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ra - Man Page

read argus(8) data.


ra [raoptions] [-- filter-expression]


Ra reads argus(8) data from either stdin, an argus-file, or from a remote data source, which can either be an argus-server,  or a netflow data server, filters the records it encounters based on an optional filter-expression and either prints the contents of the argus(5) records that it encounters to stdout or appends them into an argus(5) datafile.



Print aggregate statistics for the input stream on termination.


Dump the compiled transaction-matching code to standard output and stop. This is useful for debugging filter expressions.

-c <char>

Specify a delimiter character for output columns (default is ' ').

-C <[host]:portnum> (deprecated)

Specify a source of Netflow data. The optional host is the local interface address where Netflow Cisco records are going to be read. If absent, then it is implied that the interface address is AF_ANY. This option is deprecated and the '-S cisco://address:port' is now the recommended option.

-D <level>

Print debug information corresponding to <level> to stderr, if program compiled to support debug printing.  As the level increases, so does the amount of debug information ra(1) will print.  Values range from 1-8.


Toggle whether to run this program as a daemon.

-e <regex>

Match regular expression in flow user data fields.  Prepend the regex with either "s:" or "d:" to limit the match to either the source or destination user data fields. At this time null bytes in the user data buffer terminate  search.  Examples include:

   "^SSH-"           - Look for ssh connections on any port.
   "s:^GET"          - Look for HTTP GET requests in the source buffer.
   "d:^HTTP.*Unauth" - Find unauthorized http response.

Depending on the regular expression library that the system supports, you will be able to match many types of binary, octal and hex  expressions.  See regex.3, pcre.3 and the web for examples.

-E <file>

When using a filter expression at the end of the command, this option will cause ra(1) to append the records that are rejected by the filter into <file>

-F <conffile>

Use <conffile> as a source of configuration information.  The format of this file is identical to rarc(5).  The data read from <conffile> overrides any prior configuration information.


Print an explanation of all the arguments.


Abbreviate numeric metrics, to make reading large values easier.  Use the -p <num> option to specify the precision right of the decimal.

-L <n>

Specify how ra will print header labels for the output.

   Supported values are:
      -1  Don't print header labels.
       0  Print the header labels only once, as the beginning of output.
     > 0  Print the header labels every n lines of output.

    -M <mode [mode ...]>
    Provide addition mode operators.  These are generally specific to the
    individual ra* program, or a specific function. Available modes for ra()

   disa             - interpret DSCodepoints using the US DISA encodings
   dsrs=dsrlist     - process these dsrs
      Where a dsrlist has the format:
         Supported dsrs are:
           trans    transport information, such as source id and seq number.
           flow     flow key data (proto, saddr, sport, dir, daddr, dport)
           time     time stamp fields (stime, ltime).
           metric   basic ([s|d]bytes, [s|d]pkts, [s|d]rate, [s|d]load)
           agr      aggregation stats (trans, avgdur, mindur, maxdur, stdev).
           net      network objects (tcp, esp, rtp, icmp data).
           vlan     VLAN tag data
           mpls     MPLS label data
           jitter   Jitter data ([s|d]jit, [s|d]intpkt)
           ipattr   IP attributes ([s|d]ipid, [s|d]tos, [s|d]dsb, [s|d]ttl)
           psize    packet size information
           mac      MAC addresses (smac, dmac)
           icmp     ICMP specific data (icmpmap, inode)
           encaps   Flow encapsulation type indications
           behavior Behavioral metrics and data
           tadj     Time adjustment data
           cor      Multi-probe correlation data
           cocode   Country Codes
           asn      Autonomous System Number data
           suser    src user captured data bytes (suser)
           duser    dst captured user data bytes (duser)
      Examples are:
         -M dsrs=time,flow,metric
         -M dsrs=-suser,-duser

   label="regex"    - match flow label with regex(3) regular expression.
   man              - print management records
   noman            - do not print management records
   oui              - print oui labels in mac addresses

   printer="format" - specify printer formats for printing user data.
      Supported formats are:
           ascii      print user buffer as ascii string. use '.' for unprintable chars.
           obfuscate  ascii printer with password obfuscation.
           hex        print hex dump of user buffer on separate lines.
           encode32   print user buffer as 32-bit chars.
           encode64   print user buffer using 64-bit chars.

   poll             - successfully attach to remote data source and then exit
   rmon             - modify data to support unidiretional RMON stat reporting
   rtime:factor     - read data from a file, clocking records in as if they
                      being read in realtime.  Factor provides an opportunity
                      to specify a multiplication factor, enabling you to
                      read records in a fraction of real time, slowing down
                      reading considerably, or a factor of time, enabling
                      controlled speedup of the reading rate.

   saslmech="mech"  - specify a mandatory SASL mech
   sql="select"     - use "select" as select clause in mysql calls when supported.
   TZ="tzset"       - specify a tzset(3) time zone specification
   uni              - generate unidirectional flow data
   xml              - print output in xml format.

