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Cisco Service Control Online Advertising Solution Guide: Behavioral Profile Creation Using RDRs, Release 3.6.x

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Cisco Service Control Solution Guide

Table Of Contents

Cisco Service Control Online Advertising Solution Guide: Behavioral Profile Creation Using RDRs, Release 3.6.x

Overview

Configuring Behavioral Targeting Support: Highlights

Creating a ClickStream Service

Configuring Extended Transaction Usage RDRs

Enabling Deep HTTP Inspection

Configuring MD5 Salt to the SCE Platform

Configuring RDR Routing to the Profiling Server

Step by Step Guide: Configuring an SCE Platform for Exporting Behavioral Targeting Information

Anonymized HTTP Transaction Usage RDR

Hash Algorithm

Obtaining Documentation and Submitting a Service Request


Cisco Service Control Solution Guide

Cisco Service Control Online Advertising Solution Guide: Behavioral Profile Creation Using RDRs, Release 3.6.x


Revised: March 28, 2010, OL-21074-01

Note This document supports all 3.6.x releases.


1 Overview

Online Behavioral Targeting is an online advertising approach that is based on presenting users with advertisements based on their interests, as deduced by monitoring their web browsing. The SCE platform can enable online behavioral targeting based on an analysis of subscriber online usage patterns.

Such behavioral targeting does not require the analysis of each and every HTTP request on the line, because this would result in a lot of excess information. The SCE platform performs the first level of analysis in the behavioral targeting chain by inspecting the user browsing sessions, detecting the particular requests that are triggered by the actual user browsing (these events are termed ClickStream), and generating Raw Data Records (RDRs) that contain a digest of these events. To avoid compromising subscriber privacy, the RDRs can be configured not to include any Personally Identifiable Information (PII), in which case all elements containing PII are hashed. The RDRs are typically received by an entity that analyzes the nature of usage and creates a profile of the subscriber to be used later for targeting. The way the greater solution works is outside the scope of this document.

Figure 1 illustrates the high level overview of an RDR-based behavioral targeting solution.

Figure 1 High Level Overview of an RDR-based Behavioral Targeting Solution

ClickStream detection is a fundamental capability of the solution, because it can detect which specific requests, out of the enormous number of HTTP requests generated throughout the subscriber web activity, were actually triggered by the subscriber browsing the web. When a subscriber clicks a link, or types a URL into the browser address bar, an http request is generated to fetch this URL. Typically, an html page is returned, which constitutes the outline of the contents requested. For the browser to be able to render this page, it must download multiple objects (tens or sometimes around a hundred for a single page viewed), which in turn results in multiple http requests for obtaining these objects.

To be able to conduct behavioral targeting, it is typically sufficient to understand what the user was trying to do (represented by the initial request, such as biz.publisher.com/ap/081120/world_markets.html --> global markets), rather than looking at each and every object downloaded as a secondary result of such a request (such as: http://ads.adnetwork.com/a/a/in/interbroke/300x250_yah.jpg --> broker ad).

ClickStream detection makes exactly this distinction, allowing the number of requests to be analyzed to be greatly reduced, which is necessary to enable a scalable analysis solution.

The information that is collected per such transaction is exported from the SCE using Extended Transaction Usage RDRs, which includes information on the transaction that has been performed, in addition to information on the subscriber that performed the transaction.

PII, such as subscriber ID and IP address, is protected by hashing this information with the use of preconfigured "salt". In this way, the subscriber record can be matched only by another system configured with the same salt, in which case it has the original PII to match against. Salt is configurable to the SCE platform.

2 Configuring Behavioral Targeting Support: Highlights

This section provides the highlights of configuring the main components of behavioral targeting on the SCE platform. For more detailed configuration directions, see "Step by Step Guide: Configuring an SCE Platform for Exporting Behavioral Targeting Information" section.

Creating a ClickStream Service

ClickStream signatures are mapped by default to the HTTP Browsing protocol and consequently to the browsing service. To be able to act on them separately, first move them to a protocol of their own, then assign this protocol to a service of its own.

