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18.12.11.5. Writing your own filters

Since libvirt only provides a couple of example networking filters, you may consider writing your own. When planning on doing so there are a couple of things you may need to know regarding the network filtering subsystem and how it works internally. Certainly you also have to know and understand the protocols very well that you want to be filtering on so that no further traffic than what you want can pass and that in fact the traffic you want to allow does pass.
The network filtering subsystem is currently only available on Linux host physical machines and only works for Qemu and KVM type of virtual machines. On Linux, it builds upon the support for ebtables, iptables and ip6tables and makes use of their features. Considering the list found in Section 18.12.10, “Supported Protocols” the following protocols can be implemented using ebtables:
  • mac
  • stp (spanning tree protocol)
  • vlan (802.1Q)
  • arp, rarp
  • ipv4
  • ipv6
Any protocol that runs over IPv4 is supported using iptables, those over IPv6 are implemented using ip6tables.
Using a Linux host physical machine, all traffic filtering rules created by libvirt's network filtering subsystem first passes through the filtering support implemented by ebtables and only afterwards through iptables or ip6tables filters. If a filter tree has rules with the protocols including: mac, stp, vlan arp, rarp, ipv4, or ipv6; the ebtable rules and values listed will automatically be used first.
Multiple chains for the same protocol can be created. The name of the chain must have a prefix of one of the previously enumerated protocols. To create an additional chain for handling of ARP traffic, a chain with name arp-test, can for example be specified.
As an example, it is possible to filter on UDP traffic by source and destination ports using the IP protocol filter and specifying attributes for the protocol, source and destination IP addresses and ports of UDP packets that are to be accepted. This allows early filtering of UDP traffic with ebtables. However, once an IP or IPv6 packet, such as a UDP packet, has passed the ebtables layer and there is at least one rule in a filter tree that instantiates iptables or ip6tables rules, a rule to let the UDP packet pass will also be necessary to be provided for those filtering layers. This can be achieved with a rule containing an appropriate udp or udp-ipv6 traffic filtering node.

Example 18.11. Creating a custom filter

Suppose a filter is needed to fulfill the following list of requirements:
  • prevents a VM's interface from MAC, IP and ARP spoofing
  • opens only TCP ports 22 and 80 of a VM's interface
  • allows the VM to send ping traffic from an interface but not let the VM be pinged on the interface
  • allows the VM to do DNS lookups (UDP towards port 53)
The requirement to prevent spoofing is fulfilled by the existing clean-traffic network filter, thus the way to do this is to reference it from a custom filter.
To enable traffic for TCP ports 22 and 80, two rules are added to enable this type of traffic. To allow the guest virtual machine to send ping traffic a rule is added for ICMP traffic. For simplicity reasons, general ICMP traffic will be allowed to be initiated from the guest virtual machine, and will not be specified to ICMP echo request and response messages. All other traffic will be prevented to reach or be initiated by the guest virtual machine. To do this a rule will be added that drops all other traffic. Assuming the guest virtual machine is called test and the interface to associate our filter with is called eth0, a filter is created named test-eth0.
The result of these considerations is the following network filter XML:
<filter name='test-eth0'>
  <!- - This rule references the clean traffic filter to prevent MAC, IP and ARP spoofing. By not providing an IP address parameter, libvirt will detect the IP address the guest virtual machine is using. - ->
  <filterref filter='clean-traffic'/>

  <!- - This rule enables TCP ports 22 (ssh) and 80 (http) to be reachable - ->
  <rule action='accept' direction='in'>
    <tcp dstportstart='22'/>
  </rule>

  <rule action='accept' direction='in'>
    <tcp dstportstart='80'/>
  </rule>

  <!- - This rule enables general ICMP traffic to be initiated by the guest virtual machine including ping traffic - ->
  <rule action='accept' direction='out'>
    <icmp/>
  </rule>>

  <!- - This rule enables outgoing DNS lookups using UDP - ->
  <rule action='accept' direction='out'>
    <udp dstportstart='53'/>
  </rule>

  <!- - This rule drops all other traffic - ->
  <rule action='drop' direction='inout'>
    <all/>
  </rule>

</filter>