Chapter 10. Lua Support in Wireshark

Table of Contents

10.1. Introduction
10.2. Example of Dissector written in Lua
10.3. Example of Listener written in Lua

10.1. 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 Both Tecgraf and 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.