ULOG target

The ULOG target is used to provide user-space logging of matching packets. If a packet is matched and the ULOG target is set, the packet information is multicasted together with the whole packet through a netlink socket. One or more user-space processes may then subscribe to various multicast groups and receive the packet. This is in other words a more complete and more sophisticated logging facility that is only used by iptables and Netfilter so far, and it contains much better facilities for logging packets. This target enables us to log information to MySQL databases, and other databases, making it much simpler to search for specific packets, and to group log entries. You can find the ULOGD user-land applications at the ULOGD project page.

Table 11-21. ULOG target options

Exampleiptables -A INPUT -p TCP --dport 22 -j ULOG --ulog-nlgroup 2
ExplanationThe --ulog-nlgroup option tells the ULOG target which netlink group to send the packet to. There are 32 netlink groups, which are simply specified as 1-32. If we would like to reach netlink group 5, we would simply write --ulog-nlgroup 5. The default netlink group used is 1.
Exampleiptables -A INPUT -p TCP --dport 22 -j ULOG --ulog-prefix "SSH connection attempt: "
ExplanationThe --ulog-prefix option works just the same as the prefix value for the standard LOG target. This option prefixes all log entries with a user-specified log prefix. It can be 32 characters long, and is definitely most useful to distinguish different log-messages and where they came from.
Exampleiptables -A INPUT -p TCP --dport 22 -j ULOG --ulog-cprange 100
ExplanationThe --ulog-cprange option tells the ULOG target how many bytes of the packet to send to the user-space daemon of ULOG. If we specify 100 as above, we would copy 100 bytes of the whole packet to user-space, which would include the whole header hopefully, plus some leading data within the actual packet. If we specify 0, the whole packet will be copied to user-space, regardless of the packets size. The default value is 0, so the whole packet will be copied to user-space.
Exampleiptables -A INPUT -p TCP --dport 22 -j ULOG --ulog-qthreshold 10
ExplanationThe --ulog-qthreshold option tells the ULOG target how many packets to queue inside the kernel before actually sending the data to user-space. For example, if we set the threshold to 10 as above, the kernel would first accumulate 10 packets inside the kernel, and then transmit it outside to the user-space as one single netlink multi part message. The default value here is 1 because of backward compatibility, the user-space daemon did not know how to handle multi-part messages previously.


Works under Linux kernel 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6.