Wireshark User's Guide

v1.11.4-rc1-116-g853e391 for Wireshark 1.11

Ulf Lamping


Richard Sharpe

NS Computer Software and Services P/L

Ed Warnicke


Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Version 2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

All logos and trademarks in this document are property of their respective owner.


Table of Contents

Preface
1. Foreword
2. Who should read this document?
3. Acknowledgements
4. About this document
5. Where to get the latest copy of this document?
6. Providing feedback about this document
1. Introduction
1.1. What is Wireshark?
1.1.1. Some intended purposes
1.1.2. Features
1.1.3. Live capture from many different network media
1.1.4. Import files from many other capture programs
1.1.5. Export files for many other capture programs
1.1.6. Many protocol decoders
1.1.7. Open Source Software
1.1.8. What Wireshark is not
1.2. System Requirements
1.2.1. General Remarks
1.2.2. Microsoft Windows
1.2.3. Unix / Linux
1.3. Where to get Wireshark?
1.4. A brief history of Wireshark
1.5. Development and maintenance of Wireshark
1.6. Reporting problems and getting help
1.6.1. Website
1.6.2. Wiki
1.6.3. Q&A Forum
1.6.4. FAQ
1.6.5. Mailing Lists
1.6.6. Reporting Problems
1.6.7. Reporting Crashes on UNIX/Linux platforms
1.6.8. Reporting Crashes on Windows platforms
2. Building and Installing Wireshark
2.1. Introduction
2.2. Obtaining the source and binary distributions
2.3. Before you build Wireshark under UNIX
2.4. Building Wireshark from source under UNIX
2.5. Installing the binaries under UNIX
2.5.1. Installing from rpm's under Red Hat and alike
2.5.2. Installing from deb's under Debian, Ubuntu and other Debian derivatives
2.5.3. Installing from portage under Gentoo Linux
2.5.4. Installing from packages under FreeBSD
2.6. Troubleshooting during the install on Unix
2.7. Building from source under Windows
2.8. Installing Wireshark under Windows
2.8.1. Install Wireshark
2.8.2. Manual WinPcap Installation
2.8.3. Update Wireshark
2.8.4. Update WinPcap
2.8.5. Uninstall Wireshark
2.8.6. Uninstall WinPcap
3. User Interface
3.1. Introduction
3.2. Start Wireshark
3.3. The Main window
3.3.1. Main Window Navigation
3.4. The Menu
3.5. The "File" menu
3.6. The "Edit" menu
3.7. The "View" menu
3.8. The "Go" menu
3.9. The "Capture" menu
3.10. The "Analyze" menu
3.11. The "Statistics" menu
3.12. The "Telephony" menu
3.13. The "Tools" menu
3.14. The "Internals" menu
3.15. The "Help" menu
3.16. The "Main" toolbar
3.17. The "Filter" toolbar
3.18. The "Packet List" pane
3.19. The "Packet Details" pane
3.20. The "Packet Bytes" pane
3.21. The Statusbar
4. Capturing Live Network Data
4.1. Introduction
4.2. Prerequisites
4.3. Start Capturing
4.4. The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box
4.5. The "Capture Options" dialog box
4.5.1. Capture frame
4.5.2. Capture File(s) frame
4.5.3. Stop Capture... frame
4.5.4. Display Options frame
4.5.5. Name Resolution frame
4.5.6. Buttons
4.6. The "Edit Interface Settings" dialog box
4.7. The "Compile Results" dialog box
4.8. The "Add New Interfaces" dialog box
4.8.1. Add or remove pipes
4.8.2. Add or hide local interfaces
4.8.3. Add or hide remote interfaces
4.9. The "Remote Capture Interfaces" dialog box
4.9.1. Remote Capture Interfaces
4.9.2. Remote Capture Settings
4.10. The "Interface Details" dialog box
4.11. Capture files and file modes
4.12. Link-layer header type
4.13. Filtering while capturing
4.13.1. Automatic Remote Traffic Filtering
4.14. While a Capture is running ...
4.14.1. Stop the running capture
4.14.2. Restart a running capture
5. File Input / Output and Printing
5.1. Introduction
5.2. Open capture files
5.2.1. The "Open Capture File" dialog box
5.2.2. Input File Formats
5.3. Saving captured packets
5.3.1. The "Save Capture File As" dialog box
5.3.2. Output File Formats
5.4. Merging capture files
5.4.1. The "Merge with Capture File" dialog box
5.5. Import hex dump
5.5.1. The "Import from Hex Dump" dialog box
5.6. File Sets
5.6.1. The "List Files" dialog box
5.7. Exporting data
5.7.1. The "Export as Plain Text File" dialog box
5.7.2. The "Export as PostScript File" dialog box
5.7.3. The "Export as CSV (Comma Separated Values) File" dialog box
5.7.4. The "Export as C Arrays (packet bytes) file" dialog box
5.7.5. The "Export as PSML File" dialog box
5.7.6. The "Export as PDML File" dialog box
5.7.7. The "Export selected packet bytes" dialog box
5.7.8. The "Export Objects" dialog box
5.8. Printing packets
5.8.1. The "Print" dialog box
5.9. The Packet Range frame
5.10. The Packet Format frame
6. Working with captured packets
6.1. Viewing packets you have captured
6.2. Pop-up menus
6.2.1. Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" column header
6.2.2. Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" pane
6.2.3. Pop-up menu of the "Packet Details" pane
6.3. Filtering packets while viewing
6.4. Building display filter expressions
6.4.1. Display filter fields
6.4.2. Comparing values
6.4.3. Combining expressions
6.4.4. A common mistake
6.5. The "Filter Expression" dialog box
6.6. Defining and saving filters
6.7. Defining and saving filter macros
6.8. Finding packets
6.8.1. The "Find Packet" dialog box
6.8.2. The "Find Next" command
6.8.3. The "Find Previous" command
6.9. Go to a specific packet
6.9.1. The "Go Back" command
6.9.2. The "Go Forward" command
6.9.3. The "Go to Packet" dialog box
6.9.4. The "Go to Corresponding Packet" command
6.9.5. The "Go to First Packet" command
6.9.6. The "Go to Last Packet" command
6.10. Marking packets
6.11. Ignoring packets
6.12. Time display formats and time references
6.12.1. Packet time referencing
7. Advanced Topics
7.1. Introduction
7.2. Following TCP streams
7.2.1. The "Follow TCP Stream" dialog box
7.3. Expert Infos
7.3.1. Expert Info Entries
7.3.2. "Expert Info" dialog
7.3.3. "Colorized" Protocol Details Tree
7.3.4. "Expert" Packet List Column (optional)
7.4. Time Stamps
7.4.1. Wireshark internals
7.4.2. Capture file formats
7.4.3. Accuracy
7.5. Time Zones
7.5.1. Set your computer's time correctly!
7.5.2. Wireshark and Time Zones
7.6. Packet Reassembling
7.6.1. What is it?
7.6.2. How Wireshark handles it
7.7. Name Resolution
7.7.1. Name Resolution drawbacks
7.7.2. Ethernet name resolution (MAC layer)
7.7.3. IP name resolution (network layer)
7.7.4. IPX name resolution (network layer)
7.7.5. TCP/UDP port name resolution (transport layer)
7.8. Checksums
7.8.1. Wireshark checksum validation
7.8.2. Checksum offloading
8. Statistics
8.1. Introduction
8.2. The "Summary" window
8.3. The "Protocol Hierarchy" window
8.4. Conversations
8.4.1. What is a Conversation?
8.4.2. The "Conversations" window
8.4.3. The protocol specific "Conversation List" windows
8.5. Endpoints
8.5.1. What is an Endpoint?
8.5.2. The "Endpoints" window
8.5.3. The protocol specific "Endpoint List" windows
8.6. The "IO Graphs" window
8.7. Service Response Time
8.7.1. The "Service Response Time DCE-RPC" window
8.8. Compare two capture files
8.9. WLAN Traffic Statistics
8.10. The protocol specific statistics windows
9. Telephony
9.1. Introduction
9.2. RTP Analysis
9.3. VoIP Calls
9.4. LTE MAC Traffic Statistics
9.5. LTE RLC Traffic Statistics
9.6. The protocol specific statistics windows
10. Customizing Wireshark
10.1. Introduction
10.2. Start Wireshark from the command line
10.3. Packet colorization
10.4. Control Protocol dissection
10.4.1. The "Enabled Protocols" dialog box
10.4.2. User Specified Decodes
10.4.3. Show User Specified Decodes
10.5. Preferences
10.5.1. Interface Options
10.6. Configuration Profiles
10.7. User Table
10.8. Display Filter Macros
10.9. ESS Category Attributes
10.10. GeoIP Database Paths
10.11. IKEv2 decryption table
10.12. Object Identifiers
10.13. PRES Users Context List
10.14. SCCP users Table
10.15. SMI (MIB and PIB) Modules
10.16. SMI (MIB and PIB) Paths
10.17. SNMP Enterprise Specific Trap Types
10.18. SNMP users Table
10.19. Tektronix K12xx/15 RF5 protocols Table
10.20. User DLTs protocol table
11. Lua Support in Wireshark
11.1. Introduction
11.2. Example of Dissector written in Lua
11.3. Example of Listener written in Lua
11.4. Wireshark's Lua API Reference Manual
11.5. Saving capture files
11.5.1. Dumper
11.5.2. PseudoHeader
11.6. Obtaining dissection data
11.6.1. Field
11.6.2. FieldInfo
11.6.3. Global Functions
11.7. GUI support
11.7.1. ProgDlg
11.7.2. TextWindow
11.7.3. Global Functions
11.8. Post-dissection packet analysis
11.8.1. Listener
11.9. Obtaining packet information
11.9.1. Address
11.9.2. Column
11.9.3. Columns
11.9.4. NSTime
11.9.5. Pinfo
11.9.6. PrivateTable
11.10. Functions for new protocols and dissectors
11.10.1. Dissector
11.10.2. DissectorTable
11.10.3. Pref
11.10.4. Prefs
11.10.5. Proto
11.10.6. ProtoExpert
11.10.7. ProtoField
11.10.8. Global Functions
11.11. Adding information to the dissection tree
11.11.1. TreeItem
11.12. Functions for handling packet data
11.12.1. ByteArray
11.12.2. Tvb
11.12.3. TvbRange
11.13. Custom file format reading/writing
11.13.1. CaptureInfo
11.13.2. CaptureInfoConst
11.13.3. File
11.13.4. FileHandler
11.13.5. FrameInfo
11.13.6. FrameInfoConst
11.13.7. Global Functions
11.14. Directory handling functions
11.14.1. Dir
11.15. Utility Functions
11.15.1. Global Functions
11.16. Handling 64-bit Integers
11.16.1. Int64
11.16.2. UInt64
11.17. Binary encode/decode support
11.17.1. Struct
11.18. GLib Regular Expressions
11.18.1. GRegex
A. Files and Folders
A.1. Capture Files
A.1.1. Libpcap File Contents
A.1.2. Not Saved in the Capture File
A.2. Configuration Files and Folders
A.2.1. Protocol help configuration
A.3. Windows folders
A.3.1. Windows profiles
A.3.2. Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, and NT roaming profiles
A.3.3. Windows temporary folder
B. Protocols and Protocol Fields
C. Wireshark Messages
C.1. Packet List Messages
C.1.1. [Malformed Packet]
C.1.2. [Packet size limited during capture]
C.2. Packet Details Messages
C.2.1. [Response in frame: 123]
C.2.2. [Request in frame: 123]
C.2.3. [Time from request: 0.123 seconds]
C.2.4. [Stream setup by PROTOCOL (frame 123)]
D. Related command line tools
D.1. Introduction
D.2. tshark: Terminal-based Wireshark
D.3. tcpdump: Capturing with tcpdump for viewing with Wireshark
D.4. dumpcap: Capturing with dumpcap for viewing with Wireshark
D.5. capinfos: Print information about capture files
D.6. rawshark: Dump and analyze network traffic.
D.7. editcap: Edit capture files
D.8. mergecap: Merging multiple capture files into one
D.9. text2pcap: Converting ASCII hexdumps to network captures
D.10. idl2wrs: Creating dissectors from CORBA IDL files
D.10.1. What is it?
D.10.2. Why do this?
D.10.3. How to use idl2wrs
D.10.4. TODO
D.10.5. Limitations
D.10.6. Notes
D.11. reordercap: Reorder a capture file
E. This Document's License (GPL)

List of Figures

1.1. Wireshark captures packets and allows you to examine their content.
3.1. The Main window
3.2. The Menu
3.3. The "File" Menu
3.4. The "Edit" Menu
3.5. The "View" Menu
3.6. The "Go" Menu
3.7. The "Capture" Menu
3.8. The "Analyze" Menu
3.9. The "Statistics" Menu
3.10. The "Telephony" Menu
3.11. The "Tools" Menu
3.12. The "Internals" Menu
3.13. The "Help" Menu
3.14. The "Main" toolbar
3.15. The "Filter" toolbar
3.16. The "Packet List" pane
3.17. The "Packet Details" pane
3.18. The "Packet Bytes" pane
3.19. The "Packet Bytes" pane with tabs
3.20. The initial Statusbar
3.21. The Statusbar with a loaded capture file
3.22. The Statusbar with a configuration profile menu
3.23. The Statusbar with a selected protocol field
3.24. The Statusbar with a display filter message
4.1. The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box on Microsoft Windows
4.2. The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box on Unix/Linux
4.3. The "Capture Options" dialog box
4.4. The "Edit Interface Settings" dialog box
4.5. The "Compile Results" dialog box
4.6. The "Add New Interfaces" dialog box
4.7. The "Add New Interfaces - Pipes" dialog box
4.8. The "Add New Interfaces - Local Interfaces" dialog box
4.9. The "Add New Interfaces - Remote Interfaces" dialog box
4.10. The "Remote Capture Interfaces" dialog box
4.11. The "Remote Capture Settings" dialog box
4.12. The "Interface Details" dialog box
4.13. The "Capture Info" dialog box
5.1. "Open" on native Windows
5.2. "Open" - new GTK version
5.3. "Open" - old GTK version
5.4. "Save" on native Windows
5.5. "Save" - new GTK version
5.6. "Save" - old GTK version
5.7. "Merge" on native Windows
5.8. "Merge" - new GTK version
5.9. "Merge" - old GTK version
5.10. The "Import from Hex Dump" dialog
5.11. The "List Files" dialog box
5.12. The "Export as Plain Text File" dialog box
5.13. The "Export as PostScript File" dialog box
5.14. The "Export as PSML File" dialog box
5.15. The "Export as PDML File" dialog box
5.16. The "Export Selected Packet Bytes" dialog box
5.17. The "Export Objects" dialog box
5.18. The "Print" dialog box
5.19. The "Packet Range" frame
5.20. The "Packet Format" frame
6.1. Wireshark with a TCP packet selected for viewing
6.2. Viewing a packet in a separate window
6.3. Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" column header
6.4. Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" pane
6.5. Pop-up menu of the "Packet Details" pane
6.6. Filtering on the TCP protocol
6.7. The "Filter Expression" dialog box
6.8. The "Capture Filters" and "Display Filters" dialog boxes
6.9. The "Find Packet" dialog box
6.10. The "Go To Packet" dialog box
6.11. Wireshark showing a time referenced packet
7.1. The "Follow TCP Stream" dialog box
7.2. The "Packet Bytes" pane with a reassembled tab
8.1. The "Summary" window
8.2. The "Protocol Hierarchy" window
8.3. The "Conversations" window
8.4. The "Endpoints" window
8.5. The "IO Graphs" window
8.6. The "Compute DCE-RPC statistics" window
8.7. The "DCE-RPC Statistic for ..." window
8.8. The "Compare" window
8.9. The "WLAN Traffic Statistics" window
9.1. The "RTP Stream Analysis" window
9.2. The "LTE MAC Traffic Statistics" window
9.3. The "LTE RLC Traffic Statistics" window
10.1. The "Coloring Rules" dialog box
10.2. The "Edit Color Filter" dialog box
10.3. The "Choose color" dialog box
10.4. Using color filters with Wireshark
10.5. The "Enabled Protocols" dialog box
10.6. The "Decode As" dialog box
10.7. The "Decode As: Show" dialog box
10.8. The preferences dialog box
10.9. The interface options dialog box
10.10. The configuration profiles dialog box

List of Tables

3.1. Keyboard Navigation
3.2. File menu items
3.3. Edit menu items
3.4. View menu items
3.5. Go menu items
3.6. Capture menu items
3.7. Analyze menu items
3.8. Statistics menu items
3.9. Telephony menu items
3.10. Tools menu items
3.11. Help menu items
3.12. Help menu items
3.13. Main toolbar items
3.14. Filter toolbar items
4.1. Capture file mode selected by capture options
5.1. The system specific "Open Capture File" dialog box
5.2. The system specific "Save Capture File As" dialog box
5.3. The system specific "Merge Capture File As" dialog box
6.1. The menu items of the "Packet List" column header pop-up menu
6.2. The menu items of the "Packet List" pop-up menu
6.3. The menu items of the "Packet Details" pop-up menu
6.4. Display Filter comparison operators
6.5. Display Filter Field Types
6.6. Display Filter Logical Operations
7.1. Some example expert infos
7.2. Time zone examples for UTC arrival times (without DST)
A.1. Configuration files and folders overview

List of Examples

2.1. Building GTK+ from source
2.2. Building and installing libpcap
2.3. Installing required RPMs under Red Hat Linux 6.2 and beyond
2.4. Installing debs under Debian, Ubuntu and other Debian derivatives
4.1. A capture filter for telnet that captures traffic to and from a particular host
4.2. Capturing all telnet traffic not from 10.0.0.5
10.1. Help information available from Wireshark
D.1. Help information available from tshark
D.2. Help information available from dumpcap
D.3. Help information available from capinfos
D.4. Help information available from rawshark
D.5. Help information available from editcap
D.6. Capture file types available from editcap
D.7. Encapsulation types available from editcap
D.8. Help information available from mergecap
D.9. Simple example of using mergecap
D.10. Help information available from text2pcap
D.11. Help information available from reordercap

Preface

1. Foreword

Wireshark is one of those programs that many network managers would love to be able to use, but they are often prevented from getting what they would like from Wireshark because of the lack of documentation.

This document is part of an effort by the Wireshark team to improve the usability of Wireshark.

We hope that you find it useful, and look forward to your comments.

2. Who should read this document?

The intended audience of this book is anyone using Wireshark.

This book will explain all the basics and also some of the advanced features that Wireshark provides. As Wireshark has become a very complex program since the early days, not every feature of Wireshark may be explained in this book.

This book is not intended to explain network sniffing in general and it will not provide details about specific network protocols. A lot of useful information regarding these topics can be found at the Wireshark Wiki at http://wiki.wireshark.org

By reading this book, you will learn how to install Wireshark, how to use the basic elements of the graphical user interface (such as the menu) and what's behind some of the advanced features that are not always obvious at first sight. It will hopefully guide you around some common problems that frequently appear for new (and sometimes even advanced) users of Wireshark.

3. Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the whole Wireshark team for their assistance. In particular, the authors would like to thank:

  • Gerald Combs, for initiating the Wireshark project and funding to do this documentation.

  • Guy Harris, for many helpful hints and a great deal of patience in reviewing this document.

  • Gilbert Ramirez, for general encouragement and helpful hints along the way.

The authors would also like to thank the following people for their helpful feedback on this document:

  • Pat Eyler, for his suggestions on improving the example on generating a backtrace.

  • Martin Regner, for his various suggestions and corrections.

  • Graeme Hewson, for a lot of grammatical corrections.

The authors would like to acknowledge those man page and README authors for the Wireshark project from who sections of this document borrow heavily:

4. About this document

This book was originally developed by Richard Sharpe with funds provided from the Wireshark Fund. It was updated by Ed Warnicke and more recently redesigned and updated by Ulf Lamping.

It is written in DocBook/XML.

You will find some specially marked parts in this book:

[Warning]This is a warning!

You should pay attention to a warning, as otherwise data loss might occur.

[Note]This is a note!

A note will point you to common mistakes and things that might not be obvious.

[Tip]This is a tip!

Tips will be helpful for your everyday work using Wireshark.

5. Where to get the latest copy of this document?

The latest copy of this documentation can always be found at: http://www.wireshark.org/docs/.

6. Providing feedback about this document

Should you have any feedback about this document, please send it to the authors through wireshark-dev[AT]wireshark.org.

Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1. What is Wireshark?

Wireshark is a network packet analyzer. A network packet analyzer will try to capture network packets and tries to display that packet data as detailed as possible.

You could think of a network packet analyzer as a measuring device used to examine what's going on inside a network cable, just like a voltmeter is used by an electrician to examine what's going on inside an electric cable (but at a higher level, of course).

In the past, such tools were either very expensive, proprietary, or both. However, with the advent of Wireshark, all that has changed.

Wireshark is perhaps one of the best open source packet analyzers available today.

1.1.1. Some intended purposes

Here are some examples people use Wireshark for:

  • network administrators use it to troubleshoot network problems

  • network security engineers use it to examine security problems

  • developers use it to debug protocol implementations

  • people use it to learn network protocol internals

Beside these examples, Wireshark can be helpful in many other situations too.

1.1.2. Features

The following are some of the many features Wireshark provides:

  • Available for UNIX and Windows.

  • Capture live packet data from a network interface.

  • Open files containing packet data captured with tcpdump/WinDump, Wireshark, and a number of other packet capture programs.

  • Import packets from text files containing hex dumps of packet data.

  • Display packets with very detailed protocol information.

  • Save packet data captured.

  • Export some or all packets in a number of capture file formats.

  • Filter packets on many criteria.

  • Search for packets on many criteria.

  • Colorize packet display based on filters.

  • Create various statistics.

  • ... and a lot more!

However, to really appreciate its power, you have to start using it.

Figure 1.1, “ Wireshark captures packets and allows you to examine their content. ” shows Wireshark having captured some packets and waiting for you to examine them.

Figure 1.1.  Wireshark captures packets and allows you to examine their content.

Wireshark captures packets and allows you to examine their content.


1.1.3. Live capture from many different network media

Wireshark can capture traffic from many different network media types - and despite its name - including wireless LAN as well. Which media types are supported, depends on many things like the operating system you are using. An overview of the supported media types can be found at: http://wiki.wireshark.org/CaptureSetup/NetworkMedia.

1.1.4. Import files from many other capture programs

Wireshark can open packets captured from a large number of other capture programs. For a list of input formats see Section 5.2.2, “Input File Formats”.

1.1.5. Export files for many other capture programs

Wireshark can save packets captured in a large number of formats of other capture programs. For a list of output formats see Section 5.3.2, “Output File Formats”.

1.1.6. Many protocol decoders

There are protocol decoders (or dissectors, as they are known in Wireshark) for a great many protocols: see Appendix B, Protocols and Protocol Fields.

1.1.7. Open Source Software

Wireshark is an open source software project, and is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). You can freely use Wireshark on any number of computers you like, without worrying about license keys or fees or such. In addition, all source code is freely available under the GPL. Because of that, it is very easy for people to add new protocols to Wireshark, either as plugins, or built into the source, and they often do!

1.1.8. What Wireshark is not

Here are some things Wireshark does not provide:

  • Wireshark isn't an intrusion detection system. It will not warn you when someone does strange things on your network that he/she isn't allowed to do. However, if strange things happen, Wireshark might help you figure out what is really going on.

  • Wireshark will not manipulate things on the network, it will only "measure" things from it. Wireshark doesn't send packets on the network or do other active things (except for name resolutions, but even that can be disabled).

1.2. System Requirements

What you'll need to get Wireshark up and running ...

1.2.1. General Remarks

  • The values below are the minimum requirements and only "rules of thumb" for use on a moderately used network

  • Working with a busy network can easily produce huge memory and disk space usage! For example: Capturing on a fully saturated 100MBit/s Ethernet will produce ~ 750MBytes/min! Having a fast processor, lots of memory and disk space is a good idea in that case.

  • If Wireshark is running out of memory it crashes, see: http://wiki.wireshark.org/KnownBugs/OutOfMemory for details and workarounds

  • Wireshark won't benefit much from Multiprocessor/Hyperthread systems as time consuming tasks like filtering packets are single threaded. No rule is without exception: during an "Update list of packets in real time" capture, capturing traffic runs in one process and dissecting and displaying packets runs in another process - which should benefit from two processors.

1.2.2. Microsoft Windows

  • Windows XP Home, XP Pro, XP Tablet PC, XP Media Center, Server 2003, Vista, Home Server, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, Home Server 2011, 7, or Server 2012.

  • Any modern 32-bit x86 or 64-bit AMD64/x86-64 processor.

  • 128MB available RAM. Larger capture files require more RAM.

  • 75MB available disk space. Capture files require additional disk space.

  • 800*600 (1280*1024 or higher recommended) resolution with at least 65536 (16bit) colors (256 colors should work if Wireshark is installed with the "legacy GTK1" selection of the Wireshark 1.0.x releases)

  • A supported network card for capturing:

Remarks:

  • Many older Windows versions are no longer supported for three reasons: None of the developers use those systems which makes support difficult. The libraries Wireshark depends on (GTK, WinPcap, …) have dropped support for older releases. Microsoft has also dropped support for these systems.

  • Windows 95, 98 and ME are no longer supported. The "old technology" releases of Windows lack memory protection (specifically VirtualProtect) which we use to improve program safety and security. The last known version to work was Ethereal 0.10.14 (which includes WinPcap 3.1). You can get it from http://ethereal.com/download.html. According to this bug report, you may need to install Ethereal 0.10.0 on some systems.

    Microsoft retired support for Windows 98 and ME in 2006.

  • Windows NT 4.0 no longer works with Wireshark. The last known version to work was Wireshark 0.99.4 (which includes WinPcap 3.1). You still can get it from http://www.wireshark.org/download/win32/all-versions/wireshark-setup-0.99.4.exe.

    Microsoft retired support for Windows NT 4.0 in 2004.

  • Windows 2000 no longer works with Wireshark. The last known version to work was Wireshark 1.2.x (which includes WinPcap 4.1.2). You still can get it from http://www.wireshark.org/download/win32/all-versions/.

    Microsoft retired support for Windows 2000 in 2010.

  • Windows CE and the embedded versions of Windows are not currently supported.

  • Multiple monitor setups are supported but may behave a bit strangely.

1.2.3. Unix / Linux

Wireshark currently runs on most UNIX platforms. The system requirements should be comparable to the Windows values listed above.

Binary packages are available for at least the following platforms:

  • Apple Mac OS X

  • Debian GNU/Linux

  • FreeBSD

  • Gentoo Linux

  • HP-UX

  • Mandriva Linux

  • NetBSD

  • OpenPKG

  • Red Hat Enterprise/Fedora Linux

  • rPath Linux

  • Sun Solaris/i386

  • Sun Solaris/Sparc

  • Canonical Ubuntu

If a binary package is not available for your platform, you should download the source and try to build it. Please report your experiences to wireshark-dev[AT]wireshark.org .

1.3. Where to get Wireshark?

You can get the latest copy of the program from the Wireshark website: http://www.wireshark.org/download.html. The website allows you to choose from among several mirrors for downloading.

A new Wireshark version will typically become available every 4-8 months.

If you want to be notified about new Wireshark releases, you should subscribe to the wireshark-announce mailing list. You will find more details in Section 1.6.5, “Mailing Lists”.

1.4. A brief history of Wireshark

In late 1997, Gerald Combs needed a tool for tracking down networking problems and wanted to learn more about networking, so he started writing Ethereal (the former name of the Wireshark project) as a way to solve both problems.

Ethereal was initially released, after several pauses in development, in July 1998 as version 0.2.0. Within days, patches, bug reports, and words of encouragement started arriving, so Ethereal was on its way to success.

Not long after that, Gilbert Ramirez saw its potential and contributed a low-level dissector to it.

In October, 1998, Guy Harris of Network Appliance was looking for something better than tcpview, so he started applying patches and contributing dissectors to Ethereal.

In late 1998, Richard Sharpe, who was giving TCP/IP courses, saw its potential on such courses, and started looking at it to see if it supported the protocols he needed. While it didn't at that point, new protocols could be easily added. So he started contributing dissectors and contributing patches.

The list of people who have contributed to the project has become very long since then, and almost all of them started with a protocol that they needed that Wireshark or Ethereal did not already handle. So they copied an existing dissector and contributed the code back to the team.

In 2006 the project moved house and re-emerged under a new name: Wireshark.

In 2008, after ten years of development, Wireshark finally arrived at version 1.0. This release was the first deemed complete, with the minimum features implemented. Its release coincided with the first Wireshark Developer and User Conference, called SharkFest.

1.5.  Development and maintenance of Wireshark

Wireshark was initially developed by Gerald Combs. Ongoing development and maintenance of Wireshark is handled by the Wireshark team, a loose group of individuals who fix bugs and provide new functionality.

There have also been a large number of people who have contributed protocol dissectors to Wireshark, and it is expected that this will continue. You can find a list of the people who have contributed code to Wireshark by checking the about dialog box of Wireshark, or at the authors page on the Wireshark web site.

Wireshark is an open source software project, and is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). All source code is freely available under the GPL. You are welcome to modify Wireshark to suit your own needs, and it would be appreciated if you contribute your improvements back to the Wireshark team.

You gain three benefits by contributing your improvements back to the community:

  • Other people who find your contributions useful will appreciate them, and you will know that you have helped people in the same way that the developers of Wireshark have helped people.

  • The developers of Wireshark might improve your changes even more, as there's always room for improvement. Or they may implement some advanced things on top of your code, which can be useful for yourself too.

  • The maintainers and developers of Wireshark will maintain your code as well, fixing it when API changes or other changes are made, and generally keeping it in tune with what is happening with Wireshark. So if Wireshark is updated (which is done often), you can get a new Wireshark version from the website and your changes will already be included without any effort for you.

The Wireshark source code and binary kits for some platforms are all available on the download page of the Wireshark website: http://www.wireshark.org/download.html.

1.6. Reporting problems and getting help

If you have problems, or need help with Wireshark, there are several places that may be of interest to you (well, besides this guide of course).

1.6.1. Website

You will find lots of useful information on the Wireshark homepage at http://www.wireshark.org.

1.6.2. Wiki

The Wireshark Wiki at http://wiki.wireshark.org provides a wide range of information related to Wireshark and packet capturing in general. You will find a lot of information not part of this user's guide. For example, there is an explanation how to capture on a switched network, an ongoing effort to build a protocol reference and a lot more.

And best of all, if you would like to contribute your knowledge on a specific topic (maybe a network protocol you know well), you can edit the wiki pages by simply using your web browser.

1.6.3. Q&A Forum

The Wireshark Q and A forum at http://ask.wireshark.org offers a resource where questions and answers come together. You have the option to search what questions were asked before and what answers were given by people who knew about the issue. Answers are graded, so you can pick out the best ones easily. If your issue isn't discussed before you can post one yourself.

1.6.4. FAQ

The "Frequently Asked Questions" will list often asked questions and the corresponding answers.

[Note]Read the FAQ!

Before sending any mail to the mailing lists below, be sure to read the FAQ, as it will often answer the question(s) you might have. This will save yourself and others a lot of time (keep in mind that a lot of people are subscribed to the mailing lists).

You will find the FAQ inside Wireshark by clicking the menu item Help/Contents and selecting the FAQ page in the dialog shown.

An online version is available at the Wireshark website: http://www.wireshark.org/faq.html. You might prefer this online version, as it's typically more up to date and the HTML format is easier to use.

1.6.5. Mailing Lists

There are several mailing lists of specific Wireshark topics available:

wireshark-announce

This mailing list will inform you about new program releases, which usually appear about every 4-8 weeks.

wireshark-users

This list is for users of Wireshark. People post questions about building and using Wireshark, others (hopefully) provide answers.

wireshark-dev

This list is for Wireshark developers. If you want to start developing a protocol dissector, join this list.

You can subscribe to each of these lists from the Wireshark web site: http://www.wireshark.org/lists/. From there, you can choose which mailing list you want to subscribe to by clicking on the Subscribe/Unsubscribe/Options button under the title of the relevant list. The links to the archives are included on that page as well.

[Tip]Tip!

You can search in the list archives to see if someone asked the same question some time before and maybe already got an answer. That way you don't have to wait until someone answers your question.

1.6.6. Reporting Problems

[Note]Note!

Before reporting any problems, please make sure you have installed the latest version of Wireshark.

When reporting problems with Wireshark, it is helpful if you supply the following information:

  1. The version number of Wireshark and the dependent libraries linked with it, e.g. GTK+, etc. You can obtain this from the about dialog box of Wireshark, or with the command wireshark -v.

  2. Information about the platform you run Wireshark on.

  3. A detailed description of your problem.

  4. If you get an error/warning message, copy the text of that message (and also a few lines before and after it, if there are some), so others may find the place where things go wrong. Please don't give something like: "I get a warning while doing x" as this won't give a good idea where to look at.

[Note]Don't send large files!

Do not send large files (>100KB) to the mailing lists, just place a note that further data is available on request. Large files will only annoy a lot of people on the list who are not interested in your specific problem. If required, you will be asked for further data by the persons who really can help you.

[Warning]Don't send confidential information!

If you send captured data to the mailing lists, be sure they don't contain any sensitive or confidential information like passwords or such.

1.6.7. Reporting Crashes on UNIX/Linux platforms

When reporting crashes with Wireshark, it is helpful if you supply the traceback information (besides the information mentioned in "Reporting Problems").

You can obtain this traceback information with the following commands:


$ gdb `whereis wireshark | cut -f2 -d: | cut -d' ' -f2` core >& bt.txt
backtrace
^D
$

        

[Note]Note

Type the characters in the first line verbatim! Those are back-tics there!

[Note]Note

backtrace is a gdb command. You should enter it verbatim after the first line shown above, but it will not be echoed. The ^D (Control-D, that is, press the Control key and the D key together) will cause gdb to exit. This will leave you with a file called bt.txt in the current directory. Include the file with your bug report.

[Note]Note

If you do not have gdb available, you will have to check out your operating system's debugger.

You should mail the traceback to the wireshark-dev[AT]wireshark.org mailing list.

1.6.8. Reporting Crashes on Windows platforms

The Windows distributions don't contain the symbol files (.pdb), because they are very large. For this reason it's not possible to create a meaningful backtrace file from it. You should report your crash just like other problems, using the mechanism described above.

Chapter 2. Building and Installing Wireshark

2.1. Introduction

As with all things, there must be a beginning, and so it is with Wireshark. To use Wireshark, you must:

  • Obtain a binary package for your operating system, or

  • Obtain the source and build Wireshark for your operating system.

Currently, several Linux distributions ship Wireshark, but they are commonly shipping an out-of-date version. No other versions of UNIX ship Wireshark so far, and Microsoft does not ship it with any version of Windows. For that reason, you will need to know where to get the latest version of Wireshark and how to install it.

This chapter shows you how to obtain source and binary packages, and how to build Wireshark from source, should you choose to do so.

The following are the general steps you would use:

  1. Download the relevant package for your needs, e.g. source or binary distribution.

  2. Build the source into a binary, if you have downloaded the source.

    This may involve building and/or installing other necessary packages.

  3. Install the binaries into their final destinations.

2.2. Obtaining the source and binary distributions

You can obtain both source and binary distributions from the Wireshark web site: http://www.wireshark.org. Simply select the download link, and then select either the source package or binary package of your choice from the mirror site closest to you.

[Note]Download all required files!

In general, unless you have already downloaded Wireshark before, you will most likely need to download several source packages if you are building Wireshark from source. This is covered in more detail below.

Once you have downloaded the relevant files, you can go on to the next step.

[Note]Note!

While you will find a number of binary packages available on the Wireshark web site, you might not find one for your platform, and they often tend to be several versions behind the current released version, as they are contributed by people who have the platforms they are built for.

For this reason, you might want to pull down the source distribution and build it, as the process is relatively simple.

2.3. Before you build Wireshark under UNIX

Before you build Wireshark from sources, or install a binary package, you must ensure that you have the following other packages installed:

  • GTK+, The GIMP Tool Kit.

    You will also need Glib. Both can be obtained from www.gtk.org

  • libpcap, the packet capture software that Wireshark uses.

    You can obtain libpcap from www.tcpdump.org

Depending on your system, you may be able to install these from binaries, e.g. RPMs, or you may need to obtain them in source code form and build them.

If you have downloaded the source for GTK+, the instructions shown in Example 2.1, “Building GTK+ from source” may provide some help in building it:

Example 2.1. Building GTK+ from source

gzip -dc gtk+-2.21.1.tar.gz | tar xvf -
<much output removed>
cd gtk+-2.21.1
./configure
<much output removed>
make
<much output removed>
make install
<much output removed>
      


[Note]Note!

You may need to change the version number of GTK+ in Example 2.1, “Building GTK+ from source” to match the version of GTK+ you have downloaded. The directory you change to will change if the version of GTK+ changes, and in all cases, tar xvf - will show you the name of the directory you should change to.

[Note]Note!

If you use Linux, or have GNU tar installed, you can use tar zxvf gtk+-2.21.1.tar.gz. It is also possible to use gunzip -c or gzcat rather than gzip -dc on many UNIX systems.

[Note]Note!

If you downloaded GTK+ or any other tar file using Windows, you may find your file called gtk+-2_21_1_tar.gz.

You should consult the GTK+ web site if any errors occur in carrying out the instructions in Example 2.1, “Building GTK+ from source”.

If you have downloaded the source to libpcap, the general instructions shown in Example 2.2, “Building and installing libpcap” will assist in building it. Also, if your operating system does not support tcpdump, you might also want to download it from the tcpdump web site and install it.

Example 2.2. Building and installing libpcap

gzip -dc libpcap-1.0.0.tar.Z | tar xvf -
<much output removed>
cd libpcap-1.0.0
./configure
<much output removed>
make
<much output removed>
make install
<much output removed>
        


[Note]Note!

The directory you should change to will depend on the version of libpcap you have downloaded. In all cases, tar xvf - will show you the name of the directory that has been unpacked.

Under Red Hat 6.x and beyond (and distributions based on it, like Mandrake) you can simply install each of the packages you need from RPMs. Most Linux systems will install GTK+ and GLib in any case, however you will probably need to install the devel versions of each of these packages. The commands shown in Example 2.3, “ Installing required RPMs under Red Hat Linux 6.2 and beyond ” will install all the needed RPMs if they are not already installed.

Example 2.3.  Installing required RPMs under Red Hat Linux 6.2 and beyond

cd /mnt/cdrom/RedHat/RPMS
rpm -ivh glib-1.2.6-3.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh glib-devel-1.2.6-3.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh gtk+-1.2.6-7.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh gtk+-devel-1.2.6-7.i386.rpm
rpm -ivh libpcap-0.4-19.i386.rpm
      


[Note]Note

If you are using a version of Red Hat later than 6.2, the required RPMs have most likely changed. Simply use the correct RPMs from your distribution.

Under Debian you can install Wireshark using aptitude. aptitude will handle any dependency issues for you. Example 2.4, “Installing debs under Debian, Ubuntu and other Debian derivatives” shows how to do this.

Example 2.4. Installing debs under Debian, Ubuntu and other Debian derivatives

aptitude install wireshark-dev
      


2.4. Building Wireshark from source under UNIX

Use the following general steps if you are building Wireshark from source under a UNIX operating system:

  1. Unpack the source from its gzip'd tar file. If you are using Linux, or your version of UNIX uses GNU tar, you can use the following command:

    tar zxvf wireshark-1.11-tar.gz
            

    For other versions of UNIX, you will want to use the following commands:

    gzip -d wireshark-1.11-tar.gz
    tar xvf wireshark-1.11-tar
            

    [Note]Note!

    The pipeline gzip -dc wireshark-1.11-tar.gz | tar xvf - will work here as well.

    [Note]Note!

    If you have downloaded the Wireshark tarball under Windows, you may find that your browser has created a file with underscores rather than periods in its file name.

  2. Change directory to the Wireshark source directory.

  3. Configure your source so it will build correctly for your version of UNIX. You can do this with the following command:

    ./configure
            

    If this step fails, you will have to rectify the problems and rerun configure. Troubleshooting hints are provided in Section 2.6, “Troubleshooting during the install on Unix”.

  4. Build the sources into a binary, with the make command. For example:

    make
            

  5. Install the software in its final destination, using the command:

    make install
            

Once you have installed Wireshark with make install above, you should be able to run it by entering wireshark.

2.5. Installing the binaries under UNIX

In general, installing the binary under your version of UNIX will be specific to the installation methods used with your version of UNIX. For example, under AIX, you would use smit to install the Wireshark binary package, while under Tru64 UNIX (formerly Digital UNIX) you would use setld.

2.5.1. Installing from rpm's under Red Hat and alike

Use the following command to install the Wireshark RPM that you have downloaded from the Wireshark web site:

rpm -ivh wireshark-1.11.i386.rpm
      

If the above step fails because of missing dependencies, install the dependencies first, and then retry the step above. See Example 2.3, “ Installing required RPMs under Red Hat Linux 6.2 and beyond ” for information on what RPMs you will need to have installed.

2.5.2. Installing from deb's under Debian, Ubuntu and other Debian derivatives

If you can just install from the repository then use:

aptitude install wireshark
      

aptitude should take care of all of the dependency issues for you.

Use the following command to install downloaded Wireshark deb's under Debian:

dpkg -i wireshark-common_1.11.0-1_i386.deb wireshark_1.11.0-1_i386.deb
      

dpkg doesn't take care of all dependencies, but reports what's missing.

[Note]Note!

By installing Wireshark packages non-root users won't gain rights automatically to capture packets. To allow non-root users to capture packets follow the procedure described in /usr/share/doc/wireshark-common/README.Debian

2.5.3. Installing from portage under Gentoo Linux

Use the following command to install Wireshark under Gentoo Linux with all of the extra features:

USE="adns gtk ipv6 portaudio snmp ssl kerberos threads selinux" emerge wireshark
      

2.5.4. Installing from packages under FreeBSD

Use the following command to install Wireshark under FreeBSD:

pkg_add -r wireshark
      

pkg_add should take care of all of the dependency issues for you.

2.6. Troubleshooting during the install on Unix

A number of errors can occur during the installation process. Some hints on solving these are provided here.

If the configure stage fails, you will need to find out why. You can check the file config.log in the source directory to find out what failed. The last few lines of this file should help in determining the problem.

The standard problems are that you do not have GTK+ on your system, or you do not have a recent enough version of GTK+. The configure will also fail if you do not have libpcap (at least the required include files) on your system.

Another common problem is for the final compile and link stage to terminate with a complaint of: Output too long. This is likely to be caused by an antiquated sed (such as the one shipped with Solaris). Since sed is used by the libtool script to construct the final link command, this leads to mysterious problems. This can be resolved by downloading a recent version of sed from http://directory.fsf.org/project/sed/.

If you cannot determine what the problems are, send an email to the wireshark-dev mailing list explaining your problem, and including the output from config.log and anything else you think is relevant, like a trace of the make stage.

2.7. Building from source under Windows

It is recommended to use the binary installer for Windows, until you want to start developing Wireshark on the Windows platform.

For further information how to build Wireshark for Windows from the sources, have a look at the Developer's Guide on the Documentation Page.

You may also want to have a look at the Development Wiki: http://wiki.wireshark.org/Development for the latest available development documentation.

2.8. Installing Wireshark under Windows

In this section we explore installing Wireshark under Windows from the binary packages.

2.8.1. Install Wireshark

You may acquire a binary installer of Wireshark named something like: wireshark-winxx-1.11.x.exe. The Wireshark installer includes WinPcap, so you don't need to download and install two separate packages.

Simply download the Wireshark installer from: http://www.wireshark.org/download.html and execute it. Beside the usual installer options like where to install the program, there are several optional components.

[Tip]Tip: Just keep the defaults!

If you are unsure which settings to select, just keep the defaults.

2.8.1.1. "Choose Components" page

Wireshark

  • Wireshark GTK - Wireshark is a GUI network protocol analyzer.

TShark - TShark is a command-line based network protocol analyzer.

Plugins / Extensions (for the Wireshark and TShark dissection engines):

  • Dissector Plugins - Plugins with some extended dissections.

  • Tree Statistics Plugins - Plugins with some extended statistics.

  • Mate - Meta Analysis and Tracing Engine (experimental) - user configurable extension(s) of the display filter engine, see http://wiki.wireshark.org/Mate for details.

  • SNMP MIBs - SNMP MIBs for a more detailed SNMP dissection.

Tools (additional command line tools to work with capture files):

  • Editcap - Editcap is a program that reads a capture file and writes some or all of the packets into another capture file.

  • Text2Pcap - Text2pcap is a program that reads in an ASCII hex dump and writes the data into a libpcap-style capture file.

  • Mergecap - Mergecap is a program that combines multiple saved capture files into a single output file.

  • Capinfos - Capinfos is a program that provides information on capture files.

  • Rawshark - Rawshark is a raw packet filter.

User's Guide - Local installation of the User's Guide. The Help buttons on most dialogs will require an internet connection to show help pages if the User's Guide is not installed locally.

2.8.1.2. "Additional Tasks" page

  • Start Menu Shortcuts - add some start menu shortcuts.

  • Desktop Icon - add a Wireshark icon to the desktop.

  • Quick Launch Icon - add a Wireshark icon to the Explorer quick launch toolbar.

  • Associate file extensions to Wireshark - Associate standard network trace files to Wireshark.

2.8.1.3. "Install WinPcap?" page

The Wireshark installer contains the latest released WinPcap installer.

If you don't have WinPcap installed, you won't be able to capture live network traffic, but you will still be able to open saved capture files.

  • Currently installed WinPcap version - the Wireshark installer detects the currently installed WinPcap version.

  • Install WinPcap x.x - if the currently installed version is older than the one which comes with the Wireshark installer (or WinPcap is not installed at all), this will be selected by default.

  • Start WinPcap service "NPF" at startup - so users without administrative privileges can capture.

More WinPcap info:

2.8.1.4. Command line options

You can simply start the Wireshark installer without any command line parameters, it will show you the usual interactive installer.

For special cases, there are some command line parameters available:

  • /NCRC disables the CRC check

  • /S runs the installer or uninstaller silently with default values. Please note: The silent installer won't install WinPCap!

  • /desktopicon installation of the desktop icon, =yes - force installation, =no - don't install, otherwise use defaults / user settings. This option can be useful for a silent installer.

  • /quicklaunchicon installation of the quick launch icon, =yes - force installation, =no - don't install, otherwise use defaults / user settings.

  • /D sets the default installation directory ($INSTDIR), overriding InstallDir and InstallDirRegKey. It must be the last parameter used in the command line and must not contain any quotes, even if the path contains spaces.

Example:

wireshark-win32-1.11.0.exe /NCRC /S /desktopicon=yes
  /quicklaunchicon=no /D=C:\Program Files\Foo
    

2.8.2. Manual WinPcap Installation

[Note]Note!

As mentioned above, the Wireshark installer takes care of the installation of WinPcap, so usually you don't have to worry about WinPcap at all!

The following is only necessary if you want to try a different version than the one included in the Wireshark installer, e.g. because a new WinPcap (beta) version was released.

Additional WinPcap versions (including newer alpha or beta releases) can be downloaded from the following locations:

At the download page you will find a single installer exe called something like "auto-installer", which can be installed under various Windows systems.

2.8.3. Update Wireshark

From time to time you may want to update your installed Wireshark to a more recent version. If you join Wireshark's announce mailing list, you will be informed about new Wireshark versions, see Section 1.6.5, “Mailing Lists” for details how to subscribe to this list.

New versions of Wireshark usually become available every 4 to 8 months. Updating Wireshark is done the same way as installing it, you simply download and start the installer exe. A reboot is usually not required and all your personal settings remain unchanged.

2.8.4. Update WinPcap

New versions of WinPcap are less frequently available, maybe only once in a year. You will find WinPcap update instructions where you can download new WinPcap versions. Usually you have to reboot the machine after installing a new WinPcap version.

[Warning]Warning!

If you have an older version of WinPcap installed, you must uninstall it before installing the current version. Recent versions of the WinPcap installer will take care of this.

2.8.5. Uninstall Wireshark

You can uninstall Wireshark the usual way, using the "Add or Remove Programs" option inside the Control Panel. Select the "Wireshark" entry to start the uninstallation procedure.

The Wireshark uninstaller will provide several options as to which things are to be uninstalled; the default is to remove the core components but keep the personal settings, WinPcap and alike.

WinPcap won't be uninstalled by default, as other programs than Wireshark may use it as well.

2.8.6. Uninstall WinPcap

You can uninstall WinPcap independently of Wireshark, using the "WinPcap" entry in the "Add or Remove Programs" of the Control Panel.

[Note]Note!

After uninstallation of WinPcap you can't capture anything with Wireshark.

It might be a good idea to reboot Windows afterwards.

Chapter 3. User Interface

3.1. Introduction

By now you have installed Wireshark and are most likely keen to get started capturing your first packets. In the next chapters we will explore:

  • How the Wireshark user interface works

  • How to capture packets in Wireshark

  • How to view packets in Wireshark

  • How to filter packets in Wireshark

  • ... and many other things!

3.2. Start Wireshark

You can start Wireshark from your shell or window manager.

[Tip]Tip!

When starting Wireshark it's possible to specify optional settings using the command line. See Section 10.2, “Start Wireshark from the command line” for details.

[Note]Note!

In the following chapters, a lot of screenshots from Wireshark will be shown. As Wireshark runs on many different platforms with many different window managers, different styles applied and there are different versions of the underlying GUI toolkit used, your screen might look different from the provided screenshots. But as there are no real differences in functionality, these screenshots should still be well understandable.

3.3. The Main window

Let's look at Wireshark's user interface. Figure 3.1, “The Main window” shows Wireshark as you would usually see it after some packets are captured or loaded (how to do this will be described later).

Figure 3.1. The Main window

The Main window


Wireshark's main window consists of parts that are commonly known from many other GUI programs.

