snoop(1M) System Administration Commands snoop(1M)
snoop - capture and inspect network packets
snoop [-aqrCDNPSvV] [ -t [r | a | d] ] [-c maxcount] [-d device] [-i filename] [-n filename] [-o filename] [ -p first [ , last]] [-s
snaplen] [ -x offset [ , length]] [expression]
snoop captures packets from the network and displays their contents. snoop uses both the network packet filter and streams buffer modules
to provide efficient capture of packets from the network. Captured packets can be displayed as they are received, or saved to a file (which
is RFC 1761-compliant) for later inspection.
snoop can display packets in a single-line summary form or in verbose multi-line forms. In summary form, only the data pertaining to the
highest level protocol is displayed. For example, an NFS packet will have only NFS information displayed. The underlying RPC, UDP, IP, and
ethernet frame information is suppressed but can be displayed if either of the verbose options are chosen.
In the absence of a name service, such as LDAP or NIS, snoop displays host names as numeric IP addresses.
snoop requires an interactive interface.
-C List the code generated from the filter expression for either the kernel packet filter, or snoop's own filter.
-D Display number of packets dropped during capture on the summary line.
-N Create an IP address-to-name file from a capture file. This must be set together with the -i option that names a
capture file. The address-to-name file has the same name as the capture file with .names appended. This file
records the IP address to hostname mapping at the capture site and increases the portability of the capture file.
Generate a .names file if the capture file is to be analyzed elsewhere. Packets are not displayed when this flag is
-P Capture packets in non-promiscuous mode. Only broadcast, multicast, or packets addressed to the host machine will
-S Display size of the entire link layer frame in bytes on the summary line.
-V Verbose summary mode. This is halfway between summary mode and verbose mode in degree of verbosity. Instead of dis-
playing just the summary line for the highest level protocol in a packet, it displays a summary line for each pro-
tocol layer in the packet. For instance, for an NFS packet it will display a line each for the ETHER, IP, UDP, RPC
and NFS layers. Verbose summary mode output may be easily piped through grep to extract packets of interest. For
example, to view only RPC summary lines, enter the following: example# snoop -i rpc.cap -V | grep RPC
-a Listen to packets on /dev/audio (warning: can be noisy).
-c maxcount Quit after capturing maxcount packets. Otherwise keep capturing until there is no disk space left or until inter-
rupted with Control-C.
-d device Receive packets from the network using the interface specified by device, for example, eri0 or hme0. The program
netstat(1M), when invoked with the -i flag, lists all the interfaces that a machine has. Normally, snoop will auto-
matically choose the first non-loopback interface it finds.
-i filename Display packets previously captured in filename. Without this option, snoop reads packets from the network inter-
face. If a filename.names file is present, it is automatically loaded into the snoop IP address-to-name mapping ta-
ble (See -N flag).
-n filename Use filename as an IP address-to-name mapping table. This file must have the same format as the /etc/hosts file (IP
address followed by the hostname).
-o filename Save captured packets in filename as they are captured. (This filename is referred to as the "capture file".) The
format of the capture file is RFC 1761-compliant. During packet capture, a count of the number of packets saved in
the file is displayed. If you wish just to count packets without saving to a file, name the file /dev/null.
-p first [ , last ] Select one or more packets to be displayed from a capture file. The first packet in the file is packet number 1.
-q When capturing network packets into a file, do not display the packet count. This can improve packet capturing per-
-r Do not resolve the IP address to the symbolic name. This prevents snoop from generating network traffic while cap-
turing and displaying packets. However, if the -n option is used, and an address is found in the mapping file, its
corresponding name will be used.
-s snaplen Truncate each packet after snaplen bytes. Usually the whole packet is captured. This option is useful if only cer-
tain packet header information is required. The packet truncation is done within the kernel giving better utiliza-
tion of the streams packet buffer. This means less chance of dropped packets due to buffer overflow during periods
of high traffic. It also saves disk space when capturing large traces to a capture file. To capture only IP headers
(no options) use a snaplen of 34. For UDP use 42, and for TCP use 54. You can capture RPC headers with a snaplen of
80 bytes. NFS headers can be captured in 120 bytes.