Illegal modes are not detectable by the standard library, and so unexpected results in command line parsing may occur if care is not taken with use of this option.


Modify number to name converstion.  This flag supports 4 states, specified by the modulus of the number of -n flags set.  By default ra* programs do not provide hostname lookups, but they do lookup port and protocol names. The first -n will suppress port number to service conversion, -nn will suppress translation of protocol numbers to names (no lookups).  -nnn will return you to full conversion, translating hostnames, port and protocol names, and -nnnn will return you to the default behavior.   Because this indicator can be set in the .rarc file, multiple -n flags progress through the cycle.

-N [io]<num>, [io]<start-end>, [io]<start+num>

Process the first <num> records, the inclusive range <start - end>, or process <num + 1> records starting at index number <start>.  The optional 1st character indicates whether the specification is applied to the input or the output stream of records, the default is input.  If applied to the input, these are the range of records that match the input filter.

-p <digits>

Print <digits> number of units of precision for floating point values.


Run in quiet mode. Configure Ra to not print out the contents of records. This can be used for a number of maintenance tasks, where you would be interested in the outcome of a program, or its progress, say with the -D option, without printing each input record.

-r [- | <[type:]file[::soffset[:eoffset]] ...>]

Read <type> data from <files> in the order presented on the commandline. '-' denotes stdin.  Ra supports reading argus type data (default), cisco and ft, flow-tools type data.  If you want to read a set of files and then, when done, read stdin, use multiple occurences of the -r option.  Ra can read gzip(1), bzip2(1), xz(1) and  compress(1) compressed data files. Byte offset values allow the specification of a range of records within an uncompressed file. Byte offsets must be aligned to record boundaries. Valid record offsets can be obtained using +offset as an output field even from compressed files.

Examples are:

   -r file1 file2              read argus records from file1, then file2.
   -r file::34876              read argus records starting at byte offset 34876 
   -r file::34876:35846        read argus records starting at byte offset 34876 and ending at 35846 
   -r cisco:file               read cisco netflow records from file
   -r ft:file                  read flow-tools based records
-R <dir dir ...>

Recursively decend the directory and process all the regular files that are encountered.  The function does not decend to links, or directories that begin with '.'.  The feature, like the -r command, does not do any file type checking.

-s <[-][[+[#]]field[:len[:format]] ...>

Specify the fields to print.  ra.1 gets the field print list either from its rarc configuration files or from the command-line. In the case where there is no configuration given ra.1 uses a default printing field list, with default field lengths.  By specifying a space separated list of fields, this option provides a means to completely redefine the list from the command line.  Using the optional '-' and '+[#]' prepended to the field list, you can add or subtract fields from the configured list.   Field lengths are hard constraints, and field output that exceeds the field length will be truncated, and a '*' will be inserted as the last character. When you see this, add more to the length specification for that specific field. Field lengths (len) less than 1, are not permitted and will generate an error. The optional 'format' specification, uses sprintf.1 syntax to format the value. The available fields to print are:


argus source identifier.


Ordinal value of this output flow record i.e. sequence number.


record start time


record last time.


aggregation record count.


flow state flags seen in transaction.


argus sequence number.


record total duration.


total active flow run time.  This value is generated through aggregation, and is the sum of the records duration.


time since the last packet activity.  This value is useful in real-time processing, and is the current time - last time.


average duration of aggregated records.


standard deviation of aggregated duration times.


total accumulated durations of aggregated records.


minimum duration of aggregated records.


maximum duration of aggregated records.


source MAC addr.


destination MAC addr.


oui portion of the source MAC addr.


oui portion of the destination MAC addr.


source IP addr.


destination IP addr.


transaction protocol.


source port number.


destination port number.


source TOS byte value.


destination TOS byte value.


source diff serve byte value.


destination diff serve byte value.


source IP address country code.


destination IP address country code.


src -> dst TTL value.


dst -> src TTL value.


estimate of number of IP hops from src to this point.


estimate of number of IP hops from dst to this point.


source IP identifier.


destination IP identifier.


source MPLS identifier.


destination MPLS identifier.


