Global bpf.conf

You can specify your BPF in /etc/nsm/rules/bpf.conf on your master server and, by default, it will apply to Snort/Suricata/Zeek/netsniff-ng/prads on all interfaces in your entire deployment. If you have separate sensors reporting to that master server, they will copy /etc/nsm/rules/bpf.conf as part of the daily rule-update cron job (or you can run it manually) which will also restart Snort/Suricata so that the BPF change will take effect. Zeek automatically monitors bpf.conf for changes and will update itself as needed. Other services (such as prads and netsniff-ng) will need to be restarted manually for the change to take effect.

Granular bpf.conf

Each process on each interface has its own bpf file, but by default the per-process bpf files are symlinked to the interface bpf and the interface bpf is then symlinked to the global bpf.conf:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  root     8 Jan 13 21:47 bpf-bro.conf -> bpf.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  root    23 Jan 13 21:47 bpf.conf -> /etc/nsm/rules/bpf.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  root     8 Jan 13 21:47 bpf-ids.conf -> bpf.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  root     8 Jan 13 21:47 bpf-pcap.conf -> bpf.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root  root     8 Jan 13 21:47 bpf-prads.conf -> bpf.conf

If you don’t want your sensors to inherit bpf.conf from the master server and/or you need to specify a bpf per-interface or per-process, you can simply replace the default symlink(s) with the desired bpf file(s) and restart service(s) as necessary. For example, suppose you want to apply a BPF to NIDS (Snort/Suricata) only:

# Remove the default NIDS BPF symlink
sudo rm bpf-ids.conf
# Create a new NIDS BPF file and add your custom BPF
sudo vi bpf-ids.conf
# Restart NIDS
sudo so-nids-restart

BPF Examples

Exclude traffic to/from a host:

!(host xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx)

Exclude traffic from a source host to a destination port:

!(src host xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx && dst port 161)

Combine multiple BPFs together using &&, but note that the last entry has no final &&:

#Nothing from src host to dst port
!(src host xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx && dst port 161) &&

#Nothing from src host to dst host and dst port
!(src host xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx && dst host xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx && dst port 80) &&

#Nothing to or from:
!(host xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) &&

#Last entry has no final &&
!(host xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx)


From Seth Hall regarding VLAN tags:

(not (host or host or host or host or (vlan and (not (host or host or host or host

This amazingly works if you are only using it to restrict the traffic passing through the filter. The basic template is…

<your filter> and (vlan and <your filter>)

Once the vlan tag is included in the filter, all subsequent expressions to the right are shifted by four bytes so you need to duplicate the filter on both sides of the vlan keyword. There are edge cases where this will no longer work and probably edge cases where a few undesired packets will make it though, but it should work in the example case that you’ve given.

Also, I’m assuming that any tools you are running will support vlan tags and no tags simultaneously. Bro 2.0 should work fine at least.