-t [ r | a | d ] Time-stamp presentation. Time-stamps are accurate to within 4 microseconds. The default is for times to be pre-
sented in d (delta) format (the time since receiving the previous packet). Option a (absolute) gives wall-clock
time. Option r (relative) gives time relative to the first packet displayed. This can be used with the -p option to
display time relative to any selected packet.
-v Verbose mode. Print packet headers in lots of detail. This display consumes many lines per packet and should be
used only on selected packets.
-xoffset [ , length] Display packet data in hexadecimal and ASCII format. The offset and length values select a portion of the packet to
be displayed. To display the whole packet, use an offset of 0. If a length value is not provided, the rest of the
packet is displayed.
Select packets either from the network or from a capture file. Only packets for which the expression is true will be selected. If no
expression is provided it is assumed to be true.
Given a filter expression, snoop generates code for either the kernel packet filter or for its own internal filter. If capturing pack-
ets with the network interface, code for the kernel packet filter is generated. This filter is implemented as a streams module,
upstream of the buffer module. The buffer module accumulates packets until it becomes full and passes the packets on to snoop. The ker-
nel packet filter is very efficient, since it rejects unwanted packets in the kernel before they reach the packet buffer or snoop. The
kernel packet filter has some limitations in its implementation; it is possible to construct filter expressions that it cannot handle.
In this event, snoop tries to split the filter and do as much filtering in the kernel as possible. The remaining filtering is done by
the packet filter for snoop. The -C flag can be used to view generated code for either the packet filter for the kernel or the packet
filter for snoop. If packets are read from a capture file using the -i option, only the packet filter for snoop is used.
A filter expression consists of a series of one or more boolean primitives that may be combined with boolean operators (AND, OR, and
NOT). Normal precedence rules for boolean operators apply. Order of evaluation of these operators may be controlled with parentheses.
Since parentheses and other filter expression characters are known to the shell, it is often necessary to enclose the filter expression
in quotes. Refer to Setting Up A More Efficient Filter for information about setting up more efficient filters.
The primitives are:
True if the source or destination address is that of hostname. The hostname argument may be a literal address. The keyword host
may be omitted if the name does not conflict with the name of another expression primitive. For example, "pinky" selects packets
transmitted to or received from the host pinky, whereas "pinky and dinky" selects packets exchanged between hosts pinky AND dinky.
The type of address used depends on the primitive which precedes the host primitive. The possible qualifiers are "inet", "inet6",
"ether", or none. These three primitives are discussed below. Having none of the primitives present is equivalent to "inet host
hostname or inet6 host hostname". In other words, snoop tries to filter on all IP addresses associated with hostname.
inet or inet6
A qualifier that modifies the host primitive that follows. If it is inet, then snoop tries to filter on all IPv4 addresses returned
from a name lookup. If it is inet6, snoop tries to filter on all IPv6 addresses returned from a name lookup.
ipaddr, atalkaddr, or etheraddr
Literal addresses, IP dotted, AppleTalk dotted, and ethernet colon are recognized. For example,
o "172.16.40.13" matches all packets with that IP ;
o "2::9255:a00:20ff:fe73:6e35" matches all packets with that IPv6 address as source or destination;
o "65281.13" matches all packets with that AppleTalk address;
o "8:0:20:f:b1:51" matches all packets with the ethernet address as source or destination.
An ethernet address beginning with a letter is interpreted as a hostname. To avoid this, prepend a zero when specifying the
address. For example, if the ethernet address is "aa:0:45:23:52:44", then specify it by add a leading zero to make it
from or src
A qualifier that modifies the following host, net, ipaddr, atalkaddr, etheraddr, port or rpc primitive to match just the source
address, port, or RPC reply.
to or dst
A qualifier that modifies the following host, net, ipaddr, atalkaddr, etheraddr, port or rpc primitive to match just the destina-
tion address, port, or RPC call.