Auto generated identifier (mysql).


Src origin AS


Dst origin AS


Intermediate origin AS, AS of ICMP generator


Argus record cause code.  Valid values are Start, Status, Stop, Close, Error


Number of observed keystrokes.


Number of observed keystrokes from initiator (src) to target (dst).


Number of observed keystrokes from target (dst) to initiator (src).


total transaction packet count.


src -> dst packet count.


dst -> src packet count.


total transaction bytes.


src -> dst transaction bytes.


dst -> src transaction bytes.


total application bytes.


src -> dst application bytes.


dst -> src application bytes.


producer consumer  ratio.


bits per second.


source bits per second.


destination bits per second.


pkts retransmitted or dropped.


source pkts retransmitted or dropped.


destination pkts retransmitted or dropped.


percent pkts retransmitted or dropped.


percent source pkts retransmitted or dropped.


percent destination pkts retransmitted or dropped.


pkts retransmitted.


source pkts retransmitted.


destination pkts retransmitted.


percent pkts retransmitted.


percent source pkts retransmitted.


percent destination pkts retransmitted.


source bytes missing in the data stream. Available after argus-3.0.4


destination bytes missing in the data stream. Available after argus-3.0.4


pkts per second.


source pkts per second.


destination pkts per second.


direction of transaction


source interpacket arrival time (mSec)


source interpacket arrival time distribution


source active interpacket arrival time (mSec)


source active interpacket arrival time (mSec)


source idle interpacket arrival time (mSec)


source idle interpacket arrival time (mSec)


destination interpacket arrival time (mSec)


destination interpacket arrival time distribution


destination active interpacket arrival time (mSec)


destination active interpacket arrival time distribution (mSec)


destination idle interpacket arrival time (mSec)


destination idle interpacket arrival time distribution


source jitter (mSec).


source active jitter (mSec).


source idle jitter (mSec).


destination jitter (mSec).


destination active jitter (mSec).


destination idle jitter (mSec).


transaction state


Metadata label.


source user data buffer.


destination user data buffer.


source TCP window advertisement.


destination TCP window advertisement.


source VLAN identifier.


destination VLAN identifier.


source VLAN identifier.


destination VLAN identifier.


source VLAN priority.


destination VLAN priority.


start time for the filter timerange.


end time for the filter timerange.


source TCP base sequence number


destination TCP base sequence number


TCP connection setup round-trip time, the sum of 'synack' and 'ackdat'.


TCP connection setup time, the time between the SYN and the SYN_ACK packets.


TCP connection setup time, the time between the SYN_ACK and the ACK packets.


The TCP connection options seen at initiation.  The tcpopt indicator consists of a fixed length field, that reports presence of any of the  TCP options that argus tracks The format is:

 M            -  Maxiumum Segment Size
  w           -  Window Scale 
   s          -  Selective ACK OK
    S         -  Selective ACK
     e        -  TCP Echo
      E       -  TCP Echo Reply
       T      -  TCP Timestamp
        c     -  TCP CC
         N    -  TCP CC New
          O   -  TCP CC Echo 
           S  -  Source Explicit Congestion Notification
            D -  Destination Explicit Congestion Notification

    ICMP intermediate node.
    record byte offset in file or stream.
    Mean of the flow packet size transmitted by the src (initiator).
    Mean of the flow packet size transmitted by the dst (target).

    histogram for the src packet size distribution
    maximum packet size for traffic transmitted by the src.
    histogram for the dst packet size distribution
    maximum packet size for traffic transmitted by the dst.
    minimum packet size for traffic transmitted by the src.
    minimum packet size for traffic transmitted by the dst.

    minimum packet size for traffic transmitted by the dst.

