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Choose an export format

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Missing Documentation

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The broker export command sends query results to Zeek via the Broker communication library.

Broker provides a topic-based publish-subscribe communication layer and standardized data model to interact with the Zeek ecosystem. Using the broker writer, VAST can send query results to a Zeek instance. This allows you to write Zeek scripts incorporate knowledge from the past that is no longer in Zeek memory, e.g., when writing detectors for longitudinal attacks.

To export a query into a Zeek instance, run the broker command:

# Spawn a Broker endpoint, connect to localhost:9999/tcp, and publish
# to the topic `vast/data` to send result events to Zeek.
vast export broker <expression>

To handle the data in Zeek, your script must write a handler for the following event:

event VAST::data(layout: string, data: any)
print layout, data; // dispatch

The event argument layout is the name of the event in the VAST table slice. The data argument a vector of Broker data values representing the event.

By default, VAST automatically publishes a Zeek event VAST::data to the topic vast/data/. Use --event and --topic to set these options to different values.


VAST supports reading and writing PCAP traces via libpcap. On the write path, VAST can write packets to a trace file.

Writing PCAP traces

VAST can only write PCAP traces for events of type pcap.packet. To avoid bogus trace file files, VAST automatically appends #type == "pcap.packet" to every query expression.

Below are some examples queries the generate PCAP traces. In principle, you can also use other output formats aside from pcap. These will render the binary PCAP packet representation in the payload field.

Extract packets in a specific time range

VAST uses the timestamp from the PCAP header to determine the event time for a given packet. To query all packets from the last 5 minutes, leverage the time field:

vast export pcap 'pcap.packet.time > 5 mins ago' | tcpdump -r - -nl

Extract packets matching IPs and ports

To extract packets matching a combination of the connection 4-tuple, you can use the src, dst, sport, and dport fields. For example:

vast export pcap ' && dport == 42000' | tcpdump -r - -nl

Extract packets matching VLAN IDs

VAST extracts outer and inner VLAN IDs from 802.1Q headers. You can query VLAN IDs using vlan.outer and vlan.inner:

vast export pcap 'vlan.outer > 0 || vlan.inner in [1, 2, 3]' | tcpdump -r - -nl

Special IDs include 0x000 (frame does not carry a VLAN ID) and 0xFFF (reserved value; sometimes wildcard match). If you would like to check the presence of a header, check whether it null, e.g., vlan.outer != nil.

Extract packet matching a Community ID

Use the community_id field to query all packets belonging to a single flow identified by a Community ID:

vast export pcap 'community_id == "1:wCb3OG7yAFWelaUydu0D+125CLM="' |
tcpdump -r - -nl