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Package gopacket provides packet decoding for the Go language. gopacket contains many sub-packages with additional functionality you may find useful, including: Also, if you're looking to dive right into code, see the examples subdirectory for numerous simple binaries built using gopacket libraries. gopacket takes in packet data as a []byte and decodes it into a packet with a non-zero number of "layers". Each layer corresponds to a protocol within the bytes. Once a packet has been decoded, the layers of the packet can be requested from the packet. Packets can be decoded from a number of starting points. Many of our base types implement Decoder, which allow us to decode packets for which we don't have full data. Most of the time, you won't just have a []byte of packet data lying around. Instead, you'll want to read packets in from somewhere (file, interface, etc) and process them. To do that, you'll want to build a PacketSource. First, you'll need to construct an object that implements the PacketDataSource interface. There are implementations of this interface bundled with gopacket in the gopacket/pcap and gopacket/pfring subpackages... see their documentation for more information on their usage. Once you have a PacketDataSource, you can pass it into NewPacketSource, along with a Decoder of your choice, to create a PacketSource. Once you have a PacketSource, you can read packets from it in multiple ways. See the docs for PacketSource for more details. The easiest method is the Packets function, which returns a channel, then asynchronously writes new packets into that channel, closing the channel if the packetSource hits an end-of-file. You can change the decoding options of the packetSource by setting fields in packetSource.DecodeOptions... see the following sections for more details. gopacket optionally decodes packet data lazily, meaning it only decodes a packet layer when it needs to handle a function call. Lazily-decoded packets are not concurrency-safe. Since layers have not all been decoded, each call to Layer() or Layers() has the potential to mutate the packet in order to decode the next layer. If a packet is used in multiple goroutines concurrently, don't use gopacket.Lazy. Then gopacket will decode the packet fully, and all future function calls won't mutate the object. By default, gopacket will copy the slice passed to NewPacket and store the copy within the packet, so future mutations to the bytes underlying the slice don't affect the packet and its layers. If you can guarantee that the underlying slice bytes won't be changed, you can use NoCopy to tell gopacket.NewPacket, and it'll use the passed-in slice itself. The fastest method of decoding is to use both Lazy and NoCopy, but note from the many caveats above that for some implementations either or both may be dangerous. During decoding, certain layers are stored in the packet as well-known layer types. For example, IPv4 and IPv6 are both considered NetworkLayer layers, while TCP and UDP are both TransportLayer layers. We support 4 layers, corresponding to the 4 layers of the TCP/IP layering scheme (roughly anagalous to layers 2, 3, 4, and 7 of the OSI model). To access these, you can use the packet.LinkLayer, packet.NetworkLayer, packet.TransportLayer, and packet.ApplicationLayer functions. Each of these functions returns a corresponding interface (gopacket.{Link,Network,Transport,Application}Layer). The first three provide methods for getting src/dst addresses for that particular layer, while the final layer provides a Payload function to get payload data. This is helpful, for example, to get payloads for all packets regardless of their underlying data type: A particularly useful layer is ErrorLayer, which is set whenever there's an error parsing part of the packet. Note that we don't return an error from NewPacket because we may have decoded a number of layers successfully before running into our erroneous layer. You may still be able to get your Ethernet and IPv4 layers correctly, even if your TCP layer is malformed. gopacket has two useful objects, Flow and Endpoint, for communicating in a protocol independent manner the fact that a packet is coming from A and going to B. The general layer types LinkLayer, NetworkLayer, and TransportLayer all provide methods for extracting their flow information, without worrying about the type of the underlying Layer. A Flow is a simple object made up of a set of two Endpoints, one source and one destination. It details the sender and receiver of the Layer of the Packet. An Endpoint is a hashable representation of a source or destination. For example, for LayerTypeIPv4, an Endpoint contains the IP address bytes for a v4 IP packet. A Flow can be broken into Endpoints, and Endpoints can be combined into Flows: Both Endpoint and Flow objects can be used as map keys, and the equality operator can compare them, so you can easily group together all packets based on endpoint criteria: For load-balancing purposes, both Flow and Endpoint have FastHash() functions, which provide quick, non-cryptographic hashes of their contents. Of particular importance is the fact that Flow FastHash() is symmetric: A->B will have the same hash as B->A. An example usage could be: This allows us to split up a packet stream while still making sure that each stream sees all packets for a flow (and its bidirectional opposite). If your network has some strange encapsulation, you can implement your own decoder. In this example, we handle Ethernet packets which are encapsulated in a 4-byte header. See the docs for Decoder and PacketBuilder for more details on how coding decoders works, or look at RegisterLayerType and RegisterEndpointType to see how to add layer/endpoint types to gopacket. TLDR: DecodingLayerParser takes about 10% of the time as NewPacket to decode packet data, but only for known packet stacks. Basic decoding using gopacket.NewPacket or PacketSource.Packets is somewhat slow due to its need to allocate a new packet and every respective layer. It's very versatile and can handle all known layer types, but sometimes you really only care about a specific set of layers regardless, so that versatility is wasted. DecodingLayerParser avoids memory allocation altogether by decoding packet layers directly into preallocated objects, which you can then reference to get the packet's information. A quick example: The important thing to note here is that the parser is modifying the passed in layers (eth, ip4, ip6, tcp) instead of allocating new ones, thus greatly speeding up the decoding process. It's even branching based on layer type... it'll handle an (eth, ip4, tcp) or (eth, ip6, tcp) stack. However, it won't handle any other type... since no other decoders were passed in, an (eth, ip4, udp) stack will stop decoding after ip4, and only pass back [LayerTypeEthernet, LayerTypeIPv4] through the 'decoded' slice (along with an error saying it can't decode a UDP packet). Unfortunately, not all layers can be used by DecodingLayerParser... only those implementing the DecodingLayer interface are usable. Also, it's possible to create DecodingLayers that are not themselves Layers... see layers.IPv6ExtensionSkipper for an example of this. As well as offering the ability to decode packet data, gopacket will allow you to create packets from scratch, as well. A number of gopacket layers implement the SerializableLayer interface; these layers can be serialized to a []byte in the following manner: SerializeTo PREPENDS the given layer onto the SerializeBuffer, and they treat the current buffer's Bytes() slice as the payload of the serializing layer. Therefore, you can serialize an entire packet by serializing a set of layers in reverse order (Payload, then TCP, then IP, then Ethernet, for example). The SerializeBuffer's SerializeLayers function is a helper that does exactly that. To generate a (empty and useless, because no fields are set) Ethernet(IPv4(TCP(Payload))) packet, for example, you can run: If you use gopacket, you'll almost definitely want to make sure gopacket/layers is imported, since when imported it sets all the LayerType variables and fills in a lot of interesting variables/maps (DecodersByLayerName, etc). Therefore, it's recommended that even if you don't use any layers functions directly, you still import with:

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Last updated on 20 Sep 2018

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