A qualifier that modifies the following host primitive to resolve a name to an ethernet address. Normally, IP address matching is
performed. This option is not supported on media such as IPoIB (IP over InfiniBand).
True if the ethernet type field has value number. Equivalent to "ether[12:2] = number".
ip, ip6, arp, rarp, pppoed, pppoes
True if the packet is of the appropriate ethertype.
True if the ethertype of the packet is either pppoed or pppoes.
True if the packet is a broadcast packet. Equivalent to "ether[2:4] = 0xffffffff" for ethernet. This option is not supported on
media such as IPoIB (IP over InfiniBand).
True if the packet is a multicast packet. Equivalent to "ether & 1 = 1" on ethernet. This option is not supported on media such
as IPoIB (IP over InfiniBand).
True if the packet is an unfragmented UDP packet with either a source port of BOOTPS(67) and a destination port of BOOTPC(68), or
a source port of BOOTPC(68) and a destination of BOOTPS(67).
True if the packet is an Apple Ethertalk packet. Equivalent to "ethertype 0x809b or ethertype 0x80f3".
True if the packet is a DECNET packet.
True if the packet is longer than length.
True if the packet is shorter than length.
udp, tcp, icmp, icmp6, ah, esp
True if the IP or IPv6 protocol is of the appropriate type.
True if either the IP source or destination address has a network number of net. The from or to qualifier may be used to select
packets for which the network number occurs only in the source or destination address.
True if either the source or destination port is port. The port may be either a port number or name from /etc/services. The tcp or
udp primitives may be used to select TCP or UDP ports only. The from or to qualifier may be used to select packets for which the
port occurs only as the source or destination.
rpc prog [ , vers [ , proc ] ]
True if the packet is an RPC call or reply packet for the protocol identified by prog. The prog may be either the name of an RPC
protocol from /etc/rpc or a program number. The vers and proc may be used to further qualify the program version and procedure num-
ber, for example, "rpc nfs,2,0" selects all calls and replies for the NFS null procedure. The to or from qualifier may be used to
select either call or reply packets only.
True if the packet is an LDAP packet on port 389.
True if the packet used host as a gateway, that is, the ethernet source or destination address was for host but not the IP address.
Equivalent to "ether host host and not host host".
True if the packet is unfragmented or is the first in a series of IP fragments. Equivalent to "ip[6:2] & 0x1fff = 0".
expr relop expr
True if the relation holds, where relop is one of >, <, >=, <=, =, !=, and expr is an arithmetic expression composed of numbers,
packet field selectors, the length primitive, and arithmetic operators +, -, *, &, |, ^, and %. The arithmetic operators within
expr are evaluated before the relational operator and normal precedence rules apply between the arithmetic operators, such as mul-
tiplication before addition. Parentheses may be used to control the order of evaluation. To use the value of a field in the packet
use the following syntax:
base[expr [: size ] ]
where expr evaluates the value of an offset into the packet from a base offset which may be ether, ip, ip6, udp, tcp, or icmp. The
size value specifies the size of the field. If not given, 1 is assumed. Other legal values are 2 and 4. For example,
ether & 1 = 1
is equivalent to multicast
ether[2:4] = 0xffffffff
is equivalent to broadcast.
ip[ip & 0xf * 4 : 2] = 2049
is equivalent to udp[0:2] = 2049
ip & 0xf > 5
selects IP packets with options.
ip[6:2] & 0x1fff = 0
eliminates IP fragments.
udp and ip[6:2]&0x1fff = 0 and udp[6:2] != 0
finds all packets with UDP checksums.
The length primitive may be used to obtain the length of the packet. For instance "length > 60" is equivalent to "greater 60", and
"ether[length - 1]" obtains the value of the last byte in a packet.