  1. The menu (see Section 3.4, “The Menu”) is used to start actions.

  2. The main toolbar (see Section 3.16, “The "Main" toolbar”) provides quick access to frequently used items from the menu.

  3. The filter toolbar (see Section 3.17, “The "Filter" toolbar”) provides a way to directly manipulate the currently used display filter (see Section 6.3, “Filtering packets while viewing”).

  4. The packet list pane (see Section 3.18, “The "Packet List" pane”) displays a summary of each packet captured. By clicking on packets in this pane you control what is displayed in the other two panes.

  5. The packet details pane (see Section 3.19, “The "Packet Details" pane”) displays the packet selected in the packet list pane in more detail.

  6. The packet bytes pane (see Section 3.20, “The "Packet Bytes" pane”) displays the data from the packet selected in the packet list pane, and highlights the field selected in the packet details pane.

  7. The statusbar (see Section 3.21, “The Statusbar”) shows some detailed information about the current program state and the captured data.

[Tip]Tip!

The layout of the main window can be customized by changing preference settings. See Section 10.5, “Preferences” for details!

3.3.1. Main Window Navigation

Packet list and detail navigation can be done entirely from the keyboard. Table 3.1, “Keyboard Navigation” shows a list of keystrokes that will let you quickly move around a capture file. See Table 3.5, “Go menu items” for additional navigation keystrokes.

Table 3.1. Keyboard Navigation

AcceleratorDescription
Tab, Shift+Tab

Move between screen elements, e.g. from the toolbars to the packet list to the packet detail.

Down

Move to the next packet or detail item.

Up

Move to the previous packet or detail item.

Ctrl+Down, F8

Move to the next packet, even if the packet list isn't focused.

Ctrl+Up, F7

Move to the previous packet, even if the packet list isn't focused.

Ctrl+.

Move to the next packet of the conversation (TCP, UDP or IP)

Ctrl+,

Move to the previous packet of the conversation (TCP, UDP or IP)

Left

In the packet detail, closes the selected tree item. If it's already closed, jumps to the parent node.

Right

In the packet detail, opens the selected tree item.

Shift+Right

In the packet detail, opens the selected tree item and all of its subtrees.

Ctrl+Right

In the packet detail, opens all tree items.

Ctrl+Left

In the packet detail, closes all tree items.

Backspace

In the packet detail, jumps to the parent node.

Return, Enter

In the packet detail, toggles the selected tree item.


Additionally, typing anywhere in the main window will start filling in a display filter.

3.4. The Menu

The Wireshark menu sits on top of the Wireshark window. An example is shown in Figure 3.2, “The Menu”.

[Note]Note!

Menu items will be greyed out if the corresponding feature isn't available. For example, you cannot save a capture file if you didn't capture or load any data before.

Figure 3.2. The Menu

The Menu


It contains the following items:

File

This menu contains items to open and merge capture files, save / print / export capture files in whole or in part, and to quit from Wireshark. See Section 3.5, “The "File" menu”.

Edit

This menu contains items to find a packet, time reference or mark one or more packets, handle configuration profiles, and set your preferences; (cut, copy, and paste are not presently implemented). See Section 3.6, “The "Edit" menu”.

View

This menu controls the display of the captured data, including colorization of packets, zooming the font, showing a packet in a separate window, expanding and collapsing trees in packet details, .... See Section 3.7, “The "View" menu”.

Go

This menu contains items to go to a specific packet. See Section 3.8, “The "Go" menu”.

Capture

This menu allows you to start and stop captures and to edit capture filters. See Section 3.9, “The "Capture" menu”.

Analyze

This menu contains items to manipulate display filters, enable or disable the dissection of protocols, configure user specified decodes and follow a TCP stream. See Section 3.10, “The "Analyze" menu”.

Statistics

This menu contains items to display various statistic windows, including a summary of the packets that have been captured, display protocol hierarchy statistics and much more. See Section 3.11, “The "Statistics" menu”.

Telephony

This menu contains items to display various telephony related statistic windows, including a media analysis, flow diagrams, display protocol hierarchy statistics and much more. See Section 3.12, “The "Telephony" menu”.

Tools

This menu contains various tools available in Wireshark, such as creating Firewall ACL Rules. See Section 3.13, “The "Tools" menu”.

Internals

This menu contains items that show information about the internals of Wireshark. See Section 3.14, “The "Internals" menu”.

Help

This menu contains items to help the user, e.g. access to some basic help, manual pages of the various command line tools, online access to some of the webpages, and the usual about dialog. See Section 3.15, “The "Help" menu”.

Each of these menu items is described in more detail in the sections that follow.

[Tip]Tip!

You can access menu items directly or by pressing the corresponding accelerator keys which are shown at the right side of the menu. For example, you can press the Control (or Strg in German) and the K keys together to open the capture dialog.

3.5. The "File" menu

The Wireshark file menu contains the fields shown in Table 3.2, “File menu items”.

Figure 3.3. The "File" Menu

The "File" Menu

Table 3.2. File menu items

Menu ItemAcceleratorDescription
Open...Ctrl+O

This menu item brings up the file open dialog box that allows you to load a capture file for viewing. It is discussed in more detail in Section 5.2.1, “The "Open Capture File" dialog box”.

Open Recent 

This menu item shows a submenu containing the recently opened capture files. Clicking on one of the submenu items will open the corresponding capture file directly.

Merge... 

This menu item brings up the merge file dialog box that allows you to merge a capture file into the currently loaded one. It is discussed in more detail in Section 5.4, “Merging capture files”.

Import from Hex Dump... 

This menu item brings up the import file dialog box that allows you to import a text file containing a hex dump into a new temporary capture. It is discussed in more detail in Section 5.5, “Import hex dump”.

CloseCtrl+W

This menu item closes the current capture. If you haven't saved the capture, you will be asked to do so first (this can be disabled by a preference setting).

------  
SaveCtrl+S

This menu item saves the current capture. If you have not set a default capture file name (perhaps with the -w <capfile> option), Wireshark pops up the Save Capture File As dialog box (which is discussed further in Section 5.3.1, “The "Save Capture File As" dialog box”).

[Note]Note!

If you have already saved the current capture, this menu item will be greyed out.

[Note]Note!

You cannot save a live capture while the capture is in progress. You must stop the capture in order to save.

Save As...Shift+Ctrl+S

This menu item allows you to save the current capture file to whatever file you would like. It pops up the Save Capture File As dialog box (which is discussed further in Section 5.3.1, “The "Save Capture File As" dialog box”).

------  
File Set > List Files 

This menu item allows you to show a list of files in a file set. It pops up the Wireshark List File Set dialog box (which is discussed further in Section 5.6, “File Sets”).

File Set > Next File 

If the currently loaded file is part of a file set, jump to the next file in the set. If it isn't part of a file set or just the last file in that set, this item is greyed out.

File Set > Previous File 

If the currently loaded file is part of a file set, jump to the previous file in the set. If it isn't part of a file set or just the first file in that set, this item is greyed out.

------  
Export > File... 

This menu item allows you to export all (or some) of the packets in the capture file to file. It pops up the Wireshark Export dialog box (which is discussed further in Section 5.7, “Exporting data”).

Export > Selected Packet Bytes...Ctrl+H

This menu item allows you to export the currently selected bytes in the packet bytes pane to a binary file. It pops up the Wireshark Export dialog box (which is discussed further in Section 5.7.7, “The "Export selected packet bytes" dialog box”)

Export > Objects > HTTP 

This menu item allows you to export all or some of the captured HTTP objects into local files. It pops up the Wireshark HTTP object list (which is discussed further in Section 5.7.8, “The "Export Objects" dialog box”)

Export > Objects > DICOM 

This menu item allows you to export all or some of the captured DICOM objects into local files. It pops up the Wireshark DICOM object list (which is discussed further in Section 5.7.8, “The "Export Objects" dialog box”)

Export > Objects > SMB 

This menu item allows you to export all or some of the captured SMB objects into local files. It pops up the Wireshark SMB object list (which is discussed further in Section 5.7.8, “The "Export Objects" dialog box”)

------  
Print...Ctrl+P

This menu item allows you to print all (or some) of the packets in the capture file. It pops up the Wireshark Print dialog box (which is discussed further in Section 5.8, “Printing packets”).

------  
QuitCtrl+Q

This menu item allows you to quit from Wireshark. Wireshark will ask to save your capture file if you haven't previously saved it (this can be disabled by a preference setting).


3.6. The "Edit" menu

The Wireshark Edit menu contains the fields shown in Table 3.3, “Edit menu items”.

Figure 3.4. The "Edit" Menu

The "Edit" Menu

Table 3.3. Edit menu items

Menu ItemAcceleratorDescription
Copy > DescriptionShift+Ctrl+D

This menu item will copy the description of the selected item in the detail view to the clipboard.

Copy > FieldnameShift+Ctrl+F

This menu item will copy the fieldname of the selected item in the detail view to the clipboard.

Copy > ValueShift+Ctrl+V

This menu item will copy the value of the selected item in the detail view to the clipboard.

Copy > As FilterShift+Ctrl+C

This menu item will use the selected item in the detail view to create a display filter. This display filter is then copied to the clipboard.

------  
Find Packet...Ctrl+F

This menu item brings up a dialog box that allows you to find a packet by many criteria. There is further information on finding packets in Section 6.8, “Finding packets”.

Find NextCtrl+N

This menu item tries to find the next packet matching the settings from "Find Packet...".

Find PreviousCtrl+B

This menu item tries to find the previous packet matching the settings from "Find Packet...".

------  
Mark Packet (toggle)Ctrl+M

This menu item "marks" the currently selected packet. See Section 6.10, “Marking packets” for details.

Toggle Marking Of All Displayed PacketsShift+Ctrl+Alt+M

This menu item toggles the mark on all displayed packets.

Mark All Displayed PacketsShift+Ctrl+M

This menu item "marks" all displayed packets.

Unmark All Displayed PacketsCtrl+Alt+M

This menu item "unmarks" all displayed packets.

Find Next MarkShift+Ctrl+N

Find the next marked packet.

Find Previous MarkShift+Ctrl+B

Find the previous marked packet.

------  
Ignore Packet (toggle)Ctrl+D

This menu item marks the currently selected packet as ignored. See Section 6.11, “Ignoring packets” for details.

Ignore All Displayed Packets (toggle)Shift+Ctrl+D

This menu item marks all displayed packets as ignored.

Un-Ignore All PacketsCtrl+Alt+D

This menu item unmarks all ignored packets.

------  
Set Time Reference (toggle)Ctrl+T

This menu item set a time reference on the currently selected packet. See Section 6.12.1, “Packet time referencing” for more information about the time referenced packets.

Un-Time Reference All PacketsCtrl+Alt+T

This menu item removes all time references on the packets.

Find Next Time ReferenceCtrl+Alt+N

This menu item tries to find the next time referenced packet.

Find Previous Time ReferenceCtrl+Alt+B

This menu item tries to find the previous time referenced packet.

------  
Configuration Profiles...Shift+Ctrl+A

This menu item brings up a dialog box for handling configuration profiles. More detail is provided in Section 10.6, “Configuration Profiles”.

Preferences...Shift+Ctrl+P

This menu item brings up a dialog box that allows you to set preferences for many parameters that control Wireshark. You can also save your preferences so Wireshark will use them the next time you start it. More detail is provided in Section 10.5, “Preferences”.


3.7. The "View" menu

The Wireshark View menu contains the fields shown in Table 3.4, “View menu items”.

Figure 3.5. The "View" Menu

The "View" Menu

Table 3.4. View menu items

Menu ItemAcceleratorDescription
Main Toolbar 

This menu item hides or shows the main toolbar, see Section 3.16, “The "Main" toolbar”.

Filter Toolbar 

This menu item hides or shows the filter toolbar, see Section 3.17, “The "Filter" toolbar”.

Wireless Toolbar (Windows only) 

This menu item hides or shows the wireless toolbar. See the AirPcap documentation for more information.

Statusbar 

This menu item hides or shows the statusbar, see Section 3.21, “The Statusbar”.

------  
Packet List 

This menu item hides or shows the packet list pane, see Section 3.18, “The "Packet List" pane”.

Packet Details 

This menu item hides or shows the packet details pane, see Section 3.19, “The "Packet Details" pane”.

Packet Bytes 

This menu item hides or shows the packet bytes pane, see Section 3.20, “The "Packet Bytes" pane”.

------  
Time Display Format > Date and Time of Day: 1970-01-01 01:02:03.123456 

Selecting this tells Wireshark to display the time stamps in date and time of day format, see Section 6.12, “Time display formats and time references”.

[Note]Note!

The fields "Time of Day", "Date and Time of Day", "Seconds Since Beginning of Capture", "Seconds Since Previous Captured Packet" and "Seconds Since Previous Displayed Packet" are mutually exclusive.

Time Display Format > Time of Day: 01:02:03.123456 

Selecting this tells Wireshark to display time stamps in time of day format, see Section 6.12, “Time display formats and time references”.

Time Display Format > Seconds Since Epoch (1970-01-01): 1234567890.123456 

Selecting this tells Wireshark to display time stamps in seconds since 1970-01-01 00:00:00, see Section 6.12, “Time display formats and time references”.

Time Display Format > Seconds Since Beginning of Capture: 123.123456 

Selecting this tells Wireshark to display time stamps in seconds since beginning of capture format, see Section 6.12, “Time display formats and time references”.

Time Display Format > Seconds Since Previous Captured Packet: 1.123456 

Selecting this tells Wireshark to display time stamps in seconds since previous captured packet format, see Section 6.12, “Time display formats and time references”.

Time Display Format > Seconds Since Previous Displayed Packet: 1.123456 

Selecting this tells Wireshark to display time stamps in seconds since previous displayed packet format, see Section 6.12, “Time display formats and time references”.

Time Display Format > ------  
Time Display Format > Automatic (File Format Precision) 

Selecting this tells Wireshark to display time stamps with the precision given by the capture file format used, see Section 6.12, “Time display formats and time references”.

[Note]Note!

The fields "Automatic", "Seconds" and "...seconds" are mutually exclusive.

Time Display Format > Seconds: 0 

Selecting this tells Wireshark to display time stamps with a precision of one second, see Section 6.12, “Time display formats and time references”.

Time Display Format > ...seconds: 0.... 

Selecting this tells Wireshark to display time stamps with a precision of one second, decisecond, centisecond, millisecond, microsecond or nanosecond, see Section 6.12, “Time display formats and time references”.

Time Display Format > Display Seconds with hours and minutes 

Selecting this tells Wireshark to display time stamps in seconds, with hours and minutes.

Name Resolution > Resolve Name 

This item allows you to trigger a name resolve of the current packet only, see Section 7.7, “Name Resolution”.

Name Resolution > Enable for MAC Layer 

This item allows you to control whether or not Wireshark translates MAC addresses into names, see Section 7.7, “Name Resolution”.

Name Resolution > Enable for Network Layer 

This item allows you to control whether or not Wireshark translates network addresses into names, see Section 7.7, “Name Resolution”.

Name Resolution > Enable for Transport Layer 

This item allows you to control whether or not Wireshark translates transport addresses into names, see Section 7.7, “Name Resolution”.

Colorize Packet List 

This item allows you to control whether or not Wireshark should colorize the packet list.

[Note]Note!

Enabling colorization will slow down the display of new packets while capturing / loading capture files.

Auto Scroll in Live Capture 

This item allows you to specify that Wireshark should scroll the packet list pane as new packets come in, so you are always looking at the last packet. If you do not specify this, Wireshark simply adds new packets onto the end of the list, but does not scroll the packet list pane.

------  
Zoom InCtrl++

Zoom into the packet data (increase the font size).

Zoom OutCtrl+-

Zoom out of the packet data (decrease the font size).

Normal SizeCtrl+=

Set zoom level back to 100% (set font size back to normal).

Resize All ColumnsShift+Ctrl+R

Resize all column widths so the content will fit into it.

[Note]Note!

Resizing may take a significant amount of time, especially if a large capture file is loaded.

Displayed Columns 

This menu items folds out with a list of all configured columns. These columns can now be shown or hidden in the packet list.

------  
Expand SubtreesShift+Right

This menu item expands the currently selected subtree in the packet details tree.

Collapse SubtreesShift+Left

This menu item collapses the currently selected subtree in the packet details tree.

Expand AllCtrl+Right

Wireshark keeps a list of all the protocol subtrees that are expanded, and uses it to ensure that the correct subtrees are expanded when you display a packet. This menu item expands all subtrees in all packets in the capture.

Collapse AllCtrl+Left

This menu item collapses the tree view of all packets in the capture list.

------  
Colorize Conversation 

This menu item brings up a submenu that allows you to color packets in the packet list pane based on the addresses of the currently selected packet. This makes it easy to distinguish packets belonging to different conversations. Section 10.3, “Packet colorization”.

Colorize Conversation > Color 1-10 

These menu items enable one of the ten temporary color filters based on the currently selected conversation.

Colorize Conversation > Reset coloring 

This menu item clears all temporary coloring rules.

Colorize Conversation > New Coloring Rule... 

This menu item opens a dialog window in which a new permanent coloring rule can be created based on the currently selected conversation.

Coloring Rules... 

This menu item brings up a dialog box that allows you to color packets in the packet list pane according to filter expressions you choose. It can be very useful for spotting certain types of packets, see Section 10.3, “Packet colorization”.

------  
Show Packet in New Window 

This menu item brings up the selected packet in a separate window. The separate window shows only the tree view and byte view panes.

ReloadCtrl+R

This menu item allows you to reload the current capture file.


3.8. The "Go" menu

The Wireshark Go menu contains the fields shown in Table 3.5, “Go menu items”.

Figure 3.6. The "Go" Menu

The "Go" Menu

Table 3.5. Go menu items

Menu ItemAcceleratorDescription
BackAlt+Left

Jump to the recently visited packet in the packet history, much like the page history in a web browser.

ForwardAlt+Right

Jump to the next visited packet in the packet history, much like the page history in a web browser.

Go to Packet...Ctrl+G

Bring up a dialog box that allows you to specify a packet number, and then goes to that packet. See Section 6.9, “Go to a specific packet” for details.

Go to Corresponding Packet 

Go to the corresponding packet of the currently selected protocol field. If the selected field doesn't correspond to a packet, this item is greyed out.

------  
Previous PacketCtrl+Up

Move to the previous packet in the list. This can be used to move to the previous packet even if the packet list doesn't have keyboard focus.

Next PacketCtrl+Down

Move to the next packet in the list. This can be used to move to the previous packet even if the packet list doesn't have keyboard focus.

First PacketCtrl+Home

Jump to the first packet of the capture file.

Last PacketCtrl+End

Jump to the last packet of the capture file.

Previous Packet In ConversationCtrl+,

Move to the previous packet in the current conversation. This can be used to move to the previous packet even if the packet list doesn't have keyboard focus.

Next Packet In ConversationCtrl+.

Move to the next packet in the current conversation. This can be used to move to the previous packet even if the packet list doesn't have keyboard focus.


3.9. The "Capture" menu

The Wireshark Capture menu contains the fields shown in Table 3.6, “Capture menu items”.

Figure 3.7. The "Capture" Menu

The "Capture" Menu

Table 3.6. Capture menu items

Menu ItemAcceleratorDescription
Interfaces...Ctrl+I

This menu item brings up a dialog box that shows what's going on at the network interfaces Wireshark knows of, see Section 4.4, “The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box”) .

Options...Ctrl+K

This menu item brings up the Capture Options dialog box (discussed further in Section 4.5, “The "Capture Options" dialog box”) and allows you to start capturing packets.

StartCtrl+E

Immediately start capturing packets with the same settings than the last time.

StopCtrl+E

This menu item stops the currently running capture, see Section 4.14.1, “Stop the running capture”) .

RestartCtrl+R

This menu item stops the currently running capture and starts again with the same options, this is just for convenience.

Capture Filters... 

This menu item brings up a dialog box that allows you to create and edit capture filters. You can name filters, and you can save them for future use. More detail on this subject is provided in Section 6.6, “Defining and saving filters”


3.10. The "Analyze" menu

The Wireshark Analyze menu contains the fields shown in Table 3.7, “Analyze menu items”.

Figure 3.8. The "Analyze" Menu

The "Analyze" Menu

Table 3.7. Analyze menu items

Menu ItemAcceleratorDescription
Display Filters... 

This menu item brings up a dialog box that allows you to create and edit display filters. You can name filters, and you can save them for future use. More detail on this subject is provided in Section 6.6, “Defining and saving filters”

Display Filter Macros... 

This menu item brings up a dialog box that allows you to create and edit display filter macros. You can name filter macros, and you can save them for future use. More detail on this subject is provided in Section 6.7, “Defining and saving filter macros”

------  
Apply as Column 

This menu item adds the selected protocol item in the packet details pane as a column to the packet list.

Apply as Filter > ... 

These menu items will change the current display filter and apply the changed filter immediately. Depending on the chosen menu item, the current display filter string will be replaced or appended to by the selected protocol field in the packet details pane.

Prepare a Filter > ... 

These menu items will change the current display filter but won't apply the changed filter. Depending on the chosen menu item, the current display filter string will be replaced or appended to by the selected protocol field in the packet details pane.

------  
Enabled Protocols...Shift+Ctrl+E

This menu item allows the user to enable/disable protocol dissectors, see Section 10.4.1, “The "Enabled Protocols" dialog box”

Decode As... 

This menu item allows the user to force Wireshark to decode certain packets as a particular protocol, see Section 10.4.2, “User Specified Decodes”

User Specified Decodes... 

This menu item allows the user to force Wireshark to decode certain packets as a particular protocol, see Section 10.4.3, “Show User Specified Decodes”

------  
Follow TCP Stream 

This menu item brings up a separate window and displays all the TCP segments captured that are on the same TCP connection as a selected packet, see Section 7.2, “Following TCP streams”

Follow UDP Stream 

Same functionality as "Follow TCP Stream" but for UDP streams.

Follow SSL Stream 

Same functionality as "Follow TCP Stream" but for SSL streams. XXX - how to provide the SSL keys?

Expert Info 

Open a dialog showing some expert information about the captured packets. The amount of information will depend on the protocol and varies from very detailed to non-existent. XXX - add a new section about this and link from here

Conversation Filter > ... 

In this menu you will find conversation filter for various protocols.


3.11. The "Statistics" menu

The Wireshark Statistics menu contains the fields shown in Table 3.8, “Statistics menu items”.

Figure 3.9. The "Statistics" Menu

The "Statistics" Menu

All menu items will bring up a new window showing specific statistical information.

Table 3.8. Statistics menu items

Menu ItemAcceleratorDescription
Summary 

Show information about the data captured, see Section 8.2, “The "Summary" window”.

Protocol Hierarchy 

Display a hierarchical tree of protocol statistics, see Section 8.3, “The "Protocol Hierarchy" window”.

Conversations 

Display a list of conversations (traffic between two endpoints), see Section 8.4.2, “The "Conversations" window”.

Endpoints 

Display a list of endpoints (traffic to/from an address), see Section 8.5.2, “The "Endpoints" window”.

Packet Lengths... 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

IO Graphs 

Display user specified graphs (e.g. the number of packets in the course of time), see Section 8.6, “The "IO Graphs" window”.

------  
Conversation List 

Display a list of conversations, obsoleted by the combined window of Conversations above, see Section 8.4.3, “The protocol specific "Conversation List" windows”.

Endpoint List 

Display a list of endpoints, obsoleted by the combined window of Endpoints above, see Section 8.5.3, “The protocol specific "Endpoint List" windows”.

Service Response Time 

Display the time between a request and the corresponding response, see Section 8.7, “Service Response Time”.

------  
ANCP... 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

BOOTP-DHCP... 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

Colledtd... 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

Compare... 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

Flow Graph... 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

HTTP 

HTTP request/response statistics, see Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

IP Addresses... 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

IP Destinations... 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

IP Protocol Types... 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

ONC-RPC Programs 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

Sametime 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

TCP Stream Graph 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

UDP Multicast Streams 

See Section 8.10, “The protocol specific statistics windows”

WLAN Traffic 

See Section 8.9, “WLAN Traffic Statistics”


3.13. The "Tools" menu

The Wireshark Tools menu contains the fields shown in Table 3.10, “Tools menu items”.

Figure 3.11. The "Tools" Menu

The "Tools" Menu

Table 3.10. Tools menu items

Menu ItemAcceleratorDescription
Firewall ACL Rules 

This allows you to create command-line ACL rules for many different firewall products, including Cisco IOS, Linux Netfilter (iptables), OpenBSD pf and Windows Firewall (via netsh). Rules for MAC addresses, IPv4 addresses, TCP and UDP ports, and IPv4+port combinations are supported.

It is assumed that the rules will be applied to an outside interface.

Lua 

These options allow you to work with the Lua interpreter optionally build into Wireshark, see Section 11.1, “Introduction”.


3.14. The "Internals" menu

The Wireshark Internals menu contains the fields shown in Table 3.11, “Help menu items”.

Figure 3.12. The "Internals" Menu

The "Internals" Menu

Table 3.11. Help menu items

Menu ItemAcceleratorDescription
Dissector tables 

This menu item brings up a dialog box showing the tables with subdissector relationships.

Supported Protocols (slow!) 

This menu item brings up a dialog box showing the supported protocols and protocol fields.


3.15. The "Help" menu

The Wireshark Help menu contains the fields shown in Table 3.12, “Help menu items”.

Figure 3.13. The "Help" Menu

The "Help" Menu

Table 3.12. Help menu items

Menu ItemAcceleratorDescription
ContentsF1

This menu item brings up a basic help system.

Manual Pages > ... 

This menu item starts a Web browser showing one of the locally installed html manual pages.

------  
Website 

This menu item starts a Web browser showing the webpage from: http://www.wireshark.org.

FAQ's 

This menu item starts a Web browser showing various FAQ's.

Downloads 

This menu item starts a Web browser showing the downloads from: http://www.wireshark.org.

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Wiki 

This menu item starts a Web browser showing the front page from: http://wiki.wireshark.org.

Sample Captures 

This menu item starts a Web browser showing the sample captures from: http://wiki.wireshark.org.

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About Wireshark 

This menu item brings up an information window that provides various detailed information items on Wireshark, such as how it's build, the plugins loaded, the used folders, ...


[Note]Note!

Calling a Web browser might be unsupported in your version of Wireshark. If this is the case, the corresponding menu items will be hidden.

[Note]Note!

If calling a Web browser fails on your machine, maybe because just nothing happens or the browser is started but no page is shown, have a look at the web browser setting in the preferences dialog.

3.16. The "Main" toolbar

The main toolbar provides quick access to frequently used items from the menu. This toolbar cannot be customized by the user, but it can be hidden using the View menu, if the space on the screen is needed to show even more packet data.

As in the menu, only the items useful in the current program state will be available. The others will be greyed out (e.g. you cannot save a capture file if you haven't loaded one).

Figure 3.14. The "Main" toolbar

The "Main" toolbar


Table 3.13. Main toolbar items

Toolbar IconToolbar ItemCorresponding Menu ItemDescription
Interfaces...Capture/Interfaces...

This item brings up the Capture Interfaces List dialog box (discussed further in Section 4.3, “Start Capturing”).

Options...Capture/Options...

This item brings up the Capture Options dialog box (discussed further in Section 4.3, “Start Capturing”) and allows you to start capturing packets.

StartCapture/Start

This item starts capturing packets with the options form the last time.

StopCapture/Stop

This item stops the currently running live capture process Section 4.3, “Start Capturing”).

RestartCapture/Restart

This item stops the currently running live capture process and restarts it again, for convenience.

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Open...File/Open...

This item brings up the file open dialog box that allows you to load a capture file for viewing. It is discussed in more detail in Section 5.2.1, “The "Open Capture File" dialog box”.

Save As...File/Save As...

This item allows you to save the current capture file to whatever file you would like. It pops up the Save Capture File As dialog box (which is discussed further in Section 5.3.1, “The "Save Capture File As" dialog box”).

[Note]Note!

If you currently have a temporary capture file, the Save icon will be shown instead.

CloseFile/Close

This item closes the current capture. If you have not saved the capture, you will be asked to save it first.

ReloadView/Reload

This item allows you to reload the current capture file.

Print...File/Print...

This item allows you to print all (or some of) the packets in the capture file. It pops up the Wireshark Print dialog box (which is discussed further in Section 5.8, “Printing packets”).

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Find Packet...Edit/Find Packet...

This item brings up a dialog box that allows you to find a packet. There is further information on finding packets in Section 6.8, “Finding packets”.

Go BackGo/Go Back

This item jumps back in the packet history.

Go ForwardGo/Go Forward

This item jumps forward in the packet history.

Go to Packet...Go/Go to Packet...

This item brings up a dialog box that allows you to specify a packet number to go to that packet.

Go To First PacketGo/First Packet

This item jumps to the first packet of the capture file.

Go To Last PacketGo/Last Packet

This item jumps to the last packet of the capture file.

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ColorizeView/Colorize

Colorize the packet list (or not).

Auto Scroll in Live CaptureView/Auto Scroll in Live Capture

Auto scroll packet list while doing a live capture (or not).

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Zoom InView/Zoom In

Zoom into the packet data (increase the font size).

Zoom OutView/Zoom Out

Zoom out of the packet data (decrease the font size).

Normal SizeView/Normal Size

Set zoom level back to 100%.

Resize ColumnsView/Resize Columns

Resize columns, so the content fits into them.

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Capture Filters...Capture/Capture Filters...

This item brings up a dialog box that allows you to create and edit capture filters. You can name filters, and you can save them for future use. More detail on this subject is provided in Section 6.6, “Defining and saving filters”.

Display Filters...Analyze/Display Filters...

This item brings up a dialog box that allows you to create and edit display filters. You can name filters, and you can save them for future use. More detail on this subject is provided in Section 6.6, “Defining and saving filters”.

Coloring Rules...View/Coloring Rules...

This item brings up a dialog box that allows you to color packets in the packet list pane according to filter expressions you choose. It can be very useful for spotting certain types of packets. More detail on this subject is provided in Section 10.3, “Packet colorization”.

Preferences...Edit/Preferences

This item brings up a dialog box that allows you to set preferences for many parameters that control Wireshark. You can also save your preferences so Wireshark will use them the next time you start it. More detail is provided in Section 10.5, “Preferences”

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HelpHelp/Contents

This item brings up help dialog box.


3.17. The "Filter" toolbar

The filter toolbar lets you quickly edit and apply display filters. More information on display filters is available in Section 6.3, “Filtering packets while viewing”.

Figure 3.15. The "Filter" toolbar

The "Filter" toolbar


Table 3.14. Filter toolbar items

Toolbar IconToolbar ItemDescription
Filter:

Brings up the filter construction dialog, described in Figure 6.8, “The "Capture Filters" and "Display Filters" dialog boxes”.

 Filter input

The area to enter or edit a display filter string, see Section 6.4, “Building display filter expressions” . A syntax check of your filter string is done while you are typing. The background will turn red if you enter an incomplete or invalid string, and will become green when you enter a valid string. You can click on the pull down arrow to select a previously-entered filter string from a list. The entries in the pull down list will remain available even after a program restart.

[Note]Note!

After you've changed something in this field, don't forget to press the Apply button (or the Enter/Return key), to apply this filter string to the display.

[Note]Note!

This field is also where the current filter in effect is displayed.

Expression...

The middle button labeled "Add Expression..." opens a dialog box that lets you edit a display filter from a list of protocol fields, described in Section 6.5, “The "Filter Expression" dialog box”

Clear

Reset the current display filter and clears the edit area.

Apply

Apply the current value in the edit area as the new display filter.

[Note]Note!

Applying a display filter on large capture files might take quite a long time!


3.18. The "Packet List" pane

The packet list pane displays all the packets in the current capture file.

Figure 3.16. The "Packet List" pane

The "Packet List" pane


Each line in the packet list corresponds to one packet in the capture file. If you select a line in this pane, more details will be displayed in the "Packet Details" and "Packet Bytes" panes.

While dissecting a packet, Wireshark will place information from the protocol dissectors into the columns. As higher level protocols might overwrite information from lower levels, you will typically see the information from the highest possible level only.

For example, let's look at a packet containing TCP inside IP inside an Ethernet packet. The Ethernet dissector will write its data (such as the Ethernet addresses), the IP dissector will overwrite this by its own (such as the IP addresses), the TCP dissector will overwrite the IP information, and so on.

There are a lot of different columns available. Which columns are displayed can be selected by preference settings, see Section 10.5, “Preferences”.

The default columns will show:

  • No. The number of the packet in the capture file. This number won't change, even if a display filter is used.

  • Time The timestamp of the packet. The presentation format of this timestamp can be changed, see Section 6.12, “Time display formats and time references”.

  • Source The address where this packet is coming from.

  • Destination The address where this packet is going to.

  • Protocol The protocol name in a short (perhaps abbreviated) version.

  • Info Additional information about the packet content.

There is a context menu (right mouse click) available, see details in Figure 6.4, “Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" pane”.

3.19. The "Packet Details" pane

The packet details pane shows the current packet (selected in the "Packet List" pane) in a more detailed form.

Figure 3.17. The "Packet Details" pane

The "Packet Details" pane


This pane shows the protocols and protocol fields of the packet selected in the "Packet List" pane. The protocols and fields of the packet are displayed using a tree, which can be expanded and collapsed.

There is a context menu (right mouse click) available, see details in Figure 6.5, “Pop-up menu of the "Packet Details" pane”.

Some protocol fields are specially displayed.

  • Generated fields Wireshark itself will generate additional protocol fields which are surrounded by brackets. The information in these fields is derived from the known context to other packets in the capture file. For example, Wireshark is doing a sequence/acknowledge analysis of each TCP stream, which is displayed in the [SEQ/ACK analysis] fields of the TCP protocol.

  • Links If Wireshark detected a relationship to another packet in the capture file, it will generate a link to that packet. Links are underlined and displayed in blue. If double-clicked, Wireshark jumps to the corresponding packet.

3.20. The "Packet Bytes" pane

The packet bytes pane shows the data of the current packet (selected in the "Packet List" pane) in a hexdump style.

Figure 3.18. The "Packet Bytes" pane

The "Packet Bytes" pane


As usual for a hexdump, the left side shows the offset in the packet data, in the middle the packet data is shown in a hexadecimal representation and on the right the corresponding ASCII characters (or . if not appropriate) are displayed.

Depending on the packet data, sometimes more than one page is available, e.g. when Wireshark has reassembled some packets into a single chunk of data, see Section 7.6, “Packet Reassembling”. In this case there are some additional tabs shown at the bottom of the pane to let you select the page you want to see.

Figure 3.19. The "Packet Bytes" pane with tabs

The "Packet Bytes" pane with tabs


[Note]Note!

The additional pages might contain data picked from multiple packets.

The context menu (right mouse click) of the tab labels will show a list of all available pages. This can be helpful if the size in the pane is too small for all the tab labels.

3.21. The Statusbar

The statusbar displays informational messages.

In general, the left side will show context related information, the middle part will show the current number of packets, and the right side will show the selected configuration profile. Drag the handles between the text areas to change the size.

Figure 3.20. The initial Statusbar

The initial Statusbar


This statusbar is shown while no capture file is loaded, e.g. when Wireshark is started.

Figure 3.21. The Statusbar with a loaded capture file

The Statusbar with a loaded capture file


  • The colorized bullet on the left shows the highest expert info level found in the currently loaded capture file. Hovering the mouse over this icon will show a textual description of the expert info level, and clicking the icon will bring up the Expert Infos dialog box. For a detailed description of expert info, see Section 7.3, “Expert Infos”.

  • The left side shows information about the capture file, its name, its size and the elapsed time while it was being captured.

  • The middle part shows the current number of packets in the capture file. The following values are displayed:

    • Packets: the number of captured packets

    • Displayed: the number of packets currently being displayed

    • Marked: the number of marked packets

    • Dropped: the number of dropped packets (only displayed if Wireshark was unable to capture all packets)

    • Ignored: the number of ignored packets (only displayed if packets are ignored)

  • The right side shows the selected configuration profile. Clicking in this part of the statusbar will bring up a menu with all available configuration profiles, and selecting from this list will change the configuration profile.

Figure 3.22. The Statusbar with a configuration profile menu

The Statusbar with a configuration profile menu


For a detailed description of configuration profiles, see Section 10.6, “Configuration Profiles”.

Figure 3.23. The Statusbar with a selected protocol field

The Statusbar with a selected protocol field


This is displayed if you have selected a protocol field from the "Packet Details" pane.

[Tip]Tip!

The value between the brackets (in this example arp.opcode) can be used as a display filter string, representing the selected protocol field.

Figure 3.24. The Statusbar with a display filter message

The Statusbar with a display filter message


This is displayed if you are trying to use a display filter which may have unexpected results. For a detailed description, see Section 6.4.4, “A common mistake”.

Chapter 4. Capturing Live Network Data

4.1. Introduction

Capturing live network data is one of the major features of Wireshark.

The Wireshark capture engine provides the following features:

  • Capture from different kinds of network hardware (Ethernet, Token Ring, ATM, ...).

  • Stop the capture on different triggers like: amount of captured data, captured time, captured number of packets.

  • Simultaneously show decoded packets while Wireshark keeps on capturing.

  • Filter packets, reducing the amount of data to be captured, see Section 4.13, “Filtering while capturing”.

  • Capturing into multiple files while doing a long term capture, and in addition the option to form a ringbuffer of these files, keeping only the last x files, useful for a "very long term" capture, see Section 4.11, “Capture files and file modes”.

  • Simultaneous capturing from multiple network interfaces.

The capture engine still lacks the following features:

  • Stop capturing (or doing some other action), depending on the captured data.

4.2. Prerequisites

Setting up Wireshark to capture packets for the first time can be tricky.

[Tip]Tip!

A comprehensive guide "How To setup a Capture" is available at: http://wiki.wireshark.org/CaptureSetup.

Here are some common pitfalls:

  • You need to have root / Administrator privileges to start a live capture.

  • You need to choose the right network interface to capture packet data from.

  • You need to capture at the right place in the network to see the traffic you want to see.

  • ... and a lot more!.

If you have any problems setting up your capture environment, you should have a look at the guide mentioned above.

4.3. Start Capturing

One of the following methods can be used to start capturing packets with Wireshark:

4.4. The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box

When you select "Interfaces..." from the Capture menu, Wireshark pops up the "Capture Interfaces" dialog box as shown in Figure 4.1, “The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box on Microsoft Windows” or Figure 4.2, “The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box on Unix/Linux”.

[Warning]This dialog consumes lots of system resources!

As the "Capture Interfaces" dialog is showing live captured data, it is consuming a lot of system resources. Close this dialog as soon as possible to prevent excessive system load.

[Note]Not all available interfaces may be displayed!

This dialog box will only show the local interfaces Wireshark knows of. It will not show interfaces marked as hidden in Section 10.5.1, “Interface Options”. As Wireshark might not be able to detect all local interfaces, and it cannot detect the remote interfaces available, there could be more capture interfaces available than listed.

As it is possible to simultaneously capture packets from multiple interfaces, the toggle buttons can be used to select one or more interfaces.

Figure 4.1. The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box on Microsoft Windows

The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box on Microsoft Windows

Figure 4.2. The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box on Unix/Linux

The "Capture Interfaces" dialog box on Unix/Linux

Device (Unix/Linux only)

The interface device name.

Description

The interface description provided by the operating system, or the user defined comment added in Section 10.5.1, “Interface Options”.

IP

The first IP address Wireshark could find for this interface. You can click on the address to cycle through other addresses assigned to it, if available. If no address could be found "none" will be displayed.

Packets

The number of packets captured from this interface, since this dialog was opened. Will be greyed out, if no packet was captured in the last second.

Packets/s

Number of packets captured in the last second. Will be greyed out, if no packet was captured in the last second.

Stop

Stop a currently running capture.

Start

Start a capture on all selected interfaces immediately, using the settings from the last capture or the default settings, if no options have been set.

Options

Open the Capture Options dialog with the marked interfaces selected, see Section 4.5, “The "Capture Options" dialog box”.

Details (Microsoft Windows only)

Open a dialog with detailed information about the interface, see Section 4.10, “The "Interface Details" dialog box”.

Help

Show this help page.

Close

Close this dialog box.

4.5. The "Capture Options" dialog box

When you select Options... from the Capture menu (or use the corresponding item in the "Main" toolbar), Wireshark pops up the "Capture Options" dialog box as shown in Figure 4.3, “The "Capture Options" dialog box”.

Figure 4.3. The "Capture Options" dialog box

The "Capture Options" dialog box

[Tip]Tip!

If you are unsure which options to choose in this dialog box, just try keeping the defaults as this should work well in many cases.

4.5.1. Capture frame

The table shows the settings for all available interfaces:

  • The name of the interface and its IP addresses. If no address could be resolved from the system, "none" will be shown.

    [Note]Note

    loopback interfaces are not available on Windows platforms.

  • The link-layer header type.

  • The information whether promicuous mode is enabled or disabled.

  • The maximum amount of data that will be captured for each packet. The default value is set to the 65535 bytes.

  • The size of the kernel buffer that is reserved to keep the captured packets.

  • The information whether packets will be captured in monitor mode (Unix/Linux only).

  • The chosen capture filter.

By marking the checkboxes in the first column the interfaces are selected to be captured from. By double-clicking on an interface the "Edit Interface Settings" dialog box as shown in Figure 4.4, “The "Edit Interface Settings" dialog box” will be opened.

Capture on all interfaces

As Wireshark can capture on multiple interfaces, it is possible to choose to capture on all available interfaces.

Capture all packets in promiscuous mode

This checkbox allows you to specify that Wireshark should put all interfaces in promiscuous mode when capturing.

Capture Filter

This field allows you to specify a capture filter for all interfaces that are currently selected. Once a filter has been entered in this field, the newly selected interfaces will inherit the filter. Capture filters are discussed in more details in Section 4.13, “Filtering while capturing”. It defaults to empty, or no filter.

You can also click on the button labeled "Capture Filter", and Wireshark will bring up the Capture Filters dialog box and allow you to create and/or select a filter. Please see Section 6.6, “Defining and saving filters”

Compile selected BPFs

This button allows you to compile the capture filter into BPF code and pop up a window showing you the resulting pseudo code. This can help in understanding the working of the capture filter you created. The "Compile selected BPFs" button leads you to Figure 4.5, “The "Compile Results" dialog box”.

[Tip]Tip!

The execution of BPFs can be sped up on Linux by turning on BPF JIT by executing

echo 1 >/proc/sys/net/core/bpf_jit_enable

if it is not enabled already. To make the change persistent you can use sysfsutils sysfsutils.

Manage Interfaces

The "Manage Interfaces" button leads you to Figure 4.6, “The "Add New Interfaces" dialog box” where pipes can be defined, local interfaces scanned or hidden, or remote interfaces added (Windows only).

4.5.2. Capture File(s) frame

An explanation about capture file usage can be found in Section 4.11, “Capture files and file modes”.

File

This field allows you to specify the file name that will be used for the capture file. This field is left blank by default. If the field is left blank, the capture data will be stored in a temporary file, see Section 4.11, “Capture files and file modes” for details.

You can also click on the button to the right of this field to browse through the filesystem.

Use multiple files

Instead of using a single file, Wireshark will automatically switch to a new one, if a specific trigger condition is reached.

Use pcap-ng format

This checkbox allows you to specify that Wireshark saves the captured packets in pcap-ng format. This next generation capture file format is currently in development. If more than one interface is chosen for capturing, this checkbox is set by default. See http://wiki.wireshark.org/Development/PcapNg for more details on pcap-ng.

Next file every n megabyte(s)

Multiple files only: Switch to the next file after the given number of byte(s)/kilobyte(s)/megabyte(s)/gigabyte(s) have been captured.

Next file every n minute(s)

Multiple files only: Switch to the next file after the given number of second(s)/minutes(s)/hours(s)/days(s) have elapsed.

Ring buffer with n files

Multiple files only: Form a ring buffer of the capture files, with the given number of files.

Stop capture after n file(s)

Multiple files only: Stop capturing after switching to the next file the given number of times.

4.5.3. Stop Capture... frame

... after n packet(s)

Stop capturing after the given number of packets have been captured.

... after n megabytes(s)

Stop capturing after the given number of byte(s)/kilobyte(s)/megabyte(s)/gigabyte(s) have been captured. This option is greyed out, if "Use multiple files" is selected.

... after n minute(s)

Stop capturing after the given number of second(s)/minutes(s)/hours(s)/days(s) have elapsed.

4.5.4. Display Options frame

Update list of packets in real time

This option allows you to specify that Wireshark should update the packet list pane in real time. If you do not specify this, Wireshark does not display any packets until you stop the capture. When you check this, Wireshark captures in a separate process and feeds the captures to the display process.

Automatic scrolling in live capture

This option allows you to specify that Wireshark should scroll the packet list pane as new packets come in, so you are always looking at the last packet. If you do not specify this, Wireshark simply adds new packets onto the end of the list, but does not scroll the packet list pane. This option is greyed out if "Update list of packets in real time" is disabled.

Hide capture info dialog

If this option is checked, the capture info dialog described in Section 4.14, “While a Capture is running ...” will be hidden.

4.5.5. Name Resolution frame

Enable MAC name resolution

This option allows you to control whether or not Wireshark translates MAC addresses into names, see Section 7.7, “Name Resolution”.

Enable network name resolution

This option allows you to control whether or not Wireshark translates network addresses into names, see Section 7.7, “Name Resolution”.

Enable transport name resolution

This option allows you to control whether or not Wireshark translates transport addresses into protocols, see Section 7.7, “Name Resolution”.

4.5.6. Buttons

Once you have set the values you desire and have selected the options you need, simply click on Start to commence the capture, or Cancel to cancel the capture.

If you start a capture, Wireshark allows you to stop capturing when you have enough packets captured, for details see Section 4.14, “While a Capture is running ...”.

4.6. The "Edit Interface Settings" dialog box

If you double-click on an interface in Figure 4.3, “The "Capture Options" dialog box” the following dialog box pops up.

Figure 4.4. The "Edit Interface Settings" dialog box

The "Edit Interface Settings" dialog box

You can set the following fields in this dialog box:

IP address

The IP address(es) of the selected interface. If no address could be resolved from the system, "none" will be shown.

Link-layer header type

Unless you are in the rare situation that you need this, just keep the default. For a detailed description, see Section 4.12, “Link-layer header type”

Wireless settings (Windows only)

Here you can set the settings for wireless capture using the AirPCap adapter. For a detailed description, see the AirPCap Users Guide.

Remote settings (Windows only)

Here you can set the settings for remote capture. For a detailed description, see Section 4.9, “The "Remote Capture Interfaces" dialog box”

Capture packets in promiscuous mode

This checkbox allows you to specify that Wireshark should put the interface in promiscuous mode when capturing. If you do not specify this, Wireshark will only capture the packets going to or from your computer (not all packets on your LAN segment).

[Note]Note

If some other process has put the interface in promiscuous mode you may be capturing in promiscuous mode even if you turn off this option.

[Note]Note

Even in promiscuous mode you still won't necessarily see all packets on your LAN segment, see http://www.wireshark.org/faq.html#promiscsniff for some more explanations.

Limit each packet to n bytes

This field allows you to specify the maximum amount of data that will be captured for each packet, and is sometimes referred to as the snaplen. If disabled, the value is set to the maximum 65535, which will be sufficient for most protocols. Some rules of thumb:

  • If you are unsure, just keep the default value.

  • If you don't need all of the data in a packet - for example, if you only need the link-layer, IP, and TCP headers - you might want to choose a small snapshot length, as less CPU time is required for copying packets, less buffer space is required for packets, and thus perhaps fewer packets will be dropped if traffic is very heavy.

  • If you don't capture all of the data in a packet, you might find that the packet data you want is in the part that's dropped, or that reassembly isn't possible as the data required for reassembly is missing.

Buffer size: n megabyte(s)

Enter the buffer size to be used while capturing. This is the size of the kernel buffer which will keep the captured packets, until they are written to disk. If you encounter packet drops, try increasing this value.

Capture packets in monitor mode (Unix/Linux only)

This checkbox allows you to setup the Wireless interface to capture all traffic it can receive, not just the traffic on the BSS to which it is associated, which can happen even when you set promiscuous mode. Also it might be necessary to turn this option on in order to see IEEE 802.11 headers and/or radio information from the captured frames.

[Note]Note

In monitor mode the adapter might disassociate itself from the network it was associated to.

Capture Filter

This field allows you to specify a capture filter. Capture filters are discussed in more details in Section 4.13, “Filtering while capturing”. It defaults to empty, or no filter.

You can also click on the button labeled "Capture Filter", and Wireshark will bring up the Capture Filters dialog box and allow you to create and/or select a filter. Please see Section 6.6, “Defining and saving filters”

Compile BPF

This button allows you to compile the capture filter into BPF code and pop up a window showing you the resulting pseudo code. This can help in understanding the working of the capture filter you created.

4.7. The "Compile Results" dialog box

This figure shows the compile results of the selected interfaces.

Figure 4.5. The "Compile Results" dialog box

The "Compile Results" dialog box

In the left window the interface names are listed. A green bullet indicates a successful compilation, a red bullet a failure. The results of an individual interface are shown in the right window, when it is selected.

4.8. The "Add New Interfaces" dialog box

As a central point to manage interfaces this dialog box consists of three tabs to add or remove interfaces.

Figure 4.6. The "Add New Interfaces" dialog box

The "Add New Interfaces" dialog box

4.8.1. Add or remove pipes

Figure 4.7. The "Add New Interfaces - Pipes" dialog box

The "Add New Interfaces - Pipes" dialog box

To successfully add a pipe, this pipe must have already been created. Click the "New" button and type the name of the pipe including its path. Alternatively, the "Browse" button can be used to locate the pipe. With the "Save" button the pipe is added to the list of available interfaces. Afterwards, other pipes can be added.

To remove a pipe from the list of interfaces it first has to be selected. Then click the "Delete" button.

