1. Sample rules

There are sample rules in rules folder of source code.

2. Embedded functions

Embedded functions are functions that allow implementing calculations that are too complicated to define using only classical operators on fields in the Boolean expressions of security rules. One can either use existing embedded functions or implement a new function. In both cases, they can be used in the Boolean expressions by using the syntax:

#<name_of_function>(<list of parameters>)

For example: (#em_is_search_engine( http.user_agent ) == true)

where http is the protocol name and user_agent is the attribute name (i.e., packet meta-data).

  • Please refer here to get the full list of protocols and attributes.

  • Protocol and attribute names used in xml rules are case-sensitive. They are normally in lower case.

  • To avoid any confusion, a new embedded function name should start by a prefix em_.

2.1. Special terms

  1. true will be replaced by the number 1.

    For example: #em_check( tcp.src_port ) == true

  2. false will be replaced by the number 0.

    For example: #em_check( tcp.src_port ) == false

2.2 Implement a new embedded function

In each rule file, there exists a section allowing user to add an embedded function.

//code C
static inline bool em_check( double port ){
   if( port == 80 || port == 8080 )
      return true;
   return false;

In side this tag, one can also implement 2 other functions as the followings:

  1. void on_load(){ ... } being called when the rules inside the xml file being loaded into 5Greplay

  2. void on_unload(){ ... } being called when exiting 5Greplay

2.3 Pre-installed embedded functions

In boolean expressions of rules, one can use one or many embedded functions

  1. is_exist( proto.att ) checks whether an event has an attribute of a protocol, e.g., is_exist( http.method ) will return true if the current event contains protocol HTTP and attribute method has a non-null value, otherwise it will return false.

    Normally 5Greplay has a filter that allow an event in a rule to be verified only if any proto.att used in its boolean expression contains value. If one of them has not, the rule will not be verified. This allows to reduce number of verification of boolean expression, thus increases the performance.

    For example, given an event having the following boolean expression:

    ((ip.src != ip.dst) && (#em_check_URI(http.uri) == 1))

    This event is verified only if ip.src and ip.dst and http.uri are not null, hence only HTTP packets are verified (it does not verify every IP packets).

    However, if one use the following expression, that is totally having the same meaning with the previous one:

    ((ip.src != ip.dst) && ((#is_exist(http.uri) == true ) && (#em_check_URI(http.uri) == 1)))

    5Greplay needs to verify the expression against any IP packet as is_exist tell 5Greplay to exclude http.uri from its filter.

  2. is_null( proto.att ), e.g., #is_null(http.uri) check whether the value of http.uri is null

  3. is_empty( proto.att ), e.g., #is_empty(http.uri) checks whether the value is null or the string value is empty, i.e., its length is zero.

  4. is_same_ipv4(const uint32_t*, const char *), e.g., #is_same_ipv4(ip.src, "") checks whether the value of ip.src is "".

  5. We can use any standard C functions as embedded function, e.g., (#strstr( http.user_agent, 'robot') != 0) to check if http.user_agent contains a sub-string "robot".

    Please note that, before using a C function the library containing that embedded functions need to be included. The following libraries have been pre-included:

#include <string.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include "mmt_lib.h"
#include "pre_embedded_functions.h"

Consequently when using a function that does not defined inside these libraries, we need to include its library. For example:

#include <math.h>
static inline bool function em_check( double port ){
    double x = sqrt( port );
    return x >= 5;

3. Reactive functions

Reactive functions allow us to perform some action when a rule is satisfied. The functions will be called each time their rules are satisfied.

To implement and use a reactive function, we need:

  • implement a C function inside <embedded_functions> tag.

    The function name should be prefixed by em_ to avoid any confusion with the ones existing internally in 5Greplay.

    The function has the following format:

typedef void (*mmt_rule_satisfied_callback)(
		const rule_t *rule,		          //rule being validated
		int verdict,                     //DETECTED, NOT_RESPECTED
		uint64_t timestamp,              //moment (by time) the rule is validated
		uint64_t counter,                //moment (by order of message) the rule is validated
		const mmt_array_t * const trace  //historic of messages that validates the rule
  • put the function name in attribute if_satisfied of the rule you want to react. For example: if_satisfied="em_print_out"
static void em_print_out(
      const rule_info_t *rule, int verdict, uint64_t timestamp,
      uint64_t counter, const mmt_array_t * const trace ){
   const char* trace_str = mmt_convert_execution_trace_to_json_string( trace, rule );
   printf( "detect rule %d\n%s\n", rule->id, trace_str );
   //you can call a system command, for example:
   //char command[1001];
   //snprintf( command, 1000, "echo rule %d is validated by %s", rule->id, trace_str );
   //system( command );

<!-- Property 10: HTTP using a port different from 80 and 8080.-->
<property value="THEN" delay_units="s" delay_min="0" delay_max="0" property_id="10" type_property="EVASION"
    description="HTTP using a port different from 80 and 8080." if_satisfied="em_print_out">
    <event value="COMPUTE" event_id="1"
        description="HTTP packet using a port different from 80 and 8080"
           boolean_expression="((http.method != '')&amp;&amp;((tcp.dest_port != 80)&amp;&amp;(tcp.dest_port != 8080)))"/>
    <event value="COMPUTE" event_id="2"
           description="HTTP packet"
           boolean_expression="(ip.src != ip.dst)"/>

3.1 Supported functions

We implement several functions to suport modifying protocol attributes’ values, drop a packet, and forward a packet or it copies to the output NIC. New functions will be implemented and add time by time.