Figure 2 and Figure 3 illustrates configuring the clickstream protocol and service.

Figure 2 Configuring the ClickStream Protocol

Figure 3 Configuring the ClickStream Service

Configuring Extended Transaction Usage RDRs

Extended Transaction Usage RDRs (TURs) contain extra protocol specific information (see Anonymized HTTP Transaction Usage RDR). These RDRs are configured from the Transaction Usage RDRs tab of the RDR Settings dialog of the Cisco Service Control Application for Broadband (SCA BB) console.

Enable these RDRs explicitly by checking the appropriate checkbox, and choosing the packages you want them generated for (you only need to enable these RDRs for the ClickStream service in each package).

Optionally, these RDRs can be anonymized, in which case all PII in the RDR is hashed using MD5. Hashing is done using the salt configured on the SCE platform.

Figure 4 Transaction Usage RDRs Tab

Enabling Deep HTTP Inspection

To ensure comprehensive detection of the ClickStream events in the traffic stream, it is important to enable deep inspection of HTTP, which configures the SCE platform to analyze and classify all HTTP requests within a single flow.

Some browsers, in conjunction with some web server implementations, use the same TCP flow to carry multiple requests triggered by clicks that are targeting the same host. Such events are not detected if the classification is only done at the beginning of the flow (which is the default for SCA BB).

To enable deep HTTP inspection, in the SCA BB Console Service Configuration Editor, go to:

Configuration > System Settings > Advanced Options tab > Advanced Service Configuration Options...


Note Enabling deep HTTP inspection is expected to impact the SCE performance because of the excessive processing associated with it; the actual figure depending on the amount and on the nature of HTTP traffic. It is recommended that you monitor SCE platform performance when enabling this capability.


Configuring MD5 Salt to the SCE Platform

When the Anonymize option is selected, Extended TURs are generated with all personally identifying fields (subscriber ID and subscriber IP address) hashed using MD5.

The SCE platform applies a 'salt' to the Personally Identifying Field before hashing it. The salt is 128 bits (16 bytes) long, and it is configured to the SCE platform in four separate 4-byte arguments represented in HEX. The default value of the salt is 0x12345678 0x12345678 0x12345678 0x12345678.

The salt is configured to the SCE using the following CLI commands with four 4-byte arguments in HEX:

SCE# config
SCE# interface linecard 0
SCE(config if)# salt 0x12345678 0x00004321 0xfafafafa 0xafafafaf

To return the salt to the default value use the following CLI commands:

SCE# config
SCE# interface linecard 0
SCE(config if)# default salt

Always make sure to save the running configuration using the following command:
SCE# copy running-config startup-config

Configuring RDR Routing to the Profiling Server

Ensure that only ClickStream RDRs are sent to the designated server, even if other RDRs are enabled on the system. This is done by directing the extended HTTP TUR to a separate category, and routing this category to a dedicated server.

This is accomplished in two steps:

1. Direct the HTTP Extended TUR to an exclusive RDR category.

Map the Extended TUR for HTTP (tag 0xF0F0F53C / 4042323260) to RDR category 2 using the following CLI command:

SCE(config)# RDR-formatter rdr-mapping tag-ID 0xF0F0F53C category-number 2

2. Send the RDRs in this category to the designated server.

Configure RDR category 2 to the desired destination using the following CLI command:

SCE(config)# RDR-formatter destination 10.10.10.10 port 33000 category number 2 priority 100

You can configure a second destination for the category 2 RDRs to function as a backup destination.

3. Configure a secondary destination for backup as needed.

Configure RDR category 2 to a secondary destination using the following CLI command:

SCE(config)# RDR-formatter destination 10.10.10.11 port 33000 category number 2 priority 90

4. Save the running configuration:

SCE#> copy running-config startup-config

3 Step by Step Guide: Configuring an SCE Platform for Exporting Behavioral Targeting Information

This section explains in detail how to configure an SCE to generate ClickStream RDRs.