4.8.2. Add or hide local interfaces

Figure 4.8. The "Add New Interfaces - Local Interfaces" dialog box

The "Add New Interfaces - Local Interfaces" dialog box

The tab "Local Interfaces" contains a list of available local interfaces, including the hidden ones, which are not shown in the other lists.

If a new local interface is added, for example, a wireless interface has been activated, it is not automatically added to the list to prevent the constant scanning for a change in the list of available interfaces. To renew the list a rescan can be done.

One way to hide an interface is to change the preferences. If the "Hide" checkbox is activated and the "Apply" button clicked, the interface will not be seen in the lists of the "Capture Options" or "Capture Interfaces" dialog box any more. The changes are also saved in the "Preferences" file.

4.8.3. Add or hide remote interfaces

Figure 4.9. The "Add New Interfaces - Remote Interfaces" dialog box

The "Add New Interfaces - Remote Interfaces" dialog box

In this tab interfaces on remote hosts can be added. One or more of these interfaces can be hidden. In contrast to the local interfaces they are not saved in the "Preferences" file.

To remove a host including all its interfaces from the list, it has to be selected. Then click the "Delete" button.

For a detailed description, see Section 4.9, “The "Remote Capture Interfaces" dialog box”

4.9. The "Remote Capture Interfaces" dialog box

Besides doing capture on local interfaces Wireshark is capable of reaching out across the network to a so called capture daemon or service processes to receive captured data from.

[Note]Microsoft Windows only

This dialog and capability is only available on Microsoft Windows. On Linux/Unix you can achieve the same effect (securely) through an SSH tunnel.

The Remote Packet Capture Protocol service must first be running on the target platform before Wireshark can connect to it. The easiest way is to install WinPcap from http://www.winpcap.org/install/default.htm on the target. Once installation is completed go to the Services control panel, find the Remote Packet Capture Protocol service and start it.

[Note]Note

Make sure you have outside access to port 2002 on the target platform. This is the port where the Remote Packet Capture Protocol service can be reached, by default.

To access the Remote Capture Interfaces dialog use the "Add New Interfaces - Remote" dialog, see Figure 4.9, “The "Add New Interfaces - Remote Interfaces" dialog box”, and select "Add".

4.9.1. Remote Capture Interfaces

Figure 4.10. The "Remote Capture Interfaces" dialog box

The "Remote Capture Interfaces" dialog box

You have to set the following parameter in this dialog:

Host

Enter the IP address or host name of the target platform where the Remote Packet Capture Protocol service is listening. The drop down list contains the hosts that have previously been successfully contacted. The list can be emptied by choosing "Clear list" from the drop down list.

Port

Set the port number where the Remote Packet Capture Protocol service is listening on. Leave open to use the default port (2002).

Null authentication

Select this if you don't need authentication to take place for a remote capture to be started. This depends on the target platform. Configuring the target platform like this makes it insecure.

Password authentication

This is the normal way of connecting to a target platform. Set the credentials needed to connect to the Remote Packet Capture Protocol service.

4.9.2. Remote Capture Settings

The remote capture can be further fine tuned to match your situation. The Remote Settings button in Figure 4.4, “The "Edit Interface Settings" dialog box” gives you this option. It pops up the dialog shown in Figure 4.11, “The "Remote Capture Settings" dialog box”.

Figure 4.11. The "Remote Capture Settings" dialog box

The "Remote Capture Settings" dialog box

You can set the following parameters in this dialog:

Do not capture own RPCAP traffic

This option sets a capture filter so that the traffic flowing back from the Remote Packet Capture Protocol service to Wireshark isn't captured as well and also send back. The recursion in this saturates the link with duplicate traffic.

You only should switch this off when capturing on an interface other then the interface connecting back to Wireshark.

Use UDP for data transfer

Remote capture control and data flows over a TCP connection. This option allows you to choose an UDP stream for data transfer.

Sampling option None

This option instructs the Remote Packet Capture Protocol service to send back all captured packets which have passed the capture filter. This is usually not a problem on a remote capture session with sufficient bandwidth.

Sampling option 1 of x packets

This option limits the Remote Packet Capture Protocol service to send only a sub sampling of the captured data, in terms of number of packets. This allows capture over a narrow band remote capture session of a higher bandwidth interface.

Sampling option 1 every x milliseconds

This option limits the Remote Packet Capture Protocol service to send only a sub sampling of the captured data, in terms of time. This allows capture over a narrow band capture session of a higher bandwidth interface.

4.10. The "Interface Details" dialog box

When you select Details from the Capture Interface menu, Wireshark pops up the "Interface Details" dialog box as shown in Figure 4.12, “The "Interface Details" dialog box”. This dialog shows various characteristics and statistics for the selected interface.

[Note]Microsoft Windows only

This dialog is only available on Microsoft Windows

Figure 4.12. The "Interface Details" dialog box

The "Interface Details" dialog box

4.11. Capture files and file modes

While capturing, the underlying libpcap capturing engine will grab the packets from the network card and keep the packet data in a (relatively) small kernel buffer. This data is read by Wireshark and saved into the capture file(s) the user specified.

Different modes of operation are available when saving this packet data to the capture file(s).

[Tip]Tip!

Working with large files (several 100 MB's) can be quite slow. If you plan to do a long term capture or capturing from a high traffic network, think about using one of the "Multiple files" options. This will spread the captured packets over several smaller files which can be much more pleasant to work with.

[Note]Note!

Using Multiple files may cut context related information. Wireshark keeps context information of the loaded packet data, so it can report context related problems (like a stream error) and keeps information about context related protocols (e.g. where data is exchanged at the establishing phase and only referred to in later packets). As it keeps this information only for the loaded file, using one of the multiple file modes may cut these contexts. If the establishing phase is saved in one file and the things you would like to see is in another, you might not see some of the valuable context related information.

[Tip]Tip!

Information about the folders used for the capture file(s), can be found in Appendix A, Files and Folders.

Table 4.1. Capture file mode selected by capture options

"File" option"Use multiple files" option"Ring buffer with n files" optionModeResulting filename(s) used
---Single temporary filewiresharkXXXXXX (where XXXXXX is a unique number)
foo.cap--Single named filefoo.cap
foo.capx-Multiple files, continuousfoo_00001_20100205110102.cap, foo_00002_20100205110318.cap, ...
foo.capxxMultiple files, ring bufferfoo_00001_20100205110102.cap, foo_00002_20100205110318.cap, ...

Single temporary file

A temporary file will be created and used (this is the default). After the capturing is stopped, this file can be saved later under a user specified name.

Single named file

A single capture file will be used. If you want to place the new capture file to a specific folder, choose this mode.

Multiple files, continuous

Like the "Single named file" mode, but a new file is created and used, after reaching one of the multiple file switch conditions (one of the "Next file every ..." values).

Multiple files, ring buffer

Much like "Multiple files continuous", reaching one of the multiple files switch conditions (one of the "Next file every ..." values) will switch to the next file. This will be a newly created file if value of "Ring buffer with n files" is not reached, otherwise it will replace the oldest of the formerly used files (thus forming a "ring").

This mode will limit the maximum disk usage, even for an unlimited amount of capture input data, keeping the latest captured data.

4.12. Link-layer header type

In the usual case, you won't have to choose this link-layer header type. The following paragraphs describe the exceptional cases, where selecting this type is possible, so you will have a guide of what to do:

If you are capturing on an 802.11 device on some versions of BSD, this might offer a choice of "Ethernet" or "802.11". "Ethernet" will cause the captured packets to have fake Ethernet headers; "802.11" will cause them to have IEEE 802.11 headers. Unless the capture needs to be read by an application that doesn't support 802.11 headers, you should select "802.11".

If you are capturing on an Endace DAG card connected to a synchronous serial line, this might offer a choice of "PPP over serial" or "Cisco HDLC"; if the protocol on the serial line is PPP, select "PPP over serial", and if the protocol on the serial line is Cisco HDLC, select "Cisco HDLC".

If you are capturing on an Endace DAG card connected to an ATM network, this might offer a choice of "RFC 1483 IP-over-ATM" or "Sun raw ATM". If the only traffic being captured is RFC 1483 LLC-encapsulated IP, or if the capture needs to be read by an application that doesn't support SunATM headers, select "RFC 1483 IP-over-ATM", otherwise select "Sun raw ATM".

If you are capturing on an Ethernet device, this might offer a choice of "Ethernet" or "DOCSIS". If you are capturing traffic from a Cisco Cable Modem Termination System that is putting DOCSIS traffic onto the Ethernet to be captured, select "DOCSIS", otherwise select "Ethernet".

4.13. Filtering while capturing

Wireshark uses the libpcap filter language for capture filters. This is explained in the tcpdump man page, which can be hard to understand, so it's explained here to some extent.

[Tip]Tip!

You will find a lot of Capture Filter examples at http://wiki.wireshark.org/CaptureFilters.

You enter the capture filter into the Filter field of the Wireshark Capture Options dialog box, as shown in Figure 4.3, “The "Capture Options" dialog box”. The following is an outline of the syntax of the tcpdump capture filter language. See the expression option at the tcpdump manual page for details: http://www.tcpdump.org/tcpdump_man.html.

A capture filter takes the form of a series of primitive expressions connected by conjunctions (and/or) and optionally preceded by not:

[not] primitive [and|or [not] primitive ...]
      

An example is shown in Example 4.1, “ A capture filter for telnet that captures traffic to and from a particular host ”.

Example 4.1.  A capture filter for telnet that captures traffic to and from a particular host

tcp port 23 and host 10.0.0.5
    


This example captures telnet traffic to and from the host 10.0.0.5, and shows how to use two primitives and the and conjunction. Another example is shown in Example 4.2, “ Capturing all telnet traffic not from 10.0.0.5”, and shows how to capture all telnet traffic except that from 10.0.0.5.

Example 4.2.  Capturing all telnet traffic not from 10.0.0.5

tcp port 23 and not src host 10.0.0.5
      


XXX - add examples to the following list.

A primitive is simply one of the following:

[src|dst] host <host>

This primitive allows you to filter on a host IP address or name. You can optionally precede the primitive with the keyword src|dst to specify that you are only interested in source or destination addresses. If these are not present, packets where the specified address appears as either the source or the destination address will be selected.

ether [src|dst] host <ehost>

This primitive allows you to filter on Ethernet host addresses. You can optionally include the keyword src|dst between the keywords ether and host to specify that you are only interested in source or destination addresses. If these are not present, packets where the specified address appears in either the source or destination address will be selected.

gateway host <host>

This primitive allows you to filter on packets that used host as a gateway. That is, where the Ethernet source or destination was host but neither the source nor destination IP address was host.

[src|dst] net <net> [{mask <mask>}|{len <len>}]

This primitive allows you to filter on network numbers. You can optionally precede this primitive with the keyword src|dst to specify that you are only interested in a source or destination network. If neither of these are present, packets will be selected that have the specified network in either the source or destination address. In addition, you can specify either the netmask or the CIDR prefix for the network if they are different from your own.

[tcp|udp] [src|dst] port <port>

This primitive allows you to filter on TCP and UDP port numbers. You can optionally precede this primitive with the keywords src|dst and tcp|udp which allow you to specify that you are only interested in source or destination ports and TCP or UDP packets respectively. The keywords tcp|udp must appear before src|dst.

If these are not specified, packets will be selected for both the TCP and UDP protocols and when the specified address appears in either the source or destination port field.

less|greater <length>

This primitive allows you to filter on packets whose length was less than or equal to the specified length, or greater than or equal to the specified length, respectively.

ip|ether proto <protocol>

This primitive allows you to filter on the specified protocol at either the Ethernet layer or the IP layer.

ether|ip broadcast|multicast

This primitive allows you to filter on either Ethernet or IP broadcasts or multicasts.

<expr> relop <expr>

This primitive allows you to create complex filter expressions that select bytes or ranges of bytes in packets. Please see the tcpdump man page at http://www.tcpdump.org/tcpdump_man.html for more details.

4.13.1. Automatic Remote Traffic Filtering

If Wireshark is running remotely (using e.g. SSH, an exported X11 window, a terminal server, ...), the remote content has to be transported over the network, adding a lot of (usually unimportant) packets to the actually interesting traffic.

To avoid this, Wireshark tries to figure out if it's remotely connected (by looking at some specific environment variables) and automatically creates a capture filter that matches aspects of the connection.

The following environment variables are analyzed:

SSH_CONNECTION (ssh)

<remote IP> <remote port> <local IP> <local port>

SSH_CLIENT (ssh)

<remote IP> <remote port> <local port>

REMOTEHOST (tcsh, others?)

<remote name>

DISPLAY (x11)

[remote name]:<display num>

SESSIONNAME (terminal server)

<remote name>

On Windows it asks the operating system if it's running in a Remote Desktop Services environment.

4.14. While a Capture is running ...

While a capture is running, the following dialog box is shown:

Figure 4.13. The "Capture Info" dialog box

The "Capture Info" dialog box


This dialog box will inform you about the number of captured packets and the time since the capture was started. The selection of which protocols are counted cannot be changed.

[Tip]Tip!

This Capture Info dialog box can be hidden, using the "Hide capture info dialog" option in the Capture Options dialog box.

4.14.1. Stop the running capture

A running capture session will be stopped in one of the following ways:

  1. Using the " Stop" button from the Capture Info dialog box .

    [Note]Note!

    The Capture Info dialog box might be hidden, if the option "Hide capture info dialog" is used.

  2. Using the menu item "Capture/ Stop".

  3. Using the toolbar item " Stop".

  4. Pressing the accelerator keys: Ctrl+E.

  5. The capture will be automatically stopped, if one of the Stop Conditions is exceeded, e.g. the maximum amount of data was captured.

4.14.2. Restart a running capture

A running capture session can be restarted with the same capture options as the last time, this will remove all packets previously captured. This can be useful, if some uninteresting packets are captured and there's no need to keep them.

Restart is a convenience function and equivalent to a capture stop following by an immediate capture start. A restart can be triggered in one of the following ways:

  1. Using the menu item "Capture/ Restart".

  2. Using the toolbar item " Restart".

Chapter 5. File Input / Output and Printing

5.1. Introduction

This chapter will describe input and output of capture data.

  • Open capture files in various capture file formats

  • Save/Export capture files in various capture file formats

  • Merge capture files together

  • Import text files containing hex dumps of packets

  • Print packets

5.2. Open capture files

Wireshark can read in previously saved capture files. To read them, simply select the menu or toolbar item: "File/ Open". Wireshark will then pop up the File Open dialog box, which is discussed in more detail in Section 5.2.1, “The "Open Capture File" dialog box”.

[Tip]It's convenient to use drag-and-drop!

... to open a file, by simply dragging the desired file from your file manager and dropping it onto Wireshark's main window. However, drag-and-drop is not available/won't work in all desktop environments.

If you haven't previously saved the current capture file, you will be asked to do so, to prevent data loss (this behaviour can be disabled in the preferences).

In addition to its native file format (libpcap format, also used by tcpdump/WinDump and other libpcap/WinPcap-based programs), Wireshark can read capture files from a large number of other packet capture programs as well. See Section 5.2.2, “Input File Formats” for the list of capture formats Wireshark understands.

5.2.1. The "Open Capture File" dialog box

The "Open Capture File" dialog box allows you to search for a capture file containing previously captured packets for display in Wireshark. Table 5.1, “The system specific "Open Capture File" dialog box” shows some examples of the Wireshark Open File Dialog box.

[Note]The dialog appearance depends on your system!

The appearance of this dialog depends on the system and/or GTK+ toolkit version used. However, the functionality remains basically the same on any particular system.

Common dialog behaviour on all systems:

  • Select files and directories.

  • Click the Open/Ok button to accept your selected file and open it.

  • Click the Cancel button to go back to Wireshark and not load a capture file.

Wireshark extensions to the standard behaviour of these dialogs:

  • View file preview information (like the filesize, the number of packets, ...), if you've selected a capture file.

  • Specify a display filter with the "Filter:" button and filter field. This filter will be used when opening the new file. The text field background becomes green for a valid filter string and red for an invalid one. Clicking on the Filter button causes Wireshark to pop up the Filters dialog box (which is discussed further in Section 6.3, “Filtering packets while viewing”).

    XXX - we need a better description of these read filters

  • Specify which type of name resolution is to be performed for all packets by clicking on one of the "... name resolution" check buttons. Details about name resolution can be found in Section 7.7, “Name Resolution”.

[Tip]Save a lot of time loading huge capture files!

You can change the display filter and name resolution settings later while viewing the packets. However, loading huge capture files can take a significant amount of extra time if these settings are changed later, so in such situations it can be a good idea to set at least the filter in advance here.

Table 5.1. The system specific "Open Capture File" dialog box

Figure 5.1. "Open" on native Windows

"Open" on native Windows


Microsoft Windows

This is the common Windows file open dialog - plus some Wireshark extensions.

Specific for this dialog:

  • If available, the "Help" button will lead you to this section of this "User's Guide".

  • [Note]Note

    The "Filter:" button currently doesn't work on Windows!

Figure 5.2. "Open" - new GTK version

"Open" - new GTK version


Unix/Linux: GTK version >= 2.4

This is the common Gimp/GNOME file open dialog - plus some Wireshark extensions.

Specific for this dialog:

  • The "+ Add" button allows you to add a directory, selected in the right-hand pane, to the favorites list on the left. Those changes are persistent.

  • The "- Remove" button allows you to remove a selected directory from that list again (the items like: "Home", "Desktop", and "Filesystem" cannot be removed).

  • If Wireshark doesn't recognize the selected file as a capture file, it will grey out the "Open" button.

Figure 5.3. "Open" - old GTK version

"Open" - old GTK version


Unix/Linux: GTK version < 2.4

This is the file open dialog of former Gimp/GNOME versions - plus some Wireshark extensions.

Specific for this dialog:

  • If Wireshark doesn't recognize the selected file as a capture file, it will grey out the "Ok" button.


5.2.2. Input File Formats

The following file formats from other capture tools can be opened by Wireshark:

  • libpcap - captures from Wireshark/TShark/dumpcap, tcpdump, and various other tools using libpcap's/tcpdump's capture format

  • pcap-ng - "next-generation" successor to libpcap format

  • Sun snoop and atmsnoop

  • Shomiti/Finisar Surveyor captures

  • Novell LANalyzer captures

  • Microsoft Network Monitor captures

  • AIX's iptrace captures

  • Cinco Networks NetXray captures

  • Network Associates Windows-based Sniffer and Sniffer Pro captures

  • Network General/Network Associates DOS-based Sniffer (compressed or uncompressed) captures

  • AG Group/WildPackets EtherPeek/TokenPeek/AiroPeek/EtherHelp/PacketGrabber captures

  • RADCOM's WAN/LAN Analyzer captures

  • Network Instruments Observer version 9 captures

  • Lucent/Ascend router debug output

  • HP-UX's nettl

  • Toshiba's ISDN routers dump output

  • ISDN4BSD i4btrace utility

  • traces from the EyeSDN USB S0

  • IPLog format from the Cisco Secure Intrusion Detection System

  • pppd logs (pppdump format)

  • the output from VMS's TCPIPtrace/TCPtrace/UCX$TRACE utilities

  • the text output from the DBS Etherwatch VMS utility

  • Visual Networks' Visual UpTime traffic capture

  • the output from CoSine L2 debug

  • the output from Accellent's 5Views LAN agents

  • Endace Measurement Systems' ERF format captures

  • Linux Bluez Bluetooth stack hcidump -w traces

  • Catapult DCT2000 .out files

  • Gammu generated text output from Nokia DCT3 phones in Netmonitor mode

  • IBM Series (OS/400) Comm traces (ASCII & UNICODE)

  • Juniper Netscreen snoop captures

  • Symbian OS btsnoop captures

  • Tamosoft CommView captures

  • Textronix K12xx 32bit .rf5 format captures

  • Textronix K12 text file format captures

  • Apple PacketLogger captures

  • Captures from Aethra Telecommunications' PC108 software for their test instruments

  • ... new file formats are added from time to time

[Note]Opening a file may fail due to invalid packet types!

It may not be possible to read some formats dependent on the packet types captured. Ethernet captures are usually supported for most file formats but it may not be possible to read other packet types (e.g. token ring packets) from all file formats.

5.3. Saving captured packets

You can save captured packets simply by using the Save As... menu item from the File menu under Wireshark. You can choose which packets to save and which file format to be used.

[Warning]Saving may reduce the available information!

Saving the captured packets will slightly reduce the amount of information, e.g. the number of dropped packets will be lost; see Section A.1, “Capture Files” for details.

5.3.1. The "Save Capture File As" dialog box

The "Save Capture File As" dialog box allows you to save the current capture to a file. Table 5.2, “The system specific "Save Capture File As" dialog box” shows some examples of this dialog box.

[Note]The dialog appearance depends on your system!

The appearance of this dialog depends on the system and GTK+ toolkit version used. However, the functionality remains basically the same on any particular system.

Table 5.2. The system specific "Save Capture File As" dialog box

Figure 5.4. "Save" on native Windows

"Save" on native Windows


Microsoft Windows

This is the common Windows file save dialog - plus some Wireshark extensions.

Specific for this dialog:

  • If available, the "Help" button will lead you to this section of this "User's Guide".

  • If you don't provide a file extension to the filename - e.g. .pcap, Wireshark will append the standard file extension for that file format.

Figure 5.5. "Save" - new GTK version

"Save" - new GTK version


Unix/Linux: GTK version >= 2.4

This is the common Gimp/GNOME file save dialog - plus some Wireshark extensions.

Specific for this dialog:

  • Clicking on the + at "Browse for other folders" will allow you to browse files and folders in your file system.

Figure 5.6. "Save" - old GTK version

"Save" - old GTK version


Unix/Linux: GTK version < 2.4

This is the file save dialog of former Gimp/GNOME versions - plus some Wireshark extensions.


With this dialog box, you can perform the following actions:

  1. Type in the name of the file you wish to save the captured packets in, as a standard file name in your file system.

  2. Select the directory to save the file into.

  3. Select the range of the packets to be saved, see Section 5.9, “The Packet Range frame”

  4. Specify the format of the saved capture file by clicking on the File type drop down box. You can choose from the types, described in Section 5.3.2, “Output File Formats”.

    [Note]The selection of capture formats may be reduced!

    Some capture formats may not be available, depending on the packet types captured.

    [Tip]File formats can be converted!

    You can convert capture files from one format to another by reading in a capture file and writing it out using a different format.

  5. Click on the Save/Ok button to accept your selected file and save to it. If Wireshark has a problem saving the captured packets to the file you specified, it will display an error dialog box. After clicking OK on that error dialog box, you can try again.

  6. Click on the Cancel button to go back to Wireshark and not save the captured packets.

5.3.2. Output File Formats

Wireshark can save the packet data in its "native" file format (libpcap) and in the file formats of some other protocol analyzers, so other tools can read the capture data.

[Warning]File formats have different time stamp accuracies!

Saving from the currently used file format to a different format may reduce the time stamp accuracy; see the Section 7.4, “Time Stamps” for details.

The following file formats can be saved by Wireshark (with the known file extensions):

  • libpcap, tcpdump and various other tools using tcpdump's capture format (*.pcap,*.cap,*.dmp)

  • Accellent 5Views (*.5vw)

  • HP-UX's nettl (*.TRC0,*.TRC1)

  • Microsoft Network Monitor - NetMon (*.cap)

  • Network Associates Sniffer - DOS (*.cap,*.enc,*.trc,*fdc,*.syc)

  • Network Associates Sniffer - Windows (*.cap)

  • Network Instruments Observer version 9 (*.bfr)

  • Novell LANalyzer (*.tr1)

  • Sun snoop (*.snoop,*.cap)

  • Visual Networks Visual UpTime traffic (*.*)

  • ... new file formats are added from time to time

If the above tools will be more helpful than Wireshark is a different question ;-)

[Note]Third party protocol analyzers may require specific file extensions!

Other protocol analyzers than Wireshark may require that the file has a certain file extension in order to read the files you generate with Wireshark, e.g.:

".cap" for Network Associates Sniffer - Windows

5.4. Merging capture files

Sometimes you need to merge several capture files into one. For example this can be useful, if you have captured simultaneously from multiple interfaces at once (e.g. using multiple instances of Wireshark).

Merging capture files can be done in three ways:

  • Use the menu item "Merge" from the "File" menu, to open the merge dialog, see Section 5.4.1, “The "Merge with Capture File" dialog box”. This menu item will be disabled, until you have loaded a capture file.

  • Use drag-and-drop to drop multiple files on the main window. Wireshark will try to merge the packets in chronological order from the dropped files into a newly created temporary file. If you drop only a single file, it will simply replace a (maybe) existing one.

  • Use the mergecap tool, which is a command line tool to merge capture files. This tool provides the most options to merge capture files, see Section D.8, “mergecap: Merging multiple capture files into one ”.

5.4.1. The "Merge with Capture File" dialog box

This dialog box let you select a file to be merged into the currently loaded file.

[Note]You will be prompted for an unsaved file first!

If your current data wasn't saved before, you will be asked to save it first, before this dialog box is shown.

Most controls of this dialog will work the same way as described in the "Open Capture File" dialog box, see Section 5.2.1, “The "Open Capture File" dialog box”.

Specific controls of this merge dialog are:

Prepend packets to existing file

Prepend the packets from the selected file before the currently loaded packets.

Merge packets chronologically

Merge both the packets from the selected and currently loaded file in chronological order.

Append packets to existing file

Append the packets from the selected file after the currently loaded packets.

Table 5.3. The system specific "Merge Capture File As" dialog box

Figure 5.7. "Merge" on native Windows

"Merge" on native Windows


Microsoft Windows

This is the common Windows file open dialog - plus some Wireshark extensions.

Figure 5.8. "Merge" - new GTK version

"Merge" - new GTK version


Unix/Linux: GTK version >= 2.4

This is the common Gimp/GNOME file open dialog - plus some Wireshark extensions.

Figure 5.9. "Merge" - old GTK version

"Merge" - old GTK version


Unix/Linux: GTK version < 2.4

This is the file open dialog of former Gimp/GNOME versions - plus some Wireshark extensions.


5.5. Import hex dump

Wireshark can read in an ASCII hex dump and write the data described into a temporary libpcap capture file. It can read hex dumps with multiple packets in them, and build a capture file of multiple packets. It is also capable of generating dummy Ethernet, IP and UDP, TCP, or SCTP headers, in order to build fully processable packet dumps from hexdumps of application-level data only.

Wireshark understands a hexdump of the form generated by od -Ax -tx1 -v. In other words, each byte is individually displayed and surrounded with a space. Each line begins with an offset describing the position in the file. The offset is a hex number (can also be octal or decimal), of more than two hex digits. Here is a sample dump that can be imported:

           000000 00 e0 1e a7 05 6f 00 10 ........
           000008 5a a0 b9 12 08 00 46 00 ........
           000010 03 68 00 00 00 00 0a 2e ........
           000018 ee 33 0f 19 08 7f 0f 19 ........
           000020 03 80 94 04 00 00 10 01 ........
           000028 16 a2 0a 00 03 50 00 0c ........
           000030 01 01 0f 19 03 80 11 01 ........
    

There is no limit on the width or number of bytes per line. Also the text dump at the end of the line is ignored. Bytes/hex numbers can be uppercase or lowercase. Any text before the offset is ignored, including email forwarding characters '>'. Any lines of text between the bytestring lines are ignored. The offsets are used to track the bytes, so offsets must be correct. Any line which has only bytes without a leading offset is ignored. An offset is recognized as being a hex number longer than two characters. Any text after the bytes is ignored (e.g. the character dump). Any hex numbers in this text are also ignored. An offset of zero is indicative of starting a new packet, so a single text file with a series of hexdumps can be converted into a packet capture with multiple packets. Packets may be preceded by a timestamp. These are interpreted according to the format given. If not the first packet is timestamped with the current time the import takes place. Multiple packets are read in with timestamps differing by one microsecond each. In general, short of these restrictions, Wireshark is pretty liberal about reading in hexdumps and has been tested with a variety of mangled outputs (including being forwarded through email multiple times, with limited line wrap etc.)

There are a couple of other special features to note. Any line where the first non-whitespace character is '#' will be ignored as a comment. Any line beginning with #TEXT2PCAP is a directive and options can be inserted after this command to be processed by Wireshark. Currently there are no directives implemented; in the future, these may be used to give more fine grained control on the dump and the way it should be processed e.g. timestamps, encapsulation type etc. Wireshark also allows the user to read in dumps of application-level data, by inserting dummy L2, L3 and L4 headers before each packet. The user can elect to insert Ethernet headers, Ethernet and IP, or Ethernet, IP and UDP/TCP/SCTP headers before each packet. This allows Wireshark or any other full-packet decoder to handle these dumps.

5.5.1. The "Import from Hex Dump" dialog box

This dialog box lets you select a text file, containing a hex dump of packet data, to be imported and set import parameters.

Figure 5.10. The "Import from Hex Dump" dialog

The "Import from Hex Dump" dialog


Specific controls of this import dialog are split in two sections:

Input

Determine which input file has to be imported and how it is to be interpreted.

Import

Determine how the data is to be imported.

The input parameters are as follows:

Filename / Browse

Enter the name of the text file to import. You can use Browse to browse for a file.

Offsets

Select the radix of the offsets given in the text file to import. This is usually hexadecimal, but decimal and octal are also supported.

Date/Time

Tick this checkbox if there are timestamps associated with the frames in the text file to import you would like to use. Otherwise the current time is used for timestamping the frames.

Format

This is the format specifier used to parse the timestamps in the text file to import. It uses a simple syntax to describe the format of the timestamps, using %H for hours, %M for minutes, %S for seconds, etc. The straightforward HH:MM:SS format is covered by %T. For a full definition of the syntax look for strptime(3).

The import parameters are as follows:

Encapsulation type

Here you can select which type of frames you are importing. This all depends on from what type of medium the dump to import was taken. It lists all types that Wireshark understands, so as to pass the capture file contents to the right dissector.

Dummy header

When Ethernet encapsulation is selected you have to option to prepend dummy headers to the frames to import. These headers can provide artificial Ethernet, IP, UDP or TCP or SCTP headers and SCTP data chunks. When selecting a type of dummy header the applicable entries are enabled, others are grayed out and default values are used.

Max. frame length

You may not be interested in the full frames from the text file, just the first part. Here you can define how much data from the start of the frame you want to import. If you leave this open the maximum is set to 65535 bytes.

Once all input and import parameters are setup click OK to start the import.

[Note]You will be prompted for an unsaved file first!

If your current data wasn't saved before, you will be asked to save it first, before this dialog box is shown.

When completed there will be a new capture file loaded with the frames imported from the text file.

5.6. File Sets

When using the "Multiple Files" option while doing a capture (see: Section 4.11, “Capture files and file modes”), the capture data is spread over several capture files, called a file set.

As it can become tedious to work with a file set by hand, Wireshark provides some features to handle these file sets in a convenient way.

The following features in the "File Set" submenu of the "File" menu are available to work with file sets in a convenient way:

  • The List Files dialog box will list the files Wireshark has recognized as being part of the current file set.

  • Next File closes the current and opens the next file in the file set.

  • Previous File closes the current and opens the previous file in the file set.

5.6.1. The "List Files" dialog box

Figure 5.11. The "List Files" dialog box

The "List Files" dialog box

Each line contains information about a file of the file set:

  • Filename the name of the file. If you click on the filename (or the radio button left to it), the current file will be closed and the corresponding capture file will be opened.

  • Created the creation time of the file

  • Last Modified the last time the file was modified

  • Size the size of the file

The last line will contain info about the currently used directory where all of the files in the file set can be found.

The content of this dialog box is updated each time a capture file is opened/closed.

The Close button will, well, close the dialog box.

5.7. Exporting data

Wireshark provides several ways and formats to export packet data. This section describes general ways to export data from Wireshark.

[Note]Note!

There are more specialized functions to export specific data, which will be described at the appropriate places.

XXX - add detailed descriptions of the output formats and some sample output, too.

5.7.1. The "Export as Plain Text File" dialog box

Export packet data into a plain ASCII text file, much like the format used to print packets.

[Tip]Tip!

If you would like to be able to import any previously exported packets from a plain text file, it is recommended that you:

  • Add the "Absolute date and time" column.

  • Temporarily hide all other columns.

  • Turn off: Edit/Preferences/Protocols/Data/ "Show not dissected data on new Packet Bytes pane". More detail is provided in Section 10.5, “Preferences”

  • Include the packet summary line.

  • Exclude the column headings.

  • Exclude the packet details.

  • Include the packet bytes.

Figure 5.12. The "Export as Plain Text File" dialog box

The "Export as Plain Text File" dialog box


5.7.2. The "Export as PostScript File" dialog box

Export packet data into PostScript, much like the format used to print packets.

[Tip]Tip!

You can easily convert PostScript files to PDF files using ghostscript. For example: export to a file named foo.ps and then call: ps2pdf foo.ps

Figure 5.13. The "Export as PostScript File" dialog box

The "Export as PostScript File" dialog box


5.7.3. The "Export as CSV (Comma Separated Values) File" dialog box

XXX - add screenshot

Export packet summary into CSV, used e.g. by spreadsheet programs to im-/export data.

5.7.4. The "Export as C Arrays (packet bytes) file" dialog box

XXX - add screenshot

Export packet bytes into C arrays so you can import the stream data into your own C program.

5.7.5. The "Export as PSML File" dialog box

Export packet data into PSML. This is an XML based format including only the packet summary. The PSML file specification is available at: http://www.nbee.org/doku.php?id=netpdl:psml_specification.

Figure 5.14. The "Export as PSML File" dialog box

The "Export as PSML File" dialog box


There's no such thing as a packet details frame for PSML export, as the packet format is defined by the PSML specification.

5.7.6. The "Export as PDML File" dialog box

Export packet data into PDML. This is an XML based format including the packet details. The PDML file specification is available at: http://www.nbee.org/doku.php?id=netpdl:pdml_specification.

[Note]

The PDML specification is not officially released and Wireshark's implementation of it is still in an early beta state, so please expect changes in future Wireshark versions.

Figure 5.15. The "Export as PDML File" dialog box

The "Export as PDML File" dialog box


There's no such thing as a packet details frame for PDML export, as the packet format is defined by the PDML specification.

5.7.7. The "Export selected packet bytes" dialog box

Export the bytes selected in the "Packet Bytes" pane into a raw binary file.

Figure 5.16. The "Export Selected Packet Bytes" dialog box

The "Export Selected Packet Bytes" dialog box


  • Name: the filename to export the packet data to.

  • The Save in folder: field lets you select the folder to save to (from some predefined folders).

  • Browse for other folders provides a flexible way to choose a folder.

5.7.8. The "Export Objects" dialog box

This feature scans through HTTP streams in the currently open capture file or running capture and takes reassembled objects such as HTML documents, image files, executables and anything else that can be transferred over HTTP and lets you save them to disk. If you have a capture running, this list is automatically updated every few seconds with any new objects seen. The saved objects can then be opened with the proper viewer or executed in the case of executables (if it is for the same platform you are running Wireshark on) without any further work on your part. This feature is not available when using GTK2 versions below 2.4.

Figure 5.17. The "Export Objects" dialog box

The "Export Objects" dialog box

Columns:

  • Packet num: The packet number in which this object was found. In some cases, there can be multiple objects in the same packet.

  • Hostname: The hostname of the server that sent the object as a response to an HTTP request.

  • Content Type: The HTTP content type of this object.

  • Bytes: The size of this object in bytes.

  • Filename: The final part of the URI (after the last slash). This is typically a filename, but may be a long complex looking string, which typically indicates that the file was received in response to a HTTP POST request.

Buttons:

  • Help: Opens this section in the user's guide.

  • Close: Closes this dialog.

  • Save As: Saves the currently selected object as a filename you specify. The default filename to save as is taken from the filename column of the objects list.

  • Save All: Saves all objects in the list using the filename from the filename column. You will be asked what directory / folder to save them in. If the filename is invalid for the operating system / file system you are running Wireshark on, then an error will appear and that object will not be saved (but all of the others will be).

5.8. Printing packets

To print packets, select the "Print..." menu item from the File menu. When you do this, Wireshark pops up the Print dialog box as shown in Figure 5.18, “The "Print" dialog box”.

5.8.1. The "Print" dialog box

Figure 5.18. The "Print" dialog box

The "Print" dialog box

The following fields are available in the Print dialog box:

Printer

This field contains a pair of mutually exclusive radio buttons:

  • Plain Text specifies that the packet print should be in plain text.

  • PostScript specifies that the packet print process should use PostScript to generate a better print output on PostScript aware printers.

  • Output to file: specifies that printing be done to a file, using the filename entered in the field or selected with the browse button.

    This field is where you enter the file to print to if you have selected Print to a file, or you can click the button to browse the filesystem. It is greyed out if Print to a file is not selected.

  • Print command specifies that a command be used for printing.

    [Note]Note!

    These Print command fields are not available on windows platforms.

    This field specifies the command to use for printing. It is typically lpr. You would change it to specify a particular queue if you need to print to a queue other than the default. An example might be:

    lpr -Pmypostscript
              

    This field is greyed out if Output to file: is checked above.

Packet Range

Select the packets to be printed, see Section 5.9, “The Packet Range frame”

Packet Format

Select the output format of the packets to be printed. You can choose, how each packet is printed, see Figure 5.20, “The "Packet Format" frame”

5.9. The Packet Range frame

The packet range frame is a part of various output related dialog boxes. It provides options to select which packets should be processed by the output function.

Figure 5.19. The "Packet Range" frame

The "Packet Range" frame


If the Captured button is set (default), all packets from the selected rule will be processed. If the Displayed button is set, only the currently displayed packets are taken into account to the selected rule.

  • All packets will process all packets.

  • Selected packet only process only the selected packet.

  • Marked packets only process only the marked packets.

  • From first to last marked packet process the packets from the first to the last marked one.

  • Specify a packet range process a user specified range of packets, e.g. specifying 5,10-15,20- will process the packet number five, the packets from packet number ten to fifteen (inclusive) and every packet from number twenty to the end of the capture.

5.10. The Packet Format frame

The packet format frame is a part of various output related dialog boxes. It provides options to select which parts of a packet should be used for the output function.

Figure 5.20. The "Packet Format" frame

The "Packet Format" frame


  • Packet summary line enable the output of the summary line, just as in the "Packet List" pane.

  • Packet details enable the output of the packet details tree.

    • All collapsed the info from the "Packet Details" pane in "all collapsed" state.

    • As displayed the info from the "Packet Details" pane in the current state.

    • All expanded the info from the "Packet Details" pane in "all expanded" state.

  • Packet bytes enable the output of the packet bytes, just as in the "Packet Bytes" pane.

  • Each packet on a new page put each packet on a separate page (e.g. when saving/printing to a text file, this will put a form feed character between the packets).

Chapter 6. Working with captured packets

6.1. Viewing packets you have captured

Once you have captured some packets, or you have opened a previously saved capture file, you can view the packets that are displayed in the packet list pane by simply clicking on a packet in the packet list pane, which will bring up the selected packet in the tree view and byte view panes.

You can then expand any part of the tree view by clicking on the plus sign (the symbol itself may vary) to the left of that part of the payload, and you can select individual fields by clicking on them in the tree view pane. An example with a TCP packet selected is shown in Figure 6.1, “Wireshark with a TCP packet selected for viewing”. It also has the Acknowledgment number in the TCP header selected, which shows up in the byte view as the selected bytes.

Figure 6.1. Wireshark with a TCP packet selected for viewing

Wireshark with a TCP packet selected for viewing


You can also select and view packets the same way, while Wireshark is capturing, if you selected "Update list of packets in real time" in the Wireshark Capture Preferences dialog box.

In addition, you can view individual packets in a separate window as shown in Figure 6.2, “Viewing a packet in a separate window”. Do this by selecting the packet in which you are interested in the packet list pane, and then select "Show Packet in New Windows" from the Display menu. This allows you to easily compare two or even more packets.

Figure 6.2. Viewing a packet in a separate window

Viewing a packet in a separate window


6.2. Pop-up menus

You can bring up a pop-up menu over either the "Packet List", its column header, or "Packet Details" pane by clicking your right mouse button at the corresponding pane.

6.2.1. Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" column header

Figure 6.3. Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" column header

Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" column header


The following table gives an overview of which functions are available in this header, where to find the corresponding function in the main menu, and a short description of each item.

Table 6.1. The menu items of the "Packet List" column header pop-up menu

ItemIdentical to main menu's item:Description
Sort Ascending 

Sort the packet list in ascending order based on this column.

Sort Descending 

Sort the packet list in descending order based on this column.

No Sort 

Remove sorting order based on this column.

-----  
Align Left 

Set left alignment of the values in this column.

Align Center 

Set center alignment of the values in this column.

Align Right 

Set right alignment of the values in this column.

-----  
Column Preferences... 

Open the Preferences dialog box on the column tab.

Resize Column 

Resize the column to fit the values.

Rename Column Title 

Allows you to change the title of the column header.

-----  
Displayed ColumnView

This menu items folds out with a list of all configured columns. These columns can now be shown or hidden in the packet list.

Hide Column 

Allows you to hide the column from the packet list.

Remove Column 

Allows you to remove the column from the packet list.


6.2.2. Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" pane

Figure 6.4. Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" pane

Pop-up menu of the "Packet List" pane


The following table gives an overview of which functions are available in this pane, where to find the corresponding function in the main menu, and a short description of each item.

Table 6.2. The menu items of the "Packet List" pop-up menu

ItemIdentical to main menu's item:Description
Mark Packet (toggle)Edit

Mark/unmark a packet.

Ignore Packet (toggle)Edit

Ignore or inspect this packet while dissecting the capture file.

Set Time Reference (toggle)Edit

Set/reset a time reference.

Manually Resolve Address 

Allows you to enter a name to resolve for the selected address.

-----  
Apply as FilterAnalyze

Prepare and apply a display filter based on the currently selected item.

Prepare a FilterAnalyze

Prepare a display filter based on the currently selected item.

Conversation Filter-

This menu item applies a display filter with the address information from the selected packet. E.g. the IP menu entry will set a filter to show the traffic between the two IP addresses of the current packet. XXX - add a new section describing this better.

Colorize Conversation-

This menu item uses a display filter with the address information from the selected packet to build a new colorizing rule.

SCTP-

Allows you to analyze and prepare a filter for this SCTP association.

Follow TCP StreamAnalyze

Allows you to view all the data on a TCP stream between a pair of nodes.

Follow UDP StreamAnalyze

Allows you to view all the data on a UDP datagram stream between a pair of nodes.

Follow SSL StreamAnalyze

Same as "Follow TCP Stream" but for SSL. XXX - add a new section describing this better.

-----  
Copy/ Summary (Text)-

Copy the summary fields as displayed to the clipboard, as tab-separated text.

Copy/ Summary (CSV)-

Copy the summary fields as displayed to the clipboard, as comma-separated text.

Copy/ As Filter 

Prepare a display filter based on the currently selected item and copy that filter to the clipboard.

Copy/ Bytes (Offset Hex Text)-

Copy the packet bytes to the clipboard in hexdump-like format.

Copy/ Bytes (Offset Hex)-

Copy the packet bytes to the clipboard in hexdump-like format, but without the text portion.

Copy/ Bytes (Printable Text Only)-

Copy the packet bytes to the clipboard as ASCII text, excluding non-printable characters.

Copy/ Bytes (Hex Stream)-

Copy the packet bytes to the clipboard as an unpunctuated list of hex digits.

Copy/ Bytes (Binary Stream)-

Copy the packet bytes to the clipboard as raw binary. The data is stored in the clipboard as MIME-type "application/octet-stream".

-----  
Decode As...Analyze

Change or apply a new relation between two dissectors.

Print...File

Print packets.

Show Packet in New WindowView

Display the selected packet in a new window.


6.2.3. Pop-up menu of the "Packet Details" pane

Figure 6.5. Pop-up menu of the "Packet Details" pane

Pop-up menu of the "Packet Details" pane


The following table gives an overview of which functions are available in this pane, where to find the corresponding function in the main menu, and a short description of each item.

Table 6.3. The menu items of the "Packet Details" pop-up menu

ItemIdentical to main menu's item:Description
Expand SubtreesView

Expand the currently selected subtree.

Collapse SubtreesView

Collapse the currently selected subtree.

Expand AllView

Expand all subtrees in all packets in the capture.

Collapse AllView

Wireshark keeps a list of all the protocol subtrees that are expanded, and uses it to ensure that the correct subtrees are expanded when you display a packet. This menu item collapses the tree view of all packets in the capture list.

-----  
Apply as Column 

Use the selected protocol item to create a new column in the packet list.

-----  
Apply as FilterAnalyze

Prepare and apply a display filter based on the currently selected item.

Prepare a FilterAnalyze

Prepare a display filter based on the currently selected item.

Colorize with Filter-

This menu item uses a display filter with the information from the selected protocol item to build a new colorizing rule.

Follow TCP StreamAnalyze

Allows you to view all the data on a TCP stream between a pair of nodes.

Follow UDP StreamAnalyze

Allows you to view all the data on a UDP datagram stream between a pair of nodes.

Follow SSL StreamAnalyze

Same as "Follow TCP Stream" but for SSL. XXX - add a new section describing this better.

-----  
Copy/ DescriptionEdit

Copy the displayed text of the selected field to the system clipboard.

Copy/ FieldnameEdit

Copy the name of the selected field to the system clipboard.

Copy/ ValueEdit

Copy the value of the selected field to the system clipboard.

Copy/ As FilterEdit

Prepare a display filter based on the currently selected item and copy it to the clipboard.

Copy/ Bytes (Offset Hex Text)-

Copy the packet bytes to the clipboard in hexdump-like format; similar to the Packet List Pane command, but copies only the bytes relevant to the selected part of the tree (the bytes selected in the Packet Bytes Pane).

Copy/ Bytes (Offset Hex)-

Copy the packet bytes to the clipboard in hexdump-like format, but without the text portion; similar to the Packet List Pane command, but copies only the bytes relevant to the selected part of the tree (the bytes selected in the Packet Bytes Pane).

Copy/ Bytes (Printable Text Only)-

Copy the packet bytes to the clipboard as ASCII text, excluding non-printable characters; similar to the Packet List Pane command, but copies only the bytes relevant to the selected part of the tree (the bytes selected in the Packet Bytes Pane).

Copy/ Bytes (Hex Stream)-

Copy the packet bytes to the clipboard as an unpunctuated list of hex digits; similar to the Packet List Pane command, but copies only the bytes relevant to the selected part of the tree (the bytes selected in the Packet Bytes Pane).

Copy/ Bytes (Binary Stream)-

Copy the packet bytes to the clipboard as raw binary; similar to the Packet List Pane command, but copies only the bytes relevant to the selected part of the tree (the bytes selected in the Packet Bytes Pane). The data is stored in the clipboard as MIME-type "application/octet-stream".

Export Selected Packet Bytes...File

This menu item is the same as the File menu item of the same name. It allows you to export raw packet bytes to a binary file.

-----  
Wiki Protocol Page-

Show the wiki page corresponding to the currently selected protocol in your web browser.

Filter Field Reference-

Show the filter field reference web page corresponding to the currently selected protocol in your web browser.

Protocol Preferences...-

The menu item takes you to the properties dialog and selects the page corresponding to the protocol if there are properties associated with the highlighted field. More information on preferences can be found in Figure 10.8, “The preferences dialog box”.

-----  
Decode As...Analyze

Change or apply a new relation between two dissectors.

Disable Protocol 

Allows you to temporarily disable a protocol dissector, which may be blocking the legitimate dissector.

Resolve NameView

Causes a name resolution to be performed for the selected packet, but NOT every packet in the capture.

Go to Corresponding PacketGo

If the selected field has a corresponding packet, go to it. Corresponding packets will usually be a request/response packet pair or such.


6.3. Filtering packets while viewing

Wireshark has two filtering languages: One used when capturing packets, and one used when displaying packets. In this section we explore that second type of filter: Display filters. The first one has already been dealt with in Section 4.13, “Filtering while capturing”.

Display filters allow you to concentrate on the packets you are interested in while hiding the currently uninteresting ones. They allow you to select packets by:

  • Protocol

  • The presence of a field

  • The values of fields

  • A comparison between fields

  • ... and a lot more!

To select packets based on protocol type, simply type the protocol in which you are interested in the Filter: field in the filter toolbar of the Wireshark window and press enter to initiate the filter. Figure 6.6, “Filtering on the TCP protocol” shows an example of what happens when you type tcp in the filter field.

[Note]Note!

All protocol and field names are entered in lowercase. Also, don't forget to press enter after entering the filter expression.

Figure 6.6. Filtering on the TCP protocol

Filtering on the TCP protocol

As you might have noticed, only packets of the TCP protocol are displayed now (e.g. packets 1-10 are hidden). The packet numbering will remain as before, so the first packet shown is now packet number 11.

[Note]Note!

When using a display filter, all packets remain in the capture file. The display filter only changes the display of the capture file but not its content!

You can filter on any protocol that Wireshark understands. You can also filter on any field that a dissector adds to the tree view, but only if the dissector has added an abbreviation for the field. A list of such fields is available in Wireshark in the Add Expression... dialog box. You can find more information on the Add Expression... dialog box in Section 6.5, “The "Filter Expression" dialog box”.

For example, to narrow the packet list pane down to only those packets to or from the IP address 192.168.0.1, use ip.addr==192.168.0.1.

[Note]Note!

To remove the filter, click on the Clear button to the right of the filter field.

6.4. Building display filter expressions

Wireshark provides a simple but powerful display filter language that allows you to build quite complex filter expressions. You can compare values in packets as well as combine expressions into more specific expressions. The following sections provide more information on doing this.

[Tip]Tip!

You will find a lot of Display Filter examples at the Wireshark Wiki Display Filter page at http://wiki.wireshark.org/DisplayFilters.

6.4.1. Display filter fields

Every field in the packet details pane can be used as a filter string, this will result in showing only the packets where this field exists. For example: the filter string: tcp will show all packets containing the tcp protocol.