The following functions must be called inside a reactive function.

  1. get_numeric_value( proto_id, att_id, event_id, trace) returns a uint64_t value of proto_id.att_id field of event_id from the satisfied trace.

  2. set_numeric_value( proto_id, att_id, uin64_t ) marks to change proto_id.att_id to a uint64_t value. The change will be applied only at the moment of sending the packet, e.g., by explicitly call forward_packet.

  3. forward_packet() forwards immediatly the current packet

  4. drop_packet() does not forward the current packet

  5. update_sctp_param( uint32_t ppid, uint32_t flags, uint16_t stream_no, uint32_t timetolive ) updates parameters in sctp_sendmsg function that is used to create a SCTP communication channel between 5Grepay and its target. See example in rules/11.modify-sctp-params.xml

3.2 Predefined reactive functions

The following functions have been already defined

  1. #drop() to drop the current packet

  2. #update( proto_id.att_id, expression ) to alter the current packet then forward it to the outgoing NIC.

  • proto_id and att_id epresent respectively protocol and attribute to be altered
  • expression is in format of expression to get value to assign to the protocol attribute
  • Example:
    • #update(ngap.ran_ue_id, (ngap.ran_ue_id + 100) will increase ran_ue_id by 100
    • #update(ngap.ran_ue_id, (ngap.ran_ue_id.1 * 2) will replace ran_ue_id of the current packet by the double of ran_ue_id of the packet having event_id=1
  1. #fuzz(proto.att, proto.att, ...) to alter the current packet then forward its copies to the outgoing NIC.
  • Currently (Feb 10, 2022) only numeric values are supported
  • Each proto.att will be set a new random value generated by C random function. See an example in rules/7.fuzz-ngap.xml on how to override the random function.

3.3 Examples

The following XML file defines 3 rules:


static void em_modif_then_forward(
      const rule_info_t *rule, int verdict, uint64_t timestamp,
      uint64_t counter, const mmt_array_t * const trace ){
   const char* trace_str = mmt_convert_execution_trace_to_json_string( trace, rule );
   //forward the original packet (without any modification)
   //get old value ran_ue_id
   uint64_t ran_ue_id = get_numeric_value( PROTO_NGAP, NGAP_ATT_RAN_UE_ID, 2, trace );

   //clone 9 times the current packet
   for( int i=1; i<10; i++ ){
      //increase ran_ue_id
      set_numeric_value( PROTO_NGAP, NGAP_ATT_RAN_UE_ID, ran_ue_id + i );
      //forward the packet having the modified ran_ue_id

<property value="THEN"  delay_units="s" delay_min="0+" delay_max="1" property_id="100"
    description="Forwarding NAS security mode COMPLETE that answers to NAS security mode COMMAND "
    <event value="COMPUTE" event_id="1" description="NAS Security mode COMMAND"
           boolean_expression="(nas_5g.message_type == 93)"/>
    <event value="COMPUTE" event_id="2" description="NAS Security mode COMPLETE"
           boolean_expression="(nas_5g.security_type == 4)"/>

<property property_id="101" if_satisfied="#drop()"
    description="Do not forward any UDP packets having dest_port other than 2152">
    <event event_id="1" description="From UE and GTP packets"
           boolean_expression="( (udp.dest_port != 2152 ) )"/>

<property property_id="102" description="" if_satisfied="#update(ngap.procedure_code, (ngap.procedure_code.1 + 100))">
    <event event_id="1" description="having RAN UE ID"
           boolean_expression="(ngap.ran_ue_id != 0)"/>
  1. Rule 100 will match 2 different packets (as it has 2 events and delay_min="0+"):

    • the first packet is NAS security mode COMMAND (having nas_5g.message_type == 93)
    • the second packet is NAS security mode COMPLETE (having nas_5g.message_type == 4)

At the moment of getting the second packet, the em_modif_then_forward function is called. In this function we can modify the second packet’s content then inject it into the outgoing network. The function fistly forwards the second packet without any modification by calling forward_packet(). It then get the current value of NGAP_ATT_RAN_UE attribute of NGAP protocol in the second packet by calling get_numeric_value. It then marks the incrasing of this value, by calling set_numeric_value, then forward the packet within this change into the network.

Note: if the function set_numeric_value is called twice to modify the same attribute of a protocol, then only the second call is performed.