Step 1 In the SCA BB Policy Editor, select the Classification tab (left pane), click Configuration, and select Protocols.

Step 2 In the Protocol Settings window (see Figure 5), select the HTTP Browsing service.

Step 3 In the Protocol Elements tab, remove the ClickStream related protocol elements:

In-Domain ClickStream

In-Domain ClickStream - Unidirectional Client Request

Cross-Domain ClickStream

Cross-Domain ClickStream - Unidirectional Client Request

Figure 5 Protocol Settings

Step 4 In the Protocol Settings window, on the Protocols tab, click the + to add a new protocol.

Step 5 Name the new protocol ClickStream Event and click OK (see Figure 6).

Figure 6 Protocol Settings—Name

Step 6 In the Protocol Elements tab, click the + to add protocol elements to the ClickStream Protocol.

Step 7 For the new protocol element created, click the '...' button in the Signature column.

Step 8 On the Select a Signature screen (see Figure 7), add the In-Domain Click Stream signature and click OK.

Figure 7 Select a Signature

Step 9 Repeat Step 6 through Step 8 for the rest of the ClickStream signatures:

In-Domain Click Stream - Unidirectional Client Request

Cross-Domain Click Stream

Cross-Domain Click Stream - Unidirectional Client Request

Step 10 In the SCA BB Policy Editor, select the Classification tab (left pane), and highlight the Browsing service

Step 11 Click the + to add a new service under the Browsing service.

Step 12 Name the service ClickStream (or any other name you choose) (see Figure 8).

Figure 8 Service Settings

Step 13 Click the Hierarchy tab (see Figure 9)and check the two check boxes to add a dedicated service counter to the ClickStream Service. (This is useful if you want to generate reports on the global and per-subscriber ClickStream activity).

Figure 9 Hierarchy Tab

Step 14 Click OK.

Step 15 In the right pane, click the + icon to add a service element.

Step 16 In the dialog that opens, click Select next to the Protocol field and select the ClickStream Event protocol (or whatever you named your ClickStream protocol) from the list (see Figure 10).

Step 17 Click OK.

Figure 10 Edit Service Element

Step 18 In the SCA BB Policy Editor, select the Policies tab (left pane), and then select the package for which to generate the ClickStream RDRs.

Step 19 In the right pane, click the + icon to add the ClickStream service.

Step 20 In the window that opens (see Figure 11), select ClickStream from the drop-down selection.

Figure 11 Add New Rule to Package

Step 21 Click OK.

Step 22 In the SCA BB Policy Editor, repeat Step 18 through Step 21 for every package for which you want to enable ClickStream RDRs.

Step 23 In the right pane, click on Configuration and select Classification > RDR Settings.

Step 24 Select the Transaction Usage RDRs tab (see Figure 12).

Figure 12 RDR Settings—Transaction Usage RDRs

Step 25 Enable Extended TURs by checking the relevant check box.

Step 26 (Optional) Enable anonymization as needed, by checking Anonymize.

Step 27 Check the ClickStream service on all relevant packages, to enable generating RDRs for this service. Uncheck any other service for which you do not want Transaction Usage RDRs (extended or regular) generated.


Note Make sure you have already created a specific rule for ClickStream on all relevant packages.


Step 28 Select Policies > Configuration > System Settings (see Figure 13).

Figure 13 Service Configuration Editor—Policies > Configuration >System Settings

Step 29 In the Advanced Options tab, click Advanced Service Configuration Options (see Figure 14) to enable deep inspection of http flows (beyond the first transaction) by setting the highlighted value to 64000. This enables the analysis of multiple transactions within a single HTTP flow, which is important for comprehensive detection of ClickStream events.

Figure 14 Advanced Service Configuration Options

Step 30 Apply the Service Configuration to the SCE platform.

Step 31 (Optional) If anonymization is enabled, configure MD5 salt to the SCE platform (use a 128-bit salt value of your choice).