There is a complete list of all filter fields available through the menu item "Help/Supported Protocols" in the page "Display Filter Fields" of the Supported Protocols dialog.

XXX - add some more info here and a link to the statusbar info.

6.4.2. Comparing values

You can build display filters that compare values using a number of different comparison operators. They are shown in Table 6.4, “Display Filter comparison operators”.

[Tip]Tip!

You can use English and C-like terms in the same way, they can even be mixed in a filter string!

Table 6.4. Display Filter comparison operators

EnglishC-likeDescription and example
eq
==

Equal

ip.src==10.0.0.5

ne
!=

Not equal

ip.src!=10.0.0.5

gt
>

Greater than

frame.len > 10

lt
<

Less than

frame.len < 128

ge
>=

Greater than or equal to

frame.len ge 0x100

le
<=

Less than or equal to

frame.len <= 0x20


In addition, all protocol fields are typed. Table 6.5, “Display Filter Field Types” provides a list of the types and example of how to express them.

Table 6.5. Display Filter Field Types

TypeExample
Unsigned integer (8-bit, 16-bit, 24-bit, 32-bit)

You can express integers in decimal, octal, or hexadecimal. The following display filters are equivalent:

ip.len le 1500
ip.len le 02734
ip.len le 0x436
            

Signed integer (8-bit, 16-bit, 24-bit, 32-bit)  
Boolean

A boolean field is present in the protocol decode only if its value is true. For example, tcp.flags.syn is present, and thus true, only if the SYN flag is present in a TCP segment header.

Thus the filter expression tcp.flags.syn will select only those packets for which this flag exists, that is, TCP segments where the segment header contains the SYN flag. Similarly, to find source-routed token ring packets, use a filter expression of tr.sr.

Ethernet address (6 bytes)

Separators can be a colon (:), dot (.) or dash (-) and can have one or two bytes between separators:

eth.dst == ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
eth.dst == ff-ff-ff-ff-ff-ff
eth.dst == ffff.ffff.ffff
IPv4 address

ip.addr == 192.168.0.1

Classless InterDomain Routing (CIDR) notation can be used to test if an IPv4 address is in a certain subnet. For example, this display filter will find all packets in the 129.111 Class-B network:

ip.addr == 129.111.0.0/16

IPv6 addressipv6.addr == ::1
IPX addressipx.addr == 00000000.ffffffffffff
String (text)http.request.uri == "http://www.wireshark.org/"


6.4.3. Combining expressions

You can combine filter expressions in Wireshark using the logical operators shown in Table 6.6, “Display Filter Logical Operations”

Table 6.6. Display Filter Logical Operations

EnglishC-likeDescription and example
and&&

Logical AND

ip.src==10.0.0.5 and tcp.flags.fin

or||

Logical OR

ip.scr==10.0.0.5 or ip.src==192.1.1.1

xor^^

Logical XOR

tr.dst[0:3] == 0.6.29 xor tr.src[0:3] == 0.6.29

not!

Logical NOT

not llc

[...] 

Substring Operator

Wireshark allows you to select subsequences of a sequence in rather elaborate ways. After a label you can place a pair of brackets [] containing a comma separated list of range specifiers.

eth.src[0:3] == 00:00:83

The example above uses the n:m format to specify a single range. In this case n is the beginning offset and m is the length of the range being specified.

eth.src[1-2] == 00:83
            

The example above uses the n-m format to specify a single range. In this case n is the beginning offset and m is the ending offset.

eth.src[:4] == 00:00:83:00

The example above uses the :m format, which takes everything from the beginning of a sequence to offset m. It is equivalent to 0:m

eth.src[4:] == 20:20

The example above uses the n: format, which takes everything from offset n to the end of the sequence.

eth.src[2] == 83

The example above uses the n format to specify a single range. In this case the element in the sequence at offset n is selected. This is equivalent to n:1.

eth.src[0:3,1-2,:4,4:,2] == 
00:00:83:00:83:00:00:83:00:20:20:83

Wireshark allows you to string together single ranges in a comma separated list to form compound ranges as shown above.


6.4.4. A common mistake

[Warning]Warning!

Using the != operator on combined expressions like: eth.addr, ip.addr, tcp.port, udp.port and alike will probably not work as expected!

Often people use a filter string to display something like ip.addr == 1.2.3.4 which will display all packets containing the IP address 1.2.3.4.

Then they use ip.addr != 1.2.3.4 to see all packets not containing the IP address 1.2.3.4 in it. Unfortunately, this does not do the expected.

Instead, that expression will even be true for packets where either source or destination IP address equals 1.2.3.4. The reason for this, is that the expression ip.addr != 1.2.3.4 must be read as "the packet contains a field named ip.addr with a value different from 1.2.3.4". As an IP datagram contains both a source and a destination address, the expression will evaluate to true whenever at least one of the two addresses differs from 1.2.3.4.

If you want to filter out all packets containing IP datagrams to or from IP address 1.2.3.4, then the correct filter is !(ip.addr == 1.2.3.4) as it reads "show me all the packets for which it is not true that a field named ip.addr exists with a value of 1.2.3.4", or in other words, "filter out all packets for which there are no occurrences of a field named ip.addr with the value 1.2.3.4".

6.5. The "Filter Expression" dialog box

When you are accustomed to Wireshark's filtering system and know what labels you wish to use in your filters it can be very quick to simply type a filter string. However if you are new to Wireshark or are working with a slightly unfamiliar protocol it can be very confusing to try to figure out what to type. The Filter Expression dialog box helps with this.

[Tip]Tip!

The "Filter Expression" dialog box is an excellent way to learn how to write Wireshark display filter strings.

Figure 6.7. The "Filter Expression" dialog box

The "Filter Expression" dialog box

When you first bring up the Filter Expression dialog box you are shown a tree list of field names, organized by protocol, and a box for selecting a relation.

Field Name

Select a protocol field from the protocol field tree. Every protocol with filterable fields is listed at the top level. (You can search for a particular protocol entry by entering the first few letters of the protocol name). By clicking on the "+" next to a protocol name you can get a list of the field names available for filtering for that protocol.

Relation

Select a relation from the list of available relation. The is present is a unary relation which is true if the selected field is present in a packet. All other listed relations are binary relations which require additional data (e.g. a Value to match) to complete.

When you select a field from the field name list and select a binary relation (such as the equality relation ==) you will be given the opportunity to enter a value, and possibly some range information.

Value

You may enter an appropriate value in the Value text box. The Value will also indicate the type of value for the field name you have selected (like character string).

Predefined values

Some of the protocol fields have predefined values available, much like enum's in C. If the selected protocol field has such values defined, you can choose one of them here.

Range

XXX - add an explanation here!

OK

When you have built a satisfactory expression click OK and a filter string will be built for you.

Cancel

You can leave the Add Expression... dialog box without any effect by clicking the Cancel button.

6.6. Defining and saving filters

You can define filters with Wireshark and give them labels for later use. This can save time in remembering and retyping some of the more complex filters you use.

To define a new filter or edit an existing one, select the Capture Filters... menu item from the Capture menu or the Display Filters... menu item from the Analyze menu. Wireshark will then pop up the Filters dialog as shown in Figure 6.8, “The "Capture Filters" and "Display Filters" dialog boxes”.

[Note]Note!

The mechanisms for defining and saving capture filters and display filters are almost identical. So both will be described here, differences between these two will be marked as such.

[Warning]Warning!

You must use Save to save your filters permanently. Ok or Apply will not save the filters, so they will be lost when you close Wireshark.

Figure 6.8. The "Capture Filters" and "Display Filters" dialog boxes

The "Capture Filters" and "Display Filters" dialog boxes

New

This button adds a new filter to the list of filters. The currently entered values from Filter name and Filter string will be used. If any of these fields are empty, it will be set to "new".

Delete

This button deletes the selected filter. It will be greyed out, if no filter is selected.

Filter

You can select a filter from this list (which will fill in the filter name and filter string in the fields down at the bottom of the dialog box).

Filter name:

You can change the name of the currently selected filter here.

[Note]Note!

The filter name will only be used in this dialog to identify the filter for your convenience, it will not be used elsewhere. You can add multiple filters with the same name, but this is not very useful.

Filter string:

You can change the filter string of the currently selected filter here. Display Filter only: the string will be syntax checked while you are typing.

Add Expression...

Display Filter only: This button brings up the Add Expression dialog box which assists in building filter strings. You can find more information about the Add Expression dialog in Section 6.5, “The "Filter Expression" dialog box”

OK

Display Filter only: This button applies the selected filter to the current display and closes the dialog.

Apply

Display Filter only: This button applies the selected filter to the current display, and keeps the dialog open.

Save

Save the current settings in this dialog. The file location and format is explained in Appendix A, Files and Folders.

Close

Close this dialog. This will discard unsaved settings.

6.7. Defining and saving filter macros

You can define filter macros with Wireshark and give them labels for later use. This can save time in remembering and retyping some of the more complex filters you use.

XXX - add an explanation of this.

6.8. Finding packets

You can easily find packets once you have captured some packets or have read in a previously saved capture file. Simply select the Find Packet... menu item from the Edit menu. Wireshark will pop up the dialog box shown in Figure 6.9, “The "Find Packet" dialog box”.

6.8.1. The "Find Packet" dialog box

Figure 6.9. The "Find Packet" dialog box

The "Find Packet" dialog box

You might first select the kind of thing to search for:

  • Display filter

    Simply enter a display filter string into the Filter: field, select a direction, and click on OK.

    For example, to find the three way handshake for a connection from host 192.168.0.1, use the following filter string:

    ip.src==192.168.0.1 and tcp.flags.syn==1

    For more details on display filters, see Section 6.3, “Filtering packets while viewing”

  • Hex Value

    Search for a specific byte sequence in the packet data.

    For example, use "00:00" to find the next packet including two null bytes in the packet data.

  • String

    Find a string in the packet data, with various options.

The value to be found will be syntax checked while you type it in. If the syntax check of your value succeeds, the background of the entry field will turn green, if it fails, it will turn red.

You can choose the search direction:

  • Up

    Search upwards in the packet list (decreasing packet numbers).

  • Down

    Search downwards in the packet list (increasing packet numbers).

6.8.2. The "Find Next" command

"Find Next" will continue searching with the same options used in the last "Find Packet".

6.8.3. The "Find Previous" command

"Find Previous" will do the same thing as "Find Next", but with reverse search direction.

6.9. Go to a specific packet

You can easily jump to specific packets with one of the menu items in the Go menu.

6.9.1. The "Go Back" command

Go back in the packet history, works much like the page history in current web browsers.

6.9.2. The "Go Forward" command

Go forward in the packet history, works much like the page history in current web browsers.

6.9.3. The "Go to Packet" dialog box

Figure 6.10. The "Go To Packet" dialog box

The "Go To Packet" dialog box

This dialog box will let you enter a packet number. When you press OK, Wireshark will jump to that packet.

6.9.4. The "Go to Corresponding Packet" command

If a protocol field is selected which points to another packet in the capture file, this command will jump to that packet.

[Note]Note!

As these protocol fields now work like links (just as in your Web browser), it's easier to simply double-click on the field to jump to the corresponding field.

6.9.5. The "Go to First Packet" command

This command will simply jump to the first packet displayed.

6.9.6. The "Go to Last Packet" command

This command will simply jump to the last packet displayed.

6.10. Marking packets

You can mark packets in the "Packet List" pane. A marked packet will be shown with black background, regardless of the coloring rules set. Marking a packet can be useful to find it later while analyzing in a large capture file.

[Warning]Warning!

The packet marks are not stored in the capture file or anywhere else, so all packet marks will be lost if you close the capture file.

You can use packet marking to control the output of packets when saving/exporting/printing. To do so, an option in the packet range is available, see Section 5.9, “The Packet Range frame”.

There are three functions to manipulate the marked state of a packet:

  • Mark packet (toggle) toggles the marked state of a single packet.

  • Mark all displayed packets set the mark state of all displayed packets.

  • Unmark all packets reset the mark state of all packets.

These mark functions are available from the "Edit" menu, and the "Mark packet (toggle)" function is also available from the pop-up menu of the "Packet List" pane.

6.11. Ignoring packets

You can ignore packets in the "Packet List" pane. Wireshark will then pretend that this packets does not exist in the capture file. An ignored packet will be shown with white background and gray foreground, regardless of the coloring rules set.

[Warning]Warning!

The packet ignored marks are not stored in the capture file or anywhere else, so all packet ignored marks will be lost if you close the capture file.

There are three functions to manipulate the ignored state of a packet:

  • Ignore packet (toggle) toggles the ignored state of a single packet.

  • Ignore all displayed packets set the ignored state of all displayed packets.

  • Un-Ignore all packets reset the ignored state of all packets.

These ignore functions are available from the "Edit" menu, and the "Ignore packet (toggle)" function is also available from the pop-up menu of the "Packet List" pane.

6.12. Time display formats and time references

While packets are captured, each packet is timestamped. These timestamps will be saved to the capture file, so they will be available for later analysis.

A detailed description of timestamps, timezones and alike can be found at: Section 7.4, “Time Stamps”.

The timestamp presentation format and the precision in the packet list can be chosen using the View menu, see Figure 3.5, “The "View" Menu”.

The available presentation formats are:

  • Date and Time of Day: 1970-01-01 01:02:03.123456 The absolute date and time of the day when the packet was captured.

  • Time of Day: 01:02:03.123456 The absolute time of the day when the packet was captured.

  • Seconds Since Beginning of Capture: 123.123456 The time relative to the start of the capture file or the first "Time Reference" before this packet (see Section 6.12.1, “Packet time referencing”).

  • Seconds Since Previous Captured Packet: 1.123456 The time relative to the previous captured packet.

  • Seconds Since Previous Displayed Packet: 1.123456 The time relative to the previous displayed packet.

  • Seconds Since Epoch (1970-01-01): 1234567890.123456 The time relative to epoch (midnight UTC of January 1, 1970).

The available precisions (aka. the number of displayed decimal places) are:

  • Automatic The timestamp precision of the loaded capture file format will be used (the default).

  • Seconds, Deciseconds, Centiseconds, Milliseconds, Microseconds or Nanoseconds The timestamp precision will be forced to the given setting. If the actually available precision is smaller, zeros will be appended. If the precision is larger, the remaining decimal places will be cut off.

Precision example: If you have a timestamp and it's displayed using, "Seconds Since Previous Packet", : the value might be 1.123456. This will be displayed using the "Automatic" setting for libpcap files (which is microseconds). If you use Seconds it would show simply 1 and if you use Nanoseconds it shows 1.123456000.

6.12.1. Packet time referencing

The user can set time references to packets. A time reference is the starting point for all subsequent packet time calculations. It will be useful, if you want to see the time values relative to a special packet, e.g. the start of a new request. It's possible to set multiple time references in the capture file.

[Warning]Warning!

The time references will not be saved permanently and will be lost when you close the capture file.

[Note]Note!

Time referencing will only be useful, if the time display format is set to "Seconds Since Beginning of Capture". If one of the other time display formats are used, time referencing will have no effect (and will make no sense either).

To work with time references, choose one of the "Time Reference" items in the "Edit" menu , see Section 3.6, “The "Edit" menu”, or from the pop-up menu of the "Packet List" pane.

  • Set Time Reference (toggle) Toggles the time reference state of the currently selected packet to on or off.

  • Find Next Find the next time referenced packet in the "Packet List" pane.

  • Find Previous Find the previous time referenced packet in the "Packet List" pane.

Figure 6.11. Wireshark showing a time referenced packet

Wireshark showing a time referenced packet


A time referenced packet will be marked with the string *REF* in the Time column (see packet number 10). All subsequent packets will show the time since the last time reference.

Chapter 7. Advanced Topics

7.1. Introduction

In this chapter some of the advanced features of Wireshark will be described.

7.2. Following TCP streams

If you are working with TCP based protocols it can be very helpful to see the data from a TCP stream in the way that the application layer sees it. Perhaps you are looking for passwords in a Telnet stream, or you are trying to make sense of a data stream. Maybe you just need a display filter to show only the packets of that TCP stream. If so, Wireshark's ability to follow a TCP stream will be useful to you.

Simply select a TCP packet in the packet list of the stream/connection you are interested in and then select the Follow TCP Stream menu item from the Wireshark Tools menu (or use the context menu in the packet list). Wireshark will set an appropriate display filter and pop up a dialog box with all the data from the TCP stream laid out in order, as shown in Figure 7.1, “The "Follow TCP Stream" dialog box”.

[Note]Note!

It is worthwhile noting that Follow TCP Stream installs a display filter to select all the packets in the TCP stream you have selected.

7.2.1. The "Follow TCP Stream" dialog box

Figure 7.1. The "Follow TCP Stream" dialog box

The "Follow TCP Stream" dialog box

The stream content is displayed in the same sequence as it appeared on the network. Traffic from A to B is marked in red, while traffic from B to A is marked in blue. If you like, you can change these colors in the Edit/Preferences "Colors" page.

Non-printable characters will be replaced by dots. XXX - What about line wrapping (maximum line length) and CRNL conversions?

The stream content won't be updated while doing a live capture. To get the latest content you'll have to reopen the dialog.

You can choose from the following actions:

  1. Save As: Save the stream data in the currently selected format.

  2. Print: Print the stream data in the currently selected format.

  3. Direction: Choose the stream direction to be displayed ("Entire conversation", "data from A to B only" or "data from B to A only").

  4. Filter out this stream: Apply a display filter removing the current TCP stream data from the display.

  5. Close: Close this dialog box, leaving the current display filter in effect.

You can choose to view the data in one of the following formats:

  1. ASCII: In this view you see the data from each direction in ASCII. Obviously best for ASCII based protocols, e.g. HTTP.

  2. EBCDIC: For the big-iron freaks out there.

  3. HEX Dump: This allows you to see all the data. This will require a lot of screen space and is best used with binary protocols.

  4. C Arrays: This allows you to import the stream data into your own C program.

  5. Raw: This allows you to load the unaltered stream data into a different program for further examination. The display will look the same as the ASCII setting, but "Save As" will result in a binary file.

7.3. Expert Infos

The expert infos is a kind of log of the anomalies found by Wireshark in a capture file.

The general idea behind the following "Expert Info" is to have a better display of "uncommon" or just notable network behaviour. This way, both novice and expert users will hopefully find probable network problems a lot faster, compared to scanning the packet list "manually" .

[Warning]Expert infos are only a hint!

Take expert infos as a hint what's worth looking at, but not more. For example: The absence of expert infos doesn't necessarily mean everything is ok!

[Note]The amount of expert infos largely depends on the protocol being used!

While some common protocols like TCP/IP will show detailed expert infos, most other protocols currently won't show any expert infos at all.

The following will first describe the components of a single expert info, then the User Interface.

7.3.1. Expert Info Entries

Each expert info will contain the following things which will be described in detail below:

Table 7.1. Some example expert infos

Packet #SeverityGroupProtocolSummary  
1NoteSequenceTCPDuplicate ACK (#1)  
2ChatSequenceTCPConnection reset (RST)  
8NoteSequenceTCPKeep-Alive  
9WarnSequenceTCPFast retransmission (suspected)  


7.3.1.1. Severity

Every expert info has a specific severity level. The following severity levels are used, in parentheses are the colors in which the items will be marked in the GUI:

  • Chat (grey): information about usual workflow, e.g. a TCP packet with the SYN flag set

  • Note (cyan): notable things, e.g. an application returned an "usual" error code like HTTP 404

  • Warn (yellow): warning, e.g. application returned an "unusual" error code like a connection problem

  • Error (red): serious problem, e.g. [Malformed Packet]

7.3.1.2. Group

There are some common groups of expert infos. The following are currently implemented:

  • Checksum: a checksum was invalid

  • Sequence: protocol sequence suspicious, e.g. sequence wasn't continuous or a retransmission was detected or ...

  • Response Code: problem with application response code, e.g. HTTP 404 page not found

  • Request Code: an application request (e.g. File Handle == x), usually Chat level

  • Undecoded: dissector incomplete or data can't be decoded for other reasons

  • Reassemble: problems while reassembling, e.g. not all fragments were available or an exception happened while reassembling

  • Protocol: violation of protocol specs (e.g. invalid field values or illegal lengths), dissection of this packet is probably continued

  • Malformed: malformed packet or dissector has a bug, dissection of this packet aborted

  • Debug: debugging (should not occur in release versions)

It's possible that more such group values will be added in the future ...

7.3.1.3. Protocol

The protocol in which the expert info was caused.

7.3.1.4. Summary

Each expert info will also have a short additional text with some further explanation.

7.3.2. "Expert Info" dialog

From the main menu you can open the expert info dialog, using: "Analyze/Expert Info"

XXX - add explanation of the dialogs context menu.

7.3.2.1. Errors / Warnings / Notes / Chats tabs

An easy and quick way to find the most interesting infos (rather than using the Details tab), is to have a look at the separate tabs for each severity level. As the tab label also contains the number of existing entries, it's easy to find the tab with the most important entries.

There are usually a lot of identical expert infos only differing in the packet number. These identical infos will be combined into a single line - with a count column showing how often they appeared in the capture file. Clicking on the plus sign shows the individual packet numbers in a tree view.

7.3.2.2. Details tab

The Details tab provides the expert infos in a "log like" view, each entry on its own line (much like the packet list). As the amount of expert infos for a capture file can easily become very large, getting an idea of the interesting infos with this view can take quite a while. The advantage of this tab is to have all entries in the sequence as they appeared, this is sometimes a help to pinpoint problems.

7.3.3. "Colorized" Protocol Details Tree

The protocol field causing an expert info is colorized, e.g. uses a cyan background for a note severity level. This color is propagated to the toplevel protocol item in the tree, so it's easy to find the field that caused the expert info.

For the example screenshot above, the IP "Time to live" value is very low (only 1), so the corresponding protocol field is marked with a cyan background. To easier find that item in the packet tree, the IP protocol toplevel item is marked cyan as well.

7.3.4. "Expert" Packet List Column (optional)

An optional "Expert Info Severity" packet list column is available (since SVN 22387 → 0.99.7), that displays the most significant severity of a packet, or stays empty if everything seems ok. This column is not displayed by default, but can be easily added using the Preferences Columns page described in Section 10.5, “Preferences”.

7.4. Time Stamps

Time stamps, their precisions and all that can be quite confusing. This section will provide you with information about what's going on while Wireshark processes time stamps.

While packets are captured, each packet is time stamped as it comes in. These time stamps will be saved to the capture file, so they also will be available for (later) analysis.

So where do these time stamps come from? While capturing, Wireshark gets the time stamps from the libpcap (WinPcap) library, which in turn gets them from the operating system kernel. If the capture data is loaded from a capture file, Wireshark obviously gets the data from that file.

7.4.1. Wireshark internals

The internal format that Wireshark uses to keep a packet time stamp consists of the date (in days since 1.1.1970) and the time of day (in nanoseconds since midnight). You can adjust the way Wireshark displays the time stamp data in the packet list, see the "Time Display Format" item in the Section 3.7, “The "View" menu” for details.

While reading or writing capture files, Wireshark converts the time stamp data between the capture file format and the internal format as required.

While capturing, Wireshark uses the libpcap (WinPcap) capture library which supports microsecond resolution. Unless you are working with specialized capturing hardware, this resolution should be adequate.

7.4.2. Capture file formats

Every capture file format that Wireshark knows supports time stamps. The time stamp precision supported by a specific capture file format differs widely and varies from one second "0" to one nanosecond "0.123456789". Most file formats store the time stamps with a fixed precision (e.g. microseconds), while some file formats are even capable of storing the time stamp precision itself (whatever the benefit may be).

The common libpcap capture file format that is used by Wireshark (and a lot of other tools) supports a fixed microsecond resolution "0.123456" only.

[Note]Note!

Writing data into a capture file format that doesn't provide the capability to store the actual precision will lead to loss of information. Example: If you load a capture file with nanosecond resolution and store the capture data to a libpcap file (with microsecond resolution) Wireshark obviously must reduce the precision from nanosecond to microsecond.

7.4.3. Accuracy

It's often asked: "Which time stamp accuracy is provided by Wireshark?". Well, Wireshark doesn't create any time stamps itself but simply gets them from "somewhere else" and displays them. So accuracy will depend on the capture system (operating system, performance, ...) that you use. Because of this, the above question is difficult to answer in a general way.

[Note]Note!

USB connected network adapters often provide a very bad time stamp accuracy. The incoming packets have to take "a long and winding road" to travel through the USB cable until they actually reach the kernel. As the incoming packets are time stamped when they are processed by the kernel, this time stamping mechanism becomes very inaccurate.

Conclusion: don't use USB connected NIC's when you need precise time stamp accuracy! (XXX - are there any such NIC's that generate time stamps on the USB hardware?)

7.5. Time Zones

If you travel across the planet, time zones can be confusing. If you get a capture file from somewhere around the world time zones can even be a lot more confusing ;-)

First of all, there are two reasons why you may not need to think about time zones at all:

  • You are only interested in the time differences between the packet time stamps and don't need to know the exact date and time of the captured packets (which is often the case).

  • You don't get capture files from different time zones than your own, so there are simply no time zone problems. For example: everyone in your team is working in the same time zone as yourself.

Further time zone and DST information can be found at: http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/ and http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/.

7.5.1. Set your computer's time correctly!

If you work with people around the world, it's very helpful to set your computer's time and time zone right.

You should set your computers time and time zone in the correct sequence:

  1. Set your time zone to your current location

  2. Set your computer's clock to the local time

This way you will tell your computer both the local time and also the time offset to UTC.

[Tip]Tip!

If you travel around the world, it's an often made mistake to adjust the hours of your computer clock to the local time. Don't adjust the hours but your time zone setting instead! For your computer, the time is essentially the same as before, you are simply in a different time zone with a different local time!

[Tip]Tip!

You can use the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to automatically adjust your computer to the correct time, by synchronizing it to Internet NTP clock servers. NTP clients are available for all operating systems that Wireshark supports (and for a lot more), for examples see: http://www.ntp.org/.

7.5.2. Wireshark and Time Zones

So what's the relationship between Wireshark and time zones anyway?

Wireshark's native capture file format (libpcap format), and some other capture file formats, such as the Windows Sniffer, EtherPeek, AiroPeek, and Sun snoop formats, save the arrival time of packets as UTC values. UN*X systems, and "Windows NT based" systems represent time internally as UTC. When Wireshark is capturing, no conversion is necessary. However, if the system time zone is not set correctly, the system's UTC time might not be correctly set even if the system clock appears to display correct local time. "Windows 9x based" systems (Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me) represent time internally as local time. When capturing, WinPcap has to convert the time to UTC before supplying it to Wireshark. If the system's time zone is not set correctly, that conversion will not be done correctly.

Other capture file formats, such as the Microsoft Network Monitor, DOS-based Sniffer, and Network Instruments Observer formats, save the arrival time of packets as local time values.

Internally to Wireshark, time stamps are represented in UTC; this means that, when reading capture files that save the arrival time of packets as local time values, Wireshark must convert those local time values to UTC values.

Wireshark in turn will display the time stamps always in local time. The displaying computer will convert them from UTC to local time and displays this (local) time. For capture files saving the arrival time of packets as UTC values, this means that the arrival time will be displayed as the local time in your time zone, which might not be the same as the arrival time in the time zone in which the packet was captured. For capture files saving the arrival time of packets as local time values, the conversion to UTC will be done using your time zone's offset from UTC and DST rules, which means the conversion will not be done correctly; the conversion back to local time for display might undo this correctly, in which case the arrival time will be displayed as the arrival time in which the packet was captured.

Table 7.2. Time zone examples for UTC arrival times (without DST)

 Los AngelesNew YorkMadridLondonBerlinTokyo
Capture File (UTC) 10:0010:0010:0010:0010:0010:00
Local Offset to UTC -8-5-10+1+9
Displayed Time (Local Time) 02:0005:0009:0010:0011:0019:00


An example: Let's assume that someone in Los Angeles captured a packet with Wireshark at exactly 2 o'clock local time and sends you this capture file. The capture file's time stamp will be represented in UTC as 10 o'clock. You are located in Berlin and will see 11 o'clock on your Wireshark display.

Now you have a phone call, video conference or Internet meeting with that one to talk about that capture file. As you are both looking at the displayed time on your local computers, the one in Los Angeles still sees 2 o'clock but you in Berlin will see 11 o'clock. The time displays are different as both Wireshark displays will show the (different) local times at the same point in time.

Conclusion: You may not bother about the date/time of the time stamp you currently look at, unless you must make sure that the date/time is as expected. So, if you get a capture file from a different time zone and/or DST, you'll have to find out the time zone/DST difference between the two local times and "mentally adjust" the time stamps accordingly. In any case, make sure that every computer in question has the correct time and time zone setting.

7.6. Packet Reassembling

7.6.1. What is it?

Network protocols often need to transport large chunks of data, which are complete in themselves, e.g. when transferring a file. The underlying protocol might not be able to handle that chunk size (e.g. limitation of the network packet size), or is stream-based like TCP, which doesn't know data chunks at all.

In that case the network protocol has to handle the chunk boundaries itself and (if required) spread the data over multiple packets. It obviously also needs a mechanism to determine the chunk boundaries on the receiving side.

[Tip]Tip!

Wireshark calls this mechanism reassembling, although a specific protocol specification might use a different term for this (e.g. desegmentation, defragmentation, ...).

7.6.2. How Wireshark handles it

For some of the network protocols Wireshark knows of, a mechanism is implemented to find, decode and display these chunks of data. Wireshark will try to find the corresponding packets of this chunk, and will show the combined data as additional pages in the "Packet Bytes" pane (for information about this pane, see Section 3.20, “The "Packet Bytes" pane”).

Figure 7.2. The "Packet Bytes" pane with a reassembled tab

The "Packet Bytes" pane with a reassembled tab


[Note]Note!

Reassembling might take place at several protocol layers, so it's possible that multiple tabs in the "Packet Bytes" pane appear.

[Note]Note!

You will find the reassembled data in the last packet of the chunk.

An example: In a HTTP GET response, the requested data (e.g. an HTML page) is returned. Wireshark will show the hex dump of the data in a new tab "Uncompressed entity body" in the "Packet Bytes" pane.

Reassembling is enabled in the preferences by default. The defaults were changed from disabled to enabled in September 2005. If you created your preference settings before this date, you might look if reassembling is actually enabled, as it can be extremely helpful while analyzing network packets.

The enabling or disabling of the reassemble settings of a protocol typically requires two things:

  1. the lower level protocol (e.g., TCP) must support reassembly. Often this reassembly can be enabled or disabled via the protocol preferences.

  2. the higher level protocol (e.g., HTTP) must use the reassembly mechanism to reassemble fragmented protocol data. This too can often be enabled or disabled via the protocol preferences.

The tooltip of the higher level protocol setting will notify you if and which lower level protocol setting also has to be considered.

7.7. Name Resolution

Name resolution tries to convert some of the numerical address values into a human readable format. There are two possible ways to do these conversions, depending on the resolution to be done: calling system/network services (like the gethostname() function) and/or resolve from Wireshark specific configuration files. For details about the configuration files Wireshark uses for name resolution and alike, see Appendix A, Files and Folders.

The name resolution feature can be enabled individually for the protocol layers listed in the following sections.

7.7.1. Name Resolution drawbacks

Name resolution can be invaluable while working with Wireshark and may even save you hours of work. Unfortunately, it also has its drawbacks.

  • Name resolution will often fail. The name to be resolved might simply be unknown by the name servers asked, or the servers are just not available and the name is also not found in Wireshark's configuration files.

  • The resolved names are not stored in the capture file or somewhere else. So the resolved names might not be available if you open the capture file later or on a different machine. Each time you open a capture file it may look "slightly different", simply because you can't connect to the name server (which you could connect to before).

  • DNS may add additional packets to your capture file. You may see packets to/from your machine in your capture file, which are caused by name resolution network services of the machine Wireshark captures from. XXX - are there any other such packets than DNS ones?

  • Resolved DNS names are cached by Wireshark. This is required for acceptable performance. However, if the name resolution information should change while Wireshark is running, Wireshark won't notice a change in the name resolution information once it gets cached. If this information changes while Wireshark is running, e.g. a new DHCP lease takes effect, Wireshark won't notice it. XXX - is this true for all or only for DNS info?

[Tip]Tip!

The name resolution in the packet list is done while the list is filled. If a name could be resolved after a packet was added to the list, that former entry won't be changed. As the name resolution results are cached, you can use "View/Reload" to rebuild the packet list, this time with the correctly resolved names. However, this isn't possible while a capture is in progress.

7.7.2. Ethernet name resolution (MAC layer)

Try to resolve an Ethernet MAC address (e.g. 00:09:5b:01:02:03) to something more "human readable".

ARP name resolution (system service): Wireshark will ask the operating system to convert an Ethernet address to the corresponding IP address (e.g. 00:09:5b:01:02:03 → 192.168.0.1).

Ethernet codes (ethers file): If the ARP name resolution failed, Wireshark tries to convert the Ethernet address to a known device name, which has been assigned by the user using an ethers file (e.g. 00:09:5b:01:02:03 → homerouter).

Ethernet manufacturer codes (manuf file): If neither ARP or ethers returns a result, Wireshark tries to convert the first 3 bytes of an ethernet address to an abbreviated manufacturer name, which has been assigned by the IEEE (e.g. 00:09:5b:01:02:03 → Netgear_01:02:03).

7.7.3. IP name resolution (network layer)

Try to resolve an IP address (e.g. 216.239.37.99) to something more "human readable".

DNS/concurrent DNS name resolution (system/library service): Wireshark will ask the operating system (or the concurrent DNS library), to convert an IP address to the hostname associated with it (e.g. 216.239.37.99 → www.1.google.com). The DNS service is using synchronous calls to the DNS server. So Wireshark will stop responding until a response to a DNS request is returned. If possible, you might consider using the concurrent DNS library (which won't wait for a name server response).

[Warning]Warning!

Enabling network name resolution when your name server is unavailable may significantly slow down Wireshark while it waits for all of the name server requests to time out. Use concurrent DNS in that case.

DNS vs. concurrent DNS: here's a short comparison: Both mechanisms are used to convert an IP address to some human readable (domain) name. The usual DNS call gethostname() will try to convert the address to a name. To do this, it will first ask the systems hosts file (e.g. /etc/hosts) if it finds a matching entry. If that fails, it will ask the configured DNS server(s) about the name.

So the real difference between DNS and concurrent DNS comes when the system has to wait for the DNS server about a name resolution. The system call gethostname() will wait until a name is resolved or an error occurs. If the DNS server is unavailable, this might take quite a while (several seconds).

The concurrent DNS service works a bit differently. It will also ask the DNS server, but it won't wait for the answer. It will just return to Wireshark in a very short amount of time. The actual (and the following) address fields won't show the resolved name until the DNS server returns an answer. As mentioned above, the values get cached, so you can use View/Reload to "update" these fields to show the resolved values.

hosts name resolution (hosts file): If DNS name resolution failed, Wireshark will try to convert an IP address to the hostname associated with it, using a hosts file provided by the user (e.g. 216.239.37.99 → www.google.com).

7.7.4. IPX name resolution (network layer)

ipxnet name resolution (ipxnets file): XXX - add ipxnets name resolution explanation.

7.7.5. TCP/UDP port name resolution (transport layer)

Try to resolve a TCP/UDP port (e.g. 80) to something more "human readable".

TCP/UDP port conversion (system service): Wireshark will ask the operating system to convert a TCP or UDP port to its well known name (e.g. 80 → http).

XXX - mention the role of the /etc/services file (but don't forget the files and folders section)!

7.8. Checksums

Several network protocols use checksums to ensure data integrity.

[Tip]Tip!

Applying checksums as described here is also known as redundancy checking.

7.8.1. Wireshark checksum validation

Wireshark will validate the checksums of several protocols, e.g.: IP, TCP, UDP, ...

It will do the same calculation as a "normal receiver" would do, and shows the checksum fields in the packet details with a comment, e.g.: [correct], [invalid, must be 0x12345678] or alike.

Checksum validation can be switched off for various protocols in the Wireshark protocol preferences, e.g. to (very slightly) increase performance.

If the checksum validation is enabled and it detected an invalid checksum, features like packet reassembling won't be processed. This is avoided as incorrect connection data could "confuse" the internal database.

7.8.2. Checksum offloading

The checksum calculation might be done by the network driver, protocol driver or even in hardware.

For example: The Ethernet transmitting hardware calculates the Ethernet CRC32 checksum and the receiving hardware validates this checksum. If the received checksum is wrong Wireshark won't even see the packet, as the Ethernet hardware internally throws away the packet.

Higher level checksums are "traditionally" calculated by the protocol implementation and the completed packet is then handed over to the hardware.

Recent network hardware can perform advanced features such as IP checksum calculation, also known as checksum offloading. The network driver won't calculate the checksum itself but will simply hand over an empty (zero or garbage filled) checksum field to the hardware.

[Note]Note!

Checksum offloading often causes confusion as the network packets to be transmitted are handed over to Wireshark before the checksums are actually calculated. Wireshark gets these "empty" checksums and displays them as invalid, even though the packets will contain valid checksums when they leave the network hardware later.

Checksum offloading can be confusing and having a lot of [invalid] messages on the screen can be quite annoying. As mentioned above, invalid checksums may lead to unreassembled packets, making the analysis of the packet data much harder.

You can do two things to avoid this checksum offloading problem:

  • Turn off the checksum offloading in the network driver, if this option is available.

  • Turn off checksum validation of the specific protocol in the Wireshark preferences.

Chapter 8. Statistics

8.1. Introduction

Wireshark provides a wide range of network statistics which can be accessed via the Statistics menu.

These statistics range from general information about the loaded capture file (like the number of captured packets), to statistics about specific protocols (e.g. statistics about the number of HTTP requests and responses captured).

  • General statistics:

    • Summary about the capture file.

    • Protocol Hierarchy of the captured packets.

    • Conversations e.g. traffic between specific IP addresses.

    • Endpoints e.g. traffic to and from an IP addresses.

    • IO Graphs visualizing the number of packets (or similar) in time.

  • Protocol specific statistics:

    • Service Response Time between request and response of some protocols.

    • Various other protocol specific statistics.

[Note]Note!

The protocol specific statistics requires detailed knowledge about the specific protocol. Unless you are familiar with that protocol, statistics about it will be pretty hard to understand.

8.2. The "Summary" window

General statistics about the current capture file.

Figure 8.1. The "Summary" window

The "Summary" window

  • File: general information about the capture file.

  • Time: the timestamps when the first and the last packet were captured (and the time between them).

  • Capture: information from the time when the capture was done (only available if the packet data was captured from the network and not loaded from a file).

  • Display: some display related information.

  • Traffic: some statistics of the network traffic seen. If a display filter is set, you will see values in the Captured column, and if any packages are marked, you will see values in the Marked column. The values in the Captured column will remain the same as before, while the values in the Displayed column will reflect the values corresponding to the packets shown in the display. The values in the Marked column will reflect the values corresponding to the marked packages.

8.3. The "Protocol Hierarchy" window

The protocol hierarchy of the captured packets.

Figure 8.2. The "Protocol Hierarchy" window

The "Protocol Hierarchy" window


This is a tree of all the protocols in the capture. You can collapse or expand subtrees, by clicking on the plus / minus icons. By default, all trees are expanded.

Each row contains the statistical values of one protocol. The Display filter will show the current display filter.

The following columns containing the statistical values are available:

  • Protocol: this protocol's name

  • % Packets: the percentage of protocol packets, relative to all packets in the capture

  • Packets: the absolute number of packets of this protocol

  • Bytes: the absolute number of bytes of this protocol

  • MBit/s: the bandwidth of this protocol, relative to the capture time

  • End Packets: the absolute number of packets of this protocol (where this protocol was the highest protocol to decode)

  • End Bytes: the absolute number of bytes of this protocol (where this protocol was the highest protocol to decode)

  • End MBit/s: the bandwidth of this protocol, relative to the capture time (where this protocol was the highest protocol to decode)

[Note]Note!

Packets will usually contain multiple protocols, so more than one protocol will be counted for each packet. Example: In the screenshot IP has 99,17% and TCP 85,83% (which is together much more than 100%).

[Note]Note!

Protocol layers can consist of packets that won't contain any higher layer protocol, so the sum of all higher layer packets may not sum up to the protocols packet count. Example: In the screenshot TCP has 85,83% but the sum of the subprotocols (HTTP, ...) is much less. This may be caused by TCP protocol overhead, e.g. TCP ACK packets won't be counted as packets of the higher layer).

[Note]Note!

A single packet can contain the same protocol more than once. In this case, the protocol is counted more than once. For example: in some tunneling configurations the IP layer can appear twice.

8.4. Conversations

Statistics of the captured conversations.

8.4.1. What is a Conversation?

A network conversation is the traffic between two specific endpoints. For example, an IP conversation is all the traffic between two IP addresses. The description of the known endpoint types can be found in Section 8.5.1, “What is an Endpoint?”.

8.4.2. The "Conversations" window

The conversations window is similar to the endpoint Window; see Section 8.5.2, “The "Endpoints" window” for a description of their common features. Along with addresses, packet counters, and byte counters the conversation window adds four columns: the time in seconds between the start of the capture and the start of the conversation ("Rel Start"), the duration of the conversation in seconds, and the average bits (not bytes) per second in each direction.

Figure 8.3. The "Conversations" window

The "Conversations" window


Each row in the list shows the statistical values for exactly one conversation.

Name resolution will be done if selected in the window and if it is active for the specific protocol layer (MAC layer for the selected Ethernet endpoints page).

Limit to display filter will only show conversations matching the current display filter.

The copy button will copy the list values to the clipboard in CSV (Comma Separated Values) format.

[Tip]Tip!

This window will be updated frequently, so it will be useful, even if you open it before (or while) you are doing a live capture.

8.4.3. The protocol specific "Conversation List" windows

Before the combined window described above was available, each of its pages was shown as a separate window. Even though the combined window is much more convenient to use, these separate windows are still available. The main reason is that they might process faster for very large capture files. However, as the functionality is exactly the same as in the combined window, they won't be discussed in detail here.

8.5. Endpoints

Statistics of the endpoints captured.

[Tip]Tip!

If you are looking for a feature other network tools call a hostlist, here is the right place to look. The list of Ethernet or IP endpoints is usually what you're looking for.

8.5.1. What is an Endpoint?

A network endpoint is the logical endpoint of separate protocol traffic of a specific protocol layer. The endpoint statistics of Wireshark will take the following endpoints into account:

  • Ethernet: an Ethernet endpoint is identical to the Ethernet's MAC address.

  • Fibre Channel: XXX - insert info here.

  • FDDI: a FDDI endpoint is identical to the FDDI MAC address.

  • IPv4: an IP endpoint is identical to its IP address.

  • IPX: an IPX endpoint is concatenation of a 32 bit network number and 48 bit node address, be default the Ethernets' MAC address.

  • JXTA: a JXTA endpoint is a 160 bit SHA-1 URN.

  • NCP: XXX - insert info here.

  • RSVP: XXX - insert info here.

  • SCTP: a SCTP endpoint is a combination of the host IP addresses (plural) and the SCTP port used. So different SCTP ports on the same IP address are different SCTP endpoints, but the same SCTP port on different IP addresses of the same host are still the same endpoint.

  • TCP: a TCP endpoint is a combination of the IP address and the TCP port used, so different TCP ports on the same IP address are different TCP endpoints.

  • Token Ring: a Token Ring endpoint is identical to the Token Ring MAC address.

  • UDP: a UDP endpoint is a combination of the IP address and the UDP port used, so different UDP ports on the same IP address are different UDP endpoints.

  • USB: XXX - insert info here.

  • WLAN: XXX - insert info here.

[Note]Broadcast / multicast endpoints

Broadcast / multicast traffic will be shown separately as additional endpoints. Of course, as these endpoints are virtual endpoints, the real traffic will be received by all (multicast: some) of the listed unicast endpoints.

8.5.2. The "Endpoints" window

This window shows statistics about the endpoints captured.

Figure 8.4. The "Endpoints" window

The "Endpoints" window

For each supported protocol, a tab is shown in this window. Each tab label shows the number of endpoints captured (e.g. the tab label "Ethernet: 5" tells you that five ethernet endpoints have been captured). If no endpoints of a specific protocol were captured, the tab label will be greyed out (although the related page can still be selected).

Each row in the list shows the statistical values for exactly one endpoint.

Name resolution will be done if selected in the window and if it is active for the specific protocol layer (MAC layer for the selected Ethernet endpoints page). As you might have noticed, the first row has a name resolution of the first three bytes "Netgear", the second row's address was resolved to an IP address (using ARP) and the third was resolved to a broadcast (unresolved this would still be: ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff); the last two Ethernet addresses remain unresolved.

Limit to display filter will only show conversations matching the current display filter.

The copy button will copy the list values to the clipboard in CSV (Comma Separated Values) format.

[Tip]Tip!

This window will be updated frequently, so it will be useful, even if you open it before (or while) you are doing a live capture.

8.5.3. The protocol specific "Endpoint List" windows

Before the combined window described above was available, each of its pages was shown as a separate window. Even though the combined window is much more convenient to use, these separate windows are still available. The main reason is that they might process faster for very large capture files. However, as the functionality is exactly the same as in the combined window, they won't be discussed in detail here.

8.6. The "IO Graphs" window

User configurable graph of the captured network packets.

You can define up to five differently colored graphs.

Figure 8.5. The "IO Graphs" window

The "IO Graphs" window

The user can configure the following things:

  • Graphs

    • Graph 1-5: enable the specific graph 1-5 (only graph 1 is enabled by default)

    • Color: the color of the graph (cannot be changed)

    • Filter: a display filter for this graph (only the packets that pass this filter will be taken into account for this graph)

    • Style: the style of the graph (Line/Impulse/FBar/Dot)

  • X Axis

    • Tick interval: an interval in x direction lasts (10/1 minutes or 10/1/0.1/0.01/0.001 seconds)

    • Pixels per tick: use 10/5/2/1 pixels per tick interval

    • View as time of day: option to view x direction labels as time of day instead of seconds or minutes since beginning of capture

  • Y Axis

    • Unit: the unit for the y direction (Packets/Tick, Bytes/Tick, Bits/Tick, Advanced...) [XXX - describe the Advanced feature.]

    • Scale: the scale for the y unit (Logarithmic,Auto,10,20,50,100,200,500,...)

The save button will save the currently displayed portion of the graph as one of various file formats.

The copy button will copy values from selected graphs to the clipboard in CSV (Comma Separated Values) format.

[Tip]Tip!

Click in the graph to select the first package in the selected interval.

8.7. Service Response Time

The service response time is the time between a request and the corresponding response. This information is available for many protocols.

Service response time statistics are currently available for the following protocols:

  • DCE-RPC

  • Fibre Channel

  • H.225 RAS

  • LDAP

  • LTE MAC

  • MGCP

  • ONC-RPC

  • SMB

As an example, the DCE-RPC service response time is described in more detail.

[Note]Note!

The other Service Response Time windows will work the same way (or only slightly different) compared to the following description.

8.7.1. The "Service Response Time DCE-RPC" window

The service response time of DCE-RPC is the time between the request and the corresponding response.

First of all, you have to select the DCE-RPC interface:

Figure 8.6. The "Compute DCE-RPC statistics" window

The "Compute DCE-RPC statistics" window

You can optionally set a display filter, to reduce the amount of packets.

Figure 8.7. The "DCE-RPC Statistic for ..." window

The "DCE-RPC Statistic for ..." window

Each row corresponds to a method of the interface selected (so the EPM interface in version 3 has 7 methods). For each method the number of calls, and the statistics of the SRT time is calculated.

8.8. Compare two capture files

Compare two capture files.

This feature works best when you have merged two capture files chronologically, one from each side of a client/server connection.

The merged capture data is checked for missing packets. If a matching connection is found it is checked for:

  • IP header checksums

  • Excessive delay (defined by the "Time variance" setting)

  • Packet order

Figure 8.8. The "Compare" window

The "Compare" window

You can configure the following:

  • Start compare: Start comparing when this many IP IDs are matched. A zero value starts comparing immediately.

  • Stop compare: Stop comparing when we can no longer match this many IP IDs. Zero always compares.

  • Endpoint distinction: Use MAC addresses or IP time-to-live values to determine connection endpoints.

  • Check order: Check for the same IP ID in the previous packet at each end.

  • Time variance: Trigger an error if the packet arrives this many milliseconds after the average delay.

  • Filter: Limit comparison to packets that match this display filter.

The info column contains new numbering so the same packets are parallel.

The color filtering differentiate the two files from each other. A “zebra” effect is create if the Info column is sorted.

[Tip]Tip!

If you click on an item in the error list its corresponding packet will be selected in the main window.

8.9. WLAN Traffic Statistics

Statistics of the captured WLAN traffic. This window will summarize the wireless network traffic found in the capture. Probe requests will be merged into an existing network if the SSID matches.

Figure 8.9. The "WLAN Traffic Statistics" window

The "WLAN Traffic Statistics" window

Each row in the list shows the statistical values for exactly one wireless network.

Name resolution will be done if selected in the window and if it is active for the MAC layer.

Only show existing networks will exclude probe requests with a SSID not matching any network from the list.

The copy button will copy the list values to the clipboard in CSV (Comma Separated Values) format.

[Tip]Tip!

This window will be updated frequently, so it will be useful, even if you open it before (or while) you are doing a live capture.

8.10. The protocol specific statistics windows

The protocol specific statistics windows display detailed information of specific protocols and might be described in a later version of this document.

Some of these statistics are described at the http://wiki.wireshark.org/Statistics pages.

Chapter 9. Telephony

9.1. Introduction

Wireshark provides a wide range of telephony related network statistics which can be accessed via the Telephony menu.

These statistics range from specific signaling protocols, to analysis of signaling and media flows. If encoded in a compatible encoding the media flow can even be played.