  1. Rule 101 does not forward the UDP packets that have dest_port other than 2152 by explicitly call drop() function.

  2. Rule 102 checks whether a packet contains not-zero ran_ue_id of ngap. If so, it increases the procedure_code value by 100. (and then, by default, it forwards the modified packet to the outgoing NIC)

4. Compile rules

5Greplay rules are specified in plain text following a XML format. These rules need to be encoded in a suitable format, that is a dynamic C library, before being able to use by 5Greplay.

The compiled rules must put in ./rules folder.

4.1 Compile rules

5Greplay provides a compiler to do the such of task. To do so, we need to install gcc beforehand, e.g., sudo apt install gcc.

  • use compile to compile rules in a XML file. For example:

    ./5greplay compile rules/1.so rules/1.xml

    The program uses 3 parameters in form: output_file property_file [gcc parameters]


    • output_file: is the path of file containing the result that can be either a .c file or .so file.
    • property_file: is the path where the property file can be found.
    • options:

      • -c: will generate only the C code. This option allows manually modifying the generated code before compiling it. After generating the C code, the tool prints out the command that needs to be executed for compiling it.

      • gcc parameters: used to generate the C code, and compile it to obtain the .so file. These parameters will be directly transmitted to the gcc compiler, for example, "-I /tmp -lmath"

4.2 Obtain information inside compiled rules

To get some basic information about a compiled rule (such as, ID, description), we use info command.

By default, the tool will print out the information on all rules, for example:

./5greplay info
mmt-5greplay: 5Greplay v0.0.1-5c9a333 using DPI v1.7.0.0 (a8ad3c2) is running on pid 24680
mmt-5greplay: Ignore duplicated rule id 103 (Inject only packet from UE -> Core but not inversed direction)
Found 3 rules.
1 - Rule id: 103
	- type            : DROP
	- events_count    : 2
	- variables_count : 2
	- variables       : sctp.ch_type (304.5), sctp.dest_port (304.2)
	- description     : Inject only SCTP packets from UE -> Core but not inversed direction
	- if_satisfied    : 0x7f84c2d95db5
	- version         : 0.0.1 (5c9a333 - 2021-9-9 11:36:44), dpi version (a8ad3c2)

The tool can also be used to inspect a specific compiled rule by giving the rule path as parameter, for example:

./5greplay info rules/forward-localhost.so
mmt-5greplay: 5Greplay v0.0.1-5c9a333 using DPI v1.7.0.0 (a8ad3c2) is running on pid 21983
Found 2 rules.
1 - Rule id: 103
	- type            : DROP
	- events_count    : 2
	- variables_count : 2
	- variables       : sctp.ch_type (304.5), sctp.dest_port (304.2)
	- description     : Inject only SCTP packets from UE -> Core but not inversed direction
	- if_satisfied    : 0x7f2925125db5
	- version         : 0.0.1 (5c9a333 - 2021-9-9 11:36:44), dpi version (a8ad3c2)

5. Default values

In the XML file of a rule, if an attribute of an XML tag is absent then its value is set by default:

  • property, operator:
    • type_property: FORWARD
    • value : COMPUTE (=> only one <event> is required. Thus delay_min and delay_max must be 0)
    • delay_units: s
    • delay_min: 0
    • delay_max: 0

6. Write a high performance rule

To write a rule having a high performance one need to:

  • use only the proto.att in boolean expression when need.

    • Please refer to the usage of function is_exist to get an example.
    • Use explicitly the following tcp flags to filter out unwanted verification: tcp.fin, tcp.syn, tcp.rst, tcp.psh, tcp.ack, tcp.urg, tcp.ece, tcp.cwr.

    For example, the 2 following boolean expressions have the same meaning:

    (tcp.flags == 4) and ((tcp.flags == 4) && (tcp.rst == 1))

    They both return true when only RST flag of a TCP packet is on, but the latter is better as 5Greplay verifies its rule only when tcp.flags and tcp.rst are not zero. Usually less than about 1% packets having tcp.rst != 0, consequently the rule using the second expression will be verified against only 1% packets.

  • reduce delay_max of a rule to a suitable value.

    When having a higher value of delay_max 5Greplay creates more rule instances to correlate different events of different packets. When delay_max is zero, we call simple rule, 5Greplay verifies the rule and gives verdict immediately without creating any rule instances. A simple rule is verified much faster than a complex one that has non-zero delay_max.

    At 10Gbps, 5Greplay can verify upto 12400 simple rules or 600 complex rules.

  • optimize implementation of embedded functions.

    • The embedded functions are called each time their boolean expressions are verified. Consequently, rather than initialize something, for example, connection to database, inside these functions, one can do such a task, only once, inside function on_load then store the connection into a static local variable that will be used inside the embedded functions.

    • alway use embedded function with static inline keyword. For more information about advantage of inline, please refer to document of gcc: An Inline Function is As Fast As a Macro