SCE(config if)# >salt 0xfafafafa 0xfafafafa 0xfafafafa 0xfafafafa

Step 32 Map the Extended TUR for HTTP (tag 0xF0F0F53C / 4042323260) to RDR category 2:

SCE(config)# RDR-formatter rdr-mapping tag-ID 0xF0F0F53C category-number 2

Step 33 Direct category 2 to your server of choice:

SCE(config)# RDR-formatter destination 10.10.10.10 port 33000 category number 2 priority 99

Step 34 Save the configuration:

SCE# copy running-config-all startup-config-all

4 Anonymized HTTP Transaction Usage RDR

The RDR tag of the Anonymized HTTP Transaction Usage RDR is F0 F0 F5 3C / 4042323260

Table 1 lists the RDR fields and their descriptions.

Table 1 Anonymized HTTP Transaction Usage RDR Fields 

RDR Field Name
Type
Description

HASHED_SUBSCRIBER_ID

STRING

Subscriber identification string, passed through hashing algorithm as described in the "Hash Algorithm" section.

PACKAGE_ID

INT16

ID of the Package assigned to the subscriber whose traffic is being reported.

SERVICE_ID

INT32

Service classification of the reported session.

PROTOCOL_ID

INT16

Unique ID of the protocol associated with the reported session.

SKIPPED_SESSIONS

UINT32

Always 1

SERVER_IP

UINT32

Http server IP.

If this is the subscriber IP, this field contains the short-hash of the IP, as described in the "Hash Algorithm" section.

SERVER_PORT

UINT16

Destination port number of the networking session.

HOST

STRING

Host extracted from the HTTP transaction.

URL

STRING

URL extracted from the HTTP transaction.

CLIENT_IP

UINT32

Http client IP.

If this is the subscriber IP, this field contains the short-hash of the IP, as described in the "Hash Algorithm" section.

CLIENT_PORT

UINT16

Port number of the client side (initiator) of the networking session.

INITIATING_SIDE

INT8

Side of the SCE platform on which the initiator of the transaction resides.

0-The subscriber side

1-The network side

REPORT_TIME

UINT32

Ending time stamp of this RDR

MILLISEC_DURATION

UINT32

Duration, in milliseconds, of the transaction reported in this RDR.

TIME_FRAME

INT8

Time frame during which the RDR was generated. (The range is 0 to 3.)

SESSION_UPSTREAM_
VOLUME

UINT32

Upstream volume of the transaction, in bytes. The volume refers to the aggregated upstream volume on both links of all the flows bundled in the transaction.

SESSION_DOWNSTREAM_
VOLUME

UINT32

Downstream volume of the transaction, in bytes. The volume refers to the aggregated stream volume on both links of all the flows bundled in the transaction.

SUBSCRIBER_COUNTER_ID

UINT16

Each service is mapped to a counter. There are 32 subscriber usage counters.

GLOBAL_COUNTER_ID

UINT16

Each service is mapped to a counter. There are 64 global usage counters.

PACKAGE_COUNTER_ID

UINT16

Each package is mapped to a counter. There are 1024 package usage counters.

IP_PROTOCOL

UINT8

IP protocol type.

PROTOCOL_SIGNATURE

UINT32

ID of the protocol signature associated with this session.

ZONE_ID

UINT32

ID of the zone associated with this session.

FLAVOR_ID

UINT32

For protocol signatures that have flavors, this field contains the ID of the flavor associated with this session.

FLOW_CLOSE_MODE

UINT8

Reason for the end of flow.

HASHED_SUBSCRIBER_IP

STRING

Subscriber IP, hashed as described in the "Hash Algorithm" section.

USER_AGENT

STRING

User agent field extracted from the HTTP transaction.

HTTP_REFERER

STRING

REFERER extracted from the HTTP transaction

HTTP_COOKIE

STRING

Cookie extracted from the HTTP transaction.


Further Elaboration on RDR Fields

HASHED_SUBSCRIBER_ID—Subscriber identification string, introduced through the subscriber management interfaces, passed through hashing algorithm as described in the "Hash Algorithm" section.