9.2. RTP Analysis

The RTP analysis function takes the selected RTP stream (and the reverse stream, if possible) and generates a list of statistics on it.

Figure 9.1. The "RTP Stream Analysis" window

The "RTP Stream Analysis" window

Starting with basic data as packet number and sequence number, further statistics are created based on arrival time, delay, jitter, packet size, etc.

Besides the per packet statistics, the lower pane shows the overall statistics, with minimums and maximums for delta, jitter and clock skew. Also an indication of lost packets is included.

The RTP Stream Analysis window further provides the option to save the RTP payload (as raw data or, if in a PCM encoding, in an Audio file). Other options a to export and plot various statistics on the RTP streams.

9.3. VoIP Calls

The VoIP Calls window shows a list of all detected VoIP calls in the captured traffic. It finds calls by their signaling.

More details are described at the http://wiki.wireshark.org/VoIP_calls page.

9.4. LTE MAC Traffic Statistics

Statistics of the captured LTE MAC traffic. This window will summarize the LTE MAC traffic found in the capture.

Figure 9.2. The "LTE MAC Traffic Statistics" window

The "LTE MAC Traffic Statistics" window

The top pane shows statistics for common channels. Each row in the middle pane shows statistical highlights for exactly one UE/C-RNTI. In the lower pane, you can see the for the currently selected UE/C-RNTI the traffic broken down by individual channel.

9.5. LTE RLC Traffic Statistics

Statistics of the captured LTE RLC traffic. This window will summarize the LTE RLC traffic found in the capture.

Figure 9.3. The "LTE RLC Traffic Statistics" window

The "LTE RLC Traffic Statistics" window

At the top, the check-box allows this window to include RLC PDUs found within MAC PDUs or not. This will affect both the PDUs counted as well as the display filters generated (see below).

The upper list shows summaries of each active UE. Each row in the lower list shows statistical highlights for individual channels within the selected UE.

The lower part of the windows allows display filters to be generated and set for the selected channel. Note that in the case of Acknowledged Mode channels, if a single direction is chosen, the generated filter will show data in that direction and control PDUs in the opposite direction.

9.6. The protocol specific statistics windows

The protocol specific statistics windows display detailed information of specific protocols and might be described in a later version of this document.

Some of these statistics are described at the http://wiki.wireshark.org/Statistics pages.

Chapter 10. Customizing Wireshark

10.1. Introduction

Wireshark's default behaviour will usually suit your needs pretty well. However, as you become more familiar with Wireshark, it can be customized in various ways to suit your needs even better. In this chapter we explore:

  • How to start Wireshark with command line parameters

  • How to colorize the packet list

  • How to control protocol dissection

  • How to use the various preference settings

10.2. Start Wireshark from the command line

You can start Wireshark from the command line, but it can also be started from most Window managers as well. In this section we will look at starting it from the command line.

Wireshark supports a large number of command line parameters. To see what they are, simply enter the command wireshark -h and the help information shown in Example 10.1, “Help information available from Wireshark” (or something similar) should be printed.

Example 10.1. Help information available from Wireshark

Wireshark 1.9.0 (SVN Rev 47047 from /trunk)
Interactively dump and analyze network traffic.
See http://www.wireshark.org for more information.

Copyright 1998-2013 Gerald Combs <[email protected]> and contributors.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO
warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Usage: wireshark [options] ... [ <infile> ]

Capture interface:
  -i <interface>           name or idx of interface (def: first non-loopback)
  -f <capture filter>      packet filter in libpcap filter syntax
  -s <snaplen>             packet snapshot length (def: 65535)
  -p                       don't capture in promiscuous mode
  -k                       start capturing immediately (def: do nothing)
  -S                       update packet display when new packets are captured
  -l                       turn on automatic scrolling while -S is in use
  -I                       capture in monitor mode, if available
  -B <buffer size>         size of kernel buffer (def: 1MB)
  -y <link type>           link layer type (def: first appropriate)
  -D                       print list of interfaces and exit
  -L                       print list of link-layer types of iface and exit

Capture stop conditions:
  -c <packet count>        stop after n packets (def: infinite)
  -a <autostop cond.> ...  duration:NUM - stop after NUM seconds
                           filesize:NUM - stop this file after NUM KB
                              files:NUM - stop after NUM files
Capture output:
  -b <ringbuffer opt.> ... duration:NUM - switch to next file after NUM secs
                           filesize:NUM - switch to next file after NUM KB
                              files:NUM - ringbuffer: replace after NUM files
Input file:
  -r <infile>              set the filename to read from (no pipes or stdin!)

Processing:
  -R <read filter>         packet filter in Wireshark display filter syntax
  -n                       disable all name resolutions (def: all enabled)
  -N <name resolve flags>  enable specific name resolution(s): "mntC"

User interface:
  -C <config profile>      start with specified configuration profile
  -d <display filter>      start with the given display filter
  -g <packet number>       go to specified packet number after "-r"
  -J <jump filter>         jump to the first packet matching the (display)
                           filter
  -j                       search backwards for a matching packet after "-J"
  -m <font>                set the font name used for most text
  -t ad|a|r|d|dd|e         output format of time stamps (def: r: rel. to first)
  -u s|hms                 output format of seconds (def: s: seconds)
  -X <key>:<value>         eXtension options, see man page for details
  -z <statistics>          show various statistics, see man page for details

Output:
  -w <outfile|->           set the output filename (or '-' for stdout)

Miscellaneous:
  -h                       display this help and exit
  -v                       display version info and exit
  -P <key>:<path>          persconf:path - personal configuration files
                           persdata:path - personal data files
  -o <name>:<value> ...    override preference or recent setting
  -K <keytab>              keytab file to use for kerberos decryption
  --display=DISPLAY        X display to use


We will examine each of the command line options in turn.

The first thing to notice is that issuing the command wireshark by itself will bring up Wireshark. However, you can include as many of the command line parameters as you like. Their meanings are as follows ( in alphabetical order ): XXX - is the alphabetical order a good choice? Maybe better task based?

-a <capture autostop condition>

Specify a criterion that specifies when Wireshark is to stop writing to a capture file. The criterion is of the form test:value, where test is one of:

duration:value

Stop writing to a capture file after value of seconds have elapsed.

filesize:value

Stop writing to a capture file after it reaches a size of value kilobytes (where a kilobyte is 1000 bytes, not 1024 bytes). If this option is used together with the -b option, Wireshark will stop writing to the current capture file and switch to the next one if filesize is reached.

files:value

Stop writing to capture files after value number of files were written.

-b <capture ring buffer option>

If a maximum capture file size was specified, this option causes Wireshark to run in "ring buffer" mode, with the specified number of files. In "ring buffer" mode, Wireshark will write to several capture files. Their name is based on the number of the file and on the creation date and time.

When the first capture file fills up Wireshark will switch to writing to the next file, and so on. With the files option it's also possible to form a "ring buffer." This will fill up new files until the number of files specified, at which point the data in the first file will be discarded so a new file can be written.

If the optional duration is specified, Wireshark will also switch to the next file when the specified number of seconds has elapsed even if the current file is not completely fills up.

duration:value

Switch to the next file after value seconds have elapsed, even if the current file is not completely filled up.

filesize:value

Switch to the next file after it reaches a size of value kilobytes (where a kilobyte is 1000 bytes, not 1024 bytes).

files:value

Begin again with the first file after value number of files were written (form a ring buffer).

-B <capture buffer size (Win32 only)>

Win32 only: set capture buffer size (in MB, default is 1MB). This is used by the capture driver to buffer packet data until that data can be written to disk. If you encounter packet drops while capturing, try to increase this size.

-c <capture packet count>

This option specifies the maximum number of packets to capture when capturing live data. It would be used in conjunction with the -k option.

-D

Print a list of the interfaces on which Wireshark can capture, and exit. For each network interface, a number and an interface name, possibly followed by a text description of the interface, is printed. The interface name or the number can be supplied to the -i flag to specify an interface on which to capture.

This can be useful on systems that don't have a command to list them (e.g., Windows systems, or UNIX systems lacking ifconfig -a); the number can be useful on Windows 2000 and later systems, where the interface name is a somewhat complex string.

Note that "can capture" means that Wireshark was able to open that device to do a live capture; if, on your system, a program doing a network capture must be run from an account with special privileges (for example, as root), then, if Wireshark is run with the -D flag and is not run from such an account, it will not list any interfaces.

-f <capture filter>

This option sets the initial capture filter expression to be used when capturing packets.

-g <packet number>

After reading in a capture file using the -r flag, go to the given packet number.

-h

The -h option requests Wireshark to print its version and usage instructions (as shown above) and exit.

-i <capture interface>

Set the name of the network interface or pipe to use for live packet capture.

Network interface names should match one of the names listed in wireshark -D (described above); a number, as reported by wireshark -D, can also be used. If you're using UNIX, netstat -i or ifconfig -a might also work to list interface names, although not all versions of UNIX support the -a flag to ifconfig.

If no interface is specified, Wireshark searches the list of interfaces, choosing the first non-loopback interface if there are any non-loopback interfaces, and choosing the first loopback interface if there are no non-loopback interfaces; if there are no interfaces, Wireshark reports an error and doesn't start the capture.

Pipe names should be either the name of a FIFO (named pipe) or ``-'' to read data from the standard input. Data read from pipes must be in standard libpcap format.

-J <jump filter>

After reading in a capture file using the -r flag, jump to the first packet which matches the filter expression. The filter expression is in display filter format. If an exact match cannot be found the first packet afterwards is selected.

-j

Use this option after the -J option to search backwards for a first packet to go to.

-k

The -k option specifies that Wireshark should start capturing packets immediately. This option requires the use of the -i parameter to specify the interface that packet capture will occur from.

-l

This option turns on automatic scrolling if the packet list pane is being updated automatically as packets arrive during a capture ( as specified by the -S flag).

-L

List the data link types supported by the interface and exit.

-m <font>

This option sets the name of the font used for most text displayed by Wireshark. XXX - add an example!

-n

Disable network object name resolution (such as hostname, TCP and UDP port names).

-N <name resolving flags>

Turns on name resolving for particular types of addresses and port numbers; the argument is a string that may contain the letters m to enable MAC address resolution, n to enable network address resolution, and t to enable transport-layer port number resolution. This overrides -n if both -N and -n are present. The letter C enables concurrent (asynchronous) DNS lookups.

-o <preference/recent settings>

Sets a preference or recent value, overriding the default value and any value read from a preference/recent file. The argument to the flag is a string of the form prefname:value, where prefname is the name of the preference (which is the same name that would appear in the preference/recent file), and value is the value to which it should be set. Multiple instances of -o <preference settings> can be given on a single command line.

An example of setting a single preference would be:

wireshark -o mgcp.display_dissect_tree:TRUE

An example of setting multiple preferences would be:

wireshark -o mgcp.display_dissect_tree:TRUE -o mgcp.udp.callagent_port:2627

[Tip]Tip!

You can get a list of all available preference strings from the preferences file, see Appendix A, Files and Folders.

User access tables can be overridden using "uat," followed by the UAT file name and a valid record for the file:

wireshark -o "uat:user_dlts:\"User 0 (DLT=147)\",\"http\",\"0\",\"\",\"0\",\"\""

The example above would dissect packets with a libpcap data link type 147 as HTTP, just as if you had configured it in the DLT_USER protocol preferences.

-p

Don't put the interface into promiscuous mode. Note that the interface might be in promiscuous mode for some other reason; hence, -p cannot be used to ensure that the only traffic that is captured is traffic sent to or from the machine on which Wireshark is running, broadcast traffic, and multicast traffic to addresses received by that machine.

-P <path setting>

Special path settings usually detected automatically. This is used for special cases, e.g. starting Wireshark from a known location on an USB stick.

The criterion is of the form key:path, where key is one of:

persconf:path

path of personal configuration files, like the preferences files.

persdata:path

path of personal data files, it's the folder initially opened. After the initialization, the recent file will keep the folder last used.

-Q

This option forces Wireshark to exit when capturing is complete. It can be used with the -c option. It must be used in conjunction with the -i and -w options.

-r <infile>

This option provides the name of a capture file for Wireshark to read and display. This capture file can be in one of the formats Wireshark understands.

-R <read (display) filter>

This option specifies a display filter to be applied when reading packets from a capture file. The syntax of this filter is that of the display filters discussed in Section 6.3, “Filtering packets while viewing”. Packets not matching the filter are discarded.

-s <capture snaplen>

This option specifies the snapshot length to use when capturing packets. Wireshark will only capture <snaplen> bytes of data for each packet.

-S

This option specifies that Wireshark will display packets as it captures them. This is done by capturing in one process and displaying them in a separate process. This is the same as "Update list of packets in real time" in the Capture Options dialog box.

-t <time stamp format>

This option sets the format of packet timestamps that are displayed in the packet list window. The format can be one of:

  • r relative, which specifies timestamps are displayed relative to the first packet captured.

  • a absolute, which specifies that actual times be displayed for all packets.

  • ad absolute with date, which specifies that actual dates and times be displayed for all packets.

  • d delta, which specifies that timestamps are relative to the previous packet.

  • e epoch, which specifies that timestamps are seconds since epoch (Jan 1, 1970 00:00:00)

-v

The -v option requests Wireshark to print out its version information and exit.

-w <savefile>

This option sets the name of the savefile to be used when saving a capture file.

-y <capture link type>

If a capture is started from the command line with -k, set the data link type to use while capturing packets. The values reported by -L are the values that can be used.

-X <eXtension option>

Specify an option to be passed to a TShark module. The eXtension option is in the form extension_key:value, where extension_key can be:

lua_script:lua_script_filename; Tells Wireshark to load the given script in addition to the default Lua scripts.

lua_script[num]:argument; Tells Wireshark to pass the given argument to the lua script identified by 'num', which is the number indexed order of the 'lua_script' command. For example, if only one script was loaded with '-X lua_script:my.lua', then '-X lua_script1:foo' will pass the string 'foo' to the 'my.lua' script. If two scripts were loaded, such as '-X lua_script:my.lua' and '-X lua_script:other.lua' in that order, then a '-X lua_script2:bar' would pass the string 'bar' to the second lua script, namely 'other.lua'.

-z <statistics-string>

Get Wireshark to collect various types of statistics and display the result in a window that updates in semi-real time. XXX - add more details here!

10.3. Packet colorization

A very useful mechanism available in Wireshark is packet colorization. You can set-up Wireshark so that it will colorize packets according to a filter. This allows you to emphasize the packets you are (usually) interested in.

[Tip]Tip!

You will find a lot of Coloring Rule examples at the Wireshark Wiki Coloring Rules page at http://wiki.wireshark.org/ColoringRules.

There are two types of coloring rules in Wireshark; temporary ones that are only used until you quit the program, and permanent ones that will be saved to a preference file so that they are available on a next session.

Temporary coloring rules can be added by selecting a packet and pressing the <ctrl> key together with one of the number keys. This will create a coloring rule based on the currently selected conversation. It will try to create a conversation filter based on TCP first, then UDP, then IP and at last Ethernet. Temporary filters can also be created by selecting the "Colorize with Filter > Color X" menu items when rightclicking in the packet-detail pane.

To permanently colorize packets, select the Coloring Rules... menu item from the View menu; Wireshark will pop up the "Coloring Rules" dialog box as shown in Figure 10.1, “The "Coloring Rules" dialog box”.

Figure 10.1. The "Coloring Rules" dialog box

The "Coloring Rules" dialog box

Once the Coloring Rules dialog box is up, there are a number of buttons you can use, depending on whether or not you have any color filters installed already.

[Note]Note!

You will need to carefully select the order the coloring rules are listed as they are applied in order from top to bottom. So, more specific rules need to be listed before more general rules. For example, if you have a color rule for UDP before the one for DNS, the color rule for DNS will never be applied (as DNS uses UDP, so the UDP rule will match first).

If this is the first time you have used Coloring Rules, click on the New button which will bring up the Edit color filter dialog box as shown in Figure 10.2, “The "Edit Color Filter" dialog box”.

Figure 10.2. The "Edit Color Filter" dialog box

The "Edit Color Filter" dialog box

In the Edit Color dialog box, simply enter a name for the color filter, and enter a filter string in the Filter text field. Figure 10.2, “The "Edit Color Filter" dialog box” shows the values arp and arp which means that the name of the color filter is arp and the filter will select protocols of type arp. Once you have entered these values, you can choose a foreground and background color for packets that match the filter expression. Click on Foreground color... or Background color... to achieve this and Wireshark will pop up the Choose foreground/background color for protocol dialog box as shown in Figure 10.3, “The "Choose color" dialog box”.

Figure 10.3. The "Choose color" dialog box

The "Choose color" dialog box

Select the color you desire for the selected packets and click on OK.

[Note]Note!

You must select a color in the colorbar next to the colorwheel to load values into the RGB values. Alternatively, you can set the values to select the color you want.

Figure 10.4, “Using color filters with Wireshark” shows an example of several color filters being used in Wireshark. You may not like the color choices, however, feel free to choose your own.

If you are uncertain which coloring rule actually took place for a specific packet, have a look at the [Coloring Rule Name: ...] and [Coloring Rule String: ...] fields.

Figure 10.4. Using color filters with Wireshark

Using color filters with Wireshark

10.4. Control Protocol dissection

The user can control how protocols are dissected.

Each protocol has its own dissector, so dissecting a complete packet will typically involve several dissectors. As Wireshark tries to find the right dissector for each packet (using static "routes" and heuristics "guessing"), it might choose the wrong dissector in your specific case. For example, Wireshark won't know if you use a common protocol on an uncommon TCP port, e.g. using HTTP on TCP port 800 instead of the standard port 80.

There are two ways to control the relations between protocol dissectors: disable a protocol dissector completely or temporarily divert the way Wireshark calls the dissectors.

10.4.1. The "Enabled Protocols" dialog box

The Enabled Protocols dialog box lets you enable or disable specific protocols; all protocols are enabled by default. When a protocol is disabled, Wireshark stops processing a packet whenever that protocol is encountered.

[Note]Note!

Disabling a protocol will prevent information about higher-layer protocols from being displayed. For example, suppose you disabled the IP protocol and selected a packet containing Ethernet, IP, TCP, and HTTP information. The Ethernet information would be displayed, but the IP, TCP and HTTP information would not - disabling IP would prevent it and the other protocols from being displayed.

To enable/disable protocols select the Enabled Protocols... item from the Analyze menu; Wireshark will pop up the "Enabled Protocols" dialog box as shown in Figure 10.5, “The "Enabled Protocols" dialog box”.

Figure 10.5. The "Enabled Protocols" dialog box

The "Enabled Protocols" dialog box

To disable or enable a protocol, simply click on it using the mouse or press the space bar when the protocol is highlighted. Note that typing the first few letters of the protocol name when the Enabled Protocols dialog box is active will temporarily open a search text box and automatically select the first matching protocol name (if it exists).

[Warning]Warning!

You have to use the Save button to save your settings. The OK or Apply buttons will not save your changes permanently, so they will be lost when Wireshark is closed.

You can choose from the following actions:

  1. Enable All: Enable all protocols in the list.

  2. Disable All: Disable all protocols in the list.

  3. Invert: Toggle the state of all protocols in the list.

  4. OK: Apply the changes and close the dialog box.

  5. Apply: Apply the changes and keep the dialog box open.

  6. Save: Save the settings to the disabled_protos, see Appendix A, Files and Folders for details.

  7. Cancel: Cancel the changes and close the dialog box.

10.4.2. User Specified Decodes

The "Decode As" functionality let you temporarily divert specific protocol dissections. This might be useful for example, if you do some uncommon experiments on your network.

Decode As is accessed by selecting the Decode As... item from the Analyze menu; Wireshark will pop up the "Decode As" dialog box as shown in Figure 10.6, “The "Decode As" dialog box”.

Figure 10.6. The "Decode As" dialog box

The "Decode As" dialog box


The content of this dialog box depends on the selected packet when it was opened.

[Warning]Warning!

These settings will be lost if you quit Wireshark or change profile, unless you save the entries in the Show User Specified Decodes... windows (Section 10.4.3, “Show User Specified Decodes”).

  1. Decode: Decode packets the selected way.

  2. Do not decode: Do not decode packets the selected way.

  3. Link/Network/Transport: Specify the network layer at which "Decode As" should take place. Which of these pages are available depends on the content of the selected packet when this dialog box is opened.

  4. Show Current: Open a dialog box showing the current list of user specified decodes.

  5. OK: Apply the currently selected decode and close the dialog box.

  6. Apply: Apply the currently selected decode and keep the dialog box open.

  7. Cancel: Cancel the changes and close the dialog box.

10.4.3. Show User Specified Decodes

This dialog box shows the currently active user specified decodes. These entries can be saved into current profile for later session.

Figure 10.7. The "Decode As: Show" dialog box

The "Decode As: Show" dialog box


  1. OK: Close this dialog box.

  2. Save: Save the entries in the table into current profile.

  3. Clear: Removes all user specified decodes without updating the profile.

10.5. Preferences

There are a number of preferences you can set. Simply select the Preferences... menu item from the Edit menu; and Wireshark will pop up the Preferences dialog box as shown in Figure 10.8, “The preferences dialog box”, with the "User Interface" page as default. On the left side is a tree where you can select the page to be shown.

[Note]Note!

Preference settings are added frequently. For a recent explanation of the preference pages and their settings have a look at the Wireshark Wiki Preferences page at http://wiki.wireshark.org/Preferences.

[Warning]Warning!

The OK or Apply button will not save the preference settings, you'll have to save the settings by clicking the Save button.

  • The OK button will apply the preferences settings and close the dialog.

  • The Apply button will apply the preferences settings and keep the dialog open.

  • The Save button will apply the preferences settings, save the settings on the hard disk and keep the dialog open.

  • The Cancel button will restore all preferences settings to the last saved state.

Figure 10.8. The preferences dialog box

The preferences dialog box

10.5.1. Interface Options

In the Capture preferences it is possible to configure several options for the interfaces available on your computer. Select the Capture pane and press the Interfaces: Edit button. In this window it is possible to change the default link-layer header type for the interface, add a comment or choose to hide a interface from other parts of the program.

Figure 10.9. The interface options dialog box

The interface options dialog box

Each row contains options for each interface available on your computer.

  • Device: the device name provided by the operating system.

  • Description: provided by the operating system.

  • Default link-layer: each interface may provide several link-layer header types. The default link-layer chosen here is the one used when you first start Wireshark. It is also possible to change this value in Section 4.5, “The "Capture Options" dialog box” when you start a capture. For a detailed description, see Section 4.12, “Link-layer header type”.

  • Comment: a user provided description of the interface. This comment will be used as a description instead of the operating system description.

  • Hide?: enable this option to hide the interface from other parts of the program.

10.6. Configuration Profiles

Configuration Profiles can be used to configure and use more than one set of preferences and configurations. Select the Configuration Profiles... menu item from the Edit menu, or simply press Shift-Ctrl-A; and Wireshark will pop up the Configuration Profiles dialog box as shown in Figure 10.10, “The configuration profiles dialog box”. It is also possible to click in the "Profile" part of the statusbar to popup a menu with available Configuration Profiles (Figure 3.22, “The Statusbar with a configuration profile menu”).

Configuration files stored in the Profiles:

[Note]Other configurations

All other configurations are stored in the personal configuration folder, and are common to all profiles.

Figure 10.10. The configuration profiles dialog box

The configuration profiles dialog box

New

This button adds a new profile to the profiles list. The name of the created profile is "New profile" and can be changed in the Properties field.

Copy

This button adds a new profile to the profiles list, copying all configuration from the profile currently selected in the list. The name of the created profile is the same as the copied profile, with the text "(copy)" applied. The name can be changed in the Properties field.

Delete

This button deletes the selected profile, including all configuration files used in this profile. It is not possible to delete the "Default" profile.

Configuration Profiles

You can select a configuration profile from this list (which will fill in the profile name in the fields down at the bottom of the dialog box).

Profile name:

You can change the name of the currently selected profile here.

[Note]Used as a folder name

The profile name will be used as a folder name in the configured "Personal configurations" folder. If adding multiple profiles with the same name, only one profile will be created.

[Note]Illegal characters

On Windows the profile name cannot start or end with a period (.), and cannot contain any of the following characters: \ / : * ? " < > |

On Unix the profile name cannot contain the '/' character.

OK

This button saves all changes, applies the selected profile and closes the dialog.

Apply

This button saves all changes, applies the selected profile and keeps the dialog open.

Cancel

Close this dialog. This will discard unsaved settings, new profiles will not be added and deleted profiles will not be deleted.

Help

Show this help page.

10.7. User Table

The User Table editor is used for managing various tables in wireshark. Its main dialog works very similarly to that of Section 10.3, “Packet colorization”.

10.8. Display Filter Macros

Display Filter Macros are a mechanism to create shortcuts for complex filters. For example defining a display filter macro named tcp_conv whose text is ( (ip.src == $1 and ip.dst == $2 and tcp.srcport == $3 and tcp.dstport == $4) or (ip.src == $2 and ip.dst == $1 and tcp.srcport == $4 and tcp.dstport == $3) ) would allow to use a display filter like ${tcp_conv:10.1.1.2;10.1.1.3;1200;1400} instead of typing the whole filter.

Display Filter Macros can be managed with a Section 10.7, “User Table” by selecting Analyze → Display Filter Macros from the menu. The User Table has the following fields

Name

The name of the macro.

Text

The replacement text for the macro it uses $1, $2, $3, ... as the input arguments.

10.9. ESS Category Attributes

Wireshark uses this table to map ESS Security Category attributes to textual representations. The values to put in this table are usually found in a XML SPIF, which is used for defining security labels.

This table is handled by an Section 10.7, “User Table” with the following fields.

Tag Set

An Object Identifier representing the Category Tag Set.

Value

The value (Label And Cert Value) representing the Category.

Name

The textual representation for the value.

10.10. GeoIP Database Paths

If your copy of Wireshark supports MaxMind's GeoIP library, you can use their databases to match IP addresses to countries, cites, autonomous system numbers, ISPs, and other bits of information. Some databases are available at no cost, while others require a licensing fee. See the MaxMind web site for more information.

This table is handled by an Section 10.7, “User Table” with the following fields.

Database pathname

This specifies a directory containing GeoIP data files. Any files beginning with Geo and ending with .dat will be automatically loaded. A total of 8 files can be loaded.

The locations for your data files are up to you, but /usr/share/GeoIP (Linux), C:\GeoIP (Windows), C:\Program Files\Wireshark\GeoIP (Windows) might be good choices.

10.11. IKEv2 decryption table

Wireshark can decrypt Encrypted Payloads of IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2) packets if necessary information is provided. Note that you can decrypt only IKEv2 packets with this feature. If you want to decrypt IKEv1 packets or ESP packets, use Log Filename setting under ISAKMP protocol preference or settings under ESP protocol preference respectively.

This table is handled by an Section 10.7, “User Table” with the following fields.

Initiator's SPI

Initiator's SPI of the IKE_SA. This field takes hexadecimal string without "0x" prefix and the length must be 16 hex chars (represents 8 octets).

Responder's SPI

Responder's SPI of the IKE_SA. This field takes hexadecimal string without "0x" prefix and the length must be 16 hex chars (represents 8 octets).

SK_ei

Key used to encrypt/decrypt IKEv2 packets from initiator to responder. This field takes hexadecimal string without "0x" prefix and its length must meet the requirement of the encryption algorithm selected.

SK_er

Key used to encrypt/decrypt IKEv2 packets from responder to initiator. This field takes hexadecimal string without "0x" prefix and its length must meet the requirement of the encryption algorithm selected.

Encryption Algorithm

Encryption algorithm of the IKE_SA.

SK_ai

Key used to calculate Integrity Checksum Data for IKEv2 packets from responder to initiator. This field takes hexadecimal string without "0x" prefix and its length must meet the requirement of the integrity algorithm selected.

SK_ar

Key used to calculate Integrity Checksum Data for IKEv2 packets from initiator to responder. This field takes hexadecimal string without "0x" prefix and its length must meet the requirement of the integrity algorithm selected.

Integrity Algorithm

Integrity algorithm of the IKE_SA.

10.12. Object Identifiers

Many protocols that use ASN.1 use Object Identifiers (OIDs) to uniquely identify certain pieces of information. In many cases, they are used in an extension mechanism so that new object identifiers (and associated values) may be defined without needing to change the base standard.

Whilst Wireshark has knowledge about many of the OIDs and the syntax of their associated values, the extensibility means that other values may be encountered.

Wireshark uses this table to allow the user to define the name and syntax of Object Identifiers that Wireshark does not know about (for example, a privately defined X.400 extension). It also allows the user to override the name and syntax of Object Identifiers that Wireshark does know about (e.g. changing the name "id-at-countryName" to just "c").

This table is handled by an Section 10.7, “User Table” with the following fields.

OID

The string representation of the Object Identifier e.g. "2.5.4.6".

Name

The name that should be displayed by Wireshark when the Object Identifier is dissected e.g. ("c");

Syntax

The syntax of the value associated with the Object Identifier. This must be one of the syntaxes that Wireshark already knows about (e.g. "PrintableString").

10.13. PRES Users Context List

Wireshark uses this table to map a presentation context identifier to a given object identifier when the capture does not contain a PRES package with a presentation context definition list for the conversation.

This table is handled by an Section 10.7, “User Table” with the following fields.

Context Id

An Integer representing the presentation context identifier for which this association is valid.

Syntax Name OID

The object identifier representing the abstract syntax name, which defines the protocol that is carried over this association.

10.14. SCCP users Table

Wireshark uses this table to map specific protocols to a certain DPC/SSN combination for SCCP.

This table is handled by an Section 10.7, “User Table” with the following fields.

Network Indicator

An Integer representing the network indicator for which this association is valid.

Called DPCs

An range of integers representing the dpcs for which this association is valid.

Called SSNs

An range of integers representing the ssns for which this association is valid.

User protocol

The protocol that is carried over this association

10.15. SMI (MIB and PIB) Modules

If your copy of Wireshark supports libSMI, you can specify a list of MIB and PIB modules here. The COPS and SNMP dissectors can use them to resolve OIDs.

Module name

The name of the module, e.g. IF-MIB.

10.16. SMI (MIB and PIB) Paths

If your copy of Wireshark supports libSMI, you can specify one or more paths to MIB and PIB modules here.

Directory name

A module directory, e.g. /usr/local/snmp/mibs. Wireshark automatically uses the standard SMI path for your system, so you usually don't have to add anything here.

10.17. SNMP Enterprise Specific Trap Types

Wireshark uses this table to map specific-trap values to user defined descriptions in a Trap PDU. The description is shown in the packet details specific-trap element.

This table is handled by an Section 10.7, “User Table” with the following fields.

Enterprise OID

The object identifier representing the object generating the trap.

Trap Id

An Integer representing the specific-trap code.

Description

The description to show in the packet details.

10.18. SNMP users Table

Wireshark uses this table to verify authentication and to decrypt encrypted SNMPv3 packets.

This table is handled by an Section 10.7, “User Table” with the following fields.

Engine ID

If given this entry will be used only for packets whose engine id is this. This field takes an hexadecimal string in the form 0102030405.

Username

This is the userName. When a single user has more than one password for different SNMP-engines the first entry to match both is taken, if you need a catch all engine-id (empty) that entry should be the last one.

Authentication model

Which auth model to use (either "MD5" or "SHA1").

Password

The authentication password. Use '\xDD' for unprintable characters. An hexadecimal password must be entered as a sequence of '\xDD' characters. For example the hex password 010203040506 must be entered as '\x01\x02\x03\x04\x05\x06'. The '\' character must be treated as an unprintable character, i.e. it must be entered as '\x5C' or '\x5c'.

Privacy protocol

Which encryption algorithm to use (either "DES" or "AES").

Privacy password

The privacy password. Use '\xDD' for unprintable characters. An hexadecimal password must be entered as a sequence of '\xDD' characters. For example the hex password 010203040506 must be entered as '\x01\x02\x03\x04\x05\x06'. The '\' character must be treated as an unprintable character, i.e. it must be entered as '\x5C' or '\x5c'.

10.19. Tektronix K12xx/15 RF5 protocols Table

The Tektronix K12xx/15 rf5 file format uses helper files (*.stk) to identify the various protocols that are used by a certain interface. Wireshark doesn't read these stk files, it uses a table that helps it identify which lowest layer protocol to use.

Stk file to protocol matching is handled by an Section 10.7, “User Table” with the following fields.

Match string

A partial match for an stk filename, the first match wins, so if you have a specific case and a general one the specific one must appear first in the list.

Protocol

This is the name of the encapsulating protocol (the lowest layer in the packet data) it can be either just the name of the protocol (e.g. mtp2, eth_witoutfcs, sscf-nni ) or the name of the encapsulation protocol and the "application" protocol over it separated by a colon (e.g sscop:sscf-nni, sscop:alcap, sscop:nbap, ...)

10.20. User DLTs protocol table

When a pcap file uses one of the user DLTs (147 to 162) wireshark uses this table to know which protocol(s) to use for each user DLT.

This table is handled by an Section 10.7, “User Table” with the following fields.

DLT

One of the user dlts.

Payload protocol

This is the name of the payload protocol (the lowest layer in the packet data). (e.g. "eth" for ethernet, "ip" for IPv4)

Header size

If there is a header protocol (before the payload protocol) this tells which size this header is. A value of 0 disables the header protocol.

Header protocol

The name of the header protocol to be used (uses "data" as default).

Trailer size

If there is a trailer protocol (after the payload protocol) this tells which size this trailer is. A value of 0 disables the trailer protocol.

Trailer protocol

The name of the trailer protocol to be used (uses "data" as default).

Chapter 11. Lua Support in Wireshark

11.1. Introduction

Wireshark has an embedded Lua interpreter. Lua is a powerful light-weight programming language designed for extending applications. Lua is designed and implemented by a team at PUC-Rio, the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Lua was born and raised at Tecgraf, the Computer Graphics Technology Group of PUC-Rio, and is now housed at Lua.org. Both Tecgraf and Lua.org are laboratories of the Department of Computer Science.

In Wireshark Lua can be used to write dissectors, taps, and capture file readers and writers.

Wireshark's Lua interpreter starts by loading init.lua that is located in the global configuration directory of Wireshark. Lua is enabled by default. To disable Lua the line variable disable_lua should be set to true in init.lua.

After loading init.lua from the data directory if Lua is enabled Wireshark will try to load a file named init.lua in the user's directory.

Wireshark will also load all files with .lua suffix from both the global and the personal plugins directory.

The command line option -X lua_script:<file.lua> can be used to load Lua scripts as well.

The Lua code will be executed once after all the protocol dissectors have being initialized and before reading any file.

11.2. Example of Dissector written in Lua

local p_multi = Proto("multi","MultiProto");

local vs_protos = {
        [2] = "mtp2",
        [3] = "mtp3",
        [4] = "alcap",
        [5] = "h248",
        [6] = "ranap",
        [7] = "rnsap",
        [8] = "nbap"
}

local f_proto = ProtoField.uint8("multi.protocol","Protocol",base.DEC,vs_protos)
local f_dir = ProtoField.uint8("multi.direction","Direction",base.DEC,{ [1] = "incoming", [0] = "outgoing"})
local f_text = ProtoField.string("multi.text","Text")

p_multi.fields = { f_proto, f_dir, f_text }

local data_dis = Dissector.get("data")

local protos = {
        [2] = Dissector.get("mtp2"),
        [3] = Dissector.get("mtp3"),
        [4] = Dissector.get("alcap"),
        [5] = Dissector.get("h248"),
        [6] = Dissector.get("ranap"),
        [7] = Dissector.get("rnsap"),
        [8] = Dissector.get("nbap"),
        [9] = Dissector.get("rrc"),
        [10] = DissectorTable.get("sctp.ppi"):get_dissector(3), -- m3ua
        [11] = DissectorTable.get("ip.proto"):get_dissector(132), -- sctp
}

function p_multi.dissector(buf,pkt,root)

        local t = root:add(p_multi,buf(0,2))
        t:add(f_proto,buf(0,1))
        t:add(f_dir,buf(1,1))

        local proto_id = buf(0,1):uint()

        local dissector = protos[proto_id]

        if dissector ~= nil then
                dissector:call(buf(2):tvb(),pkt,root)
        elseif proto_id < 2 then
                t:add(f_text,buf(2))
                -- pkt.cols.info:set(buf(2,buf:len() - 3):string())
        else
                data_dis:call(buf(2):tvb(),pkt,root)
        end

end

local wtap_encap_table = DissectorTable.get("wtap_encap")
local udp_encap_table = DissectorTable.get("udp.port")

wtap_encap_table:add(wtap.USER15,p_multi)
wtap_encap_table:add(wtap.USER12,p_multi)
udp_encap_table:add(7555,p_multi)

11.3. Example of Listener written in Lua

-- This program will register a menu that will open a window with a count of occurrences
-- of every address in the capture

local function menuable_tap()
	-- Declare the window we will use
	local tw = TextWindow.new("Address Counter")

	-- This will contain a hash of counters of appearances of a certain address
	local ips = {}

	-- this is our tap
	local tap = Listener.new();

	function remove()
		-- this way we remove the listener that otherwise will remain running indefinitely
		tap:remove();
	end

	-- we tell the window to call the remove() function when closed
	tw:set_atclose(remove)

	-- this function will be called once for each packet
	function tap.packet(pinfo,tvb)
		local src = ips[tostring(pinfo.src)] or 0
		local dst = ips[tostring(pinfo.dst)] or 0

		ips[tostring(pinfo.src)] = src + 1
		ips[tostring(pinfo.dst)] = dst + 1
	end

	-- this function will be called once every few seconds to update our window
	function tap.draw(t)
		tw:clear()
		for ip,num in pairs(ips) do
			tw:append(ip .. "\t" .. num .. "\n");
		end
	end

	-- this function will be called whenever a reset is needed
	-- e.g. when reloading the capture file
	function tap.reset()
		tw:clear()
		ips = {}
	end
end

-- using this function we register our function
-- to be called when the user selects the Tools->Test->Packets menu
register_menu("Test/Packets", menuable_tap, MENU_TOOLS_UNSORTED)

11.4. Wireshark's Lua API Reference Manual

This Part of the User Guide describes the Wireshark specific functions in the embedded Lua.

11.5. Saving capture files

The classes/functions defined in this module are for using a Dumper object to make Wireshark save a capture file to disk. Dumper represents Wireshark's built-in file format writers (see the wtap_filetypes table in init.lua).

To have a Lua script create its own file format writer, see the chapter titled "Custom file format reading/writing".

11.5.1. Dumper

11.5.1.1. Dumper.new(filename, [filetype], [encap])

Creates a file to write packets. Dumper:new_for_current() will probably be a better choice.

11.5.1.1.1. Arguments
filename

The name of the capture file to be created.

filetype (optional)

The type of the file to be created - a number entry from the wtap_filetypes table in init.lua.

encap (optional)

The encapsulation to be used in the file to be created - a number entry from the wtap_encaps table in init.lua.

11.5.1.1.2. Returns

The newly created Dumper object

11.5.1.2. dumper:close()

Closes a dumper.

11.5.1.2.1. Errors
  • Cannot operate on a closed dumper

11.5.1.3. dumper:flush()

Writes all unsaved data of a dumper to the disk.

11.5.1.4. dumper:dump(timestamp, pseudoheader, bytearray)

Dumps an arbitrary packet.

[Note]Note

Dumper:dump_current() will fit best in most cases.

11.5.1.4.1. Arguments
timestamp

The absolute timestamp the packet will have.

pseudoheader

The PseudoHeader to use.

bytearray

The data to be saved

11.5.1.5. dumper:new_for_current([filetype])

Creates a capture file using the same encapsulation as the one of the current packet.

11.5.1.5.1. Arguments
filetype (optional)

The file type. Defaults to pcap.

11.5.1.5.2. Returns

The newly created Dumper Object

11.5.1.5.3. Errors
  • Cannot be used outside a tap or a dissector

11.5.1.6. dumper:dump_current()

Dumps the current packet as it is.

11.5.1.6.1. Errors
  • Cannot be used outside a tap or a dissector

11.5.2. PseudoHeader

A pseudoheader to be used to save captured frames.

11.5.2.1. PseudoHeader.none()

Creates a "no" pseudoheader.

11.5.2.1.1. Returns

A null pseudoheader

11.5.2.2. PseudoHeader.eth([fcslen])

Creates an ethernet pseudoheader.

11.5.2.2.1. Arguments
fcslen (optional)

The fcs length

11.5.2.2.2. Returns

The ethernet pseudoheader

11.5.2.3. PseudoHeader.atm([aal], [vpi], [vci], [channel], [cells], [aal5u2u], [aal5len])

Creates an ATM pseudoheader.

11.5.2.3.1. Arguments
aal (optional)

AAL number

vpi (optional)

VPI

vci (optional)

VCI

channel (optional)

Channel

cells (optional)

Number of cells in the PDU

aal5u2u (optional)

AAL5 User to User indicator

aal5len (optional)

AAL5 Len

11.5.2.3.2. Returns

The ATM pseudoheader

11.5.2.4. PseudoHeader.mtp2([sent], [annexa], [linknum])

Creates an MTP2 PseudoHeader.

11.5.2.4.1. Arguments
sent (optional)

True if the packet is sent, False if received.

annexa (optional)

True if annex A is used.

linknum (optional)

Link Number.

11.5.2.4.2. Returns

The MTP2 pseudoheader

11.6. Obtaining dissection data

11.6.1. Field

A Field extractor to to obtain field values. A Field object can only be created outside of the callback functions of dissectors, post-dissectors, heuristic-dissectors, and taps.

Once created, it is used inside the callback functions, to generate a FieldInfo object.

11.6.1.1. Field.new(fieldname)

Create a Field extractor.

11.6.1.1.1. Arguments
fieldname

The filter name of the field (e.g. ip.addr)

11.6.1.1.2. Returns

The field extractor

11.6.1.1.3. Errors
  • A Field extractor must be defined before Taps or Dissectors get called

11.6.1.2. Field.list()

Gets a Lua array table of all registered field filter names.

NOTE: this is an expensive operation, and should only be used for troubleshooting.

Since: 1.11.3

11.6.1.2.1. Returns

The array table of field filter names

11.6.1.3. field:__call()

Obtain all values (see FieldInfo) for this field.

11.6.1.3.1. Returns

All the values of this field

11.6.1.3.2. Errors
  • Fields cannot be used outside dissectors or taps

11.6.1.4. field:__tostring()

Obtain a string with the field name.

11.6.2. FieldInfo

An extracted Field from dissected packet data. A FieldInfo object can only be used within the callback functions of dissectors, post-dissectors, heuristic-dissectors, and taps.

A FieldInfo can be called on either existing Wireshark fields by using either Field.new() or Field() before-hand, or it can be called on new fields created by Lua from a ProtoField.

11.6.2.1. fieldinfo:__len()

Obtain the Length of the field

11.6.2.2. fieldinfo:__unm()

Obtain the Offset of the field

11.6.2.3. fieldinfo:__call()

Obtain the Value of the field.

Previous to 1.11.4, this function retrieved the value for most field types, but for ftypes.UINT_BYTES it retrieved the ByteArray of the field's entire TvbRange. In other words, it returned a ByteArray that included the leading length byte(s), instead of just the value bytes. That was a bug, and has been changed in 1.11.4. Furthermore, it retrieved an ftypes.GUID as a ByteArray, which is also incorrect.

If you wish to still get a ByteArray of the TvbRange, use FieldInfo:get_range() to get the TvbRange, and then use Tvb:bytes() to convert it to a ByteArray.

11.6.2.4. fieldinfo:__tostring()

The string representation of the field.

11.6.2.5. fieldinfo:__eq()

Checks whether lhs is within rhs.

11.6.2.5.1. Errors
  • Data source must be the same for both fields

11.6.2.6. fieldinfo:__le()

Checks whether the end byte of lhs is before the end of rhs.

11.6.2.6.1. Errors
  • Data source must be the same for both fields

11.6.2.7. fieldinfo:__lt()

Checks whether the end byte of rhs is before the beginning of rhs.

11.6.2.7.1. Errors
  • Data source must be the same for both fields

11.6.2.8. fieldinfo.len

Mode: Retrieve only.

The length of this field.

11.6.2.9. fieldinfo.offset

Mode: Retrieve only.

The offset of this field.

11.6.2.10. fieldinfo.value

Mode: Retrieve only.

The value of this field.

11.6.2.11. fieldinfo.label

Mode: Retrieve only.

The string representing this field

11.6.2.12. fieldinfo.display

Mode: Retrieve only.

The string display of this field as seen in GUI

11.6.2.13. fieldinfo.range

Mode: Retrieve only.

The TvbRange covering this field

11.6.2.14. fieldinfo.generated

Mode: Retrieve only.

Whether this field was marked as generated (boolean)

11.6.2.15. fieldinfo.name

Mode: Retrieve only.

The name of this field

11.6.3. Global Functions

11.6.3.1. all_field_infos()

Obtain all fields from the current tree. Note this only gets whatever fields the underlying dissectors have filled in for this packet at this time - there may be fields applicable to the packet that simply aren't being filled in because at this time they're not needed for anything. This function only gets what the C-side code has currently populated, not the full list.

11.6.3.1.1. Errors
  • Cannot be called outside a listener or dissector

11.7. GUI support

11.7.1. ProgDlg

Manages a progress bar dialog.

11.7.1.1. ProgDlg.new([title], [task])

Creates a new ProgDlg progress dialog.

11.7.1.1.1. Arguments
title (optional)

Title of the new window, defaults to "Progress".

task (optional)

Current task, defaults to "".

11.7.1.1.2. Returns

The newly created ProgDlg object.

11.7.1.2. progdlg:update(progress, [task])

Appends text.

11.7.1.2.1. Arguments
progress

Part done ( e.g. 0.75 ).

task (optional)

Current task, defaults to "".

11.7.1.2.2. Errors
  • GUI not available

  • Cannot be called for something not a ProgDlg

  • Progress value out of range (must be between 0.0 and 1.0)

11.7.1.3. progdlg:stopped()

Checks whether the user has pressed the stop button.

11.7.1.3.1. Returns

true if the user has asked to stop the progress.

11.7.1.4. progdlg:close()

Closes the progress dialog.

11.7.1.4.1. Errors
  • GUI not available

11.7.2. TextWindow

Manages a text window.

11.7.2.1. TextWindow.new([title])

Creates a new TextWindow text window.

11.7.2.1.1. Arguments
title (optional)

Title of the new window.

11.7.2.1.2. Returns

The newly created TextWindow object.

11.7.2.1.3. Errors
  • GUI not available

11.7.2.2. textwindow:set_atclose(action)

Set the function that will be called when the text window closes.

11.7.2.2.1. Arguments
action

A Lua function to be executed when the user closes the text window.

11.7.2.2.2. Returns

The TextWindow object.

11.7.2.2.3. Errors
  • GUI not available

11.7.2.3. textwindow:set(text)

Sets the text.

11.7.2.3.1. Arguments
text

The text to be used.

11.7.2.3.2. Returns

The TextWindow object.

11.7.2.3.3. Errors
  • GUI not available

11.7.2.4. textwindow:append(text)

Appends text

11.7.2.4.1. Arguments
text

The text to be appended

11.7.2.4.2. Returns

The TextWindow object.

11.7.2.4.3. Errors
  • GUI not available

11.7.2.5. textwindow:prepend(text)

Prepends text

11.7.2.5.1. Arguments
text

The text to be appended

11.7.2.5.2. Returns

The TextWindow object.

11.7.2.5.3. Errors
  • GUI not available

11.7.2.6. textwindow:clear()

Erases all text in the window.

11.7.2.6.1. Returns

The TextWindow object.

11.7.2.6.2. Errors
  • GUI not available

11.7.2.7. textwindow:get_text()

Get the text of the window

11.7.2.7.1. Returns

The TextWindow's text.

11.7.2.7.2. Errors
  • GUI not available

11.7.2.8. textwindow:set_editable([editable])

Make this text window editable.

11.7.2.8.1. Arguments
editable (optional)

A boolean flag, defaults to true.

11.7.2.8.2. Returns

The TextWindow object.

11.7.2.8.3. Errors
  • GUI not available

11.7.2.9. textwindow:add_button(label, function)

Adds a button to the text window.

11.7.2.9.1. Arguments
label

The label of the button

function

The Lua function to be called when clicked

11.7.2.9.2. Returns

The TextWindow object.

11.7.2.9.3. Errors
  • GUI not available

11.7.3. Global Functions

11.7.3.1. gui_enabled()

Checks whether the GUI facility is enabled.

11.7.3.1.1. Returns

A boolean: true if it is enabled, false if it isn't.

11.7.3.2. register_menu(name, action, [group])

Register a menu item in one of the main menus.

11.7.3.2.1. Arguments
name

The name of the menu item. The submenus are to be separated by '/'s. (string)

action

The function to be called when the menu item is invoked. (function taking no arguments and returning nothing)

group (optional)

The menu group into which the menu item is to be inserted. If omitted, defaults to MENU_STAT_GENERIC. One of:

  • MENU_STAT_UNSORTED (Statistics),

  • MENU_STAT_GENERIC (Statistics, first section),

  • MENU_STAT_CONVERSATION (Statistics/Conversation List),

  • MENU_STAT_ENDPOINT (Statistics/Endpoint List),

  • MENU_STAT_RESPONSE (Statistics/Service Response Time),

  • MENU_STAT_TELEPHONY (Telephony),

  • MENU_STAT_TELEPHONY_GSM (Telephony/GSM),

  • MENU_STAT_TELEPHONY_LTE (Telephony/LTE),

  • MENU_STAT_TELEPHONY_SCTP (Telephony/SCTP),

  • MENU_ANALYZE (Analyze),

  • MENU_ANALYZE_CONVERSATION (Analyze/Conversation Filter),

  • MENU_TOOLS_UNSORTED (Tools). (number)

11.7.3.3. new_dialog(title, action, ...)