Perform a logical AND operation between two boolean values. The AND operation is implied by the juxtaposition of two boolean
expressions, for example "dinky pinky" is the same as "dinky AND pinky".
or or ,
Perform a logical OR operation between two boolean values. A comma may be used instead, for example, "dinky,pinky" is the same as
"dinky OR pinky".
not or !
Perform a logical NOT operation on the following boolean value. This operator is evaluated before AND or OR.
True if the packet is an SLP packet.
True if the packet is an SCTP packet.
True if the packet is an OSPF packet.
Example 1: Using the snoop Command
Capture all packets and display them as they are received:
Capture packets with host funky as either the source or destination and display them as they are received:
example# snoop funky
Capture packets between funky and pinky and save them to a file. Then inspect the packets using times (in seconds) relative to the first
example# snoop -o cap funky pinky
example# snoop -i cap -t r | more
To look at selected packets in another capture file:
example# snoop -i pkts -p 99,108
99 0.0027 boutique -> sunroof NFS C GETATTR FH=8E6
100 0.0046 sunroof -> boutique NFS R GETATTR OK
101 0.0080 boutique -> sunroof NFS C RENAME FH=8E6C MTra00192 to .nfs08
102 0.0102 marmot -> viper NFS C LOOKUP FH=561E screen.r.13.i386
103 0.0072 viper -> marmot NFS R LOOKUP No such file or directory
104 0.0085 bugbomb -> sunroof RLOGIN C PORT=1023 h
105 0.0005 kandinsky -> sparky RSTAT C Get Statistics
106 0.0004 beeblebrox -> sunroof NFS C GETATTR FH=0307
107 0.0021 sparky -> kandinsky RSTAT R
108 0.0073 office -> jeremiah NFS C READ FH=2584 at 40960 for 8192
To look at packet 101 in more detail:
example# snoop -i pkts -v -p101
ETHER: ----- Ether Header -----
ETHER: Packet 101 arrived at 16:09:53.59
ETHER: Packet size = 210 bytes
ETHER: Destination = 8:0:20:1:3d:94, Sun
ETHER: Source = 8:0:69:1:5f:e, Silicon Graphics
ETHER: Ethertype = 0800 (IP)
IP: ----- IP Header -----
IP: Version = 4, header length = 20 bytes
IP: Type of service = 00
IP: ..0. .... = routine
IP: ...0 .... = normal delay
IP: .... 0... = normal throughput
IP: .... .0.. = normal reliability
IP: Total length = 196 bytes
IP: Identification 19846
IP: Flags = 0X
IP: .0.. .... = may fragment
IP: ..0. .... = more fragments
IP: Fragment offset = 0 bytes
IP: Time to live = 255 seconds/hops
IP: Protocol = 17 (UDP)
IP: Header checksum = 18DC
IP: Source address = 172.16.40.222, boutique
IP: Destination address = 172.16.40.200, sunroof
UDP: ----- UDP Header -----
UDP: Source port = 1023
UDP: Destination port = 2049 (Sun RPC)
UDP: Length = 176
UDP: Checksum = 0
RPC: ----- SUN RPC Header -----
RPC: Transaction id = 665905
RPC: Type = 0 (Call)
RPC: RPC version = 2
RPC: Program = 100003 (NFS), version = 2, procedure = 1
RPC: Credentials: Flavor = 1 (Unix), len = 32 bytes
RPC: Time = 06-Mar-90 07:26:58
RPC: Hostname = boutique
RPC: Uid = 0, Gid = 1
RPC: Groups = 1
RPC: Verifier : Flavor = 0 (None), len = 0 bytes
NFS: ----- SUN NFS -----
NFS: Proc = 11 (Rename)
NFS: File handle = 000016430000000100080000305A1C47
NFS: File name = MTra00192
NFS: File handle = 000016430000000100080000305A1C47
NFS: File name = .nfs08
To view just the NFS packets between sunroof and boutique:
example# snoop -i pkts rpc nfs and sunroof and boutique
1 0.0000 boutique -> sunroof NFS C GETATTR FH=8E6C
2 0.0046 sunroof -> boutique NFS R GETATTR OK
3 0.0080 boutique -> sunroof NFS C RENAME FH=8E6C MTra00192 to .nfs08
To save these packets to a new capture file:
example# snoop -i pkts -o pkts.nfs rpc nfs sunroof boutique
To view encapsulated packets, there will be an indicator of encapsulation:
