data matching the specified criteria across the Internet to the customer.

SIE Batch

SIE Batch provides on-demand access for downloading data from SIE channels using a RESTful API or web-based interface. You select the channel and duration of time you are interested in, and then download the data for analysis. The duration of available data is dependent on the channel, but is typically the most recent 12-18 hours. SIE Batch allows you to acquire data from SIE channel using two (2) methods:

Advanced Exchange Access Middleware Daemon (AXAMD)

Farsight also provides a RESTful middleware layer in front of its AXA service. This service is called the AXA Middleware Daemon (AXAMD) and provides a RESTful capability that adds a streaming HTTP interface on top of the AXA toolkit. This enables web-application developers to interface with SIE using SRA. Farsight also published a command line tool and Python extension library called axamd_client. This toolkit is licensed under the Apache 2.0 license.

The Advanced Exchange Access (AXA) toolkit contains tools and a C library to bring Farsight’s real-time data and services directly from the Farsight Security Information Exchange (SIE) to the customers network.

Advanced Exchange Access Middleware Daemon (AXAMD) is a suite of tools and library code to bring Farsight’s real-time data and services directly from the Farsight Security Information Exchange (SIE) to the customers network.

Due to the technical limitations of transporting high bitrate SIE channels across the Internet, the AXAMD access method is not available for all SIE channels.

Additional Information

About Farsight Security

Farsight Security, Inc. is the world’s leading provider of historical and real-time DNS intelligence solutions. We enable security teams to qualify, enrich, and correlate all sources of threat data and ultimately save time when it is most critical - during an attack or investigation. Our solutions provide enterprise, government, and security industry personnel and platforms with unmatched global visibility, context, and response. Farsight Security is headquartered in San Mateo, California, USA. To learn more about how we can empower your security, threat, and intelligence platforms and security organization with Farsight Security passive DNS (pDNS) and threat intelligence solutions, please visit us at or follow us on Twitter at @FarsightSecInc.