Pops up a new dialog

11.7.3.3.1. Arguments
title

Title of the dialog's window.

action

Action to be performed when OK'd.

...

A series of strings to be used as labels of the dialog's fields.

11.7.3.3.2. Errors
  • GUI not available

  • At least one field required

  • All fields must be strings

11.7.3.4. retap_packets()

Rescan all packets and just run taps - don't reconstruct the display.

11.7.3.5. copy_to_clipboard(text)

Copy a string into the clipboard.

11.7.3.5.1. Arguments
text

The string to be copied into the clipboard.

11.7.3.6. open_capture_file(filename, filter)

Open and display a capture file.

11.7.3.6.1. Arguments
filename

The name of the file to be opened.

filter

A filter to be applied as the file gets opened.

11.7.3.7. get_filter()

Get the main filter text.

11.7.3.8. set_filter(text)

Set the main filter text.

11.7.3.8.1. Arguments
text

The filter's text.

11.7.3.9. set_color_filter_slot(row, text)

Set packet-coloring rule for the current session.

11.7.3.9.1. Arguments
row

The index of the desired color in the temporary coloring rules list.

text

Display filter for selecting packets to be colorized.

11.7.3.10. apply_filter()

Apply the filter in the main filter box.

11.7.3.11. reload()

Reload the current capture file.

11.7.3.12. browser_open_url(url)

Open an url in a browser.

11.7.3.12.1. Arguments
url

The url.

11.7.3.13. browser_open_data_file(filename)

Open a file in a browser.

11.7.3.13.1. Arguments
filename

The file name.

11.8. Post-dissection packet analysis

11.8.1. Listener

A Listener is called once for every packet that matches a certain filter or has a certain tap. It can read the tree, the packet's Tvb buffer as well as the tapped data, but it cannot add elements to the tree.

11.8.1.1. Listener.new([tap], [filter], [allfields])

Creates a new Listener listener object.

11.8.1.1.1. Arguments
tap (optional)

The name of this tap.

filter (optional)

A filter that when matches the tap.packet function gets called (use nil to be called for every packet).

allfields (optional)

Whether to generate all fields. (default=false)

[Note]Note

this impacts performance.

11.8.1.1.2. Returns

The newly created Listener listener object

11.8.1.1.3. Errors
  • tap registration error

11.8.1.2. Listener.list()

Gets a Lua array table of all registered Listener tap names.

[Note]Note

this is an expensive operation, and should only be used for troubleshooting.

Since: 1.11.3

11.8.1.2.1. Returns

The array table of registered tap names

11.8.1.3. listener:remove()

Removes a tap Listener.

11.8.1.4. listener:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the tap Listener.

11.8.1.5. listener.packet

Mode: Assign only.

A function that will be called once every packet matches the Listener listener filter.

When later called by Wireshark, the packet function will be given:

  1. A Pinfo object

  2. A Tvb object

  3. A tapinfo table

 function tap.packet(pinfo,tvb,tapinfo) ... end

[Note]Note

tapinfo is a table of info based on the Listener's type, or nil.

11.8.1.6. listener.draw

Mode: Assign only.

A function that will be called once every few seconds to redraw the GUI objects; in Tshark this funtion is called only at the very end of the capture file.

When later called by Wireshark, the draw function will not be given any arguments.

 function tap.draw() ... end

11.8.1.7. listener.reset

Mode: Assign only.

A function that will be called at the end of the capture run.

When later called by Wireshark, the reset function will not be given any arguments.

 function tap.reset() ... end

11.9. Obtaining packet information

11.9.1. Address

Represents an address.

11.9.1.1. Address.ip(hostname)

Creates an Address Object representing an IP address.

11.9.1.1.1. Arguments
hostname

The address or name of the IP host.

11.9.1.1.2. Returns

The Address object.

11.9.1.2. address:__tostring()

11.9.1.2.1. Returns

The string representing the address.

11.9.1.3. address:__eq()

Compares two Addresses.

11.9.1.4. address:__le()

Compares two Addresses.

11.9.1.5. address:__lt()

Compares two Addresses.

11.9.2. Column

A Column in the packet list.

11.9.2.1. column:__tostring()

11.9.2.1.1. Returns

The column's string text (in parenthesis if not available).

11.9.2.2. column:clear()

Clears a Column.

11.9.2.3. column:set(text)

Sets the text of a Column.

11.9.2.3.1. Arguments
text

The text to which to set the Column.

11.9.2.4. column:append(text)

Appends text to a Column.

11.9.2.4.1. Arguments
text

The text to append to the Column.

11.9.2.5. column:prepend(text)

Prepends text to a Column.

11.9.2.5.1. Arguments
text

The text to prepend to the Column.

11.9.2.6. column:fence()

Sets Column text fence, to prevent overwriting.

Since: 1.10.6

11.9.2.7. column:clear_fence()

Clear Column text fence.

Since: 1.11.3

11.9.3. Columns

The Columns of the packet list.

11.9.3.1. columns:__tostring()

11.9.3.1.1. Returns

The string "Columns", no real use, just for debugging purposes.

11.9.3.2. columns:__newindex(column, text)

Sets the text of a specific column.

11.9.3.2.1. Arguments
column

The name of the column to set.

text

The text for the column.

11.9.3.3. columns:__index()

Gets a specific Column.

11.9.4. NSTime

NSTime represents a nstime_t. This is an object with seconds and nanoseconds.

11.9.4.1. NSTime.new([seconds], [nseconds])

Creates a new NSTime object.

11.9.4.1.1. Arguments
seconds (optional)

Seconds.

nseconds (optional)

Nano seconds.

11.9.4.1.2. Returns

The new NSTime object.

11.9.4.2. nstime:__call([seconds], [nseconds])

Creates a NSTime object.

11.9.4.2.1. Arguments
seconds (optional)

Seconds.

nseconds (optional)

Nanoseconds.

11.9.4.2.2. Returns

The new NSTime object.

11.9.4.3. nstime:__tostring()

11.9.4.3.1. Returns

The string representing the nstime.

11.9.4.4. nstime:__add()

Calculates the sum of two NSTimes.

11.9.4.5. nstime:__sub()

Calculates the diff of two NSTimes.

11.9.4.6. nstime:__unm()

Calculates the negative NSTime.

11.9.4.7. nstime:__eq()

Compares two NSTimes.

11.9.4.8. nstime:__le()

Compares two NSTimes.

11.9.4.9. nstime:__lt()

Compares two NSTimes.

11.9.4.10. nstime.secs

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The NSTime seconds.

11.9.4.11. nstime.nsecs

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The NSTime nano seconds.

11.9.5. Pinfo

Packet information.

11.9.5.1. pinfo.visited

Mode: Retrieve only.

Whether this packet has been already visited.

11.9.5.2. pinfo.number

Mode: Retrieve only.

The number of this packet in the current file.

11.9.5.3. pinfo.len

Mode: Retrieve only.

The length of the frame.

11.9.5.4. pinfo.caplen

Mode: Retrieve only.

The captured length of the frame.

11.9.5.5. pinfo.abs_ts

Mode: Retrieve only.

When the packet was captured.

11.9.5.6. pinfo.rel_ts

Mode: Retrieve only.

Number of seconds passed since beginning of capture.

11.9.5.7. pinfo.delta_ts

Mode: Retrieve only.

Number of seconds passed since the last captured packet.

11.9.5.8. pinfo.delta_dis_ts

Mode: Retrieve only.

Number of seconds passed since the last displayed packet.

11.9.5.9. pinfo.ipproto

Mode: Retrieve only.

IP Protocol id.

11.9.5.10. pinfo.circuit_id

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

For circuit based protocols.

11.9.5.11. pinfo.curr_proto

Mode: Retrieve only.

Which Protocol are we dissecting.

11.9.5.12. pinfo.can_desegment

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Set if this segment could be desegmented.

11.9.5.13. pinfo.desegment_len

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Estimated number of additional bytes required for completing the PDU.

11.9.5.14. pinfo.desegment_offset

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Offset in the tvbuff at which the dissector will continue processing when next called.

11.9.5.15. pinfo.private_data

Mode: Retrieve only.

Access to private data.

11.9.5.16. pinfo.fragmented

Mode: Retrieve only.

If the protocol is only a fragment.

11.9.5.17. pinfo.in_error_pkt

Mode: Retrieve only.

If we're inside an error packet.

11.9.5.18. pinfo.match_uint

Mode: Retrieve only.

Matched uint for calling subdissector from table.

11.9.5.19. pinfo.match_string

Mode: Retrieve only.

Matched string for calling subdissector from table.

11.9.5.20. pinfo.port_type

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Type of Port of .src_port and .dst_port.

11.9.5.21. pinfo.src_port

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Source Port of this Packet.

11.9.5.22. pinfo.dst_port

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Source Address of this Packet.

11.9.5.23. pinfo.dl_src

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Data Link Source Address of this Packet.

11.9.5.24. pinfo.dl_dst

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Data Link Destination Address of this Packet.

11.9.5.25. pinfo.net_src

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Network Layer Source Address of this Packet.

11.9.5.26. pinfo.net_dst

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Network Layer Destination Address of this Packet.

11.9.5.27. pinfo.src

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Source Address of this Packet.

11.9.5.28. pinfo.dst

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Destination Address of this Packet.

11.9.5.29. pinfo.match

Mode: Retrieve only.

Port/Data we are matching.

11.9.5.30. pinfo.columns

Mode: Retrieve only.

Accesss to the packet list columns.

11.9.5.31. pinfo.cols

Mode: Retrieve only.

Accesss to the packet list columns (equivalent to pinfo.columns).

11.9.5.32. pinfo.private

Mode: Retrieve only.

Access to the private table entries.

11.9.5.33. pinfo.hi

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Higher Address of this Packet.

11.9.5.34. pinfo.lo

Mode: Retrieve only.

Lower Address of this Packet.

11.9.5.35. pinfo.conversation

Mode: Assign only.

Sets the packet conversation to the given Proto object.

11.9.6. PrivateTable

PrivateTable represents the pinfo->private_table.

11.9.6.1. privatetable:__tostring()

Gets debugging type information about the private table.

11.9.6.1.1. Returns

A string with all keys in the table, mostly for debugging.

11.10. Functions for new protocols and dissectors

The classes and functions in this chapter allow Lua scripts to create new protocols for Wireshark. Proto protocol objects can have Pref preferences, ProtoField fields for filterable values that can be displayed in a details view tree, functions for dissecting the new protocol, and so on.

The dissection function can be hooked into existing protocol tables through DissectorTables so that the new protocol dissector function gets called by that protocol, and the new dissector can itself call on other, already existing protocol dissectors by retrieving and calling the Dissector object. A Proto dissector can also be used as a post-dissector, at the end of every frame's dissection, or as a heuristic dissector.

11.10.1. Dissector

A refererence to a dissector, used to call a dissector against a packet or a part of it.

11.10.1.1. Dissector.get(name)

Obtains a dissector reference by name.

11.10.1.1.1. Arguments
name

The name of the dissector.

11.10.1.1.2. Returns

The Dissector reference.

11.10.1.2. Dissector.list()

Gets a Lua array table of all registered Dissector names.

[Note]Note

this is an expensive operation, and should only be used for troubleshooting.

Since: 1.11.3

11.10.1.2.1. Returns

The array table of registered dissector names.

11.10.1.3. dissector:call(tvb, pinfo, tree)

Calls a dissector against a given packet (or part of it).

11.10.1.3.1. Arguments
tvb

The buffer to dissect.

pinfo

The packet info.

tree

The tree on which to add the protocol items.

11.10.1.4. dissector:__call(tvb, pinfo, tree)

Calls a dissector against a given packet (or part of it).

11.10.1.4.1. Arguments
tvb

The buffer to dissect.

pinfo

The packet info.

tree

The tree on which to add the protocol items.

11.10.1.5. dissector:__tostring()

Gets the Dissector's protocol short name.

11.10.1.5.1. Returns

A string of the protocol's short name.

11.10.2. DissectorTable

A table of subdissectors of a particular protocol (e.g. TCP subdissectors like http, smtp, sip are added to table "tcp.port").

Useful to add more dissectors to a table so that they appear in the Decode As... dialog.

11.10.2.1. DissectorTable.new(tablename, [uiname], [type], [base])

Creates a new DissectorTable for your dissector's use.

11.10.2.1.1. Arguments
tablename

The short name of the table.

uiname (optional)

The name of the table in the User Interface (defaults to the name given).

type (optional)

Either ftypes.UINT8, ftypes.UINT16, ftypes.UINT24, ftypes.UINT32, or ftypes.STRING (defaults to ftypes.UINT32).

base (optional)

Either base.NONE, base.DEC, base.HEX, base.OCT, base.DEC_HEX or base.HEX_DEC (defaults to base.DEC).

11.10.2.1.2. Returns

The newly created DissectorTable.

11.10.2.2. DissectorTable.list()

Gets a Lua array table of all DissectorTable names - i.e., the string names you can use for the first argument to DissectorTable.get().

[Note]Note

this is an expensive operation, and should only be used for troubleshooting.

Since: 1.11.3

11.10.2.2.1. Returns

The array table of registered DissectorTable names.

11.10.2.3. DissectorTable.heuristic_list()

Gets a Lua array table of all heuristic list names - i.e., the string names you can use for the first argument in Proto:register_heuristic().

[Note]Note

this is an expensive operation, and should only be used for troubleshooting.

Since: 1.11.3

11.10.2.3.1. Returns

The array table of registered heuristic list names

11.10.2.4. DissectorTable.get(tablename)

Obtain a reference to an existing dissector table.

11.10.2.4.1. Arguments
tablename

The short name of the table.

11.10.2.4.2. Returns

The DissectorTable.

11.10.2.5. dissectortable:add(pattern, dissector)

Add a Proto with a dissector function, or a Dissector object, to the dissector table.

11.10.2.5.1. Arguments
pattern

The pattern to match (either an integer, a integer range or a string depending on the table's type).

dissector

The dissector to add (either a Proto or a Dissector).

11.10.2.6. dissectortable:set(pattern, dissector)

Remove existing dissectors from a table and add a new or a range of new dissectors.

Since: 1.11.3

11.10.2.6.1. Arguments
pattern

The pattern to match (either an integer, a integer range or a string depending on the table's type).

dissector

The dissector to add (either a Proto or a Dissector).

11.10.2.7. dissectortable:remove(pattern, dissector)

Remove a dissector or a range of dissectors from a table

11.10.2.7.1. Arguments
pattern

The pattern to match (either an integer, a integer range or a string depending on the table's type).

dissector

The dissector to remove (either a Proto or a Dissector).

11.10.2.8. dissectortable:remove_all(dissector)

Remove all dissectors from a table.

Since: 1.11.3

11.10.2.8.1. Arguments
dissector

The dissector to remove (either a Proto or a Dissector).

11.10.2.9. dissectortable:try(pattern, tvb, pinfo, tree)

Try to call a dissector from a table

11.10.2.9.1. Arguments
pattern

The pattern to be matched (either an integer or a string depending on the table's type).

tvb

The buffer to dissect.

pinfo

The packet info.

tree

The tree on which to add the protocol items.

11.10.2.10. dissectortable:get_dissector(pattern)

Try to obtain a dissector from a table.

11.10.2.10.1. Arguments
pattern

The pattern to be matched (either an integer or a string depending on the table's type).

11.10.2.10.2. Returns

The dissector handle if found.

nil if not found.

11.10.2.11. dissectortable:__tostring()

Gets some debug information about the DissectorTable.

11.10.2.11.1. Returns

A string of debug information about the DissectorTable.

11.10.3. Pref

A preference of a Protocol.

11.10.3.1. Pref.bool(label, default, descr)

Creates a boolean preference to be added to a Proto.prefs Lua table.

11.10.3.1.1. Arguments
label

The Label (text in the right side of the preference input) for this preference.

default

The default value for this preference.

descr

A description of what this preference is.

11.10.3.2. Pref.uint(label, default, descr)

Creates an (unsigned) integer preference to be added to a Proto.prefs Lua table.

11.10.3.2.1. Arguments
label

The Label (text in the right side of the preference input) for this preference.

default

The default value for this preference.

descr

A description of what this preference is.

11.10.3.3. Pref.string(label, default, descr)

Creates a string preference to be added to a Proto.prefs Lua table.

11.10.3.3.1. Arguments
label

The Label (text in the right side of the preference input) for this preference.

default

The default value for this preference.

descr

A description of what this preference is.

11.10.3.4. Pref.enum(label, default, descr, enum, radio)

Creates an enum preference to be added to a Proto.prefs Lua table.

11.10.3.4.1. Arguments
label

The Label (text in the right side of the preference input) for this preference.

default

The default value for this preference.

descr

A description of what this preference is.

enum

An enum Lua table.

radio

Radio button (true) or Combobox (false).

11.10.3.5. Pref.range(label, default, descr, max)

Creates a range preference to be added to a Proto.prefs Lua table.

11.10.3.5.1. Arguments
label

The Label (text in the right side of the preference input) for this preference.

default

The default value for this preference, e.g., "53", "10-30", or "10-30,53,55,100-120".

descr

A description of what this preference is.

max

The maximum value.

11.10.3.6. Pref.statictext(label, descr)

Creates a static text string to be added to a Proto.prefs Lua table.

11.10.3.6.1. Arguments
label

The static text.

descr

The static text description.

11.10.4. Prefs

The table of preferences of a protocol.

11.10.4.1. prefs:__newindex(name, pref)

Creates a new preference.

11.10.4.1.1. Arguments
name

The abbreviation of this preference.

pref

A valid but still unassigned Pref object.

11.10.4.1.2. Errors
  • Unknow Pref type

11.10.4.2. prefs:__index(name)

Get the value of a preference setting.

11.10.4.2.1. Arguments
name

The abbreviation of this preference.

11.10.4.2.2. Returns

The current value of the preference.

11.10.4.2.3. Errors
  • Unknow Pref type

11.10.5. Proto

A new protocol in Wireshark. Protocols have more uses, the main one is to dissect a protocol. But they can also be just dummies used to register preferences for other purposes.

11.10.5.1. Proto.new(name, desc)

11.10.5.1.1. Arguments
name

The name of the protocol.

desc

A Long Text description of the protocol (usually lowercase).

11.10.5.1.2. Returns

The newly created protocol.

11.10.5.2. proto:__call(name, desc)

Creates a Proto object.

11.10.5.2.1. Arguments
name

The name of the protocol.

desc

A Long Text description of the protocol (usually lowercase).

11.10.5.2.2. Returns

The new Proto object.

11.10.5.3. proto:register_heuristic(listname, func)

Registers a heuristic dissector function for this Proto protocol, for the given heuristic list name.

When later called, the passed-in function will be given:

  1. A Tvb object

  2. A Pinfo object

  3. A TreeItem object

The function must return true if the payload is for it, else false.

The function should perform as much verification as possible to ensure the payload is for it, and dissect the packet (including setting TreeItem info and such) only if the payload is for it, before returning true or false.

Since: 1.11.3

11.10.5.3.1. Arguments
listname

The heuristic list name this function is a heuristic for (e.g., "udp" or "infiniband.payload").

func

A Lua function that will be invoked for heuristic dissection.

11.10.5.4. proto.dissector

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The protocol's dissector, a function you define.

When later called, the function will be given:

  1. A Tvb object

  2. A Pinfo object

  3. A TreeItem object

11.10.5.5. proto.prefs

Mode: Retrieve only.

The preferences of this dissector.

11.10.5.6. proto.prefs_changed

Mode: Assign only.

The preferences changed routine of this dissector, a Lua function you define.

11.10.5.7. proto.init

Mode: Assign only.

The init routine of this dissector, a function you define.

The called init function is passed no arguments.

11.10.5.8. proto.name

Mode: Retrieve only.

The name given to this dissector.

11.10.5.9. proto.description

Mode: Retrieve only.

The description given to this dissector.

11.10.5.10. proto.fields

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The ProtoFields Lua table of this dissector.

11.10.5.11. proto.experts

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The expert info Lua table of this Proto.

Since: 1.11.3

11.10.6. ProtoExpert

A Protocol expert info field, to be used when adding items to the dissection tree.

Since: 1.11.3

11.10.6.1. ProtoExpert.new(abbr, text, group, severity)

Creates a new ProtoExpert object to be used for a protocol's expert information notices.

Since: 1.11.3

11.10.6.1.1. Arguments
abbr

Filter name of the expert info field (the string that is used in filters).

text

The default text of the expert field.

group

Expert group type: one of: expert.group.CHECKSUM, expert.group.SEQUENCE, expert.group.RESPONSE_CODE, expert.group.REQUEST_CODE, expert.group.UNDECODED, expert.group.REASSEMBLE, expert.group.MALFORMED, expert.group.DEBUG, expert.group.PROTOCOL, expert.group.SECURITY, or expert.group.COMMENTS_GROUP.

severity

Expert severity type: one of: expert.severity.COMMENT, expert.severity.CHAT, expert.severity.NOTE, expert.severity.WARN, or expert.severity.ERROR.

11.10.6.1.2. Returns

The newly created ProtoExpert object.

11.10.6.2. protoexpert:__tostring()

Returns a string with debugging information about a ProtoExpert object.

Since: 1.11.3

11.10.7. ProtoField

A Protocol field (to be used when adding items to the dissection tree).

11.10.7.1. ProtoField.new(name, abbr, type, [valuestring], [base], [mask], [descr])

Creates a new ProtoField object to be used for a protocol field.

11.10.7.1.1. Arguments
name

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

abbr

Filter name of the field (the string that is used in filters).

type

Field Type: one of: ftypes.BOOLEAN, ftypes.UINT8, ftypes.UINT16, ftypes.UINT24, ftypes.UINT32, ftypes.UINT64, ftypes.INT8, ftypes.INT16, ftypes.INT24, ftypes.INT32, ftypes.INT64, ftypes.FLOAT, ftypes.DOUBLE , ftypes.ABSOLUTE_TIME, ftypes.RELATIVE_TIME, ftypes.STRING, ftypes.STRINGZ, ftypes.UINT_STRING, ftypes.ETHER, ftypes.BYTES, ftypes.UINT_BYTES, ftypes.IPv4, ftypes.IPv6, ftypes.IPXNET, ftypes.FRAMENUM, ftypes.PCRE, ftypes.GUID, ftypes.OID, or ftypes.EUI64.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

base (optional)

The representation, one of: base.NONE, base.DEC, base.HEX, base.OCT, base.DEC_HEX, or base.HEX_DEC.

mask (optional)

The bitmask to be used.

descr (optional)

The description of the field.

11.10.7.1.2. Returns

The newly created ProtoField object.

11.10.7.2. ProtoField.uint8(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of an unsigned 8-bit integer (i.e., a byte).

11.10.7.2.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.2.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.3. ProtoField.uint16(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of an unsigned 16-bit integer.

11.10.7.3.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.3.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.4. ProtoField.uint24(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of an unsigned 24-bit integer.

11.10.7.4.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.4.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.5. ProtoField.uint32(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of an unsigned 32-bit integer.

11.10.7.5.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.5.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.6. ProtoField.uint64(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of an unsigned 64-bit integer.

11.10.7.6.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.6.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.7. ProtoField.int8(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a signed 8-bit integer (i.e., a byte).

11.10.7.7.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.7.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.8. ProtoField.int16(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a signed 16-bit integer.

11.10.7.8.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.8.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.9. ProtoField.int24(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a signed 24-bit integer.

11.10.7.9.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.9.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.10. ProtoField.int32(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a signed 32-bit integer.

11.10.7.10.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.10.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.11. ProtoField.int64(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a signed 64-bit integer.

11.10.7.11.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.11.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.12. ProtoField.framenum(abbr, [name], [base], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField for a frame number (for hyperlinks between frames).

11.10.7.12.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.DEC, base.HEX or base.OCT.

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.12.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.13. ProtoField.bool(abbr, [name], [display], [valuestring], [mask], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField for a boolean true/false value.

11.10.7.13.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

display (optional)

How wide the parent bitfield is (base.NONE is used for NULL-value).

valuestring (optional)

A table containing the text that corresponds to the values.

mask (optional)

Integer mask of this field.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.13.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.14. ProtoField.absolute_time(abbr, [name], [base], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a time_t structure value.

11.10.7.14.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

base (optional)

One of base.LOCAL, base.UTC or base.DOY_UTC.

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.14.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.15. ProtoField.relative_time(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a time_t structure value.

11.10.7.15.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.15.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.16. ProtoField.ipv4(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of an IPv4 address (4 bytes).

11.10.7.16.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.16.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.17. ProtoField.ipv6(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of an IPv6 address (16 bytes).

11.10.7.17.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.17.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.18. ProtoField.ether(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of an Ethernet address (6 bytes).

11.10.7.18.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.18.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.19. ProtoField.float(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a floating point number (4 bytes).

11.10.7.19.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.19.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.20. ProtoField.double(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a double-precision floating point (8 bytes).

11.10.7.20.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.20.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.21. ProtoField.string(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a string value.

11.10.7.21.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.21.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.22. ProtoField.stringz(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField of a zero-terminated string value.

11.10.7.22.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.22.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.23. ProtoField.bytes(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField for an arbitrary number of bytes.

11.10.7.23.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.23.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.24. ProtoField.ubytes(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField for an arbitrary number of unsigned bytes.

11.10.7.24.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.24.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.25. ProtoField.guid(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField for a Globally Unique IDentifier (GUID).

11.10.7.25.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.25.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.26. ProtoField.oid(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField for an ASN.1 Organizational IDentified (OID).

11.10.7.26.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.26.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.27. ProtoField.rel_oid(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField for an ASN.1 Relative-OID.

11.10.7.27.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.27.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.28. ProtoField.systemid(abbr, [name], [desc])

Creates a ProtoField for an OSI System ID.

11.10.7.28.1. Arguments
abbr

Abbreviated name of the field (the string used in filters).

name (optional)

Actual name of the field (the string that appears in the tree).

desc (optional)

Description of the field.

11.10.7.28.2. Returns

A ProtoField object to be added to a table set to the Proto.fields attribute.

11.10.7.29. protofield:__tostring()

Returns a string with info about a protofield (for debugging purposes).

11.10.8. Global Functions

11.10.8.1. register_postdissector(proto, [allfields])

Make a Proto protocol (with a dissector function) a post-dissector. It will be called for every frame after dissection.

11.10.8.1.1. Arguments
proto

The protocol to be used as post-dissector.

allfields (optional)

Whether to generate all fields.

[Note]Note

this impacts performance (default=false).

11.11. Adding information to the dissection tree

11.11.1. TreeItem

TreeItems represent information in the packet-details pane. A root TreeItem is passed to dissectors as the third argument.

11.11.1.1. treeitem:add_packet_field(protofield, [tvbrange], encoding, [label])

Adds a new child tree for the given ProtoField object to this tree item, returning the new child TreeItem.

Unlike TreeItem:add() and TreeItem:add_le(), the ProtoField argument is not optional, and cannot be a Proto object. Instead, this function always uses the ProtoField to determine the type of field to extract from the passed-in TvbRange, highlighting the relevant bytes in the Packet Bytes pane of the GUI (if there is a GUI), etc. If no TvbRange is given, no bytes are highlighted and the field's value cannot be determined; the ProtoField must have been defined/created not to have a length in such a case, or an error will occur. For backwards-compatibility reasons the encoding argument, however, must still be given.

Unlike TreeItem:add() and TreeItem:add_le(), this function performs both big-endian and little-endian decoding, by setting the encoding argument to be ENC_BIG_ENDIAN or ENC_LITTLE_ENDIAN.

The signature of this function:

     tree_item:add_packet_field(proto_field [,tvbrange], encoding, ...)

In Wireshark version 1.11.3, this function was changed to return more than just the new child TreeItem. The child is the first return value, so that function chaining will still work as before; but it now also returns the value of the extracted field (i.e., a number, UInt64, Address, etc.). If the value could not be extracted from the TvbRange, the child TreeItem is still returned, but the second returned value is nil.

Another new feature added to this function in Wireshark version 1.11.3 is the ability to extract native number ProtoFields from string encoding in the TvbRange, for ASCII-based and similar string encodings. For example, a ProtoField of as ftypes.UINT32 type can be extracted from a TvbRange containing the ASCII string "123", and it will correctly decode the ASCII to the number 123, both in the tree as well as for the second return value of this function. To do so, you must set the encoding argument of this function to the appropriate string ENC_* value, bitwise-or'd with the ENC_STRING value (see init.lua). ENC_STRING is guaranteed to be a unique bit flag, and thus it can added instead of bitwise-or'ed as well. Only single-byte ASCII digit string encoding types can be used for this, such as ENC_ASCII and ENC_UTF_8.

For example, assuming the Tvb named "tvb" contains the string "123":

     -- this is done earlier in the script
     local myfield = ProtoField.new("Transaction ID", "myproto.trans_id", ftypes.UINT16)

     -- this is done inside a dissector, post-dissector, or heuristic function
     -- child will be the created child tree, and value will be the number 123 or nil on failure
     local child, value = tree:add_packet_field(myfield, tvb:range(0,3), ENC_UTF_8 + ENC_STRING)

11.11.1.1.1. Arguments
protofield

The ProtoField field object to add to the tree.

tvbrange (optional)

The TvbRange of bytes in the packet this tree item covers/represents.

encoding

The field's encoding in the TvbRange.

label (optional)

One or more strings to append to the created TreeItem.

11.11.1.1.2. Returns

The new child TreeItem, the field's extracted value or nil, and offset or nil.

11.11.1.2. treeitem:add(protofield, [tvbrange], [value], [label])

Adds a child item to this tree item, returning the new child TreeItem.

If the ProtoField represents a numeric value (int, uint or float), then it's treated as a Big Endian (network order) value.

This function has a complicated form: 'treeitem:add(protofield, [tvbrange,] [[value], label]])', such that if the second argument is a TvbRange, and a third argument is given, it's a value; but if the second argument is a non-TvbRange type, then it is the value (as opposed to filling that argument with 'nil', which is invalid for this function).

11.11.1.2.1. Arguments
protofield

The ProtoField field or Proto protocol object to add to the tree.

tvbrange (optional)

The TvbRange of bytes in the packet this tree item covers/represents.

value (optional)

The field's value, instead of the ProtoField/Proto one.

label (optional)

One or more strings to use for the tree item label, instead of the ProtoField/Proto one.

11.11.1.2.2. Returns

The new child TreeItem.

11.11.1.3. treeitem:add_le(protofield, [tvbrange], [value], [label])

Adds a child item to this tree item, returning the new child TreeItem.

If the ProtoField represents a numeric value (int, uint or float), then it's treated as a Little Endian value.

This function has a complicated form: 'treeitem:add_le(protofield, [tvbrange,] [[value], label]])', such that if the second argument is a TvbRange, and a third argument is given, it's a value; but if the second argument is a non-TvbRange type, then it is the value (as opposed to filling that argument with 'nil', which is invalid for this function).

11.11.1.3.1. Arguments
protofield

The ProtoField field or Proto protocol object to add to the tree.

tvbrange (optional)

The TvbRange of bytes in the packet this tree item covers/represents.

value (optional)

The field's value, instead of the ProtoField/Proto one.

label (optional)

One or more strings to use for the tree item label, instead of the ProtoField/Proto one.

11.11.1.3.2. Returns

The new child TreeItem.

11.11.1.4. treeitem:set_text(text)

Sets the text of the label.

This used to return nothing, but as of 1.11.3 it returns the same tree item to allow chained calls.

11.11.1.4.1. Arguments
text

The text to be used.

11.11.1.4.2. Returns

The same TreeItem.

11.11.1.5. treeitem:append_text(text)

Appends text to the label.

This used to return nothing, but as of 1.11.3 it returns the same tree item to allow chained calls.

11.11.1.5.1. Arguments
text

The text to be appended.

11.11.1.5.2. Returns

The same TreeItem.

11.11.1.6. treeitem:prepend_text(text)

Prepends text to the label.

This used to return nothing, but as of 1.11.3 it returns the same tree item to allow chained calls.

11.11.1.6.1. Arguments
text

The text to be prepended.

11.11.1.6.2. Returns

The same TreeItem.

11.11.1.7. treeitem:add_expert_info([group], [severity], [text])

Sets the expert flags of the item and adds expert info to the packet.

This function does not create a truly filterable expert info for a protocol. Instead you should use TreeItem.add_proto_expert_info().

[Note]Note

This function is provided for backwards compatibility only, and should not be used in new Lua code. It may be removed in the future. You should only use TreeItem.add_proto_expert_info().

11.11.1.7.1. Arguments
group (optional)

One of PI_CHECKSUM, PI_SEQUENCE, PI_RESPONSE_CODE, PI_REQUEST_CODE, PI_UNDECODED, PI_REASSEMBLE, PI_MALFORMED or PI_DEBUG.

severity (optional)

One of PI_CHAT, PI_NOTE, PI_WARN, or PI_ERROR.

text (optional)

The text for the expert info display.

11.11.1.7.2. Returns

The same TreeItem.

11.11.1.8. treeitem:add_proto_expert_info(expert, [text])

Sets the expert flags of the tree item and adds expert info to the packet.

Since: 1.11.3

11.11.1.8.1. Arguments
expert

The ProtoExpert object to add to the tree.

text (optional)

Text for the expert info display (default is to use the registered text).

11.11.1.8.2. Returns

The same TreeItem.

11.11.1.9. treeitem:add_tvb_expert_info(expert, tvb, [text])

Sets the expert flags of the tree item and adds expert info to the packet associated with the Tvb or TvbRange bytes in the packet.

Since: 1.11.3

11.11.1.9.1. Arguments
expert

The ProtoExpert object to add to the tree.

tvb

The Tvb or TvbRange object bytes to associate the expert info with.

text (optional)

Text for the expert info display (default is to use the registered text).

11.11.1.9.2. Returns

The same TreeItem.

11.11.1.10. treeitem:set_generated()

Marks the TreeItem as a generated field (with data inferred but not contained in the packet).

This used to return nothing, but as of 1.11.3 it returns the same tree item to allow chained calls.

11.11.1.10.1. Returns

The same TreeItem.

11.11.1.11. treeitem:set_hidden()

This function should not be used, and is provided for backwards-compatibility only.

11.11.1.11.1. Returns

The same TreeItem.

11.11.1.12. treeitem:set_len(len)

Set TreeItem's length inside tvb, after it has already been created.

This used to return nothing, but as of 1.11.3 it returns the same tree item to allow chained calls.

11.11.1.12.1. Arguments
len

The length to be used.

11.11.1.12.2. Returns

The same TreeItem.

11.12. Functions for handling packet data

11.12.1. ByteArray

11.12.1.1. ByteArray.new([hexbytes], [separator])

Creates a ByteArray object.

11.12.1.1.1. Arguments
hexbytes (optional)

A string consisting of hexadecimal bytes like "00 B1 A2" or "1a2b3c4d".

separator (optional)

A string separator between hex bytes/words (default=" "), or if the boolean value true is used, then the first argument is treated as raw binary data

11.12.1.1.2. Returns

The new ByteArray object.

11.12.1.2. bytearray:__concat(first, second)

Concatenate two ByteArrays.

11.12.1.2.1. Arguments
first

First array.

second

Second array.

11.12.1.2.2. Returns

The new composite ByteArray.

11.12.1.3. bytearray:__eq(first, second)

Compares two ByteArray values.

Since: 1.11.4

11.12.1.3.1. Arguments
first

First array.

second

Second array.

11.12.1.4. bytearray:prepend(prepended)

Prepend a ByteArray to this ByteArray.

11.12.1.4.1. Arguments
prepended

ByteArray to be prepended.

11.12.1.5. bytearray:append(appended)

Append a ByteArray to this ByteArray.

11.12.1.5.1. Arguments
appended

ByteArray to be appended.

11.12.1.6. bytearray:set_size(size)

Sets the size of a ByteArray, either truncating it or filling it with zeros.

11.12.1.6.1. Arguments
size

New size of the array.

11.12.1.6.2. Errors
  • ByteArray size must be non-negative

11.12.1.7. bytearray:set_index(index, value)

Sets the value of an index of a ByteArray.

11.12.1.7.1. Arguments
index

The position of the byte to be set.

value

The char value to set [0-255].

11.12.1.8. bytearray:get_index(index)

Get the value of a byte in a ByteArray.

11.12.1.8.1. Arguments
index

The position of the byte to get.

11.12.1.8.2. Returns

The value [0-255] of the byte.

11.12.1.9. bytearray:len()

Obtain the length of a ByteArray.

11.12.1.9.1. Returns

The length of the ByteArray.

11.12.1.10. bytearray:subset(offset, length)

Obtain a segment of a ByteArray, as a new ByteArray.

11.12.1.10.1. Arguments
offset

The position of the first byte (0=first).

length

The length of the segment.

11.12.1.10.2. Returns

A ByteArray containing the requested segment.

11.12.1.11. bytearray:base64_decode()

Obtain a base64 decoded ByteArray.

11.12.1.11.1. Returns

The created ByteArray.

11.12.1.12. bytearray:raw([offset], [length])

Obtain a Lua string of the binary bytes in a ByteArray.

11.12.1.12.1. Arguments
offset (optional)

The position of the first byte (default=0/first).

length (optional)

The length of the segment to get (default=all).

11.12.1.12.2. Returns

A Lua string of the binary bytes in the ByteArray.

11.12.1.13. bytearray:tohex([lowercase], [separator])

Obtain a Lua string of the bytes in a ByteArray as hex-ascii, with given separator

11.12.1.13.1. Arguments
lowercase (optional)

True to use lower-case hex characters (default=false).

separator (optional)

A string separator to insert between hex bytes (default=nil).

11.12.1.13.2. Returns

A hex-ascii string representation of the ByteArray.

11.12.1.14. bytearray:__tostring()

Obtain a Lua string containing the bytes in a ByteArray so that it can be used in display filters (e.g. "01FE456789AB").

11.12.1.14.1. Returns

A hex-ascii string representation of the ByteArray.

11.12.2. Tvb

A Tvb represents the packet's buffer. It is passed as an argument to listeners and dissectors, and can be used to extract information (via TvbRange) from the packet's data.

To create a TvbRange the Tvb must be called with offset and length as optional arguments; the offset defaults to 0 and the length to tvb:len().

[Warning]Warning

Tvbs are usable only by the current listener or dissector call and are destroyed as soon as the listener/dissector returns, so references to them are unusable once the function has returned.

11.12.2.1. ByteArray.tvb(name)

Creates a new Tvb from a ByteArray (it gets added to the current frame too).

11.12.2.1.1. Arguments
name

The name to be given to the new data-source.

11.12.2.1.2. Returns

The created Tvb.

11.12.2.2. TvbRange.tvb(range)

Creates a (sub)Tvb from a TvbRange.

11.12.2.2.1. Arguments
range

The TvbRange from which to create the new Tvb.

11.12.2.3. tvb:__tostring()

Convert the bytes of a Tvb into a string, to be used for debugging purposes as '...' will be appended in case the string is too long.

11.12.2.3.1. Returns

The string.

11.12.2.4. tvb:reported_len()

Obtain the reported (not captured) length of a Tvb.

11.12.2.4.1. Returns

The reported length of the Tvb.

11.12.2.5. tvb:len()

Obtain the actual (captured) length of a Tvb.

11.12.2.5.1. Returns

The captured length of the Tvb.

11.12.2.6. tvb:reported_length_remaining()

Obtain the reported (not captured) length of packet data to end of a Tvb or -1 if the offset is beyond the end of the Tvb.

11.12.2.6.1. Returns

The captured length of the Tvb.

11.12.2.7. tvb:offset()

Returns the raw offset (from the beginning of the source Tvb) of a sub Tvb.

11.12.2.7.1. Returns

The raw offset of the Tvb.

11.12.2.8. tvb:__call()

Equivalent to tvb:range(...)

11.12.3. TvbRange

A TvbRange represents a usable range of a Tvb and is used to extract data from the Tvb that generated it.

TvbRanges are created by calling a Tvb (e.g. 'tvb(offset,length)'). If the TvbRange span is outside the Tvb's range the creation will cause a runtime error.

11.12.3.1. tvb:range([offset], [length])

Creates a TvbRange from this Tvb.

11.12.3.1.1. Arguments
offset (optional)

The offset (in octets) from the beginning of the Tvb. Defaults to 0.

length (optional)

The length (in octets) of the range. Defaults to until the end of the Tvb.

11.12.3.1.2. Returns

The TvbRange

11.12.3.2. tvb:raw([offset], [length])

Obtain a Lua string of the binary bytes in a Tvb.

11.12.3.2.1. Arguments
offset (optional)

The position of the first byte (default=0/first).

length (optional)

The length of the segment to get (default=all).

11.12.3.2.2. Returns

A Lua string of the binary bytes in the Tvb.

11.12.3.3. tvbrange:uint()

Get a Big Endian (network order) unsigned integer from a TvbRange. The range must be 1, 2, 3 or 4 octets long.

11.12.3.3.1. Returns

The unsigned integer value.

11.12.3.4. tvbrange:le_uint()

Get a Little Endian unsigned integer from a TvbRange. The range must be 1, 2, 3 or 4 octets long.

11.12.3.4.1. Returns

The unsigned integer value

11.12.3.5. tvbrange:uint64()

Get a Big Endian (network order) unsigned 64 bit integer from a TvbRange, as a UInt64 object. The range must be 1-8 octets long.

11.12.3.5.1. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.12.3.6. tvbrange:le_uint64()

Get a Little Endian unsigned 64 bit integer from a TvbRange, as a UInt64 object. The range must be 1-8 octets long.

11.12.3.6.1. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.12.3.7. tvbrange:int()

Get a Big Endian (network order) signed integer from a TvbRange. The range must be 1, 2 or 4 octets long.

11.12.3.7.1. Returns

The signed integer value

11.12.3.8. tvbrange:le_int()

Get a Little Endian signed integer from a TvbRange. The range must be 1, 2 or 4 octets long.

11.12.3.8.1. Returns

The signed integer value.

11.12.3.9. tvbrange:int64()

Get a Big Endian (network order) signed 64 bit integer from a TvbRange, as an Int64 object. The range must be 1-8 octets long.

11.12.3.9.1. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.12.3.10. tvbrange:le_int64()

Get a Little Endian signed 64 bit integer from a TvbRange, as an Int64 object. The range must be 1-8 octets long.

11.12.3.10.1. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.12.3.11. tvbrange:float()

Get a Big Endian (network order) floating point number from a TvbRange. The range must be 4 or 8 octets long.

11.12.3.11.1. Returns

The floating point value.

11.12.3.12. tvbrange:le_float()

Get a Little Endian floating point number from a TvbRange. The range must be 4 or 8 octets long.

11.12.3.12.1. Returns

The floating point value.

11.12.3.13. tvbrange:ipv4()

Get an IPv4 Address from a TvbRange, as an Address object.

11.12.3.13.1. Returns

The IPv4 Address object.

11.12.3.14. tvbrange:le_ipv4()

Get an Little Endian IPv4 Address from a TvbRange, as an Address object.

11.12.3.14.1. Returns

The IPv4 Address object.

11.12.3.15. tvbrange:ether()

Get an Ethernet Address from a TvbRange, as an Address object.

11.12.3.15.1. Returns

The Ethernet Address object.

11.12.3.15.2. Errors
  • The range must be 6 bytes long

11.12.3.16. tvbrange:nstime([encoding])

Obtain a time_t structure from a TvbRange, as an NSTime object.

11.12.3.16.1. Arguments
encoding (optional)

An optional ENC_* encoding value to use

11.12.3.16.2. Returns

The NSTime object and number of bytes used, or nil on failure.

11.12.3.16.3. Errors
  • The range must be 4 or 8 bytes long

11.12.3.17. tvbrange:le_nstime()

Obtain a nstime from a TvbRange, as an NSTime object.

11.12.3.17.1. Returns

The NSTime object.

11.12.3.17.2. Errors
  • The range must be 4 or 8 bytes long

11.12.3.18. tvbrange:string([encoding])

Obtain a string from a TvbRange.

11.12.3.18.1. Arguments
encoding (optional)

The encoding to use. Defaults to ENC_ASCII.

11.12.3.18.2. Returns

The string

11.12.3.19. tvbrange:ustring()

Obtain a Big Endian (network order) UTF-16 encoded string from a TvbRange.

11.12.3.19.1. Returns

The string.

11.12.3.20. tvbrange:le_ustring()

Obtain a Little Endian UTF-16 encoded string from a TvbRange.

11.12.3.20.1. Returns

The string.

11.12.3.21. tvbrange:stringz([encoding])

Obtain a zero terminated string from a TvbRange.

11.12.3.21.1. Arguments
encoding (optional)

The encoding to use. Defaults to ENC_ASCII.

11.12.3.21.2. Returns

The zero terminated string.

11.12.3.22. tvbrange:strsize([encoding])

Find the size of a zero terminated string from a TvbRange. The size of the string includes the terminating zero.

11.12.3.22.1. Arguments
encoding (optional)

The encoding to use. Defaults to ENC_ASCII.

11.12.3.22.2. Returns

Length of the zero terminated string.

11.12.3.23. tvbrange:ustringz()

Obtain a Big Endian (network order) UTF-16 encoded zero terminated string from a TvbRange.

11.12.3.23.1. Returns

Two return values: the zero terminated string, and the length.

11.12.3.24. tvbrange:le_ustringz()

Obtain a Little Endian UTF-16 encoded zero terminated string from a TvbRange

11.12.3.24.1. Returns

Two return values: the zero terminated string, and the length.

11.12.3.25. tvbrange:bytes([encoding])

Obtain a ByteArray from a TvbRange.

Starting in 1.11.4, this function also takes an optional encoding argument, which can be set to ENC_STR_HEX to decode a hex-string from the TvbRange into the returned ByteArray. The encoding can be bitwise-or'ed with one or more separator encodings, such as ENC_SEP_COLON, to allow separators to occur between each pair of hex characters.

The return value also now returns the number of bytes used as a second return value.

On failure or error, nil is returned for both return values.

[Note]Note

The encoding type of the hex string should also be set, for example ENC_ASCII or ENC_UTF_8, along with ENC_STR_HEX.

11.12.3.25.1. Arguments
encoding (optional)

An optional ENC_* encoding value to use

11.12.3.25.2. Returns

The ByteArray object or nil, and number of bytes consumed or nil.

11.12.3.26. tvbrange:bitfield([position], [length])

Get a bitfield from a TvbRange.

11.12.3.26.1. Arguments
position (optional)

The bit offset from the beginning of the TvbRange. Defaults to 0.

length (optional)

The length (in bits) of the field. Defaults to 1.

11.12.3.26.2. Returns

The bitfield value

11.12.3.27. tvbrange:range([offset], [length], name)

Creates a sub-TvbRange from this TvbRange.

11.12.3.27.1. Arguments
offset (optional)

The offset (in octets) from the beginning of the TvbRange. Defaults to 0.

length (optional)

The length (in octets) of the range. Defaults to until the end of the TvbRange.

name

The name to be given to the new data-source.

11.12.3.27.2. Returns

The TvbRange

The TvbRange

11.12.3.28. tvbrange:len()

Obtain the length of a TvbRange.

11.12.3.29. tvbrange:offset()

Obtain the offset in a TvbRange.

11.12.3.30. tvbrange:raw([offset], [length])

Obtain a Lua string of the binary bytes in a TvbRange.

11.12.3.30.1. Arguments
offset (optional)

The position of the first byte (default=0/first).

length (optional)

The length of the segment to get (default=all).

11.12.3.30.2. Returns

A Lua string of the binary bytes in the TvbRange.

11.12.3.31. tvbrange:__tostring()

Converts the TvbRange into a string. As the string gets truncated you should use this only for debugging purposes or if what you want is to have a truncated string in the format 67:89:AB:...

11.13. Custom file format reading/writing

The classes/functions defined in this section allow you to create your own custom Lua-based "capture" file reader, or writer, or both.

Since: 1.11.3

11.13.1. CaptureInfo

A CaptureInfo object, passed into Lua as an argument by FileHandler callback function read_open(), read(), seek_read(), seq_read_close(), and read_close(). This object represents capture file data and meta-data (data about the capture file) being read into Wireshark/Tshark.

This object's fields can be written-to by Lua during the read-based function callbacks. In other words, when the Lua plugin's FileHandler.read_open() function is invoked, a CaptureInfo object will be passed in as one of the arguments, and its fields should be written to by your Lua code to tell Wireshark about the capture.

Since: 1.11.3

11.13.1.1. captureinfo:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the CaptureInfo

11.13.1.1.1. Returns

String of debug information.

11.13.1.2. captureinfo.encap

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The packet encapsulation type for the whole file.

See wtap_encaps in init.lua for available types. Set to wtap_encaps.PER_PACKET if packets can have different types, then later set FrameInfo.encap for each packet during read()/seek_read().

11.13.1.3. captureinfo.time_precision

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The precision of the packet timestamps in the file.

See wtap_file_tsprec in init.lua for available precisions.

11.13.1.4. captureinfo.snapshot_length

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The maximum packet length that could be recorded.

Setting it to 0 means unknown. Wireshark cannot handle anything bigger than 65535 bytes.

11.13.1.5. captureinfo.comment

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A string comment for the whole capture file, or nil if there is no comment.

11.13.1.6. captureinfo.hardware

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A string containing the description of the hardware used to create the capture, or nil if there is no hardware string.

11.13.1.7. captureinfo.os

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A string containing the name of the operating system used to create the capture, or nil if there is no os string.

11.13.1.8. captureinfo.user_app

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A string containing the name of the application used to create the capture, or nil if there is no user_app string.

11.13.1.9. captureinfo.hosts

Mode: Assign only.

Sets resolved ip-to-hostname information.

The value set must be a Lua table of two key-ed names: ipv4_addresses and ipv6_addresses. The value of each of these names are themselves array tables, of key-ed tables, such that the inner table has a key addr set to the raw 4-byte or 16-byte IP address Lua string and a name set to the resolved name.

