Why is flow.bytes_toserver negative?

Hey guys,

First of all, I am a newcomer to this topic so please excuse my ignorance :wink:
Suricata has recorded a data flow in my home network whose flow.bytes_toserver value is less than 0. I would now like to understand why this value is negative.

    "_index": "logstash-2024.02.04",
    "_type": "_doc",
    "_id": "q41Zdo0BYCYxD5dTuvOA",
    "_version": 1,
    "_score": 1,
    "_source": {
        "@timestamp": "2024-02-04T23:00:03.551Z",
        "flow_id": -229598420,
        "in_iface": "eth0",
        "event_type": "flow",
        "src_port": 55352,
        "dest_ip": "",
        "tcp": {
            "tcp_flags_tc": "00",
            "tcp_flags": "00",
            "tcp_flags_ts": "00"
        "proto": "TCP",
        "flow": {
            "pkts_toserver": 1666231,
            "pkts_toclient": 302859,
            "bytes_toserver": -2110249274,
            "bytes_toclient": 24008694,
            "end": "2024-02-05T00:00:03.066008+0100",
            "reason": "shutdown",
            "state": "new",
            "duration": 777374876,
            "alerted": false,
            "start": "2024-02-04T22:26:28.187398+0100",
            "age": 5615
        "src_ip": "",
        "dest_port": 3260

In this case, the src_ip is my Suricata Raspberry PI host and the dest_ip is my internal NAS. I have created a virtual iSCSI volume on my NAS for logging and storage purposes, mounted it on my Raspberry PI and configured Suricata to store the log files in the iSCSI volume. Should I take the negative flow.bytes_toserver value to mean that an upload from the Raspberry PI to the NAS has taken place, or are there other reasons for the value?


Hello Luca,

I think, the value is corresponding to an overflow.
If iā€™m right, the values are encoding as signed integer. The value is then between -2147483648 to 2147483647.
When the value reach the maximum value, it will make a loop and will become -2147483648 instead of 2147483648.
The correct value here should be -2110249274 + 2147483648 * 2 = 2184718022 bytes in your case.

It can happened as suricata is a 32bit tool for the biggest flow.

Hope it answer your question,

Hey Juquod,

That actually makes sense, Iā€™m going to write a transformer that checks for negative values and calculates them correctly using your formula.