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18.12.2. Filtering Chains

Filtering rules are organized in filter chains. These chains can be thought of as having a tree structure with packet filtering rules as entries in individual chains (branches).
Packets start their filter evaluation in the root chain and can then continue their evaluation in other chains, return from those chains back into the root chain or be dropped or accepted by a filtering rule in one of the traversed chains.
Libvirt's network filtering system automatically creates individual root chains for every virtual machine's network interface on which the user chooses to activate traffic filtering. The user may write filtering rules that are either directly instantiated in the root chain or may create protocol-specific filtering chains for efficient evaluation of protocol-specific rules.
The following chains exist:
  • root
  • mac
  • stp (spanning tree protocol)
  • vlan
  • arp and rarp
  • ipv4
  • ipv6
Multiple chains evaluating the mac, stp, vlan, arp, rarp, ipv4, or ipv6 protocol can be created using the protocol name only as a prefix in the chain's name.

Example 18.3. ARP traffic filtering

This example allows chains with names arp-xyz or arp-test to be specified and have their ARP protocol packets evaluated in those chains.
The following filter XML shows an example of filtering ARP traffic in the arp chain.
<filter name='no-arp-spoofing' chain='arp' priority='-500'>
  <rule action='drop' direction='out' priority='300'>
    <mac match='no' srcmacaddr='$MAC'/>
  <rule action='drop' direction='out' priority='350'>
    <arp match='no' arpsrcmacaddr='$MAC'/>
  <rule action='drop' direction='out' priority='400'>
    <arp match='no' arpsrcipaddr='$IP'/>
  <rule action='drop' direction='in' priority='450'>
    <arp opcode='Reply'/>
    <arp match='no' arpdstmacaddr='$MAC'/>
  <rule action='drop' direction='in' priority='500'>
    <arp match='no' arpdstipaddr='$IP'/>
  <rule action='accept' direction='inout' priority='600'>
    <arp opcode='Request'/>
  <rule action='accept' direction='inout' priority='650'>
    <arp opcode='Reply'/>
  <rule action='drop' direction='inout' priority='1000'/>
The consequence of putting ARP-specific rules in the arp chain, rather than for example in the root chain, is that packets protocols other than ARP do not need to be evaluated by ARP protocol-specific rules. This improves the efficiency of the traffic filtering. However, one must then pay attention to only putting filtering rules for the given protocol into the chain since other rules will not be evaluated. For example, an IPv4 rule will not be evaluated in the ARP chain since IPv4 protocol packets will not traverse the ARP chain.