Live Traffic Capture and Sniffer for IEEE 802.15.4 networks
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README.md

sensniff

Live Traffic Capture and Sniffer for IEEE 802.15.4 networks.

This tool helps you perform live traffic capture and analysis for IEEE 802.15.4 networks. sensniff has two components:

  • Peripheral: This is an embedded device with a .15.4 trasceiver which captures all network frames and streams them over to the host.
  • Host: This is a python script which runs on a PC. It reads network packets captured by the peripheral, converts them to PCAP and pipes them to wireshark.

Other than network packet capture, the host can send commands to the peripheral to achieve secondary functionality e.g. change radio channel.

sensniff is distributed under the terms of the 3-clause BSD license. See LICENSE.

sensniff has been developed and tested on Ubuntu and Mac OS X. sensniff does not work on Windows (and most likely never will).

How to Use

In a nutshell, three steps are involved:

  • Program your peripheral with a sensniff-compliant firmware and connect it to your PC
  • Run the host tool (resides in host/)
  • Run wireshark, start a capture and enjoy

Program your Peripheral

First, you need to have a device with a .15.4 transceiver and you need to program the device with a sniffer firmware. Here, we have the following options:

Sensniff with Contiki

Contiki currently provides a sensniff example that supports a very wide variety of hardware platforms, including but not limited to:

  • Texas Instruments CC2538 devices. This will work with a CC2538 EM in CDC-ACM mode, as well as with Srf06EB+CC2538EM over UART.
  • Texas Instruments CC2530 devices. This will work with CC2531 USB dongles as well as CC2530 Evaluation Modules on a SmartRF 05 Evaluation Board.
  • Zolertia Zoul, in 2.4GHz as well as in sub-ghz mode.
  • Texas Instruments CC13xx/CC26xx platforms, such as Launchpads and Srf06+CC13xx/CC26xx EMs

Sensniff Firmware

In the future, sensniff will also provide sources for a series of wireless sensor platforms. The first platforms to be supported will be the same as those with examples in the Contiki source tree (see above). These will be distributed through a separate repo.

Run the Host Tool

The host-side tool assumes that the peripheral appears as a serial port on the host PC. If your embedded device has a native USB interface, it will have to enumerate as a CDC-ACM device (e.g. the CC2531 USB dongle running the Contiki sniffer example).

The best way to start: python sensniff.py -h

Some examples:

  • To read captures from /dev/ttyUSB1: python sensniff.py -d /dev/ttyUSB1
  • To run in non-interactive mode: python sensniff.py --non-interactive
  • To increase verbosity: python sensniff.py -D INFO
  • Use the -p argument to save the capture in a pcap file: python sensniff.py -p

The host-side script will also print out peripheral debugging output. Any data received not starting with the correct MAGIC (see protocol specification) will be considered to be debugging output from the peripheral and will be printed verbatim, prefixed by 'Peripheral: '. Thus, you may see something like this:

Peripheral: sniffer: Command 0x82
Peripheral: sniffer: SET_CHANNEL command
Peripheral: sniffer: Channel 12
Received a command response: [01 0c]
Sniffing in channel: 12
Peripheral: sniffer: Response [ 53 6e 69 66 01 01 01 0c ]

Run Wireshark

The host-side tool will convert the frames to PCAP format and pipe them to a FIFO file. All you need to do is to set wireshark to start a capture, using this FIFO file as the capture 'interface'. By default, sensniff will use /tmp/sensniff.

Go to Capture -> options -> Manage Interfaces -> New (under Pipes) -> type /tmp/sensniff and save. The pipe will then appear as an interface. Start a capture on it.

In older versions of Wireshark, go to Capture -> Options and type /tmp/sensniff in the Interface field.

You don't need root priviledges.

The first time your run this, you will need to open Wireshark's preferences and select 'TI CC24xx FCS format' under Protocols -> IEEE 802.15.4. You will also need to correctly configure contexts under 6LoWPAN.