For example, if the capture file identifies one resolved IPv4 address of 1.2.3.4 to foo.com, then you must set CaptureInfo.hosts to a table of:

 { ipv4_addresses = { { addr = "\01\02\03\04", name = "foo.com" } } }

Note that either the ipv4_addresses or the ipv6_addresses table, or both, may be empty or nil.

11.13.1.10. captureinfo.private_table

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A private Lua value unique to this file.

The private_table is a field you set/get with your own Lua table. This is provided so that a Lua script can save per-file reading/writing state, because multiple files can be opened and read at the same time.

For example, if the user issued a reload-file command, or Lua called the reload() function, then the current capture file is still open while a new one is being opened, and thus Wireshark will invoke read_open() while the previous capture file has not caused read_close() to be called; and if the read_open() succeeds then read_close() will be called right after that for the previous file, rather than the one just opened. Thus the Lua script can use this private_table to store a table of values specific to each file, by setting this private_table in the read_open() function, which it can then later get back inside its read(), seek_read(), and read_close() functions.

11.13.2. CaptureInfoConst

A CaptureInfoConst object, passed into Lua as an argument to the FileHandler callback function write_open().

This object represents capture file data and meta-data (data about the capture file) for the current capture in Wireshark/Tshark.

This object's fields are read-from when used by write_open function callback. In other words, when the Lua plugin's FileHandler write_open function is invoked, a CaptureInfoConst object will be passed in as one of the arguments, and its fields should be read from by your Lua code to get data about the capture that needs to be written.

Since: 1.11.3

11.13.2.1. captureinfoconst:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the CaptureInfoConst

11.13.2.1.1. Returns

String of debug information.

11.13.2.2. captureinfoconst.type

Mode: Retrieve only.

The file type.

11.13.2.3. captureinfoconst.snapshot_length

Mode: Retrieve only.

The maximum packet length that is actually recorded (vs. the original length of any given packet on-the-wire). A value of 0 means the snapshot length is unknown or there is no one such length for the whole file.

11.13.2.4. captureinfoconst.encap

Mode: Retrieve only.

The packet encapsulation type for the whole file.

See wtap_encaps in init.lua for available types. It is set to wtap_encaps.PER_PACKET if packets can have different types, in which case each Frame identifies its type, in FrameInfo.packet_encap.

11.13.2.5. captureinfoconst.comment

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A comment for the whole capture file, if the wtap_presence_flags.COMMENTS was set in the presence flags; nil if there is no comment.

11.13.2.6. captureinfoconst.hardware

Mode: Retrieve only.

A string containing the description of the hardware used to create the capture, or nil if there is no hardware string.

11.13.2.7. captureinfoconst.os

Mode: Retrieve only.

A string containing the name of the operating system used to create the capture, or nil if there is no os string.

11.13.2.8. captureinfoconst.user_app

Mode: Retrieve only.

A string containing the name of the application used to create the capture, or nil if there is no user_app string.

11.13.2.9. captureinfoconst.hosts

Mode: Retrieve only.

A ip-to-hostname Lua table of two key-ed names: ipv4_addresses and ipv6_addresses. The value of each of these names are themselves array tables, of key-ed tables, such that the inner table has a key addr set to the raw 4-byte or 16-byte IP address Lua string and a name set to the resolved name.

For example, if the current capture has one resolved IPv4 address of 1.2.3.4 to foo.com, then getting CaptureInfoConst.hosts will get a table of:

 { ipv4_addresses = { { addr = "\01\02\03\04", name = "foo.com" } }, ipv6_addresses = { } }

Note that either the ipv4_addresses or the ipv6_addresses table, or both, may be empty, however they will not be nil.

11.13.2.10. captureinfoconst.private_table

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A private Lua value unique to this file.

The private_table is a field you set/get with your own Lua table. This is provided so that a Lua script can save per-file reading/writing state, because multiple files can be opened and read at the same time.

For example, if two Lua scripts issue a Dumper:new_for_current() call and the current file happens to use your script's writer, then the Wireshark will invoke write_open() while the previous capture file has not had write_close() called. Thus the Lua script can use this private_table to store a table of values specific to each file, by setting this private_table in the write_open() function, which it can then later get back inside its write(), and write_close() functions.

11.13.3. File

A File object, passed into Lua as an argument by FileHandler callback functions (e.g., read_open, read, write, etc.). This behaves similarly to the Lua io library's file object, returned when calling io.open(), except in this case you cannot call file:close(), file:open(), nor file:setvbuf(), since Wireshark/tshark manages the opening and closing of files. You also cannot use the 'io' library itself on this object, i.e. you cannot do io.read(file, 4). Instead, use this File with the object-oriented style calling its methods, i.e. myfile:read(4). (see later example)

The purpose of this object is to hide the internal complexity of how Wireshark handles files, and instead provide a Lua interface that is familiar, by mimicking the io library. The reason true/raw io files cannot be used is because Wireshark does many things under the hood, such as compress the file, or write to stdout, or various other things based on configuration/commands.

When a File object is passed in through reading-based callback functions, such as read_open(), read(), and read_close(), then the File object's write() and flush() functions are not usable and will raise an error if used.

When a File object is passed in through writing-based callback functions, such as write_open(), write(), and write_close(), then the File object's read() and lines() functions are not usable and will raise an error if used.

[Note]Note

a File object should never be stored/saved beyond the scope of the callback function it is passed in to.

For example:

    function myfilehandler.read_open(file, capture)
        local position = file:seek()

        -- read 24 bytes
        local line = file:read(24)

        -- do stuff

        -- it's not our file type, seek back (unnecessary but just to show it...)
        file:seek("set",position)

        -- return false because it's not our file type
        return false
    end

Since: 1.11.3

11.13.3.1. file:read()

Reads from the File, similar to Lua's file:read(). See Lua 5.x ref manual for file:read().

11.13.3.2. file:seek()

Seeks in the File, similar to Lua's file:seek(). See Lua 5.x ref manual for file:seek().

11.13.3.2.1. Returns

The current file cursor position as a number.

11.13.3.3. file:lines()

Lua iterator function for retrieving ASCII File lines, similar to Lua's file:lines(). See Lua 5.x ref manual for file:lines().

11.13.3.4. file:write()

Writes to the File, similar to Lua's file:write(). See Lua 5.x ref manual for file:write().

11.13.3.5. file:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the File object

11.13.3.5.1. Returns

String of debug information.

11.13.3.6. file.compressed

Mode: Retrieve only.

Whether the File is compressed or not.

See wtap_encaps in init.lua for available types. Set to wtap_encaps.PER_PACKET if packets can have different types, then later set FrameInfo.encap for each packet during read()/seek_read().

11.13.4. FileHandler

A FileHandler object, created by a call to FileHandler.new(arg1, arg2, ...). The FileHandler object lets you create a file-format reader, or writer, or both, by setting your own read_open/read or write_open/write functions.

Since: 1.11.3

11.13.4.1. FileHandler.new(name, shortname, description, type)

Creates a new FileHandler

11.13.4.1.1. Arguments
name

The name of the file type, for display purposes only. E.g., "Wireshark - pcapng"

shortname

The file type short name, used as a shortcut in various places. E.g., "pcapng". Note: the name cannot already be in use.

description

Descriptive text about this file format, for display purposes only

type

The type of FileHandler, "r"/"w"/"rw" for reader/writer/both, include "m" for magic, "s" for strong heuristic

11.13.4.1.2. Returns

The newly created FileHandler object

11.13.4.2. filehandler:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the FileHandler

11.13.4.2.1. Returns

String of debug information.

11.13.4.3. filehandler.read_open

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark opens a file for reading.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object

  2. A CaptureInfo object

The purpose of the Lua function set to this read_open field is to check if the file Wireshark is opening is of its type, for example by checking for magic numbers or trying to parse records in the file, etc. The more can be verified the better, because Wireshark tries all file readers until it finds one that accepts the file, so accepting an incorrect file prevents other file readers from reading their files.

The called Lua function should return true if the file is its type (it accepts it), false if not. The Lua function must also set the File offset position (using file:seek()) to where it wants it to be for its first read() call.

11.13.4.4. filehandler.read

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to read a packet from the file.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object

  2. A CaptureInfo object

  3. A FrameInfo object

The purpose of the Lua function set to this read field is to read the next packet from the file, and setting the parsed/read packet into the frame buffer using FrameInfo.data = foo or FrameInfo:read_data().

The called Lua function should return the file offset/position number where the packet begins, or false if it hit an error. The file offset will be saved by Wireshark and passed into the set seek_read() Lua function later.

11.13.4.5. filehandler.seek_read

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to read a packet from the file at the given offset.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object

  2. A CaptureInfo object

  3. A FrameInfo object

  4. The file offset number previously set by the read() function call

11.13.4.6. filehandler.read_close

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to close the read file completely.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object

  2. A CaptureInfo object

It is not necessary to set this field to a Lua function - FileHandler can be registered without doing so - it is available in case there is memory/state to clear in your script when the file is closed.

11.13.4.7. filehandler.seq_read_close

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to close the sequentially-read file.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object

  2. A CaptureInfo object

It is not necessary to set this field to a Lua function - FileHandler can be registered without doing so - it is available in case there is memory/state to clear in your script when the file is closed for the sequential reading portion. After this point, there will be no more calls to read(), only seek_read().

11.13.4.8. filehandler.can_write_encap

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to write a file, by checking if this file writer can handle the wtap packet encapsulation(s).

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given a Lua number, which matches one of the encapsulations in the Lua wtap_encaps table. This might be the wtap_encap.PER_PACKET number, meaning the capture contains multiple encapsulation types, and the file reader should only return true if it can handle multiple encap types in one file. The function will then be called again, once for each encap type in the file, to make sure it can write each one.

If the Lua file writer can write the given type of encapsulation into a file, then it returns the boolean true, else false.

11.13.4.9. filehandler.write_open

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark opens a file for writing.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object

  2. A CaptureInfoConst object

The purpose of the Lua function set to this write_open field is similar to the read_open callback function: to initialize things necessary for writing the capture to a file. For example, if the output file format has a file header, then the file header should be written within this write_open function.

The called Lua function should return true on success, or false if it hit an error.

Also make sure to set the FileHandler.write (and potentially FileHandler.write_close) functions before returning true from this function.

11.13.4.10. filehandler.write

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to write a packet to the file.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object

  2. A CaptureInfoConst object

  3. A FrameInfoConst object of the current frame/packet to be written

The purpose of the Lua function set to this write field is to write the next packet to the file.

The called Lua function should return true on success, or false if it hit an error.

11.13.4.11. filehandler.write_close

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to close the written file.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object

  2. A CaptureInfoConst object

It is not necessary to set this field to a Lua function - FileHandler can be registered without doing so - it is available in case there is memory/state to clear in your script when the file is closed.

11.13.4.12. filehandler.type

Mode: Retrieve only.

The internal file type. This is automatically set with a new number when the FileHandler is registered.

11.13.4.13. filehandler.extensions

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

One or more file extensions that this file type usually uses.

For readers using heuristics to determine file type, Wireshark will try the readers of the file's extension first, before trying other readers. But ultimately Wireshark tries all file readers for any file extension, until it finds one that accepts the file.

11.13.4.14. filehandler.writing_must_seek

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

True if the ability to seek is required when writing this file format, else false.

This will be checked by Wireshark when writing out to compressed file formats, because seeking is not possible with compressed files. Usually a file writer only needs to be able to seek if it needs to go back in the file to change something, such as a block or file length value earlier in the file.

11.13.4.15. filehandler.writes_name_resolution

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

True if the file format supports name resolution records, else false.

11.13.4.16. filehandler.supported_comment_types

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Set to the bit-wise OR'ed number representing the type of comments the file writer supports writing, based on the numbers in the wtap_comments table.

11.13.5. FrameInfo

A FrameInfo object, passed into Lua as an argument by FileHandler callback functions (e.g., read, seek_read, etc.).

This object represents frame data and meta-data (data about the frame/packet) for a given read/seek_read/write's frame.

This object's fields are written-to/set when used by read function callbacks, and read-from/get when used by file write function callbacks. In other words, when the Lua plugin's FileHandler read/seek_read/etc. functions are invoked, a FrameInfo object will be passed in as one of the arguments, and its fields should be written-to/set based on the frame information read from the file; whereas when the Lua plugin's FileHandler.write() function is invoked, the FrameInfo object passed in should have its fields read-from/get, to write that frame information to the file.

Since: 1.11.3

11.13.5.1. frameinfo:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the FrameInfo

11.13.5.1.1. Returns

String of debug information.

11.13.5.2. frameinfo:read_data(file, length)

Tells Wireshark to read directly from given file into frame data buffer, for length bytes. Returns true if succeeded, else false.

11.13.5.2.1. Arguments
file

The File object userdata, provided by Wireshark previously in a reading-based callback.

length

The number of bytes to read from the file at the current cursor position.

11.13.5.2.2. Returns

True if succeeded, else returns false along with the error number and string error description.

A Lua string of the frame buffer's data.

11.13.5.3. frameinfo.time

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The packet timestamp as an NSTime object.

[Note]Note

Set the FileHandler.time_precision to the appropriate wtap_file_tsprec value as well.

11.13.5.4. frameinfo.data

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The data buffer containing the packet.

[Note]Note

This cannot be cleared once set.

11.13.5.5. frameinfo.flags

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The presence flags of the packet frame.

See wtap_presence_flags in init.lua for bit values.

11.13.5.6. frameinfo.captured_length

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The captured packet length, and thus the length of the buffer passed to the FrameInfo.data field.

11.13.5.7. frameinfo.original_length

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The on-the-wire packet length, which may be longer than the captured_length.

11.13.5.8. frameinfo.encap

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The packet encapsulation type for the frame/packet, if the file supports per-packet types. See wtap_encaps in init.lua for possible packet encapsulation types to use as the value for this field.

11.13.5.9. frameinfo.comment

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A string comment for the packet, if the wtap_presence_flags.COMMENTS was set in the presence flags; nil if there is no comment.

11.13.6. FrameInfoConst

A constant FrameInfo object, passed into Lua as an argument by the FileHandler write callback function. This has similar attributes/properties as FrameInfo, but the fields can only be read from, not written to.

Since: 1.11.3

11.13.6.1. frameinfoconst:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the FrameInfo

11.13.6.1.1. Returns

String of debug information.

11.13.6.2. frameinfoconst:write_data(file, [length])

Tells Wireshark to write directly to given file from the frame data buffer, for length bytes. Returns true if succeeded, else false.

11.13.6.2.1. Arguments
file

The File object userdata, provided by Wireshark previously in a writing-based callback.

length (optional)

The number of bytes to write to the file at the current cursor position, or all if not supplied.

11.13.6.2.2. Returns

True if succeeded, else returns false along with the error number and string error description.

11.13.6.3. frameinfoconst.time

Mode: Retrieve only.

The packet timestamp as an NSTime object.

11.13.6.4. frameinfoconst.data

Mode: Retrieve only.

The data buffer containing the packet.

11.13.6.5. frameinfoconst.flags

Mode: Retrieve only.

The presence flags of the packet frame - see wtap_presence_flags in init.lua for bits.

11.13.6.6. frameinfoconst.captured_length

Mode: Retrieve only.

The captured packet length, and thus the length of the buffer in the FrameInfoConst.data field.

11.13.6.7. frameinfoconst.original_length

Mode: Retrieve only.

The on-the-wire packet length, which may be longer than the captured_length.

11.13.6.8. frameinfoconst.encap

Mode: Retrieve only.

The packet encapsulation type, if the file supports per-packet types.

See wtap_encaps in init.lua for possible packet encapsulation types to use as the value for this field.

11.13.6.9. frameinfoconst.comment

Mode: Retrieve only.

A comment for the packet; nil if there is none.

11.13.7. Global Functions

11.13.7.1. register_filehandler(filehandler)

Register the FileHandler into Wireshark/tshark, so they can read/write this new format. All functions and settings must be complete before calling this registration function. This function cannot be called inside the reading/writing callback functions.

11.13.7.1.1. Arguments
filehandler

The FileHandler object to be registered

11.13.7.1.2. Returns

the new type number for this file reader/write

11.13.7.2. deregister_filehandler(filehandler)

De-register the FileHandler from Wireshark/tshark, so it no longer gets used for reading/writing/display. This function cannot be called inside the reading/writing callback functions.

11.13.7.2.1. Arguments
filehandler

The FileHandler object to be de-registered

11.14. Directory handling functions

11.14.1. Dir

A Directory object, as well as associated functions.

11.14.1.1. Dir.make(name)

Creates a directory.

The created directory is set for permission mode 0755 (octal), meaning it is read+write+execute by owner, but only read+execute by group and others.

IF the directory was created successfully, a boolean true is returned. If the directory cannot be made because it already exists, false is returned. If the directory cannot be made because an error occurred, nil is returned.

Since: 1.11.3

11.14.1.1.1. Arguments
name

The name of the directory, possibly including path.

11.14.1.1.2. Returns

Boolean true on success, false if already exists, nil on error.

11.14.1.2. Dir.exists(name)

Returns true if the given directory name exists.

If the directory exists, a boolean true is returned. If the path is a file instead, false is returned. If the path does not exist or an error occurred, nil is returned.

Since: 1.11.3

11.14.1.2.1. Arguments
name

The name of the directory, possibly including path.

11.14.1.2.2. Returns

Boolean true if the directory exists, false if it's a file, nil on error/not-exist.

11.14.1.3. Dir.remove(name)

Removes an empty directory.

If the directory was removed successfully, a boolean true is returned. If the directory cannot be removed because it does not exist, false is returned. If the directory cannot be removed because an error occurred, nil is returned.

This function only removes empty directories. To remove a directory regardless, use Dir.remove_all().

Since: 1.11.3

11.14.1.3.1. Arguments
name

The name of the directory, possibly including path.

11.14.1.3.2. Returns

Boolean true on success, false if does not exist, nil on error.

11.14.1.4. Dir.remove_all(name)

Removes an empty or non-empty directory.

If the directory was removed successfully, a boolean true is returned. If the directory cannot be removed because it does not exist, false is returned. If the directory cannot be removed because an error occurred, nil is returned.

Since: 1.11.3

11.14.1.4.1. Arguments
name

The name of the directory, possibly including path.

11.14.1.4.2. Returns

Boolean true on success, false if does not exist, nil on error.

11.14.1.5. Dir.open(pathname, [extension])

Opens a directory and returns a Dir object representing the files in the directory.

 for filename in Dir.open(path) do ... end

11.14.1.5.1. Arguments
pathname

The pathname of the directory.

extension (optional)

If given, only files with this extension will be returned.

11.14.1.5.2. Returns

the Dir object.

11.14.1.6. Dir.personal_config_path([filename])

Gets the personal configuration directory path, with filename if supplied.

Since: 1.11.3

11.14.1.6.1. Arguments
filename (optional)

A filename.

11.14.1.6.2. Returns

The full pathname for a file in the personal configuration directory.

11.14.1.7. Dir.global_config_path([filename])

Gets the global configuration directory path, with filename if supplied.

Since: 1.11.3

11.14.1.7.1. Arguments
filename (optional)

A filename

11.14.1.7.2. Returns

The full pathname for a file in wireshark's configuration directory.

11.14.1.8. Dir.personal_plugins_path()

Gets the personal plugins directory path.

Since: 1.11.3

11.14.1.8.1. Returns

The pathname for the personal plugins directory.

11.14.1.9. Dir.global_plugins_path()

Gets the global plugins directory path.

Since: 1.11.3

11.14.1.9.1. Returns

The pathname for the global plugins directory.

11.14.1.10. dir:__call()

At every invocation will return one file (nil when done).

11.14.1.11. dir:close()

Closes the directory.

11.15. Utility Functions

11.15.1. Global Functions

11.15.1.1. get_version()

Gets a string of the Wireshark version.

11.15.1.1.1. Returns

version string

11.15.1.2. format_date(timestamp)

Formats an absolute timestamp into a human readable date.

11.15.1.2.1. Arguments
timestamp

A timestamp value to convert.

11.15.1.2.2. Returns

A string with the formated date

11.15.1.3. format_time(timestamp)

Formats a relative timestamp in a human readable form.

11.15.1.3.1. Arguments
timestamp

A timestamp value to convert.

11.15.1.3.2. Returns

A string with the formated time

11.15.1.4. report_failure(text)

Reports a failure to the user.

11.15.1.4.1. Arguments
text

Message text to report.

11.15.1.5. critical(...)

Will add a log entry with critical severity.

11.15.1.5.1. Arguments
...

Objects to be printed

11.15.1.6. warn(...)

Will add a log entry with warn severity.

11.15.1.6.1. Arguments
...

Objects to be printed

11.15.1.7. message(...)

Will add a log entry with message severity.

11.15.1.7.1. Arguments
...

Objects to be printed

11.15.1.8. info(...)

Will add a log entry with info severity.

11.15.1.8.1. Arguments
...

Objects to be printed

11.15.1.9. debug(...)

Will add a log entry with debug severity.

11.15.1.9.1. Arguments
...

Objects to be printed

11.15.1.10. loadfile(filename)

Lua's loadfile() has been modified so that if a file does not exist in the current directory it will look for it in wireshark's user and system directories.

11.15.1.10.1. Arguments
filename

Name of the file to be loaded.

11.15.1.11. dofile(filename)

Lua's dofile() has been modified so that if a file does not exist in the current directory it will look for it in wireshark's user and system directories.

11.15.1.11.1. Arguments
filename

Name of the file to be run.

11.15.1.12. register_stat_cmd_arg(argument, [action])

Register a function to handle a -z option

11.15.1.12.1. Arguments
argument

Argument

action (optional)

Action

11.16. Handling 64-bit Integers

Lua uses one single number representation which can be chosen at compile time and since it is often set to IEEE 754 double precision floating point, one cannot store a 64 bit integer with full precision.

For details, see http://wiki.wireshark.org/LuaAPI/Int64.

11.16.1. Int64

Int64 represents a 64 bit signed integer.

For details, see http://wiki.wireshark.org/LuaAPI/Int64.

11.16.1.1. Int64.decode(string, [endian])

Decodes an 8-byte Lua string, using given endianness, into a new Int64 object.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.1.1. Arguments
string

The Lua string containing a binary 64-bit integer.

endian (optional)

If set to true then little-endian is used, if false then big-endian; if missing/nil, native host endian.

11.16.1.1.2. Returns

The Int64 object created, or nil on failure.

11.16.1.2. Int64.new([value], [highvalue])

Creates a Int64 Object.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.2.1. Arguments
value (optional)

A number, UInt64, Int64, or string of ASCII digits to assign the value of the new Int64 (default=0).

highvalue (optional)

If this is a number and the first argument was a number, then the first will be treated as a lower 32-bits, and this is the high-order 32 bit number.

11.16.1.2.2. Returns

The new Int64 object.

11.16.1.3. Int64.max()

Gets the max possible value.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.3.1. Returns

The new Int64 object of the max value.

11.16.1.4. Int64.min()

Gets the min possible value.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.4.1. Returns

The new Int64 object of the min value.

11.16.1.5. Int64.fromhex(hex)

Creates an Int64 object from the given hex string.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.5.1. Arguments
hex

The hex-ascii Lua string.

11.16.1.5.2. Returns

The new Int64 object.

11.16.1.6. int64:encode([endian])

Encodes the Int64 number into an 8-byte Lua string, using given endianness.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.6.1. Arguments
endian (optional)

If set to true then little-endian is used, if false then big-endian; if missing/nil, native host endian.

11.16.1.6.2. Returns

The Lua string.

11.16.1.7. int64:__call()

Creates a Int64 Object.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.7.1. Returns

The new Int64 object.

11.16.1.8. int64:tonumber()

Returns a Lua number of the Int64 value - this may lose precision.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.8.1. Returns

The Lua number.

11.16.1.9. int64:tohex([numbytes])

Returns a hex string of the Int64 value.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.9.1. Arguments
numbytes (optional)

The number of hex-chars/nibbles to generate, negative means uppercase (default=16).

11.16.1.9.2. Returns

The string hex.

11.16.1.10. int64:higher()

Returns a Lua number of the higher 32-bits of the Int64 value. (negative Int64 will return a negative Lua number).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.10.1. Returns

The Lua number.

11.16.1.11. int64:lower()

Returns a Lua number of the lower 32-bits of the Int64 value. (always positive).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.11.1. Returns

The Lua number.

11.16.1.12. int64:__tostring()

Converts the Int64 into a string of decimal digits.

11.16.1.12.1. Returns

The Lua string.

11.16.1.13. int64:__unm()

Returns the negative of the Int64, in a new Int64.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.13.1. Returns

The new Int64.

11.16.1.14. int64:__add()

Adds two Int64 together and returns a new one (this may wrap the value).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.15. int64:__sub()

Subtracts two Int64 and returns a new one (this may wrap the value).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.16. int64:__mul()

Multiplies two Int64 and returns a new one (this may truncate the value).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.17. int64:__div()

Divides two Int64 and returns a new one (integer divide, no remainder). Trying to divide by zero results in a Lua error.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.17.1. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.18. int64:__mod()

Divides two Int64 and returns a new one of the remainder. Trying to modulo by zero results in a Lua error.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.18.1. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.19. int64:__pow()

The first Int64 is taken to the power of the second Int64, returning a new one (this may truncate the value).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.19.1. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.20. int64:__eq()

Returns true if both Int64 are equal.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.21. int64:__lt()

Returns true if first Int64 < second.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.22. int64:__le()

Returns true if first Int64 <= second.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.23. int64:bnot()

Returns a Int64 of the bitwise 'not' operation.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.23.1. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.24. int64:band()

Returns a Int64 of the bitwise 'and' operation, with the given number/Int64/UInt64. Note that multiple arguments are allowed.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.24.1. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.25. int64:bor()

Returns a Int64 of the bitwise 'or' operation, with the given number/Int64/UInt64. Note that multiple arguments are allowed.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.25.1. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.26. int64:bxor()

Returns a Int64 of the bitwise 'xor' operation, with the given number/Int64/UInt64. Note that multiple arguments are allowed.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.26.1. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.27. int64:lshift(numbits)

Returns a Int64 of the bitwise logical left-shift operation, by the given number of bits.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.27.1. Arguments
numbits

The number of bits to left-shift by.

11.16.1.27.2. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.28. int64:rshift(numbits)

Returns a Int64 of the bitwise logical right-shift operation, by the given number of bits.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.28.1. Arguments
numbits

The number of bits to right-shift by.

11.16.1.28.2. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.29. int64:arshift(numbits)

Returns a Int64 of the bitwise arithmetic right-shift operation, by the given number of bits.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.29.1. Arguments
numbits

The number of bits to right-shift by.

11.16.1.29.2. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.30. int64:rol(numbits)

Returns a Int64 of the bitwise left rotation operation, by the given number of bits (up to 63).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.30.1. Arguments
numbits

The number of bits to roll left by.

11.16.1.30.2. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.31. int64:ror(numbits)

Returns a Int64 of the bitwise right rotation operation, by the given number of bits (up to 63).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.31.1. Arguments
numbits

The number of bits to roll right by.

11.16.1.31.2. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.1.32. int64:bswap()

Returns a Int64 of the bytes swapped. This can be used to convert little-endian 64-bit numbers to big-endian 64 bit numbers or vice versa.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.1.32.1. Returns

The Int64 object.

11.16.2. UInt64

UInt64 represents a 64 bit unsigned integer, similar to Int64.

For details, see: http://wiki.wireshark.org/LuaAPI/Int64.

11.16.2.1. UInt64.decode(string, [endian])

Decodes an 8-byte Lua binary string, using given endianness, into a new UInt64 object.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.1.1. Arguments
string

The Lua string containing a binary 64-bit integer.

endian (optional)

If set to true then little-endian is used, if false then big-endian; if missing/nil, native host endian.

11.16.2.1.2. Returns

The UInt64 object created, or nil on failure.

11.16.2.2. UInt64.new([value], [highvalue])

Creates a UInt64 Object.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.2.1. Arguments
value (optional)

A number, UInt64, Int64, or string of digits to assign the value of the new UInt64 (default=0).

highvalue (optional)

If this is a number and the first argument was a number, then the first will be treated as a lower 32-bits, and this is the high-order 32-bit number.

11.16.2.2.2. Returns

The new UInt64 object.

11.16.2.3. UInt64.max()

Gets the max possible value.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.3.1. Returns

The max value.

11.16.2.4. UInt64.min()

Gets the min possible value (i.e., 0).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.4.1. Returns

The min value.

11.16.2.5. UInt64.fromhex(hex)

Creates a UInt64 object from the given hex string.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.5.1. Arguments
hex

The hex-ascii Lua string.

11.16.2.5.2. Returns

The new UInt64 object.

11.16.2.6. uint64:encode([endian])

Encodes the UInt64 number into an 8-byte Lua binary string, using given endianness.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.6.1. Arguments
endian (optional)

If set to true then little-endian is used, if false then big-endian; if missing/nil, native host endian.

11.16.2.6.2. Returns

The Lua binary string.

11.16.2.7. uint64:__call()

Creates a UInt64 Object.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.7.1. Returns

The new UInt64 object.

11.16.2.8. uint64:tonumber()

Returns a Lua number of the UInt64 value - this may lose precision.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.8.1. Returns

The Lua number.

11.16.2.9. uint64:__tostring()

Converts the UInt64 into a string.

11.16.2.9.1. Returns

The Lua string.

11.16.2.10. uint64:tohex([numbytes])

Returns a hex string of the UInt64 value.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.10.1. Arguments
numbytes (optional)

The number of hex-chars/nibbles to generate, negative means uppercase (default=16).

11.16.2.10.2. Returns

The string hex.

11.16.2.11. uint64:higher()

Returns a Lua number of the higher 32-bits of the UInt64 value.

11.16.2.11.1. Returns

The Lua number.

11.16.2.12. uint64:lower()

Returns a Lua number of the lower 32-bits of the UInt64 value.

11.16.2.12.1. Returns

The Lua number.

11.16.2.13. uint64:__unm()

Returns the UInt64, in a new UInt64, since unsigned integers can't be negated.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.13.1. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.14. uint64:__add()

Adds two UInt64 together and returns a new one (this may wrap the value).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.15. uint64:__sub()

Subtracts two UInt64 and returns a new one (this may wrap the value).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.16. uint64:__mul()

Multiplies two UInt64 and returns a new one (this may truncate the value).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.17. uint64:__div()

Divides two UInt64 and returns a new one (integer divide, no remainder). Trying to divide by zero results in a Lua error.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.17.1. Returns

The UInt64 result.

11.16.2.18. uint64:__mod()

Divides two UInt64 and returns a new one of the remainder. Trying to modulo by zero results in a Lua error.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.18.1. Returns

The UInt64 result.

11.16.2.19. uint64:__pow()

The first UInt64 is taken to the power of the second UInt64/number, returning a new one (this may truncate the value).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.19.1. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.20. uint64:__eq()

Returns true if both UInt64 are equal.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.21. uint64:__lt()

Returns true if first UInt64 < second.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.22. uint64:__le()

Returns true if first UInt64 <= second.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.23. uint64:bnot()

Returns a UInt64 of the bitwise 'not' operation.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.23.1. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.24. uint64:band()

Returns a UInt64 of the bitwise 'and' operation, with the given number/Int64/UInt64. Note that multiple arguments are allowed.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.24.1. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.25. uint64:bor()

Returns a UInt64 of the bitwise 'or' operation, with the given number/Int64/UInt64. Note that multiple arguments are allowed.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.25.1. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.26. uint64:bxor()

Returns a UInt64 of the bitwise 'xor' operation, with the given number/Int64/UInt64. Note that multiple arguments are allowed.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.26.1. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.27. uint64:lshift(numbits)

Returns a UInt64 of the bitwise logical left-shift operation, by the given number of bits.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.27.1. Arguments
numbits

The number of bits to left-shift by.

11.16.2.27.2. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.28. uint64:rshift(numbits)

Returns a UInt64 of the bitwise logical right-shift operation, by the given number of bits.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.28.1. Arguments
numbits

The number of bits to right-shift by.

11.16.2.28.2. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.29. uint64:arshift(numbits)

Returns a UInt64 of the bitwise arithmetic right-shift operation, by the given number of bits.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.29.1. Arguments
numbits

The number of bits to right-shift by.

11.16.2.29.2. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.30. uint64:rol(numbits)

Returns a UInt64 of the bitwise left rotation operation, by the given number of bits (up to 63).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.30.1. Arguments
numbits

The number of bits to roll left by.

11.16.2.30.2. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.31. uint64:ror(numbits)

Returns a UInt64 of the bitwise right rotation operation, by the given number of bits (up to 63).

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.31.1. Arguments
numbits

The number of bits to roll right by.

11.16.2.31.2. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.16.2.32. uint64:bswap()

Returns a UInt64 of the bytes swapped. This can be used to convert little-endian 64-bit numbers to big-endian 64 bit numbers or vice versa.

Since: 1.11.3

11.16.2.32.1. Returns

The UInt64 object.

11.17. Binary encode/decode support

The Struct class offers basic facilities to convert Lua values to and from C-style structs in binary Lua strings. This is based on Roberto Ierusalimschy's Lua struct library found in http://www.inf.puc-rio.br/~roberto/struct/, with some minor modifications as follows:

  • Added support for Int64/UInt64 being packed/unpacked, using 'e'/'E'.

  • Can handle 'long long' integers (i8 / I8); though they're converted to doubles.

  • Can insert/specify padding anywhere in a struct. ('X' eg. when a string is following a union).

  • Can report current offset in both pack and unpack ('=').

  • Can mask out return values when you only want to calculate sizes or unmarshal pascal-style strings using '(' & ')'.

All but the first of those changes are based on an email from Flemming Madsen, on the lua-users mailing list, which can be found here.

The main functions are Struct.pack, which packs multiple Lua values into a struct-like Lua binary string; and Struct.unpack, which unpacks multiple Lua values from a given struct-like Lua binary string. There are some additional helper functions available as well.

All functions in the Struct library are called as static member functions, not object methods, so they are invoked as "Struct.pack(...)" instead of "object:pack(...)".

The fist argument to several of the Struct functions is a format string, which describes the layout of the structure. The format string is a sequence of conversion elements, which respect the current endianness and the current alignment requirements. Initially, the current endianness is the machine's native endianness and the current alignment requirement is 1 (meaning no alignment at all). You can change these settings with appropriate directives in the format string.

The supported elements in the format string are as follows:

  • " " (empty space) ignored.

  • "!n" flag to set the current alignment requirement to 'n' (necessarily a power of 2); an absent 'n' means the machine's native alignment.

  • ">" flag to set mode to big endian (i.e., network-order).

  • "<" flag to set mode to little endian.

  • "x" a padding zero byte with no corresponding Lua value.

  • "b" a signed char.

  • "B" an unsigned char.

  • "h" a signed short (native size).

  • "H" an unsigned short (native size).

  • "l" a signed long (native size).

  • "L" an unsigned long (native size).

  • "T" a size_t (native size).

  • "in" a signed integer with 'n' bytes. An absent 'n' means the native size of an int.

  • "In" like "in" but unsigned.

  • "e" signed 8-byte Integer (64-bits, long long), to/from a Int64 object.

  • "E" unsigned 8-byte Integer (64-bits, long long), to/from a UInt64 object.

  • "f" a float (native size).

  • "d" a double (native size).

  • "s" a zero-terminated string.

  • "cn" a sequence of exactly 'n' chars corresponding to a single Lua string. An absent 'n' means 1. When packing, the given string must have at least 'n' characters (extra characters are discarded).

  • "c0" this is like "cn", except that the 'n' is given by other means: When packing, 'n' is the length of the given string; when unpacking, 'n' is the value of the previous unpacked value (which must be a number). In that case, this previous value is not returned.

  • "xn" pad to 'n' number of bytes, default 1.

  • "Xn" pad to 'n' alignment, default MAXALIGN.

  • "(" to stop assigning items, and ")" start assigning (padding when packing).

  • "=" to return the current position / offset.

[Note]Note

Using i, I, h, H, l, L, f, and T is strongly discouraged, as those sizes are system-dependent. Use the explicitly sized variants instead, such as i4 or E.

[Note]Note

Unpacking of i/I is done to a Lua number, a double-precision floating point, so unpacking a 64-bit field (i8/I8) will lose precision. Use e/E to unpack into a Wireshark Int64/UInt64 object instead.

11.17.1. Struct

11.17.1.1. Struct.pack(format, value)

Returns a string containing the values arg1, arg2, etc. packed/encoded according to the format string.

11.17.1.1.1. Arguments
format

The format string

value

One or more Lua value(s) to encode, based on the given format.

11.17.1.1.2. Returns

The packed binary Lua string, plus any positions due to '=' being used in format.

11.17.1.2. Struct.unpack(format, struct, [begin])

Unpacks/decodes multiple Lua values from a given struct-like binary Lua string. The number of returned values depends on the format given, plus an additional value of the position where it stopped reading is returned.

11.17.1.2.1. Arguments
format

The format string

struct

The binary Lua string to unpack

begin (optional)

The position to begin reading from (default=1)

11.17.1.2.2. Returns

One or more values based on format, plus the position it stopped unpacking.

11.17.1.3. Struct.size(format)

Returns the length of a binary string that would be consumed/handled by the given format string.

11.17.1.3.1. Arguments
format

The format string

11.17.1.3.2. Returns

The size number

11.17.1.4. Struct.values(format)

Returns the number of Lua values contained in the given format string. This will be the number of returned values from a call to Struct.unpack() not including the extra return value of offset position. (i.e., Struct.values() does not count that extra return value) This will also be the number of arguments Struct.pack() expects, not including the format string argument.

11.17.1.4.1. Arguments
format

The format string

11.17.1.4.2. Returns

The number of values

11.17.1.5. Struct.tohex(bytestring, [lowercase], [separator])

Converts the passed-in binary string to a hex-ascii string.

11.17.1.5.1. Arguments
bytestring

A Lua string consisting of binary bytes

lowercase (optional)

True to use lower-case hex characters (default=false).

separator (optional)

A string separator to insert between hex bytes (default=nil).

11.17.1.5.2. Returns

The Lua hex-ascii string

11.17.1.6. Struct.fromhex(hexbytes, [separator])

Converts the passed-in hex-ascii string to a binary string.

11.17.1.6.1. Arguments
hexbytes

A string consisting of hexadecimal bytes like "00 B1 A2" or "1a2b3c4d"

separator (optional)

A string separator between hex bytes/words (default=" ").

11.17.1.6.2. Returns

The Lua binary string

11.18.  GLib Regular Expressions

Lua has its own native 'pattern' syntax in the string library, but sometimes a real regex engine is more useful. Wireshark comes with GLib's Regex implementation, which itself is based on Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE). This engine is exposed into Wireshark's Lua engine through the well-known Lrexlib library, following the same syntax and semantics as the Lrexlib PCRE implementation, with a few differences as follows:

  • There is no support for using custom locale/chartables

  • dfa_exec() doesn't take 'ovecsize' nor 'wscount' arguments

  • dfa_exec() returns boolean true for partial match, without subcapture info

  • Named subgroups do not return name-keyed entries in the return table (i.e., in match/tfind/exec)

  • The 'flags()' function still works, returning all flags, but two new functions 'compile_flags()' and 'match_flags()' return just their respective flags, since GLib has a different and smaller set of such flags, for regex compile vs. match functions

  • Using some assertions and POSIX character classes against strings with non-ASCII characters might match high-order characters, because glib always sets PCRE_UCP even if G_REGEX_RAW is set. For example, '[:alpha;]' matches certain non-ASCII bytes. The following assertions have this issue: '\b', '\B', '\s', '\S', '\w', '\W'. The following character classes have this issue: [:alpha:], [:alnum:], [:lower:], [:upper:], [:space:], [:word:], and [:graph:].

  • The compile flag G_REGEX_RAW is always set/used, even if you didn't specify it. This is because GLib runs PCRE in UTF-8 mode by default, whereas Lua strings are not UTF-aware.

Since: 1.11.3

This page is based on the full documentation for Lrexlib at http://rrthomas.github.io/lrexlib/manual.html

The GLib Regular expression syntax (which is essentially PCRE syntax) can be found at https://developer.gnome.org/glib/2.38/glib-regex-syntax.html

11.18.1. GRegex

GLib Regular Expressions based on PCRE.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.1. Notes

All functions that take a regular expression pattern as an argument will generate an error if that pattern is found invalid by the regex library.

All functions that take a string-type regex argument accept a compiled regex too. In this case, the compile flags argument is ignored (should be either supplied as nils or omitted).

The capture flag argument 'cf' may also be supplied as a string, whose characters stand for compilation flags. Combinations of the following characters (case sensitive) are supported:

  • 'i' = G_REGEX_CASELESS - Letters in the pattern match both upper- and lowercase letters. This option can be changed within a pattern by a "(?i)" option setting.

  • 'm' = G_REGEX_MULTILINE - By default, GRegex treats the strings as consisting of a single line of characters (even if it actually contains newlines). The "start of line" metacharacter ("^") matches only at the start of the string, while the "end of line" metacharacter ("$") matches only at the end of the string, or before a terminating newline (unless G_REGEX_DOLLAR_ENDONLY is set). When G_REGEX_MULTILINE is set, the "start of line" and "end of line" constructs match immediately following or immediately before any newline in the string, respectively, as well as at the very start and end. This can be changed within a pattern by a "(?m)" option setting.

  • 's' = G_REGEX_DOTALL - A dot metacharater (".") in the pattern matches all characters, including newlines. Without it, newlines are excluded. This option can be changed within a pattern by a ("?s") option setting.

  • 'x' = G_REGEX_EXTENDED - Whitespace data characters in the pattern are totally ignored except when escaped or inside a character class. Whitespace does not include the VT character (code 11). In addition, characters between an unescaped "#" outside a character class and the next newline character, inclusive, are also ignored. This can be changed within a pattern by a "(?x)" option setting.

  • 'U' = G_REGEX_UNGREEDY - Inverts the "greediness" of the quantifiers so that they are not greedy by default, but become greedy if followed by "?". It can also be set by a "(?U)" option setting within the pattern.

11.18.1.2. GRegex.new(pattern)

Compiles regular expression pattern into a regular expression object whose internal representation is corresponding to the library used. The returned result then can be used by the methods, e.g. match, exec, etc. Regular expression objects are automatically garbage collected.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.2.1. Arguments
pattern

A Perl-compatible regular expression pattern string

11.18.1.2.2. Returns

The compiled regular expression (a userdata object)

11.18.1.2.3. Errors
  • A malformed pattern generates a Lua error

11.18.1.3. GRegex.flags([table])

Returns a table containing the numeric values of the constants defined by the regex library, with the keys being the (string) names of the constants. If the table argument is supplied then it is used as the output table, otherwise a new table is created. The constants contained in the returned table can then be used in most functions and methods where compilation flags or execution flags can be specified. They can also be used for comparing with return codes of some functions and methods for determining the reason of failure.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.3.1. Arguments
table (optional)

A table for placing results into

11.18.1.3.2. Returns

A table filled with the results.

11.18.1.4. GRegex.compile_flags([table])

Returns a table containing the numeric values of the constants defined by the regex library for compile flags, with the keys being the (string) names of the constants. If the table argument is supplied then it is used as the output table, otherwise a new table is created.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.4.1. Arguments
table (optional)

A table for placing results into

11.18.1.4.2. Returns

A table filled with the results.

11.18.1.5. GRegex.match_flags([table])

Returns a table containing the numeric values of the constants defined by the regex library for match flags, with the keys being the (string) names of the constants. If the table argument is supplied then it is used as the output table, otherwise a new table is created.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.5.1. Arguments
table (optional)

A table for placing results into

11.18.1.5.2. Returns

A table filled with the results.

11.18.1.6. GRegex.match(subject, pattern, [init], [cf], [ef])

Searches for the first match of the regexp pattern in the string subject, starting from offset init, subject to flags cf and ef. The pattern is compiled each time this is called, unlike the class method 'match' function.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.6.1. Arguments
subject

Subject string to search

pattern

A Perl-compatible regular expression pattern string or GRegex object

init (optional)

start offset in the subject (can be negative)

cf (optional)

compilation flags (bitwise OR)

ef (optional)

match execution flags (bitwise OR)

11.18.1.6.2. Returns

On success, returns all substring matches ("captures"), in the order they appear in the pattern. false is returned for sub-patterns that did not participate in the match. If the pattern specified no captures then the whole matched substring is returned. On failure, returns nil.

11.18.1.7. GRegex.find(subject, pattern, [init], [cf], [ef])

Searches for the first match of the regexp pattern in the string subject, starting from offset init, subject to flags ef. The pattern is compiled each time this is called, unlike the class method 'find' function.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.7.1. Arguments
subject

Subject string to search

pattern

A Perl-compatible regular expression pattern string or GRegex object

init (optional)

start offset in the subject (can be negative)

cf (optional)

compilation flags (bitwise OR)

ef (optional)

match execution flags (bitwise OR)

11.18.1.7.2. Returns

On success, returns the start point of the match (a number), the end point of the match (a number), and all substring matches ("captures"), in the order they appear in the pattern. false is returned for sub-patterns that did not participate in the match. On failure, returns nil.

11.18.1.8. GRegex.gmatch(subject, pattern, [init], [cf], [ef])

Returns an iterator for repeated matching of the pattern patt in the string subj, subject to flags cf and ef. The function is intended for use in the generic for Lua construct. The pattern can be a string or a GRegex object previously compiled with GRegex.new().

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.8.1. Arguments
subject

Subject string to search

pattern

A Perl-compatible regular expression pattern string or GRegex object

init (optional)

start offset in the subject (can be negative)

cf (optional)

compilation flags (bitwise OR)

ef (optional)

match execution flags (bitwise OR)

11.18.1.8.2. Returns

The iterator function is called by Lua. On every iteration (that is, on every match), it returns all captures in the order they appear in the pattern (or the entire match if the pattern specified no captures). The iteration will continue till the subject fails to match.

11.18.1.9. GRegex.gsub(subject, pattern, [repl], [max], [cf], [ef])

Searches for all matches of the pattern in the string subject and replaces them according to the parameters repl and max. The pattern can be a string or a GRegex object previously compiled with GRegex.new().

Since: 1.11.3

For details see: http://rrthomas.github.io/lrexlib/manual.html#gsub

11.18.1.9.1. Arguments
subject

Subject string to search

pattern

A Perl-compatible regular expression pattern string or GRegex object

repl (optional)

Substitution source string, function, table, false or nil

max (optional)

Maximum number of matches to search for, or control function, or nil

cf (optional)

Compilation flags (bitwise OR)

ef (optional)

Match execution flags (bitwise OR)

11.18.1.9.2. Returns

On success, returns the subject string with the substitutions made, the number of matches found, and the number of substitutions made.

11.18.1.10. GRegex.split(subject, sep, [cf], [ef])

Splits a subject string subj into parts (sections). The sep parameter is a regular expression pattern representing separators between the sections. The function is intended for use in the generic for Lua construct. The function returns an iterator for repeated matching of the pattern sep in the string subj, subject to flags cf and ef. The sep pattern can be a string or a GRegex object previously compiled with GRegex.new(). Unlike gmatch, there will always be at least one iteration pass, even if there are no matches in the subject.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.10.1. Arguments
subject

Subject string to search

sep

A Perl-compatible regular expression pattern string or GRegex object

cf (optional)

compilation flags (bitwise OR)

ef (optional)

match execution flags (bitwise OR)

11.18.1.10.2. Returns

The iterator function is called by Lua. On every iteration, it returns a subject section (can be an empty string), followed by all captures in the order they appear in the sep pattern (or the entire match if the sep pattern specified no captures). If there is no match (this can occur only in the last iteration), then nothing is returned after the subject section. The iteration will continue till the end of the subject.

11.18.1.11. GRegex.version()

Returns a returns a string containing the version of the used library.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.11.1. Returns

The version string

11.18.1.12. gregex:match(subject, [init], [ef])

Searches for the first match of the regexp pattern in the string subject, starting from offset init, subject to flags ef.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.12.1. Arguments
subject

Subject string to search

init (optional)

start offset in the subject (can be negative)

ef (optional)

match execution flags (bitwise OR)

11.18.1.12.2. Returns

On success, returns all substring matches ("captures"), in the order they appear in the pattern. false is returned for sub-patterns that did not participate in the match. If the pattern specified no captures then the whole matched substring is returned. nil is returned if the pattern did not match.

11.18.1.13. gregex:find(subject, [init], [ef])

Searches for the first match of the regexp pattern in the string subject, starting from offset init, subject to flags ef.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.13.1. Arguments
subject

Subject string to search

init (optional)

start offset in the subject (can be negative)

ef (optional)

match execution flags (bitwise OR)

11.18.1.13.2. Returns

On success, returns the start point of the match (a number), the end point of the match (a number), and all substring matches ("captures"), in the order they appear in the pattern. false is returned for sub-patterns that did not participate in the match. On failure, returns nil.

11.18.1.14. gregex:exec(subject, [init], [ef])

Searches for the first match of the compiled GRegex object in the string subject, starting from offset init, subject to the execution match flags ef.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.14.1. Arguments
subject

Subject string to search

init (optional)

start offset in the subject (can be negative)

ef (optional)

match execution flags (bitwise OR)

11.18.1.14.2. Returns

On success, returns the start point of the first match (a number), the end point of the first match (a number), and the offsets of substring matches ("captures" in Lua terminology) are returned as a third result, in a table. This table contains false in the positions where the corresponding sub-pattern did not participate in the match. On failure, returns nil. Example: If the whole match is at offsets 10,20 and substring matches are at offsets 12,14 and 16,19 then the function returns the following: 10, 20, { 12,14,16,19 }.