Examles are:
   -s saddr      print only the source address.
   -s -bytes     removes the bytes field from list.
   -s +2srcid    adds the source identifier as the 2nd field.
   -s spkts:18   prints src pkt count with a column width of 18.
   -s smpls      print the local mpls label in the flow.
-S <[URI://][user[:pass]@]host[:portnum]>

Specify a remote source of flow data.  Read flow data from various data format and transport strategies, using the URI format to indicate the type of flow data record of interest (argus-tcp, argus-udp, cisco, jflow, sflow) and the source, as a name or an addresss, providing an option user and password for protected access.  Use the optional ':portnum' to specify a port number other than the default; 561.

Examles are:

   -S localhost                 request remote argus records from localhost, using default methods.
   -S user@localhost            request argus records from localhost, as 'user'.
   -S user:pass@localhost       request argus records from localhost, as 'user', with 'pass' password.
   -S         request via TCP argus records from, port 12345.
   -S argus://user@anubis       request argus records from anubis, via TCP port 561, as 'user'.
   -S argus-tcp://thoth:12345   request argus records via TCP from thoth, port 12345.
   -S argus-udp://set:12345     request argus records via UDP from set, port 12345.
   -S cisco://any:9996          read cisco netflow records from AF_ANY, on port 9996.
   -S jflow://     read jflow records sent to, on port 9898.
   -S sflow://localhost:6343    read sflow records sent to localhost interface, port 6343.
-t <timerange>

Specify the <time range> for matching argus(5) records. This option supports a high degree of flexibility in specifing explicit and relative time ranges with support for time field wildcarding.

The syntax for the <time range> is:

   timeComparisonInd: [x]i | n | c    (default = i)
     x  negation   reverses the result of the time comparison
     i  intersects match records that were active during this time period
     n  includes   match records that start before and end after the period
     c  contained  match records that start and end during the period

   timeSpecification: [[[yyyy/]mm/]dd.]HH[:MM[:SS]]
                        { + | - }%d{ymdHMS}

   where '*' can be used as a wildcard.

Examples are:

   -t 14              specify the time range 2pm-3pm for today
   -t 15-23           specify the time range 3pm-11pm for today
   -t 2011            all records in the year 2011
   -t 2011/08         all records in Aug of the year 2011
   -t 2011/08-2011/10 all records in Aug, Sept, and Oct of the year 2011

   -t **.14           specify 2pm-3pm, every day this month
   -t 1270616652+2s   all records that span 10/04/07.01:04:12 EDT.
   -t 1999y1m23d10h   matches 10-11am on Jan, 23, 1999
   -t 10d*h*m15s      matches records that intersect the 15 sec,
                      any minute, any hour, on the 10th of this month
   -t ****/11/23      all records in Nov 23rd, any year
   -t 23.11:10-14     11:10:00 - 2pm on the 23rd of this month
   -t -10m            matches 10 minutes before, to the present
   -t -1M+1d          matches the first day of the this month.
   -t -2h5m+5m        matches records that start before and end
                      after the range starting 2 hours 5 minutes
                      prior to the present, and lasting 5 minutes.

Time is compared using basic intersection operations.  A record iPntersects a specified time range if there is any intersection between the time range of the record and the comparison time range. This is the default behavior.  A record includes the comparison time range if the intersection of the two ranges equals the  comparison time, and a record is contained when the intersection equals the duration of the record.  The comparison indicator is the first character of the range specification, without spaces.

Examples are:

   -t n14:10:15-14:10:19  records include these 4s.
   -t c14:10-14:10:10     record starts and ends within these 10s.
   -t xi-5s+25s           record starts or ends 5 seconds earlier and
                          20 seconds after 'now'.
-T <secs>

Read argus(5) from remote server for <secs> of time.


Print time values using Unix time format (seconds from the Epoch).

-w <file> [filter-expression]

Append matching data to <file>, in argus file format. An output-file of '-' directs ra to write the argus(5) records to stdout, allowing for "chaining" ra* style commands together.  The optional filter-expression can be used to select specific output.


Resets all options to their default values and overrides the rarc file contents (Use as the first option.)


Modify status field to represent TCP state changes. The values of the status field when this is enabled are:

  's' - Syn Transmitted
  'S' - Syn Acknowledged
  'E' - TCP Established
  'f' - Fin Transmitted  (FIN Wait State 1)
  'F' - Fin Acknowledged (FIN Wait State 2)
  'R' - TCP Reset
-Z <s|d|b>

Modify status field to reprsent actual TCP flag values. <'s'rc | 'd'st | 'b'oth>. The characters that can be present in the status field when this is enabled are:

  'F' - Fin
  'S' - Syn
  'R' - Reset
  'P' - Push
  'A' - Ack
  'U' - Urgent Pointer
  '7' - Undefined 7th bit set
  '8' - Undefined 8th bit set

Return Values

ra exits with one of the following values:

   0  Records matched condition, considering the options provided.  

   1  No records matched the condition, or the source was not an argus stream.

 > 1  An error occurred.

