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I have got a working dissector up and running using Lua, and it is working well. It does everything I need it to do and I am getting the information I need - no problems. However, I would like to make a rather large improvement. Currently, our packets are sent with a 24-bit mask in each header, informing the client which fields in the packet are valid. If the field is not valid, it is normally just padded with nulls (0x00).

Currently, I am adding all fields to my tree, without checking the mask, so I get a lot of useless tree items, and I have to manually check the flags to see which fields with 0s are valid or invalid...

My question is: How do I only add items to the tree if the mask in the header BITWISE ANDs with the field mask?

e.g. currently: fds.myfield ="My field", "my_proto.my_field", ftypes.UINT32, nil, base.DEC)

then in my dissector: twig:add_le(fds.myfield, buff(28,4))

Do I have to wrap an if statement around each and every tree:add?? *gasp

asked 22 Mar '15, 20:54

Fidelius's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 22 Mar '15, 20:56

Do I have to wrap an if statement around each and every tree:add??

Nope, you do not have to wrap each and every tree:add call (or in your case, tree:add_le).

Really, a statement like tree:add(foo) is Lua short-hand for TreeItem.add(tree, foo), which is short-hand for "in a table named 'TreeItem', get the entry of index 'add', and call its value as a function, passing it the arguments 'tree' and 'foo'".

So what you can do is create a proxy function that will decide whether to actually call TreeItem.add() or not, based on your bit mask value. For example:

local myproto = Proto("myproto","My Protocol")

-- my protocol's fields
local fds =
    bitmask = 
        -- this field doesn't have a match entry, since it's the bitmask
        -- field in the packet that decides matches
        pfield ="The bitmask for fields", "my_proto.bitmask",
                                ftypes.UINT24, nil, base.HEX)
    myfield =
        match = 0x000001, -- the bit in the bitmask that represents this field
        pfield ="My field", "my_proto.my_field",
                                ftypes.UINT32, nil, base.DEC)
    myotherfield =
        match = 0x000010,
        pfield ="My other field", "my_proto.my_other_field",
                                ftypes.UINT16, nil, base.DEC)
    -- more fields here

-- a flat table to hold the above but only as ProtoFields
local flat_fds = {}
-- fill that flat table
for _,v in pairs(fds) do
    flat_fds[#flat_fds + 1] = v.pfield
-- register all the fields using the flat table
myproto.fields = flat_fds

-- a proxy function that decides when to add a ProtField to the tree or not
local function addMaskedField(tree, mask, field, ...)
    -- only add it if it's set in the passed-in mask
    if, field.match) == field.match then
        TreeItem.add_le(tree, field.pfield, ...)

function myproto.dissector(buf,pinfo,root)
    -- add my protocol to the tree root
    local tree = root:add(myproto, buf(0, buf:len()))

    -- add the bitmask to the tree, at byte 0 for 3 bytes
    tree:add_le(fds.bitmask.pfield, buf(0, 3))

    -- now get the 24-bit value into Lua so we can use it
    local mask = buf(0, 3):le_uint()

    addMaskedField(tree, mask, fds.myfield, buf(3, 4))
    addMaskedField(tree, mask, fds.myotherfield, buf(7, 2))

    -- etc., etc.

Note that the above is just an example - I haven't tried it or even verified it was well-formed code. But it should give you the general idea.

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answered 27 Jun '15, 21:36

Hadriel's gravatar image

accept rate: 18%

If you want to document each dissected byte, even if it is not used, then you can use the ti.set_hidden() function on a TreeItem to hide it (you cannot undo this!). Note that if the fields are completely rubbish, then you might want to introduce a dummy field for it such as my_proto.unused).

Alternatively, do not add the field at all since it is unlikely of interest to the user. Yes, you need to check this yourself, but some structured code should help here.

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answered 03 May '15, 16:05

Lekensteyn's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%

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question asked: 22 Mar '15, 20:54

question was seen: 4,275 times

last updated: 27 Jun '15, 21:36

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