Skip to main content
Version: VAST v3.1

MISP Plugin

The Threat Bus MISP plugin enables communication with the MISP Open Source Threat Intelligence Platform. The plugin handles all communication with MISP. It uses either ZeroMQ or Kafka for receiving new indicators data and reports back sightings to MISP via REST API calls.

MISP Module

The Threat Bus MISP plugin in its current form violates the pub/sub architecture of Threat Bus. That is because the plugin subscribes a listener to MISP's ZeroMQ / Kafka stream, rather than having MISP subscribe itself to Threat Bus. This shortcoming will be addressed with a MISP module in the future.

The plugin makes the following deployment assumptions:

  1. Indicators of compromise (IoCs) are stored in MISP as attributes.
  2. Either ZeroMQ or Kafka is enabled in MISP for attribute publishing.
  3. The MISP REST API is enabled and an API key is available.

The plugin receives MISP attribute (IoC) updates from MISP, parses them to a valid STIX-2 Indicator, and publishes the parsed IoCs on the stix2/indicator topic. Other apps that connect to Threat Bus, like Zeek or VAST can consume those indicators by subscribing to that Threat Bus topic.

Vice versa, the MISP plugin subscribes to the stix2/sighting topic and converts STIX-2 Sightings to MISP sightings. It reports back these sightings to the MISP platform using PyMISP to query the MISP REST API.


The plugin receives IoC updates from MISP either via ZeroMQ or Kafka. When using Kafka, you have to install librdkafka for the host system that runs Threat Bus. See the prerequisites section of the confluent-kafka Python client for more details.

Once the prerequisites are met, install the MISP plugin via pip. You can select optional dependencies during installation for running either with Kafka or ZeroMQ. Both options are available as follows:

pip install threatbus-misp[zmq]
pip install threatbus-misp[kafka]

If neither of these dependencies is installed (i.e., you installed threatbus-misp without the [...] suffix for optional deps), the plugin throws an error and exits immediately.


The plugin can either use ZeroMQ or Kafka to retrieve indicators from MISP. It uses the MISP REST API to report back sightings of indicators.

ZeroMQ and Kafka are mutually exclusive, such that Threat Bus does not receive all attribute updates twice. See below for an example configuration.

host: https://localhost
ssl: false
filter: # filter are optional. you can omit the entire section.
- orgs: # creator org IDs must be strings:
- "1"
- "25"
types: # MISP attribute types
- ip-src
- ip-dst
- hostname
- domain
- url
- orgs:
- "2"
host: localhost
port: 50000
# topics:
# - misp_attribute
# poll_interval: 1.0
# # All config entries are passed as-is to librdkafka
# #
# config:
# bootstrap.servers: "localhost:9092"
# "threatbus"
# auto.offset.reset: "earliest"
Kafka Fine-tuning

The MISP plugin forwards all settings from the kafka.config section of the configuration file directly to the Kafka client. The used Python consumer is confluent-kafka.Consumer. For a list of all config options please see the official Kafka Client Configuration docs.


The plugin can be configured with a list of filters. Every filter describes a whitelist for MISP attributes (IoCs). The MISP plugin will only forward IoCs to Threat Bus if the whitelisted properties are present.

A filter consists of three sub-whitelists for creator organizations, types, and tags. To pass through the filter, an attribute must provide at least one of the whitelisted properties of each of the whitelists. More precisely, entries of each whitelist are linked by an "or"-function, the whitelists themselves are linked by an "and"-function, as follows: (org_1 OR org_2) AND (type_1 OR type_2) AND (tag_1 OR tag_2).

The MISP plugin always assumes that the absence of a whitelist means that everything is whitelisted. For example, when the entire filter section is omitted from the config, then all attributes are forwarded and nothing is filtered. More examples follow below.


Organizations are whitelisted by their ID, which is a string. Only those MISP attributes that come from any of the whitelisted organizations will be forwarded to Threat Bus.


Types can be whitelisted by specifying MISP attribute types. Only those attributes that are instances of a whitelisted type will be forwarded to Threat Bus.


MISP Attributes can be tagged with arbitrary strings. The tag whitelist respects tag names. Only those attributes that have at least one of the whitelisted tags will be forwarded to Threat Bus.


This section provides some simple configuration examples to illustrate how whitelist filtering works.