The field is a 32-byte-long string, containing a Hexadecimal notation of the 128 bit hash result.

PACKAGE_ID—ID of the Package assigned to the subscriber whose traffic is being reported. An assigned Package ID is an integer value between 0 and maximum_number_of_packages. The value maximum_number_of_packages is reserved for unknown subscribers.

BREACH_STATE—Indicates whether the subscriber quota was breached.

0—Not breached

1—Breached

HASHED_SUBSCRBIER_IP—IP address of the subscriber side of the reported session, after passing through the hashing algorithm as described in the "Hash Algorithm" section.

The field is a 32-byte-long string, containing a Hexadecimal notation of the 128-bit hash result.

CLIENT_PORT—For TCP/UDP-based sessions, the port number of the client side (initiator) of the networking session. For non-TCP/UDP sessions, this field has the value zero.

CONFIGURED_DURATION—For periodic RDRs, the configured period, in seconds, between successive RDRs.

END_TIME—Ending time stamp of this RDR. The field is in UNIX time_t format, which is the number of seconds since midnight of January 1, 1970.

FLAVOR_ID—For protocol signatures that have flavors, this field contains the ID of the flavor associated with this session.

INITIATING_SIDE—On which side of the SCE platform the initiator of the transaction resides.

0—Subscriber side

1—Network side

PROTOCOL_ID—This field contains the unique ID of the protocol associated with the reported session.


Note The PROTOCOL_ID is the Generic IP / Generic TCP / Generic UDP protocol ID value, according to the specific transport protocol of the transaction, unless a more specific protocol definition (such as a signature-based protocol or a port-based protocol), which matches the reported session, is assigned to a service.


PROTOCOL_SIGNATURE—This field contains the ID of the protocol signature associated with this session.

REPORT_TIME—Ending time stamp of this RDR. The field is in UNIX time_t format, which is the number of seconds since midnight of January 1, 1970.

SERVER_IP—Contains the destination IP address of the reported session. (The destination is defined as the server or the listener of the networking session.) The IP address is in a 32-bit binary format.

SERVER_PORT—For TCP/UDP-based sessions, this field contains the destination port number of the networking session. For non-TCP/UDP sessions, this field contains the IP protocol number of the session flow.

SERVICE_ID—Indicates the service classification of the reported session. For example, in the Transaction RDR this field indicates which service was accessed, and in the Breaching RDR this field indicates which service was breached.

TIME_FRAME—System supports time-dependent policies, by using different rules for different time frames. This field indicates the time frame during which the RDR was generated. The value can be in the range 0 to 3, indicating which of the four time frames was used.

ZONE_ID—Contains the ID of the zone associated with this session.


Note All volumes in RDRs are reported in Layer 3 bytes.


5 Hash Algorithm

Hashing is done using the MD5 hash function, using a 'salt' prepended to the hashed value.

'salt' means adding a predefined value before the to-be hashed fields, to avoid simple backtracking of the source argument. The salt currently used by the SCE platform is 128 bits long and is configured to the SCE in four separate 4-byte arguments represented in HEX.

Setting the salt is done through CLI using a hexadecimal notation. It can be updated periodically. (By default it set to 0x12345678 0x12345678 0x12345678 0x12345678).

Hash result is 128 bits long, and is represented in RDRs as a 32-byte string. Each byte represents four bits of the result. To make it printable, add 64. (E.g. 0000 mapped to ASCII(64) = '@'; 1111 mapped to ASCII(127) = '_').

Short-hash that appears in RDRs is composed of the lower 32 bits of the hash result.

6 Obtaining Documentation and Submitting a Service Request

For information on obtaining documentation, submitting a service request, and gathering additional information, see the monthly What's New in Cisco Product Documentation, which also lists all new and revised Cisco technical documentation, at:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/general/whatsnew/whatsnew.html

Subscribe to the What's New in Cisco Product Documentation as a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed and set content to be delivered directly to your desktop using a reader application. The RSS feeds are a free service and Cisco currently supports RSS Version 2.0.