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Capture Service

The network capture service has the purpose of monitoring network traffic for each connected device. It can be configured to execute custom middlewares. The packet capture implements the actual network sniffing process. Currently, it uses the libpcap library. However, it also allows interfacing with PF_RING or similar.

The capture service can be configured with the below options:

# absolute path to the capture SQLite db used by the middlewares
captureDbPath = "/path_to_capture/capture.sqlite"
# the capture filter for the libpcap library
# example filter="src net 10.0 and dst net 10.0"
filter = ""
# libpcap options, see
# if true, captures all data on the LAN interface
promiscuous = false
# libpcap buffer timeout in milliseconds
bufferTimeout = 10
# enables libpcap immediate mode if true (disabled buffering)
# see
immediate = false


The captured packet is sent to every configured middleware for additional processing. The user has the choice to develop her own middleware. The middleware API is defined in middleware.h:

struct capture_middleware {
struct middleware_context *(*const init)(sqlite3 *db, char *db_path, struct eloop_data *eloop, struct pcap_context *pc);
int (*const process)(struct middleware_context *context, char *ltype, struct pcap_pkthdr *header, uint8_t *packet, char *ifname);
void (*const free)(struct middleware_context *context);
const char *const name;

Every middleware needs to define three functions init, process and free.

  • The init function initialises the middleware, configures the event loop structures and/or creates new tables in the capture database.
  • The process function receives as input the captured packets and does the required processing.
  • Finally, the free function frees the allocated memory and removes the created tables if needed.

To add a middleware, the user can create a subfolder in the src/capture/middlewares folder with the name example_middleware and add the main include file example_middleware.h with the contents:


#include "../../middleware.h"

extern struct capture_middleware example_middleware;

and the main source file example_middleware.c with the contents:

#include <sqlite3.h>
#include <libgen.h>

#include "../../capture_service.h"
#include "../../capture_config.h"

#include "../../../utils/allocs.h"
#include "../../../utils/os.h"

#include "../../../utils/eloop.h"
#include "../../../utils/utarray.h"

#include "./example_middleware.h"

struct example_middleware_context {
// Your context definition

void free_example_middleware(struct middleware_context *context)
// Your code here

struct middleware_context *init_example_middleware(sqlite3 *db, char *db_path,
struct eloop_data *eloop,
struct pcap_context *pc)
struct middleware_context *context = os_zalloc(sizeof(struct middleware_context));

if (context == NULL) {
return NULL;

struct example_middleware_context *example_context = os_zalloc(sizeof(struct example_middleware_context));
if (example_context == NULL) {
return NULL;

context->db = db;
context->eloop = eloop;
context->pc = pc;
context->mdata = (void *) example_context;

// Your code here

return context;

int process_example_middleware(struct middleware_context *context, char *ltype,
struct pcap_pkthdr *header, uint8_t *packet,
char *ifname)
// Your code here

struct capture_middleware example_middleware = {
.init = init_example_middleware,
.process = process_example_middleware,
.free = free_example_middleware,
.name = "example middleware",

Then the user needs to add the option option(USE_EXAMPLE_MIDDLEWARE "Use the example middleware" ON) in the root CMakeLists.txt and subsequently add the lines:

# write your CMakeLists.txt file to compile your middleware
# the name of your middleware in your CMakeLists.txt file
MIDDLEWARE_TARGET example_middleware
# the name of your middleware in your `extern struct capture_middleware ...`
# in your middleware's C header file
MIDDLEWARE_STRUCT example_middleware
endif ()

in capture/CMakeLists.txt.

The capture middleware will execute every defined middleware sequentially. First, it will execute the init functions. Then, for every packet it will execute all process functions and finally, it will run every free function.