11.18.1.15. gregex:dfa_exec(subject, [init], [ef])

Matches a compiled regular expression GRegex object against a given subject string subj, using a DFA matching algorithm.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.15.1. Arguments
subject

Subject string to search

init (optional)

start offset in the subject (can be negative)

ef (optional)

match execution flags (bitwise OR)

11.18.1.15.2. Returns

On success, returns the start point of the matches found (a number), a table containing the end points of the matches found, the longer matches first, and the number of matches found as the third return value. On failure, returns nil. Example: If there are 3 matches found starting at offset 10 and ending at offsets 15, 20 and 25 then the function returns the following: 10, { 25,20,15 }, 3

11.18.1.16. gregex:__tostring()

Returns a string containing debug information about the GRegex object.

Since: 1.11.3

11.18.1.16.1. Returns

The debug string

Appendix A. Files and Folders

A.1. Capture Files

To understand which information will remain available after the captured packets are saved to a capture file, it's helpful to know a bit about the capture file contents.

Wireshark uses the libpcap file format as the default format to save captured packets; this format has existed for a long time and it's pretty simple. However, it has some drawbacks: it's not extensible and lacks some information that would be really helpful (e.g. being able to add a comment to a packet such as "the problems start here" would be really nice).

In addition to the libpcap format, Wireshark supports several different capture file formats. However, the problems described above also applies for these formats.

A new capture file format "PCAP Next Generation Dump File Format" is currently under development, which will fix these drawbacks. However, it still might take a while until the new file format is ready and Wireshark can use it.

A.1.1. Libpcap File Contents

At the start of each libpcap capture file some basic information is stored like a magic number to identify the libpcap file format. The most interesting information of this file start is the link layer type (Ethernet, Token Ring, ...).

The following data is saved for each packet:

  • the timestamp with millisecond resolution

  • the packet length as it was "on the wire"

  • the packet length as it's saved in the file

  • the packet's raw bytes

A detailed description of the libpcap file format can be found at: http://wiki.wireshark.org/Development/LibpcapFileFormat

A.1.2. Not Saved in the Capture File

Probably even more interesting for everyday Wireshark usage is to know the things that are not saved in the capture file:

  • current selections (selected packet, ...)

  • name resolution information, see Section 7.7, “Name Resolution” for details

    [Warning]Warning!

    The name resolution information is rebuilt each time Wireshark is restarted so this information might even change when the capture file is reopened on the same machine later!

  • the number of packets dropped while capturing

  • packet marks set with "Edit/Mark Packet"

  • time references set with "Edit/Time Reference"

  • the current display filter

  • ...

A.2. Configuration Files and Folders

Wireshark uses a number of files and folders while it is running. Some of these reside in the personal configuration folder and are used to maintain information between runs of Wireshark, while some of them are maintained in system areas.

[Tip]Tip

A list of the folders Wireshark actually uses can be found under the Folders tab in the dialog box shown when you select About Wireshark from the Help menu.

The content format of the configuration files is the same on all platforms. However, to match the different policies for Unix and Windows platforms, different folders are used for these files.

Table A.1. Configuration files and folders overview

File/FolderDescriptionUnix/Linux foldersWindows folders
preferencesSettings from the Preferences dialog box./etc/wireshark.conf, $HOME/.wireshark/preferences%WIRESHARK%\wireshark.conf, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\preferences
recentRecent GUI settings (e.g. recent files lists).$HOME/.wireshark/recent%APPDATA%\Wireshark\recent
cfiltersCapture filters.$HOME/.wireshark/cfilters%WIRESHARK%\cfilters, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\cfilters
dfiltersDisplay filters.$HOME/.wireshark/dfilters%WIRESHARK%\dfilters, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\dfilters
colorfiltersColoring rules.$HOME/.wireshark/colorfilters%WIRESHARK%\colorfilters, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\colorfilters
disabled_protosDisabled protocols.$HOME/.wireshark/disabled_protos%WIRESHARK%\disabled_protos, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\disabled_protos
ethersEthernet name resolution./etc/ethers, $HOME/.wireshark/ethers%WIRESHARK%\ethers, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\ethers
manufEthernet name resolution./etc/manuf, $HOME/.wireshark/manuf%WIRESHARK%\manuf, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\manuf
hostsIPv4 and IPv6 name resolution./etc/hosts, $HOME/.wireshark/hosts%WIRESHARK%\hosts, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\hosts
servicesNetwork services./etc/services, $HOME/.wireshark/services%WIRESHARK%\services, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\services
subnetsIPv4 subnet name resolution./etc/subnets, $HOME/.wireshark/subnets%WIRESHARK%\subnets, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\subnets
ipxnetsIPX name resolution./etc/ipxnets, $HOME/.wireshark/ipxnets%WIRESHARK%\ipxnets, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\ipxnets
pluginsPlugin directories./usr/share/wireshark/plugins, /usr/local/share/wireshark/plugins, $HOME/.wireshark/plugins %WIRESHARK%\plugins\<version>, %APPDATA%\Wireshark\plugins
tempTemporary files.Environment: TMPDIREnvironment: TMPDIR or TEMP

[Note]Windows folders

%APPDATA% points to the personal configuration folder, e.g.: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data (details can be found at: Section A.3.1, “Windows profiles”),

%WIRESHARK% points to the Wireshark program folder, e.g.: C:\Program Files\Wireshark

[Note]Unix/Linux folders

The /etc folder is the global Wireshark configuration folder. The folder actually used on your system may vary, maybe something like: /usr/local/etc.

$HOME is usually something like: /home/<username>

preferences/wireshark.conf

This file contains your Wireshark preferences, including defaults for capturing and displaying packets. It is a simple text file containing statements of the form:

variable: value
          

The settings from this file are read in at program start and written to disk when you press the Save button in the "Preferences" dialog box.

recent

This file contains various GUI related settings like the main window position and size, the recent files list and such. It is a simple text file containing statements of the form:

variable: value
          

It is read at program start and written at program exit.

cfilters

This file contains all the capture filters that you have defined and saved. It consists of one or more lines, where each line has the following format:

"<filter name>" <filter string>
          

The settings from this file are read in at program start and written to disk when you press the Save button in the "Capture Filters" dialog box.

dfilters

This file contains all the display filters that you have defined and saved. It consists of one or more lines, where each line has the following format:

"<filter name>" <filter string>
          

The settings from this file are read in at program start and written to disk when you press the Save button in the "Display Filters" dialog box.

colorfilters

This file contains all the color filters that you have defined and saved. It consists of one or more lines, where each line has the following format:

@<filter name>@<filter string>@[<bg RGB(16-bit)>][<fg RGB(16-bit)>]
          

The settings from this file are read in at program start and written to disk when you press the Save button in the "Coloring Rules" dialog box.

disabled_protos

Each line in this file specifies a disabled protocol name. The following are some examples:

tcp
udp
          

The settings from this file are read in at program start and written to disk when you press the Save button in the "Enabled Protocols" dialog box.

ethers

When Wireshark is trying to translate Ethernet hardware addresses to names, it consults the files listed in Table A.1, “Configuration files and folders overview”. If an address is not found in /etc/ethers, Wireshark looks in $HOME/.wireshark/ethers

Each line in these files consists of one hardware address and name separated by whitespace. The digits of hardware addresses are separated by colons (:), dashes (-) or periods(.). The following are some examples:

ff-ff-ff-ff-ff-ff    Broadcast
c0-00-ff-ff-ff-ff    TR_broadcast
00.2b.08.93.4b.a1    Freds_machine
          

The settings from this file are read in at program start and never written by Wireshark.

manuf

Wireshark uses the files listed in Table A.1, “Configuration files and folders overview” to translate the first three bytes of an Ethernet address into a manufacturers name. This file has the same format as the ethers file, except addresses are three bytes long.

An example is:

00:00:01    Xerox                  # XEROX CORPORATION
          

The settings from this file are read in at program start and never written by Wireshark.

hosts

Wireshark uses the files listed in Table A.1, “Configuration files and folders overview” to translate IPv4 and IPv6 addresses into names.

This file has the same format as the usual /etc/hosts file on Unix systems.

An example is:

# Comments must be prepended by the # sign!
192.168.0.1 homeserver
          

The settings from this file are read in at program start and never written by Wireshark.

services

Wireshark uses the files listed in Table A.1, “Configuration files and folders overview” to translate port numbers into names.

An example is:

mydns       5045/udp     # My own Domain Name Server
mydns       5045/tcp     # My own Domain Name Server
          

The settings from this file are read in at program start and never written by Wireshark.

subnets

Wireshark uses the files listed in Table A.1, “Configuration files and folders overview” to translate an IPv4 address into a subnet name. If no exact match from the hosts file or from DNS is found, Wireshark will attempt a partial match for the subnet of the address.

Each line of this file consists of an IPv4 address, a subnet mask length separated only by a '/' and a name separated by whitespace. While the address must be a full IPv4 address, any values beyond the mask length are subsequently ignored.

An example is:

# Comments must be prepended by the # sign!
192.168.0.0/24 ws_test_network
          

A partially matched name will be printed as "subnet-name.remaining-address". For example, "192.168.0.1" under the subnet above would be printed as "ws_test_network.1"; if the mask length above had been 16 rather than 24, the printed address would be "ws_test_network.0.1".

The settings from this file are read in at program start and never written by Wireshark.

ipxnets

Wireshark uses the files listed in Table A.1, “Configuration files and folders overview” to translate IPX network numbers into names.

An example is:

C0.A8.2C.00      HR
c0-a8-1c-00      CEO
00:00:BE:EF      IT_Server1
110f             FileServer3
          

The settings from this file are read in at program start and never written by Wireshark.

plugins folder

Wireshark searches for plugins in the directories listed in Table A.1, “Configuration files and folders overview”. They are searched in the order listed.

temp folder

If you start a new capture and don't specify a filename for it, Wireshark uses this directory to store that file; see Section 4.11, “Capture files and file modes”.

A.2.1. Protocol help configuration

Wireshark can use configuration files to create context-sensitive menu items for protocol detail items which will load help URLs in your web browser.

To create a protocol help file, create a folder named "protocol_help" in either the personal or global configuration folders. Then create a text file with the extension ".ini" in the "protocol_help" folder. The file must contain key-value pairs with the following sections:

[database]

Mandatory. This contains initialization information for the help file. The following keys must be defined:

source

Source name, e.g. "HyperGlobalMegaMart".

version

Must be "1".

location

General URL for help items. Variables can be substituted using the [location data] section below.

[location data]

Optional. Contains keys that will be used for variable substitution in the "location" value. For example, if the database section contains

location = http://www.example.com/proto?cookie=${cookie}&path=${PATH}
          

then setting

cookie = anonymous-user-1138
          

will result in the URL "http://www.example.com/proto?cookie=anonymous-user-1138&path=${PATH}". PATH is used for help path substitution, and shouldn't be defined in this section.

[map]

Maps Wireshark protocol names to section names below. Each key MUST match a valid protocol name such as "ip". Each value MUST have a matching section defined in the configuration file.

Each protocol section must contain an "_OVERVIEW" key which will be used as the first menu item for the help source. Subsequent keys must match descriptions in the protocol detail. Values will be used as the ${PATH} variable in the location template. If ${PATH} isn't present in the location template the value will be appended to the location.

Suppose the file C:\Users\sam.clemens\AppData\Roaming\Wireshark\protocol_help\wikipedia.ini contains the following:

# Wikipedia (en) protocol help file.

# Help file initialization
# source: The source of the help information, e.g. "Inacon" or "Wikipedia"
# version: Currently unused. Must be "1".
# url_template: Template for generated URLs. See "URL Data" below.
[database]
source=Wikipedia
version=1
url_template=http://${language}.wikipedia.org/wiki/${PATH}

# Substitution data for the location template.
# Each occurrence of the keys below in the location template will be
# substituted with their corresponding values. For example, "${license}"
# in the URL template above will be replaced with the value of "license"
# below.
#
# PATH is reserved for the help paths below; do not specify it here.
[location data]
language = en

# Maps Wireshark protocol names to section names below. Each key MUST match
# a valid protocol name. Each value MUST have a matching section below.
[map]
tcp=TCP

# Mapped protocol sections.
# Keys must match protocol detail items descriptions.
[TCP]
_OVERVIEW=Transmission_Control_Protocol
Destination port=Transmission_Control_Protocol#TCP_ports
Source port=Transmission_Control_Protocol#TCP_ports
      

Right-clicking on a TCP protocol detail item will display a help menu item that displays the Wikipedia page for TCP. Right-clicking on the TCP destination or source ports will display additional help menu items that take you to the "TCP ports" section of the page.

The [location data] and ${PATH} can be omitted if they are not needed. For example, the following configuration is functionally equivalent to the previous configuration:

[database]
source=Wikipedia
version=1
location=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

[map]
tcp=TCP

[TCP]
_OVERVIEW=Transmission_Control_Protocol
Destination port=Transmission_Control_Protocol#TCP_ports
Source port=Transmission_Control_Protocol#TCP_ports
      

A.3. Windows folders

Here you will find some details about the folders used in Wireshark on different Windows versions.

As already mentioned, you can find the currently used folders in the About Wireshark dialog.

A.3.1. Windows profiles

Windows uses some special directories to store user configuration files which define the "user profile". This can be confusing, as the default directory location changed from Windows version to version and might also be different for English and internationalized versions of Windows.

[Note]Note!

If you've upgraded to a new Windows version, your profile might be kept in the former location, so the defaults mentioned here might not apply.

The following guides you to the right place where to look for Wireshark's profile data.

Windows 7, Windows Vista

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Wireshark

Windows XP

C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data, "Documents and Settings" and "Application Data" might be internationalized.

Windows 2000 (no longer supported by Wireshark, for historical reference only)

C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data, "Documents and Settings" and "Application Data" might be internationalized.

Windows NT 4 (no longer supported, for historical reference only)

C:\WINNT\Profiles\<username>\Application Data\Wireshark

Windows ME, Windows 98 with user profiles (no longer supported, for historical reference only)

In Windows ME and 98 you can enable separate user profiles. In that case, something like C:\windows\Profiles\<username>\Application Data\Wireshark is used.

Windows ME, Windows 98 without user profiles (no longer supported, for historical reference only)

Without user profiles enabled the default location for all users is C:\windows\Application Data\Wireshark

A.3.2. Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, and NT roaming profiles

The following will only be applicable if you are using roaming profiles. This might be the case, if you work in a Windows domain environment (used in company networks). The configurations of all programs you use won't be saved on the local hard drive of the computer you are currently working on, but on the domain server.

As Wireshark is using the correct places to store its profile data, your settings will travel with you, if you logon to a different computer the next time.

There is an exception to this: The "Local Settings" folder in your profile data (typically something like: C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings) will not be transferred to the domain server. This is the default for temporary capture files.

A.3.3. Windows temporary folder

Wireshark uses the folder which is set by the TMPDIR or TEMP environment variable. This variable will be set by the Windows installer.

Windows 7, Windows Vista

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Temp

Windows XP, Windows 2000

C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Temp

Windows NT

C:\TEMP

Appendix B. Protocols and Protocol Fields

Wireshark distinguishes between protocols (e.g. tcp) and protocol fields (e.g. tcp.port).

A comprehensive list of all protocols and protocol fields can be found at: http://www.wireshark.org/docs/dfref/

Appendix C. Wireshark Messages

Wireshark provides you with additional information generated out of the plain packet data or it may need to indicate dissection problems. Messages generated by Wireshark are usually placed in [] parentheses.

C.1. Packet List Messages

These messages might appear in the packet list.

C.1.1. [Malformed Packet]

Malformed packet means that the protocol dissector can't dissect the contents of the packet any further. There can be various reasons:

  • Wrong dissector: Wireshark erroneously has chosen the wrong protocol dissector for this packet. This will happen e.g. if you are using a protocol not on its well known TCP or UDP port. You may try Analyze|Decode As to circumvent this problem.

  • Packet not reassembled: The packet is longer than a single frame and it is not reassembled, see Section 7.6, “Packet Reassembling” for further details.

  • Packet is malformed: The packet is actually wrong (malformed), meaning that a part of the packet is just not as expected (not following the protocol specifications).

  • Dissector is buggy: The corresponding protocol dissector is simply buggy or still incomplete.

Any of the above is possible. You'll have to look into the specific situation to determine the reason. You could disable the dissector by disabling the protocol on the Analyze menu and check how Wireshark displays the packet then. You could (if it's TCP) enable reassembly for TCP and the specific dissector (if possible) in the Edit|Preferences menu. You could check the packet contents yourself by reading the packet bytes and comparing it to the protocol specification. This could reveal a dissector bug. Or you could find out that the packet is indeed wrong.

C.1.2. [Packet size limited during capture]

The packet size was limited during capture, see "Limit each packet to n bytes" at the Section 4.5, “The "Capture Options" dialog box”. While dissecting, the current protocol dissector was simply running out of packet bytes and had to give up. There's nothing else you can do now, except to repeat the whole capture process again with a higher (or no) packet size limitation.

C.2. Packet Details Messages

These messages might appear in the packet details.

C.2.1. [Response in frame: 123]

The current packet is the request of a detected request/response pair. You can directly jump to the corresponding response packet just by double clicking on this message.

C.2.2. [Request in frame: 123]

Same as "Response in frame: 123" above, but the other way round.

C.2.3. [Time from request: 0.123 seconds]

The time between the request and the response packets.

C.2.4. [Stream setup by PROTOCOL (frame 123)]

The session control protocol (SDP, H225, etc) message which signaled the creation of this session. You can directly jump to the corresponding packet just by double clicking on this message.

Appendix D. Related command line tools

D.1. Introduction

Besides the Wireshark GUI application, there are some command line tools which can be helpful for doing some more specialized things. These tools will be described in this chapter.

D.2. tshark: Terminal-based Wireshark

TShark is a terminal oriented version of Wireshark designed for capturing and displaying packets when an interactive user interface isn't necessary or available. It supports the same options as wireshark. For more information on tshark, see the manual pages (man tshark).

Example D.1. Help information available from tshark

TShark 1.11.0 (SVN Rev 52564 from /trunk)
Dump and analyze network traffic.
See http://www.wireshark.org for more information.

Copyright 1998-2013 Gerald Combs <[email protected]> and contributors.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO
warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Usage: tshark [options] ...

Capture interface:
  -i <interface>           name or idx of interface (def: first non-loopback)
  -f <capture filter>      packet filter in libpcap filter syntax
  -s <snaplen>             packet snapshot length (def: 65535)
  -p                       don't capture in promiscuous mode
  -I                       capture in monitor mode, if available
  -B <buffer size>         size of kernel buffer (def: 1MB)
  -y <link type>           link layer type (def: first appropriate)
  -D                       print list of interfaces and exit
  -L                       print list of link-layer types of iface and exit

Capture stop conditions:
  -c <packet count>        stop after n packets (def: infinite)
  -a <autostop cond.> ...  duration:NUM - stop after NUM seconds
                           filesize:NUM - stop this file after NUM KB
                              files:NUM - stop after NUM files
Capture output:
  -b <ringbuffer opt.> ... duration:NUM - switch to next file after NUM secs
                           filesize:NUM - switch to next file after NUM KB
                              files:NUM - ringbuffer: replace after NUM files
RPCAP options:
  -A <user>:<password>     use RPCAP password authentication
Input file:
  -r <infile>              set the filename to read from (no pipes or stdin!)

Processing:
  -2                       perform a two-pass analysis
  -R <read filter>         packet Read filter in Wireshark display filter syntax
  -Y <display filter>      packet displaY filter in Wireshark display filter syntax
  -n                       disable all name resolutions (def: all enabled)
  -N <name resolve flags>  enable specific name resolution(s): "mntC"
  -d <layer_type>==<selector>,<decode_as_protocol> ...
                           "Decode As", see the man page for details
                           Example: tcp.port==8888,http
  -H <hosts file>          read a list of entries from a hosts file, which will
                           then be written to a capture file. (Implies -W n)
Output:
  -w <outfile|->           write packets to a pcap-format file named "outfile"
                           (or to the standard output for "-")
  -C <config profile>      start with specified configuration profile
  -F <output file type>    set the output file type, default is libpcap
                           an empty "-F" option will list the file types
  -V                       add output of packet tree        (Packet Details)
  -O <protocols>           Only show packet details of these protocols, comma
                           separated
  -P                       print packet summary even when writing to a file
  -S <separator>           the line separator to print between packets
  -x                       add output of hex and ASCII dump (Packet Bytes)
  -T pdml|ps|psml|text|fields
                           format of text output (def: text)
  -e <field>               field to print if -Tfields selected (e.g. tcp.port, _ws.col.Info);
                           this option can be repeated to print multiple fields
  -E<fieldsoption>=<value> set options for output when -Tfields selected:
     header=y|n            switch headers on and off
     separator=/t|/s|<char> select tab, space, printable character as separator
     occurrence=f|l|a      print first, last or all occurrences of each field
     aggregator=,|/s|<char> select comma, space, printable character as
                           aggregator
     quote=d|s|n           select double, single, no quotes for values
  -t a|ad|d|dd|e|r|u|ud    output format of time stamps (def: r: rel. to first)
  -u s|hms                 output format of seconds (def: s: seconds)
  -l                       flush standard output after each packet
  -q                       be more quiet on stdout (e.g. when using statistics)
  -Q                       only log true errors to stderr (quieter than -q)
  -g                       enable group read access on the output file(s)
  -W n                     Save extra information in the file, if supported.
                           n = write network address resolution information
  -X <key>:<value>         eXtension options, see the man page for details
  -z <statistics>          various statistics, see the man page for details
  --capture-comment <comment>
                           add a capture comment to the newly created
                           output file (only for pcapng)

Miscellaneous:
  -h                       display this help and exit
  -v                       display version info and exit
  -o <name>:<value> ...    override preference setting
  -K <keytab>              keytab file to use for kerberos decryption
  -G [report]              dump one of several available reports and exit
                           default report="fields"
                           use "-G ?" for more help
      


D.3. tcpdump: Capturing with tcpdump for viewing with Wireshark

There are occasions when you want to capture packets using tcpdump rather than wireshark, especially when you want to do a remote capture and do not want the network load associated with running Wireshark remotely (not to mention all the X traffic polluting your capture).

However, the default tcpdump parameters result in a capture file where each packet is truncated, because most versions of tcpdump, will, by default, only capture the first 68 or 96 bytes of each packet.

To ensure that you capture complete packets, use the following command:

tcpdump -i <interface> -s 65535 -w <some-file>
      

You will have to specify the correct interface and the name of a file to save into. In addition, you will have to terminate the capture with ^C when you believe you have captured enough packets.

[Note]Note!

tcpdump is not part of the Wireshark distribution. You can get it from: http://www.tcpdump.org for various platforms.

D.4. dumpcap: Capturing with dumpcap for viewing with Wireshark

Dumpcap is a network traffic dump tool. It captures packet data from a live network and writes the packets to a file. Dumpcap's native capture file format is libpcap format, which is also the format used by Wireshark, tcpdump and various other tools.

Without any options set it will use the pcap library to capture traffic from the first available network interface and write the received raw packet data, along with the packets' time stamps into a libpcap file.

Packet capturing is performed with the pcap library. The capture filter syntax follows the rules of the pcap library.

Example D.2. Help information available from dumpcap

Dumpcap 1.11.0 (SVN Rev 52564 from /trunk)
Capture network packets and dump them into a pcapng file.
See http://www.wireshark.org for more information.

Usage: dumpcap [options] ...

Capture interface:
  -i <interface>           name or idx of interface (def: first non-loopback)
                           or for remote capturing, use one of these formats:
                               rpcap://<host>/<interface>
                               TCP@<host>:<port>
  -f <capture filter>      packet filter in libpcap filter syntax
  -s <snaplen>             packet snapshot length (def: 65535)
  -p                       don't capture in promiscuous mode
  -I                       capture in monitor mode, if available
  -B <buffer size>         size of kernel buffer in MB (def: 2MB)
  -y <link type>           link layer type (def: first appropriate)
  -D                       print list of interfaces and exit
  -L                       print list of link-layer types of iface and exit
  -d                       print generated BPF code for capture filter
  -k                       set channel on wifi interface <freq>,[<type>]
  -S                       print statistics for each interface once per second
  -M                       for -D, -L, and -S, produce machine-readable output

RPCAP options:
  -r                       don't ignore own RPCAP traffic in capture
  -u                       use UDP for RPCAP data transfer
  -A <user>:<password>     use RPCAP password authentication
  -m <sampling type>       use packet sampling
                           count:NUM - capture one packet of every NUM
                           timer:NUM - capture no more than 1 packet in NUM ms
Stop conditions:
  -c <packet count>        stop after n packets (def: infinite)
  -a <autostop cond.> ...  duration:NUM - stop after NUM seconds
                           filesize:NUM - stop this file after NUM KB
                              files:NUM - stop after NUM files
Output (files):
  -w <filename>            name of file to save (def: tempfile)
  -g                       enable group read access on the output file(s)
  -b <ringbuffer opt.> ... duration:NUM - switch to next file after NUM secs
                           filesize:NUM - switch to next file after NUM KB
                              files:NUM - ringbuffer: replace after NUM files
  -n                       use pcapng format instead of pcap (default)
  -P                       use libpcap format instead of pcapng
  --capture-comment <comment>
                           add a capture comment to the output file
                           (only for pcapng)

Miscellaneous:
  -N <packet_limit>        maximum number of packets buffered within dumpcap
  -C <byte_limit>          maximum number of bytes used for buffering packets
                           within dumpcap
  -t                       use a separate thread per interface
  -q                       don't report packet capture counts
  -v                       print version information and exit
  -h                       display this help and exit

Example: dumpcap -i eth0 -a duration:60 -w output.pcapng
"Capture packets from interface eth0 until 60s passed into output.pcapng"

Use Ctrl-C to stop capturing at any time.
      


D.5. capinfos: Print information about capture files

Included with Wireshark is a small utility called capinfos, which is a command-line utility to print information about binary capture files.

Example D.3. Help information available from capinfos

Capinfos 1.11.0 (SVN Rev 52564 from /trunk)
Prints various information (infos) about capture files.
See http://www.wireshark.org for more information.

Usage: capinfos [options] <infile> ...

General infos:
  -t display the capture file type
  -E display the capture file encapsulation
  -H display the SHA1, RMD160, and MD5 hashes of the file
  -k display the capture comment

Size infos:
  -c display the number of packets
  -s display the size of the file (in bytes)
  -d display the total length of all packets (in bytes)
  -l display the packet size limit (snapshot length)

Time infos:
  -u display the capture duration (in seconds)
  -a display the capture start time
  -e display the capture end time
  -o display the capture file chronological status (True/False)
  -S display start and end times as seconds

Statistic infos:
  -y display average data rate (in bytes/sec)
  -i display average data rate (in bits/sec)
  -z display average packet size (in bytes)
  -x display average packet rate (in packets/sec)

Output format:
  -L generate long report (default)
  -T generate table report
  -M display machine-readable values in long reports

Table report options:
  -R generate header record (default)
  -r do not generate header record

  -B separate infos with TAB character (default)
  -m separate infos with comma (,) character
  -b separate infos with SPACE character

  -N do not quote infos (default)
  -q quote infos with single quotes (')
  -Q quote infos with double quotes (")

Miscellaneous:
  -h display this help and exit
  -C cancel processing if file open fails (default is to continue)
  -A generate all infos (default)

Options are processed from left to right order with later options superceding
or adding to earlier options.

If no options are given the default is to display all infos in long report
output format.
      


D.6. rawshark: Dump and analyze network traffic.

Rawshark reads a stream of packets from a file or pipe, and prints a line describing its output, followed by a set of matching fields for each packet on stdout.

Example D.4. Help information available from rawshark

Rawshark 1.11.0 (SVN Rev 52564 from /trunk)
Dump and analyze network traffic.
See http://www.wireshark.org for more information.

Copyright 1998-2013 Gerald Combs <[email protected]> and contributors.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO
warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Usage: rawshark [options] ...

Input file:
  -r <infile>              set the pipe or file name to read from

Processing:
  -d <encap:linktype>|<proto:protoname>
                           packet encapsulation or protocol
  -F <field>               field to display
  -n                       disable all name resolution (def: all enabled)
  -N <name resolve flags>  enable specific name resolution(s): "mntC"
  -p                       use the system's packet header format
                           (which may have 64-bit timestamps)
  -R <read filter>         packet filter in Wireshark display filter syntax
  -s                       skip PCAP header on input

Output:
  -l                       flush output after each packet
  -S                       format string for fields
                           (%D - name, %S - stringval, %N numval)
  -t ad|a|r|d|dd|e         output format of time stamps (def: r: rel. to first)

Miscellaneous:
  -h                       display this help and exit
  -o <name>:<value> ...    override preference setting
  -v                       display version info and exit
      

D.7. editcap: Edit capture files

Included with Wireshark is a small utility called editcap, which is a command-line utility for working with capture files. Its main function is to remove packets from capture files, but it can also be used to convert capture files from one format to another, as well as to print information about capture files.

Example D.5. Help information available from editcap

Editcap 1.11.0 (SVN Rev 52564 from /trunk)
Edit and/or translate the format of capture files.
See http://www.wireshark.org for more information.

Usage: editcap [options] ... <infile> <outfile> [ <packet#>[-<packet#>] ... ]

<infile> and <outfile> must both be present.
A single packet or a range of packets can be selected.

Packet selection:
  -r                     keep the selected packets; default is to delete them.
  -A <start time>        only output packets whose timestamp is after (or equal
                         to) the given time (format as YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss).
  -B <stop time>         only output packets whose timestamp is before the
                         given time (format as YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss).

Duplicate packet removal:
  -d                     remove packet if duplicate (window == 5).
  -D <dup window>        remove packet if duplicate; configurable <dup window>
                         Valid <dup window> values are 0 to 1000000.
                         NOTE: A <dup window> of 0 with -v (verbose option) is
                         useful to print MD5 hashes.
  -w <dup time window>   remove packet if duplicate packet is found EQUAL TO OR
                         LESS THAN <dup time window> prior to current packet.
                         A <dup time window> is specified in relative seconds
                         (e.g. 0.000001).

           NOTE: The use of the 'Duplicate packet removal' options with
           other editcap options except -v may not always work as expected.
           Specifically the -r, -t or -S options will very likely NOT have the
           desired effect if combined with the -d, -D or -w.

Packet manipulation:
  -s <snaplen>           truncate each packet to max. <snaplen> bytes of data.
  -C [offset:]<choplen>  chop each packet by <choplen> bytes. Positive values
                         chop at the packet beginning, negative values at the
                         packet end. If an optional offset precedes the length,
                         then the bytes chopped will be offset from that value.
                         Positive offsets are from the packet beginning,
                         negative offsets are from the packet end. You can use
                         this option more than once, allowing up to 2 chopping
                         regions within a packet provided that at least 1
                         choplen is positive and at least 1 is negative.
  -L                     adjust the frame length when chopping and/or snapping
  -t <time adjustment>   adjust the timestamp of each packet;
                         <time adjustment> is in relative seconds (e.g. -0.5).
  -S <strict adjustment> adjust timestamp of packets if necessary to insure
                         strict chronological increasing order. The <strict
                         adjustment> is specified in relative seconds with
                         values of 0 or 0.000001 being the most reasonable.
                         A negative adjustment value will modify timestamps so
                         that each packet's delta time is the absolute value
                         of the adjustment specified. A value of -0 will set
                         all packets to the timestamp of the first packet.
  -E <error probability> set the probability (between 0.0 and 1.0 incl.) that
                         a particular packet byte will be randomly changed.

Output File(s):
  -c <packets per file>  split the packet output to different files based on
                         uniform packet counts with a maximum of
                         <packets per file> each.
  -i <seconds per file>  split the packet output to different files based on
                         uniform time intervals with a maximum of
                         <seconds per file> each.
  -F <capture type>      set the output file type; default is pcapng. An empty
                         "-F" option will list the file types.
  -T <encap type>        set the output file encapsulation type; default is the
                         same as the input file. An empty "-T" option will
                         list the encapsulation types.

Miscellaneous:
  -h                     display this help and exit.
  -v                     verbose output.
                         If -v is used with any of the 'Duplicate Packet
                         Removal' options (-d, -D or -w) then Packet lengths
                         and MD5 hashes are printed to standard-out.
      


Example D.6. Capture file types available from editcap

$ editcap -F
editcap: option requires an argument -- 'F'
editcap: The available capture file types for the "-F" flag are:
    5views - InfoVista 5View capture
    btsnoop - Symbian OS btsnoop
    commview - TamoSoft CommView
    dct2000 - Catapult DCT2000 trace (.out format)
    erf - Endace ERF capture
    eyesdn - EyeSDN USB S0/E1 ISDN trace format
    k12text - K12 text file
    lanalyzer - Novell LANalyzer
    modlibpcap - Modified tcpdump - libpcap
    netmon1 - Microsoft NetMon 1.x
    netmon2 - Microsoft NetMon 2.x
    nettl - HP-UX nettl trace
    ngsniffer - Sniffer (DOS)
    ngwsniffer_1_1 - NetXray, Sniffer (Windows) 1.1
    ngwsniffer_2_0 - Sniffer (Windows) 2.00x
    niobserver - Network Instruments Observer
    nokialibpcap - Nokia tcpdump - libpcap 
    nseclibpcap - Wireshark - nanosecond libpcap
    nstrace10 - NetScaler Trace (Version 1.0)
    nstrace20 - NetScaler Trace (Version 2.0)
    pcap - Wireshark/tcpdump/... - pcap
    pcapng - Wireshark/... - pcapng
    rf5 - Tektronix K12xx 32-bit .rf5 format
    rh6_1libpcap - RedHat 6.1 tcpdump - libpcap
    snoop - Sun snoop
    suse6_3libpcap - SuSE 6.3 tcpdump - libpcap
    visual - Visual Networks traffic capture
      


Example D.7. Encapsulation types available from editcap


$ editcap -T
editcap: option requires an argument -- 'T'
editcap: The available encapsulation types for the "-T" flag are:
    ap1394 - Apple IP-over-IEEE 1394
    arcnet - ARCNET
    arcnet_linux - Linux ARCNET
    ascend - Lucent/Ascend access equipment
    atm-pdus - ATM PDUs
    atm-pdus-untruncated - ATM PDUs - untruncated
    atm-rfc1483 - RFC 1483 ATM
    ax25 - Amateur Radio AX.25
    ax25-kiss - AX.25 with KISS header
    bacnet-ms-tp - BACnet MS/TP
    bacnet-ms-tp-with-direction - BACnet MS/TP with Directional Info
    ber - ASN.1 Basic Encoding Rules
    bluetooth-h4 - Bluetooth H4
    bluetooth-h4-linux - Bluetooth H4 with linux header
    bluetooth-hci - Bluetooth without transport layer
    bluetooth-le-ll - Bluetooth Low Energy Link Layer
    can20b - Controller Area Network 2.0B
    chdlc - Cisco HDLC
    chdlc-with-direction - Cisco HDLC with Directional Info
    cosine - CoSine L2 debug log
    dbus - D-Bus
    dct2000 - Catapult DCT2000
    docsis - Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification
    dpnss_link - Digital Private Signalling System No 1 Link Layer
    dvbci - DVB-CI (Common Interface)
    enc - OpenBSD enc(4) encapsulating interface
    erf - Extensible Record Format
    ether - Ethernet
    ether-nettl - Ethernet with nettl headers
    fc2 - Fibre Channel FC-2
    fc2sof - Fibre Channel FC-2 With Frame Delimiter
    fddi - FDDI
    fddi-nettl - FDDI with nettl headers
    fddi-swapped - FDDI with bit-swapped MAC addresses
    flexray - FlexRay
    frelay - Frame Relay
    frelay-with-direction - Frame Relay with Directional Info
    gcom-serial - GCOM Serial
    gcom-tie1 - GCOM TIE1
    gprs-llc - GPRS LLC
    gsm_um - GSM Um Interface
    hhdlc - HiPath HDLC
    i2c - I2C
    ieee-802-11 - IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN
    ieee-802-11-airopeek - IEEE 802.11 plus AiroPeek radio header
    ieee-802-11-avs - IEEE 802.11 plus AVS radio header
    ieee-802-11-netmon - IEEE 802.11 plus Network Monitor radio header
    ieee-802-11-prism - IEEE 802.11 plus Prism II monitor mode radio header
    ieee-802-11-radio - IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN with radio information
    ieee-802-11-radiotap - IEEE 802.11 plus radiotap radio header
    ieee-802-16-mac-cps - IEEE 802.16 MAC Common Part Sublayer
    infiniband - InfiniBand
    ios - Cisco IOS internal
    ip-over-fc - RFC 2625 IP-over-Fibre Channel
    ip-over-ib - IP over Infiniband
    ipfix - IPFIX
    ipmb - Intelligent Platform Management Bus
    ipnet - Solaris IPNET
    irda - IrDA
    isdn - ISDN
    ixveriwave - IxVeriWave header and stats block
    jfif - JPEG/JFIF
    juniper-atm1 - Juniper ATM1
    juniper-atm2 - Juniper ATM2
    juniper-chdlc - Juniper C-HDLC
    juniper-ether - Juniper Ethernet
    juniper-frelay - Juniper Frame-Relay
    juniper-ggsn - Juniper GGSN
    juniper-mlfr - Juniper MLFR
    juniper-mlppp - Juniper MLPPP
    juniper-ppp - Juniper PPP
    juniper-pppoe - Juniper PPPoE
    juniper-svcs - Juniper Services
    juniper-vp - Juniper Voice PIC
    k12 - K12 protocol analyzer
    lapb - LAPB
    lapd - LAPD
    layer1-event - EyeSDN Layer 1 event
    lin - Local Interconnect Network
    linux-atm-clip - Linux ATM CLIP
    linux-lapd - LAPD with Linux pseudo-header
    linux-sll - Linux cooked-mode capture
    ltalk - Localtalk
    mime - MIME
    most - Media Oriented Systems Transport
    mp2ts - ISO/IEC 13818-1 MPEG2-TS
    mpeg - MPEG
    mtp2 - SS7 MTP2
    mtp2-with-phdr - MTP2 with pseudoheader
    mtp3 - SS7 MTP3
    mux27010 - MUX27010
    netanalyzer - netANALYZER
    netanalyzer-transparent - netANALYZER-Transparent
    nfc-llcp - NFC LLCP
    nflog - NFLOG
    nstrace10 - NetScaler Encapsulation 1.0 of Ethernet
    nstrace20 - NetScaler Encapsulation 2.0 of Ethernet
    null - NULL
    packetlogger - PacketLogger
    pflog - OpenBSD PF Firewall logs
    pflog-old - OpenBSD PF Firewall logs, pre-3.4
    ppi - Per-Packet Information header
    ppp - PPP
    ppp-with-direction - PPP with Directional Info
    pppoes - PPP-over-Ethernet session
    raw-icmp-nettl - Raw ICMP with nettl headers
    raw-icmpv6-nettl - Raw ICMPv6 with nettl headers
    raw-telnet-nettl - Raw telnet with nettl headers
    rawip - Raw IP
    rawip-nettl - Raw IP with nettl headers
    rawip4 - Raw IPv4
    rawip6 - Raw IPv6
    redback - Redback SmartEdge
    rtac-serial - RTAC serial-line
    sccp - SS7 SCCP
    sctp - SCTP
    sdh - SDH
    sdlc - SDLC
    sita-wan - SITA WAN packets
    slip - SLIP
    socketcan - SocketCAN
    symantec - Symantec Enterprise Firewall
    tnef - Transport-Neutral Encapsulation Format
    tr - Token Ring
    tr-nettl - Token Ring with nettl headers
    tzsp - Tazmen sniffer protocol
    unknown - Unknown
    unknown-nettl - Unknown link-layer type with nettl headers
    usb - Raw USB packets
    usb-linux - USB packets with Linux header
    usb-linux-mmap - USB packets with Linux header and padding
    usb-usbpcap - USB packets with USBPcap header
    user0 - USER 0
    user1 - USER 1
    user2 - USER 2
    user3 - USER 3
    user4 - USER 4
    user5 - USER 5
    user6 - USER 6
    user7 - USER 7
    user8 - USER 8
    user9 - USER 9
    user10 - USER 10
    user11 - USER 11
    user12 - USER 12
    user13 - USER 13
    user14 - USER 14
    user15 - USER 15
    v5-ef - V5 Envelope Function
    whdlc - Wellfleet HDLC
    wireshark-upper-pdu - Wireshark Upper PDU export
    wpan - IEEE 802.15.4 Wireless PAN
    wpan-nofcs - IEEE 802.15.4 Wireless PAN with FCS not present
    wpan-nonask-phy - IEEE 802.15.4 Wireless PAN non-ASK PHY
    x2e-serial - X2E serial line capture
    x2e-xoraya - X2E Xoraya
      

D.8. mergecap: Merging multiple capture files into one

Mergecap is a program that combines multiple saved capture files into a single output file specified by the -w argument. Mergecap knows how to read libpcap capture files, including those of tcpdump. In addition, Mergecap can read capture files from snoop (including Shomiti) and atmsnoop, LanAlyzer, Sniffer (compressed or uncompressed), Microsoft Network Monitor, AIX's iptrace, NetXray, Sniffer Pro, RADCOM's WAN/LAN analyzer, Lucent/Ascend router debug output, HP-UX's nettl, and the dump output from Toshiba's ISDN routers. There is no need to tell Mergecap what type of file you are reading; it will determine the file type by itself. Mergecap is also capable of reading any of these file formats if they are compressed using gzip. Mergecap recognizes this directly from the file; the '.gz' extension is not required for this purpose.

By default, it writes the capture file in libpcap format, and writes all of the packets in the input capture files to the output file. The -F flag can be used to specify the format in which to write the capture file; it can write the file in libpcap format (standard libpcap format, a modified format used by some patched versions of libpcap, the format used by Red Hat Linux 6.1, or the format used by SuSE Linux 6.3), snoop format, uncompressed Sniffer format, Microsoft Network Monitor 1.x format, and the format used by Windows-based versions of the Sniffer software.

Packets from the input files are merged in chronological order based on each frame's timestamp, unless the -a flag is specified. Mergecap assumes that frames within a single capture file are already stored in chronological order. When the -a flag is specified, packets are copied directly from each input file to the output file, independent of each frame's timestamp.

If the -s flag is used to specify a snapshot length, frames in the input file with more captured data than the specified snapshot length will have only the amount of data specified by the snapshot length written to the output file. This may be useful if the program that is to read the output file cannot handle packets larger than a certain size (for example, the versions of snoop in Solaris 2.5.1 and Solaris 2.6 appear to reject Ethernet frames larger than the standard Ethernet MTU, making them incapable of handling gigabit Ethernet captures if jumbo frames were used).

If the -T flag is used to specify an encapsulation type, the encapsulation type of the output capture file will be forced to the specified type, rather than being the type appropriate to the encapsulation type of the input capture file. Note that this merely forces the encapsulation type of the output file to be the specified type; the packet headers of the packets will not be translated from the encapsulation type of the input capture file to the specified encapsulation type (for example, it will not translate an Ethernet capture to an FDDI capture if an Ethernet capture is read and '-T fddi' is specified).

Example D.8. Help information available from mergecap

Mergecap 1.11.0 (SVN Rev 52564 from /trunk)
Merge two or more capture files into one.
See http://www.wireshark.org for more information.

Usage: mergecap [options] -w <outfile>|- <infile> [<infile> ...]

Output:
  -a                concatenate rather than merge files.
                    default is to merge based on frame timestamps.
  -s <snaplen>      truncate packets to <snaplen> bytes of data.
  -w <outfile>|-    set the output filename to <outfile> or '-' for stdout.
  -F <capture type> set the output file type; default is pcapng.
                    an empty "-F" option will list the file types.
  -T <encap type>   set the output file encapsulation type;
                    default is the same as the first input file.
                    an empty "-T" option will list the encapsulation types.

Miscellaneous:
  -h                display this help and exit.
  -v                verbose output.
      

A simple example merging dhcp-capture.libpcap and imap-1.libpcap into outfile.libpcap is shown below.

Example D.9. Simple example of using mergecap

$ mergecap -w outfile.libpcap dhcp-capture.libpcap imap-1.libpcap
      

D.9. text2pcap: Converting ASCII hexdumps to network captures

There may be some occasions when you wish to convert a hex dump of some network traffic into a libpcap file.

Text2pcap is a program that reads in an ASCII hex dump and writes the data described into a libpcap-style capture file. text2pcap can read hexdumps with multiple packets in them, and build a capture file of multiple packets. text2pcap is also capable of generating dummy Ethernet, IP and UDP headers, in order to build fully processable packet dumps from hexdumps of application-level data only.

Text2pcap understands a hexdump of the form generated by od -A x -t x1. In other words, each byte is individually displayed and surrounded with a space. Each line begins with an offset describing the position in the file. The offset is a hex number (can also be octal - see -o), of more than two hex digits. Here is a sample dump that text2pcap can recognize:

000000 00 e0 1e a7 05 6f 00 10 ........
000008 5a a0 b9 12 08 00 46 00 ........
000010 03 68 00 00 00 00 0a 2e ........
000018 ee 33 0f 19 08 7f 0f 19 ........
000020 03 80 94 04 00 00 10 01 ........
000028 16 a2 0a 00 03 50 00 0c ........
000030 01 01 0f 19 03 80 11 01 ........
    

There is no limit on the width or number of bytes per line. Also the text dump at the end of the line is ignored. Bytes/hex numbers can be uppercase or lowercase. Any text before the offset is ignored, including email forwarding characters '>'. Any lines of text between the bytestring lines is ignored. The offsets are used to track the bytes, so offsets must be correct. Any line which has only bytes without a leading offset is ignored. An offset is recognized as being a hex number longer than two characters. Any text after the bytes is ignored (e.g. the character dump). Any hex numbers in this text are also ignored. An offset of zero is indicative of starting a new packet, so a single text file with a series of hexdumps can be converted into a packet capture with multiple packets. Multiple packets are read in with timestamps differing by one second each. In general, short of these restrictions, text2pcap is pretty liberal about reading in hexdumps and has been tested with a variety of mangled outputs (including being forwarded through email multiple times, with limited line wrap etc.)

There are a couple of other special features to note. Any line where the first non-whitespace character is '#' will be ignored as a comment. Any line beginning with #TEXT2PCAP is a directive and options can be inserted after this command to be processed by text2pcap. Currently there are no directives implemented; in the future, these may be used to give more fine grained control on the dump and the way it should be processed e.g. timestamps, encapsulation type etc.

Text2pcap also allows the user to read in dumps of application-level data, by inserting dummy L2, L3 and L4 headers before each packet. Possibilities include inserting headers such as Ethernet, Ethernet + IP, Ethernet + IP + UDP, or Ethernet + Ip + TCP before each packet. This allows Wireshark or any other full-packet decoder to handle these dumps.

Example D.10. Help information available from text2pcap

Text2pcap 1.11.0 (SVN Rev 52564 from /trunk)
Generate a capture file from an ASCII hexdump of packets.
See http://www.wireshark.org for more information.

Usage: text2pcap [options] <infile> <outfile>

where  <infile> specifies input  filename (use - for standard input)
      <outfile> specifies output filename (use - for standard output)

Input:
  -o hex|oct|dec         parse offsets as (h)ex, (o)ctal or (d)ecimal;
                         default is hex.
  -t <timefmt>           treat the text before the packet as a date/time code;
                         the specified argument is a format string of the sort
                         supported by strptime.
                         Example: The time "10:15:14.5476" has the format code
                         "%H:%M:%S."
                         NOTE: The subsecond component delimiter, '.', must be
                         given, but no pattern is required; the remaining
                         number is assumed to be fractions of a second.
                         NOTE: Date/time fields from the current date/time are
                         used as the default for unspecified fields.
  -D                     the text before the packet starts with an I or an O,
                         indicating that the packet is inbound or outbound.
                         This is only stored if the output format is PCAP-NG.
  -a                     enable ASCII text dump identification.
                         The start of the ASCII text dump can be identified
                         and excluded from the packet data, even if it looks
                         like a HEX dump.
                         NOTE: Do not enable it if the input file does not
                         contain the ASCII text dump.

Output:
  -l <typenum>           link-layer type number; default is 1 (Ethernet).  See
                         http://www.tcpdump.org/linktypes.html for a list of
                         numbers.  Use this option if your dump is a complete
                         hex dump of an encapsulated packet and you wish to
                         specify the exact type of encapsulation.
                         Example: -l 7 for ARCNet packets.
  -m <max-packet>        max packet length in output; default is 65535

Prepend dummy header:
  -e <l3pid>             prepend dummy Ethernet II header with specified L3PID
                         (in HEX).
                         Example: -e 0x806 to specify an ARP packet.
  -i <proto>             prepend dummy IP header with specified IP protocol
                         (in DECIMAL).
                         Automatically prepends Ethernet header as well.
                         Example: -i 46
  -4 <srcip>,<destip>    prepend dummy IPv4 header with specified
                         dest and source address.
                         Example: -4 10.0.0.1,10.0.0.2
  -6 <srcip>,<destip>    replace IPv6 header with specified
                         dest and source address.
                         Example: -6 fe80:0:0:0:202:b3ff:fe1e:8329, 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334
  -u <srcp>,<destp>      prepend dummy UDP header with specified
                         source and destination ports (in DECIMAL).
                         Automatically prepends Ethernet & IP headers as well.
                         Example: -u 1000,69 to make the packets look like
                         TFTP/UDP packets.
  -T <srcp>,<destp>      prepend dummy TCP header with specified
                         source and destination ports (in DECIMAL).
                         Automatically prepends Ethernet & IP headers as well.
                         Example: -T 50,60
  -s <srcp>,<dstp>,<tag> prepend dummy SCTP header with specified
                         source/dest ports and verification tag (in DECIMAL).
                         Automatically prepends Ethernet & IP headers as well.
                         Example: -s 30,40,34
  -S <srcp>,<dstp>,<ppi> prepend dummy SCTP header with specified
                         source/dest ports and verification tag 0.
                         Automatically prepends a dummy SCTP DATA
                         chunk header with payload protocol identifier ppi.
                         Example: -S 30,40,34

Miscellaneous:
  -h                     display this help and exit.
  -d                     show detailed debug of parser states.
  -q                     gen