  1. Forward all IoCs from the organizations "1" and "25"
- orgs:
- "1"
- "25"
  1. Forward only IoCs of the domain, url, or uri type, but only if they come from the organization "1" or "25".
- orgs:
- "1"
- "25"
- types:
- domain
- url
- uri
  1. Forward only IoCs that are tagged with TLP:RED or TLP:AMBER, but only of type "src-ip":
- tags:
- types:
- src-ip

Development Setup

The following guides describe how to set up a local, dockerized instance of Kafka and how to setup a VirtualBox running MISP for developing.

Dockerized Kafka

For a simple, working Kafka Docker setup use the single node example from confluentinc/cp-docker-images.

Store the docker-compose.yaml and modify the Kafka environment variables such that the Docker host (e.g., on Linux) of your Docker machine is advertised as Kafka listener:

KAFKA_ADVERTISED_LISTENERS: PLAINTEXT://kafka:29092,PLAINTEXT_HOST:// # <-- That is the IP of your Docker host

Check out this article for details about Kafka listeners.

Then start the compose setup via docker-compose up -d.

To test the setup, use the tests/utils/ and tests/utils/ scripts in the Threat Bus repository.

Local MISP using VirtualBox

This guide walks you through setting up MISP using a pre-configured VirtualBox VM and then configuring MISP to export Attribute (IoC) updates to Threat Bus.

Installation via VirtualBox

Use the officially maintained Virtual Images for MISP. Download the latest .ova image file and load it in a VirtualBox client. Ensure the following:

  • The VM has enough working memory (e.g., 3 GiB of RAM)
  • The VM exposes ports 8443 (web interface) and 50000 (ZMQ)
    • Use VirtualBox port-forwarding when NATting
    • Use VirtualBox bridge-mode & SSH into the VM using SSH port-forwarding

Here are the above steps as pure CLI instructions for running MISP in headless mode (i.e., without a graphical VirtualBox interface).

curl -fL -o misp-2.4.138.ova
vboxmanage import misp-2.4.138.ova --vsys 0 --vmname misp --memory 3072 --cpus 1 --eula accept
vboxmanage modifyvm misp --nic1 nat
vboxmanage modifyvm misp --natpf1 "zmq,tcp,,50000,,50000"
vboxmanage list -l misp

You can then start and stop VM using the following commands:

vboxmanage startvm misp --type headless
vboxmanage controlvm misp poweroff

Configuration for usage with Threat Bus

For Threat Bus to receive attribute (IoC) updates from MISP, you must either enable Kafka or ZMQ export in the MISP VM. If you chose to go with Kafka, you need to install librdkafka first inside the VM, then make it known to PHP.

Install Kafka inside VM

ssh misp@<MISP_VM_IP> # enter your configured password to pop an interactive shell inside the VM
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo apt-get install librdkafka-dev

# see
sudo pecl channel-update
sudo pecl install rdkafka
echo "" | sudo tee /etc/php/7.2/mods-available/rdkafka.ini
sudo phpenmod rdkafka
sudo service apache2 restart

Once Kafka is installed, you can go ahead and enable it in the MISP web-view.

Enable Kafka export in the MISP web-view

  • Visit https://localhost:8443
  • login with your configured credentials
  • Go to Administration -> Server Settings & Maintenance -> Plugin settings Tab
  • Set the following entries
    • Plugin.Kafka_enable -> true
    • Plugin.Kafka_brokers -> <- In this example, is the Docker host as configured in the Dockerized Kafka setup above, reachable from other Docker networks. The port is reachable when the Kafka Docker setup binds to it globally.
    • Plugin.Kafka_attribute_notifications_enable -> true
    • Plugin.Kafka_attribute_notifications_topic -> misp_attribute <- The topic goes into the threatbus config.yaml

You can use ZeroMQ to export IoCs from MISP as light weight alternative to running Kafka. It does not require any extra installations, except enabling the feature in the MISP web-view.

Enable the ZMQ plugin in the MISP web-view

  • Visit https://localhost:8443
  • login with your configured credentials
  • Go to Administration -> Server Settings & Maintenance -> Diagnostics Tab
  • Find the ZeroMQ plugin section and enable it
  • Go to Administration -> Server Settings & Maintenance -> Plugin settings Tab
  • Set the entry Plugin.ZeroMQ_attribute_notifications_enable to true