RITA : Real Intelligence Threat Analytics

RITA is a real intelligence threat analytics. RITA is an open source framework for network traffic analysis.

The framework ingests Bro/Zeek Logs in TSV format, and currently supports the following major features:

  • Beaconing Detection: Search for signs of beaconing behavior in and out of your network
  • DNS Tunneling Detection Search for signs of DNS based covert channels
  • Blacklist Checking: Query blacklists to search for suspicious domains and hosts

Automatic Installation

The automatic installer is officially supported on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Security Onion*, and CentOS 7

  • Download the latest install.sh file from the release page
  • Make the installer executable: chmod +x ./install.sh
  • Run the installer: sudo ./install.sh

Getting Started

System Requirements:

  • Operating System – The preferred platform is 64-bit Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. The system should be patched and up to date using apt-get.
  • Processor (when installed alongside Bro/Zeek) – Two cores plus an additional core for every 100 Mb of traffic being captured. (three cores minimum). This should be dedicated hardware, as resource congestion with other VMs can cause packets to be dropped or missed.
  • Memory – 16GB minimum. 64GB if monitoring 100Mb or more of network traffic. 128GB if monitoring 1Gb or more of network traffic.
  • Storage – 300GB minimum. 1TB or more is recommended to reduce log maintenance.
  • Network – In order to capture traffic with Bro/Zeek, you will need at least 2 network interface cards (NICs). One will be for management of the system and the other will be the dedicated capture port. Intel NICs perform well and are recommended.

Also Read – Mosca : Manual Search Tool To Find Bugs Like A Grep Unix Command

Configuration File

RITA’s config file is located at /etc/rita/config.yaml though you can specify a custom path on individual commands with the -c command line flag.


  • The Filtering: InternalSubnets section must be configured or you will not see any results in certain modules (e.g. beacons, long connections). If your network uses the standard RFC1918 internal IP ranges (,, you just need uncomment the default InternalSubnets section already in the config file. Otherwise, adjust this section to match your environment. RITA’s main purpose is to find the signs of a compromised internal system talking to an external system and will automatically exclude internal to internal connections and external to external connections from parts of the analysis.

You may also wish to change the defaults for the following option:

  • Filtering: AlwaysInclude – Ranges listed here are exempt from the filtering applied by the InternalSubnets setting. The main use for this is to include internal DNS servers so that you can see the source of any DNS queries made.

Note that any value listed in the Filtering section should be in CIDR format. So a single IP of would be written as

Obtaining Data (Generating Bro/Zeek Logs):

  • ption 1: Generate PCAPs outside of Bro/Zeek
    • Generate PCAP files with a packet sniffer (tcpdump, wireshark, etc.)
    • (Optional) Merge multiple PCAP files into one PCAP file
      • mergecap -w outFile.pcap inFile1.pcap inFile2.pcap
    • Generate Bro/Zeek logs from the PCAP files
      • bro -r pcap_to_log.pcap local "Log::default_rotation_interval = 1 day"
  • Option 2: Install Bro/Zeek and let it monitor an interface directly [instructions]
    • You may wish to compile Bro/Zeek from source for performance reasons. This script can help automate the process.
    • The automated installer for RITA installs pre-compiled Bro/Zeek binaries by default
      • Provide the --disable-bro flag when running the installer if you intend to compile Bro/Zeek from source

Importing and Analyzing Data With RITA

After installing RITA, setting up the InternalSubnets section of the config file, and collecting some Bro/Zeek logs, you are ready to begin hunting.

Filtering and whitelisting happens at import time. These optional settings can be found alongside InternalSubnets in the configuration file.

RITA will process Bro/Zeek TSV logs in both plaintext and gzip compressed formats. Note, if you are using Security Onion or Bro’s JSON log output you will need to switch back to traditional TSV output.

  • Option 1: Create a One-Off Dataset
    • rita import path/to/your/bro_logs dataset_name creates a dataset from a collection of Bro/Zeek logs in a directory
    • Every log file directly in the supplied directory will be imported into a dataset with the given name
    • If you import more data into the same dataset, RITA will automatically convert it into a rolling dataset.
  • Option 2: Create a Rolling Dataset
    • Rolling datasets allow you to progressively analyze log data over a period of time as it comes in.
    • You can call rita like this: rita import --rolling /path/to/your/bro_logs and make this call repeatedly as new logs are generated (e.g. every hour)
    • RITA cycles data into and out of rolling databases in “chunks”. You can think of each chunk as one hour, and the default being 24 chunks in a dataset. This gives the ability to always have the most recent 24 hours’ worth of data available. But chunks are generic enough to accommodate non-default Bro logging configurations or data retention times as well.

Rolling Datsets

Please see the above section for the simplest use case of rolling datasets. This section covers the various options you can customize and more complicated use cases.

Each rolling dataset has a total number of chunks it can hold before it rotates data out. For instance, if the dataset currently contains 24 chunks of data and is set to hold a max of 24 chunks then the next chunk to be imported will automatically remove the first chunk before brining the new data in.

This will result in a database that still contains 24 chunks. If each chunk contains an hour of data your dataset will have 24 hours of data in it. You can specify the number of chunks manually with --numchunks when creating a rolling database but if this is omitted RITA will use the Rolling: DefaultChunks value from the config file.

Likewise, when importing a new chunk you can specify a chunk number that you wish to replace in a dataset with --chunk. If you leave this off RITA will auto-increment the chunk for you.

The chunk must be 0 (inclusive) through the total number of chunks (exclusive). This must be between 0 (inclusive) and the total number of chunks (exclusive). You will get an error if you try to use a chunk number greater or equal to the total number of chunks.

All files and folders that you give RITA to import will be imported into a single chunk. This could be 1 hour, 2 hours, 10 hours, 24 hours, or more. RITA doesn’t care how much data is in each chunk so even though it’s normal for each chunk to represent the same amount of time, each chunk could have a different number of hours of logs.

This means that you can run RITA on a regular interval without worrying if systems were offline for a little while or the data was delayed. You might get a little more or less data than you intended but as time passes and new data is added it will slowly correct itself.

Example: If you wanted to have a dataset with a week’s worth of data you could run the following rita command once per day.

rita import –rolling –numchunks 7 /opt/bro/logs/current week-dataset

This would import a day’s worth of data into each chunk and you’d get a week’s in total. After the first 7 days were imported, the dataset would rotate out old data to keep the most recent 7 days’ worth of data.

Note that you’d have to make sure new logs were being added to in /opt/bro/logs/current in this example.

Example: If you wanted to have a dataset with 48 hours of data you could run the following rita command every hour.

rita import –rolling –numchunks 48 /opt/bro/logs/current 48-hour-dataset

Examining Data With RITA

  • Use the show-X commands
    • show-databases: Print the datasets currently stored
    • show-beacons: Print hosts which show signs of C2 software
    • show-bl-hostnames: Print blacklisted hostnames which received connections
    • show-bl-source-ips: Print blacklisted IPs which initiated connections
    • show-bl-dest-ips: Print blacklisted IPs which received connections
    • show-exploded-dns: Print dns analysis. Exposes covert dns channels
    • show-long-connections: Print long connections and relevant information
    • show-strobes: Print connections which occurred with excessive frequency
    • show-useragents: Print user agent information
  • By default RITA displays data in CSV format
    • -H displays the data in a human readable format
    • Piping the human readable results through less -S prevents word wrapping
      • Ex: rita show-beacons dataset_name -H | less -S
  • Create a html report with html-report