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On Linux, it's possible to create a socket with AF_PACKET to receive raw data from socket and do IP filtering in the application. But the man page in OSX doesn't have this:

       PF_LOCAL        Host-internal protocols, formerly called PF_UNIX,
       PF_UNIX         Host-internal protocols, deprecated, use PF_LOCAL,
       PF_INET         Internet version 4 protocols,
       PF_ROUTE        Internal Routing protocol,
       PF_KEY          Internal key-management function,
       PF_INET6        Internet version 6 protocols,
       PF_SYSTEM       System domain,
       PF_NDRV         Raw access to network device

Is this not a POSIX standard interface? How to achieve same thing on OSX?

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lang2 Avatar asked Mar 23 '23 12:03


1 Answers

No protocol whatsoever is POSIX standard. POSIX does not require a system to support any specific network protocol or any network protocol at all.

AF_PACKET is a pure Linux invention AFAIK, you won't find it on other systems.

BPF (Berkley Packet Filters) is also not POSIX, it's a BSD invention that many systems have copied, as it's pretty handy. However, you cannot inject traffic with it, you can only capture incoming and outgoing traffic with it.

In case anyone cares, here's the latest POSIX Standard:
The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 7, 2018 edition
IEEE Std 1003.1™-2017 (Revision of IEEE Std 1003.1-2008)

If you actually want to send raw IP packets (no matter if IPv4 or IPv6), using a raw IP socket is most portable:

int soc = socket(PF_INET, SOCK_RAW, IPPROTO_IP);

And then you need to tell the system, that you want to provide your own IP header:

int yes = 1;
setsockopt(soc, IPPROTO_IP, IP_HDRINCL, &yes, sizeof(yes));

Now you can send raw IP packets (e.g. IP header + UDP header + payload data) to the socket for sending, however, depending on your system, the system will perform some sanity checks and maybe override some fields in the header. E.g. it may not allow you to create malformed IP packets or prevent you from performing IP address spoofing. Therefor it may for example calculate the IPv4 header checksum for you or automatically fill in the correct source address if your IP header uses or :: as source address. Check the man page for ip(4) or for raw(7) on your target system. Apple doesn't ship programmer man pages for macOS any longer, but you can find them online.

To quote from that man page:

Unlike previous BSD releases, the program must set all the fields of the IP header, including the following:

 ip->ip_v = IPVERSION;
 ip->ip_hl = hlen >> 2;
 ip->ip_id = 0;  /* 0 means kernel set appropriate value */
 ip->ip_off = offset;
 ip->ip_len = len;

Note that the ip_off and ip_len fields are in host byte order.

If the header source address is set to INADDR_ANY, the kernel will choose an appropriate address.

Note that ip_sum is not mentioned at all, so apparently you don't have to provide that one and the system will always calculate it for you.

If you compare that to Linux raw(7):

│IP Header fields modified on sending by IP_HDRINCL │
│IP Checksum           │ Always filled in           │
│Source Address        │ Filled in when zero        │
│Packet ID             │ Filled in when zero        │
│Total Length          │ Always filled in           │

When receiving from a raw IP socket, you will either get all incoming IP packets that arrive at the host or just a subset of them (e.g. Windows does support raw sockets but won't ever let you send or receive TCP packets). You will receive the full packet, including all headers, so the first byte of every packet received is the first byte of the IP header.

Some people here will ask why I use IPPROTO_IP and not IPPROTO_RAW. When using IPPROTO_RAW you don't have to set IP_HDRINCL:

A protocol of IPPROTO_RAW implies enabled IP_HDRINCL and is able to send any IP protocol that is specified in the passed header.

But you can only use IPPROTO_RAW for outgoing traffic:

An IPPROTO_RAW socket is send only.

On macOS you can use IPPROTO_IP and you will receive all IP packets but on Linux this may not work, hence the created a new socket PF_PACKET socket type. What should work on both systems is specifying a sub-protocol:

int soc = socket(PF_INET, SOCK_RAW, IPPROTO_UDP);

Of course, now you can only send/receive UDP packets over that socket. If you set IP_HDRINCL again, you need to provide a full IP header on send and you will receive a full IP header on receive. If you don't set it, you can just provide the UDP header on send and the system will add an IP header itself, that is, if the socket is connected and optionally bound, so the system knows which addresses to use in that header. For receiving that option plays no role, you always get the IP header for every UDP packet you receive on such a socket.

In case people wonder why I use PF_INET and not AF_INET: PF means Protocol Family and AF means Address Family. Usually these are the same (e.g. AF_INET == PF_INET) so it won't matter what you use, but strictly speaking sockets should be creates with PF_ and the family in sockaddr structures should be set with AF_ as one day there might be a protocol that supports two kind of different addresses and then there will be AF_XXX1 and AF_XXX2 and neither one may be the same as PF_XXX.

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Mecki Avatar answered Mar 26 '23 02:03