example# snoop ip-in-ip
sunroof -> boutique ICMP Echo request (1 encap)
If -V is used on an encapsulated packet:
example# snoop -V ip-in-ip
sunroof -> boutique ETHER Type=0800 (IP), size = 118 bytes
sunroof -> boutique IP D=172.16.40.222 S=172.16.40.200 LEN=104, ID=27497
sunroof -> boutique IP D=10.1.1.2 S=10.1.1.1 LEN=84, ID=27497
sunroof -> boutique ICMP Echo request
Example 2: Setting Up A More Efficient Filter
To set up a more efficient filter, the following filters should be used toward the end of the expression, so that the first part of the
expression can be set up in the kernel: greater, less, port, rpc, nofrag, and relop. The presence of OR makes it difficult to split the
filtering when using these primitives that cannot be set in the kernel. Instead, use parentheses to enforce the primitives that should be
To capture packets between funky and pinky of type tcp or udp on port 80:
example# snoop funky and pinky and port 80 and tcp or udp
Since the primitive port cannot be handled by the kernel filter, and there is also an OR in the expression, a more efficient way to filter
is to move the OR to the end of the expression and to use parentheses to enforce the OR between tcp and udp:
example# snoop funky and pinky and (tcp or udp) and port 80
0 Successful completion.
1 An error occurred.
/dev/audio Symbolic link to the system's primary audio device.
/dev/null The null file.
/etc/hosts Host name database.
/etc/rpc RPC program number data base.
/etc/services Internet services and aliases.
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attributes:
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
|Availability |SUNWrcmdc |
netstat(1M), hosts(4), rpc(4), services(4), attributes(5), audio(7I), bufmod(7M), dlpi(7P), pfmod(7M), tun(7M)
Callaghan, B. and Gilligan, R. RFC 1761, Snoop Version 2 Packet Capture File Format. Network Working Group. February 1995.
The processing overhead is much higher for realtime packet interpretation. Consequently, the packet drop count may be higher. For more
reliable capture, output raw packets to a file using the -o option and analyze the packets off-line.
Unfiltered packet capture imposes a heavy processing load on the host computer, particularly if the captured packets are interpreted real-
time. This processing load further increases if verbose options are used. Since heavy use of snoop may deny computing resources to other
processes, it should not be used on production servers. Heavy use of snoop should be restricted to a dedicated computer.
snoop does not reassemble IP fragments. Interpretation of higher level protocol halts at the end of the first IP fragment.
snoop may generate extra packets as a side-effect of its use. For example it may use a network name service (NIS or NIS+) to convert IP
addresses to host names for display. Capturing into a file for later display can be used to postpone the address-to-name mapping until
after the capture session is complete. Capturing into an NFS-mounted file may also generate extra packets.
Setting the snaplen (-s option) to small values may remove header information that is needed to interpret higher level protocols. The exact
cutoff value depends on the network and protocols being used. For NFS Version 2 traffic using UDP on 10 Mb/s ethernet, do not set snaplen
less than 150 bytes. For NFS Version 3 traffic using TCP on 100 Mb/s ethernet, snaplen should be 250 bytes or more.
snoop requires information from an RPC request to fully interpret an RPC reply. If an RPC reply in a capture file or packet range does not
have a request preceding it, then only the RPC reply header will be displayed.
SunOS 5.10 15 Apr 2004 snoop(1M)