Filter Expression

If arguments remain after option processing, the collection is interpreted as a single filter expression.  In order to indicate the end of arguments, a '--' (double dash) is required before the filter expression is added to the command line.  Historically, a '-' (single dash) was used to separate the filter expression from the command line options, but newer versions of getopt.1 now require the '--' (double dash).

The filter expression specifies which argus(5) records will be selected for processing.  If no expression is given, all records are selected, otherwise, only those records for which expression is `true' will be printed.

The syntax is very similar to the expression syntax for tcpdump(1), as the tcpdump compiler was a starting point for the argus(5) filter expression compiler.  However, the semantics for tcpdump(1)'s packet filter expressions are different when applied to transaction record filtering, so there are some major differences.

When attached to a remote argus, ra will send the filter to the argus process, which compiles the filter, and uses it to select which argus records will be transmitted to the ra application.  If you do not want to send a filter to the remote argus, prepend the filter with the keyword "local", to indicate that the filtering will be done within the local ra process.

The expression consists of one or more primitives. Primitives usually consist of an id (name or number) preceded by one or more qualifiers.  There are three different kinds of qualifier:


qualifiers say what kind of thing the id name or number refers to. Possible types are srcid, encaps, ether, host, net, co, port, tos, ttl, ptks, bytes, appbytes, pcr, data, rate, load, loss, ploss, vid, vpri, and mid.

E.g., `srcid isis`, `encaps gre', `host sphynx', `net', `port domain', `ttl 1', 'ptks gt 2', 'ploss lt 5'. If there is no type qualifier, host is assumed.


qualifiers specify a particular transfer direction to and/or from an id. Possible directions are src, dst, src or dst and src and dst. E.g., `src sphynx', `dst net', `src or dst port ftp', `src and dst tos 0x0a', `src or dst vid 0x12`, `dst vpri 0x02` . If there is no dir qualifier, src or dst is assumed.


qualifiers restrict the match to a particular protocol.  Possible values are those specified in the /etc/protocols system file and a small number of extensions, (that should be defined but aren't).  Specific extended values are 'ipv4', (to specify just ip version 4), in contrast to the defined proto 'ipv6'. The defined proto 'ip' reduces to the filter 'ipv4 or ipv6'.

When preceeded by ether, the protocol names and numbers that are valid are specified in ./include/ethernames.h.

In addition to the above, there are some special `primitive' keywords that don't follow the pattern: gateway, multicast, and broadcast. All of these are described below.

More complex filter expressions are built up by using the words and, or and not to combine primitives.  E.g., `host foo and not port ftp and not port ftp-data'. To save typing, identical qualifier lists can be omitted.  E.g., `tcp dst port ftp or ftp-data or domain' is exactly the same as `tcp dst port ftp or tcp dst port ftp-data or tcp dst port domain'.

Allowable primitives are:

srcid argusid

True if the argus identifier field in the Argus record is srcid, which may be an IP address, a name or a decimal/hexidecimal number.

seq [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if the transport sequence number in the Argus record matches the sequence number expression.

encaps type

True if the encapsulation used by the flow in the Argus record includes the type.  The list of valid encapsulation types is:

   eth, mpls, 802q, llc, pppoe, isl, gre, erspan, ah, ipnip, ipnip6, hdlc, chdlc,
   atm, sll, fddi, slip, arc, wlan, prism, avs, lrh, grh, teredo, udt, ipsec, juniper

dst host host
    True if the IP destination field in the Argus record is host,
    which may be either an address or a name.
    src host host
    True if the IP source field in the Argus record is host.
    host host
    True if either the IP source or destination in the Argus record is host.
    Any of the above host expressions can be prepended with the keywords
    ip, arp, or rarp as in:
    ip host host

which is equivalent to:

ether proto ip and host host

If host is a name with multiple IP addresses, each address will be checked for a match.

ether dst ehost

True if the ethernet destination address is ehost.  Ehost may be either a name from /etc/ethers or a number (see ethers(3N) for numeric format).