Project Status

Protocol Versions

For Host-Peripheral communication, sensniff uses its own minimalistic protocol. The host tool currently suports two version of the protocol:

  • Current version: This is specified in this README. All future examples and peripheral code will use this version.
  • Legacy version: This is not documented here and will fade away, eventually. This version only supports frame capturing. Host-initiated commands are not supported.

Host-Side Script

The host-side script has been tested extensively and should work without major issues. It supports both versions of the sensniff protocol but the legacy version will be removed without any notice.

How to Contribute

sensniff Host-to-Peripheral protocol

sensniff uses a minimalistic protocol for the communication between the host and the peripheral. All packets (in both directions) follow this format:

                     1                   2                   3
 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                             MAGIC                             |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|    VERSION    |      CMD      |              LEN              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
|                             DATA                              |
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
  • MAGIC: The following 4 bytes (hex): C1 1F FE 72 ('S'+'n' 1F FE 'r')
  • VERSION: (1 byte). Currently 2.
  • CMD: (1 byte) Command. See below for possible values.
  • LEN: (2 bytes) Length of the DATA field in number of bytes. Optional. Network byte order.
  • DATA: Variable length specified in LEN. Only transmitted if LEN exists and has value > 0. Contains the payload, depending on the value of CMD.

Commands

Generally speaking, frames with the MS bit of the CMD field set are host-to-peripheral. The MS bit is clear for peripheral-to-host packets.

The CMD field can take the following values:

  • CMD==0x00 (CMD_FRAME): LEN will contain the length of a captured .15.4 frame. DATA will contain the frame itself, including the .15.4 MAC layer header, payload and FCS. This command is peripheral-initiated.
  • CMD==0x01 (CMD_CHANNEL): The current RF channel used by the peripheral's transceiver. LEN will be 1. DATA will be 1 byte long and will contain the value of the channel. Valid values in [11,26]. Packets of this type are always a response to either CMD_GET_CHANNEL or CMD_SET_CHANNEL.
  • CMD==0x02 (CMD_CHANNEL_MIN): The minimum RF channel supported by the peripheral's transceiver. LEN will be 1. DATA will be 1 byte long and will contain the value of the channel. Packets of this type are a response to CMD_GET_CHANNEL_MIN.
  • CMD==0x03 (CMD_CHANNEL_MAX): The maximum RF channel supported by the peripheral's transceiver. LEN will be 1. DATA will be 1 byte long and will contain the value of the channel. Packets of this type are a response to CMD_GET_CHANNEL_MAX.
  • CMD==0x7F (CMD_ERR_NOT_SUPPORTED): The peripheral parsed the command successfully, but it could not execute it. A typical example of when this could happen is when a CMD_SET_CHANNEL requested a channel outside the range supported by the peripheral.
  • CMD==0x81 (CMD_GET_CHANNEL): Used by the host to query the current radio channel used by the peripheral's RF chip. LEN and DATA are omitted. The Peripheral will respond with a CMD_CHANNEL.
  • CMD==0x82 (CMD_GET_CHANNEL_MIN): Used by the host to query the minimum radio channel supported by the peripheral's RF chip. LEN and DATA are omitted. The Peripheral will respond with a CMD_CHANNEL_MIN.
  • CMD==0x83 (CMD_GET_CHANNEL_MAX): Used by the host to query the maximum radio channel supported by the peripheral's RF chip. LEN and DATA are omitted. The Peripheral will respond with a CMD_CHANNEL_MAX.
  • CMD==0x84 (CMD_SET_CHANNEL): Used by the host to request a change to a new radio channel. LEN will be 1. DATA will be 1 byte long and will contain the value of the new channel. Valid values depend on the peripheral and can be retrieved through CMD_GET_CHANNEL_MIN & CMD_GET_CHANNEL_MAX. The peripheral will respond with a CMD_CHANNEL.