Historical and Near-Real-Time UCSD Network Telescope Traffic Dataset

This dataset consists of hourly files of raw IPv4 packets of unsolicited traffic captured by the UCSD Network Telescope instrumentation.

Data Description

The UCSD Network Telescope consists of a globally routed, but lightly utilized /9 and /10 network prefix, that is, 1/256th of the whole IPv4 address space. It contains few legitimate hosts; inbound traffic to non-existent machines - so called Internet Background Radiation (IBR) - is unsolicited and results from a wide range of events, including misconfiguration (e.g. mistyping an IP address), scanning of address space by attackers or malware looking for vulnerable targets, backscatter from randomly spoofed denial-of-service attacks, and the automated spread of malware. CAIDA continously captures this anomalous traffic discarding the legitimate traffic packets destined to the few reachable IP addresses in this prefix. We archive and aggregate these data, and provide this valuable resource to network security researchers.

This dataset represents raw traffic traces captured by the Telescope instrumentation and made available in near-real time as one-hour long compressed pcap files. We collect more than 3 TB of uncompressed IBR traffic traces data per day. The most recent 14 days of data are stored locally at CAIDA. Once data slides out of ths "near-real-time window", the pcap files are off-loaded to a tape storage. This historical Telescope data starting from 2008 are available by additional request.

Caveats that apply to this dataset

This dataset and the types of worm and denial-of-service attack traffic contained therein are representative only of some spoofed source denial-of-service attacks. Many denial-of-service attackers do not spoof source IP addresses when they attack their victim, in which case backscatter would not appear on a telescope. Attackers can also spoof in a non-random fashion, which will incur an uneven distribution of backscatter across the IPv4 address space, and may cause backscatter traffic to miss any telescope lenses. Note that the telescope does not send any packets in response, which also limits insight into the traffic it sees.

Data Access Policy

In 2021 CAIDA completed an NSF-funded CI-SUSTAIN project "Sustainable Tools for Analysis and Research on Darknet Unsolicited Traffic" (STARDUST). NSF’s expectation is that this funding has enabled CAIDA to sustain Telescope data collection, curation, and sharing through users' contributions. We are now undertaking efforts to put in place the mechanisms that allow such contributions. This includes service agreements and data licensing for academic and commercial data use, as well as new data access options. If you are interested in finding more information about the access options and pricing please fill out and submit the CAIDA UCSD Network Telescope Datasets Request Form.

Acceptable Use Agreement

Access to these data is subject to the terms of the following CAIDA Acceptable Use Agreement

When referencing this data (as required by the AUA), please use:

The CAIDA UCSD Network Telescope Traffic Dataset - <dates used>,
You are required to report your publications using this dataset to CAIDA.

UCSD Network Telescope Datasets


For more information about the use of these data in studies of internet censorship, see:

For more information on Conficker and worm attacks, see:

For more information on Backscatter and Denial-of-Service attacks, see:

For more information on the UCSD Network Telescope, see:

For more information on the CoralReef Software Suite, see:

For more information on the Corsaro Software Suite, see:

For a non-exhaustive list of Non-CAIDA publications using Network Telescope data, see:

Related Objects

See https://catalog.caida.org/dataset/telescope_live to explore related objects to this document in the CAIDA Resource Catalog.
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