ether src ehost

True if the ethernet source address is ehost.

ether host ehost

True if either the ethernet source or destination address is ehost.

gateway host

True if the transaction used host as a gateway.  I.e., the ethernet source or destination address was host but neither the IP source nor the IP destination was host.  Host must be a name and must be found in both /etc/hosts and /etc/ethers.  (An equivalent expression is

ether host ehost and not host host

which can be used with either names or numbers for host / ehost.)

dst net cidr

True if the IP destination address in the Argus record matches the cidr address.

src net cidr

True if the IP source address in the Argus record matches the cidr address.

net cidr

True if either the IP source or destination address in the Argus record matches  cidr address.

dst port port

True if the network transaction is IP based, using either the TCP or UDP transport protocols, and a destination port value of port. The port can be a number or a name as configured in the /etc/services file.(see tcp(4P) and udp(4P)). If a name is used, both the protocol number and port number, are checked. If a number or ambiguous name is used, the port number is checked for both UDP and TCP protocols (e.g., dst port 513 will print both tcp/login traffic and udp/who traffic, and port domain will match both tcp/domain and udp/domain traffic). Port ranges can be specified using numeric values, such as port 53-215.

src port port

True if the network transaction has a source port value of port.

port port

True if either the source or destination port in the Argus record is port. Any of the above port expressions can be prepended with the keywords, tcp or udp, as in:

tcp src port port

which matches only tcp connections.

ip proto protocol

True if the Argus record is an ip transaction (see ip(4P)) of protocol type protocol. Protocol can be a number or any of the string values found in /etc/protocols.


True if the network transaction involved an ip multicast address. By specifing ether multicast, you can select argus records that involve an ethernet multicast address.


True if the network transaction involved an ip broadcast address. By specifing ether broadcast, you can select argus records that involve an ethernet broadcast address.

ether proto protocol

True if the Argus record is of ether type protocol. Protocol can be a number or a name like ip, arp, or rarp.

[src | dst] ttl [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if the TTL in the Argus record equals number.

[src | dst] tos [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if the TOS in the Argus record (default) equals number.

[src | dst] vid [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if th VLAN id in the Argus record (default) equals number.

[src | dst] vpri [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if the VLAN priority in the Argus record (default) equals number.

[src | dst] mid [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if the MPLS Label in the Argus record (default) equals number.

[src | dst] pkts [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if the packet count in the Argus record (default) equals number.

[src | dst] bytes [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if the byte count in the Argus record (default) equals number.

[src | dst] appbytes [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if the application byte count in the Argus record (default) equals number.

[src | dst] rate [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if the rate in the Argus record (default) equals number.

[src | dst] load [gt | gte | lt | lte | eq] number

True if the load in the Argus record (default) equals number.

Ra filter expressions support primitives that are specific to flow states and can be used to select flow records that were in these states at the time they were generated. normal, wait, timeout, est or con

Primitives that select flows that experienced fragmentation. frag and fragonly

Support for selecting flows that used multiple pairs of MAC addresses during their lifetime. multipath

Primitives specific to TCP flows are supported. syn, synack, ecn, fin, finack, reset, retrans, outoforder and winshut

Primitives specific to TCP options are supported. tcpopt, mss, wscale, selackok, selack, tcpecho, tcpechoreply, tcptimestamp, tcpcc, tcpccnew, tcpccecho, secn and decn

Primitives specific to ICMP flows are supported. echo, unreach, redirect and timexed

For some primitives, a direction qualifier is appropriate. These are frag, reset, retrans, outoforder and winshut

Primitives may be combined using:

A parenthesized group of primitives and operators (parentheses are special to the Shell and must be escaped).

Negation (`!' or `not').

Concatenation (`and').

Alternation (`or').

Negation has highest precedence. Alternation and concatenation have equal precedence and associate left to right.  Note that explicit and tokens, not juxtaposition, are now required for concatenation.

If an identifier is given without a keyword, the most recent keyword is assumed. For example,

not host sphynx and anubis

is short for

not host sphynx and host anubis

which should not be confused with

not ( host sphynx or anubis )

Expression arguments can be passed to ra(1) as either a single argument or as multiple arguments, whichever is more convenient. Generally, if the expression contains Shell metacharacters, it is easier to pass it as a single, quoted argument. Multiple arguments are concatenated with spaces before being parsed.

Startup Processing

Ra begins by searching for the configuration file .rarc first in the directory, $ARGUSHOME and then $HOME.  If a .rarc is found, all variables specified in the file are set.

Ra then parses its command line options and set its internal variables accordingly.

If a configuration file is specified on the command-line, using the "-f <confile>" option, the values in this .rarc formatted file superceed all other values.


To report all TCP transactions from and to host 'narly.wave.com', reading transaction data from argus-file argus.data:

ra -r argus.data - tcp and host narly.wave.com

To report all UDP based DNS traffic, reading transaction data from the remote argus.server:

ra -S argus.server - udp port domain

To report all UDP transactions seen by the remote argus.server on the port range 53-256, but not sending the filter to the remote argus process:

ra -S argus.server - local udp port 53-256

Create the argus-file icmp.log with all ICMP events involving the host nimrod, using data from argus-file, but reading the transaction data from stdin:

cat argus-file | ra -r - -w icmp.log - icmp and host nimrod

Read an argus-file at twice normal speed.

ra -r argus.file -M rtime:2

Output Format

The following is a brief description of the default output of .B ra. While this is by no means the 'preferred' set of data that one should generate, it represents a starting point for using flow data in general. This also looks pretty good on 80 column terminals.  The format is:

  time  flgs proto  shost  dir  daddr metrics state

The format of the time field is specified by the .rarc file, using syntax supported by the routine strftime(3V). The default is '%T'. Argus transactional data contains both starting and ending transaction times, with precision to the microsecond. However, ra by default prints out the 'stime' field, the records starting time.


The flgs indicator consists of a fixed length field. That reports various flow record and protocol identifiers, states and attributes. The format is:

 T        -  Time Corrected/Adjusted
 N        -  Netflow Originated Data
  *       -  Multiple sub-IP encapsulations
  e       -  Ethernet encapsulated flow
  E       -  ERSPAN encapsulation
  M       -  Multiple mac addresses seen
  m       -  MPLS encapsulated flow
  l       -  LLC encapsulated flow
  v       -  802.1Q encapsulations/tags
  w       -  802.11 wireless encapsulation
  p       -  PPP over Enternet encapsulated flow
  i       -  ISL encapsulated flow
  G       -  GRE encapsulation
  a       -  AH encapsulation
  P       -  IP tunnel encapsulation
  6       -  IPv6 tunnel encapsulation
  H       -  HDLC encapsulation
  C       -  Cisco HDLC encapsulation
  A       -  ATM encapsulation
  S       -  SLL encapsulation
  F       -  FDDI encapsulation
  s       -  SLIP encapsulation
  R       -  ARCNET encapsulation
   I      -  ICMP events mapped to this flow
   U      -  ICMP Unreachable event mapped to this flow
   R      -  ICMP Redirect event mapped to this flow
   T      -  ICMP Time Exceeded mapped to this flow
    *     -  Both Src and Dst loss/retransmission
    s     -  Src loss/retransmissions
    d     -  Dst loss/retransmissions
    g     -  Gaps in sequence numbers were observed
    &     -  Both Src and Dst packet out of order
    i     -  Src packets out of order
    r     -  Dst packets out of order
     @    -  Both Src and Dst Window Closure
     S    -  Src TCP Window Closure
     D    -  Dst TCP Window Closure
     *    -  Silence suppression used by both src and dst (RTP)
     s    -  Silence suppression used by src
     d    -  Silence suppression used by dst
      E   -  Both Src and Dst ECN
      x   -  Src Explicit Congestion Notification
      t   -  Dst ECN
       V  -  Fragment overlap seen (if fragments seen)
       f  -  Partial Fragment (if fragments seen)
       F  -  Fragments seen
        O  -  multiple IP options set
        S  -  IP option Strict Source Route
        L  -  IP option Loose Source Route
        T  -  IP option Time Stamp
        +  -  IP option Security
        R  -  IP option Record Route
        A  -  IP option Router Alert
        U  -  unknown IP options set

The proto field indicates the upper protocol used in the transaction. This field will contain the first 4 characters of the official name for the protocol used, as defined in RFC-1700, and configured using the /etc/protocols file.  Argus attempts to discovery the Realtime Transport Protocol (rtp), when it is being used. When it encounters rtp, it will indicate its use in this field, with the string 'rtp'.  Use of the -n option, twice (-nn), will cause the actual protocol number to be displayed.


The shost field is meant to convey the originator of the data in the flow.  This field is protocol dependent, and for IP protocols will contain the src IP address/name.  For TCP and UDP, the field will also contain the port number/name, separated by a period.

The 'src' is generally the entity that first transmits a packet that is a part of a flow.  However, the assignment of 'src' and 'dst' semantics is somewhat complicated by the notion of loss, or half-duplex monitoring, especially when connection-oriented protocol  , such as TCP, are reported.  In this case the 'src' is the entity that initiated the flow.


The dir field will have the direction of the transaction, as can be best determined from the datum, and is used to indicate which hosts are transmitting. For TCP, the dir field indicates the actual source of the TCP connection, and the center character indicating the state of the transaction.

     -  - transaction was NORMAL
     |  - transaction was RESET
     o  - transaction TIMED OUT.
     ?  - direction of transaction is unknown.

The daddr field is meant to convey the recipient of the data in the flow.  Like the shost field, this field is protocol dependent, and for IP protocols will contain the dst IP address/name, and optionally the DSAP.


metrics represent the general sets of fields that reflect the activity of the flow.  In the default output, there are 4 fields. The first 2 are the packet counts and the last 2 are the byte counts for the specific transaction.  The fields are paired with the previous host fields, and represent the packets transmitted by the respective host.


The state field indicates the principle state for the transaction report, and is protocol dependent.  For all the protocols, except ICMP, this field reports on the basic state of a transaction.

REQ|INT (requested|initial)

This indicates that this is the initial state report for a transaction and is seen only when the argus-server is in DETAIL mode.  For TCP connections this is REQ, indicating that a connection is being requested.  For the connectionless protocols, such as UDP, this is INT.

ACC (accepted)

This indicates that a request/response condition has occurred, and that a transaction has been detected between two hosts. For TCP, this indicates that a connection request has been answered, and the connection will be accepted.  This is only seen when the argus-server is in DETAIL mode.  For the connectionless protocols, this state indicates that there has been a single packet exchange between two hosts, and could qualify as a request/response transaction.

EST|CON (established|connected)

This record type indicates that the reported transaction is active, and has been established or is continuing.  This should be interpreted as a state report of a currently active transaction. For TCP, the EST state is only seen in DETAIL mode, and indicates that the three way handshake has been completed for a connection.

CLO (closed)

TCP specific, this record type indicates that the TCP connection has closed normally.

TIM (timeout)

Activity was not seen relating to this transaction, during the argus server's timeout period for this protocol.  This state is seen only when there were packets recorded since the last report for this transaction.

For the ICMP and ICMPv6 protocols, the state field displays specific aspects of the ICMP type.  ICMP state can have the values:

ECO     Echo Request
ECR     Echo Reply
SRC     Source Quench
RED     Redirect
RTA     Router Advertisement
RTS     Router Solicitation
TXD     Time Exceeded
PAR     Parameter Problem
TST     Time Stamp Request
TSR     Time Stamp Reply
IRQ     Information Request
IRR     Information Reply
MAS     Mask Request
MSR     Mask Reply
URN     Unreachable network
URH     Unreachable host
URP     Unreachable port
URF     Unreachable need fragmentation
URS     Unreachable source failed
URNU    Unreachable dst network unknown
URHU    Unreachable dst host unknown
URISO   Unreachable source host isolated
URNPRO  Unreachable network administrative prohibited
URHPRO  Unreachable host administrative prohibited
URNTOS  Unreachable network TOS prohibited
URHTOS  Unreachable host TOS prohibited
URFIL   Unreachable administrative filter
URPRE   Unreachable precedence violation
URCUT   Unreachable precedence cutoff

MRQ     Membership Query
MHR     Membership Report
NRS     Neighbor Discovery Router Solicit
NRA     Neighbor Discovery Router Advertisement
NNS     Neighbor Discovery Neighbor Solicit
NNA     Neighbor Discovery Neighbor Advertisement
PTB     Packet Too Big

Output Examples

These examples show typical ra output, and demonstrates a number of variations seen in argus data.  This ra output was generated using the -n option to suppress number translation.

Thu 12/29 06:40:32   S tcp   ->   CLO

This is a normal tcp transaction to the telnet port on host The IP Option strict source route was seen.

Thu 12/29 06:40:32     tcp  <|   RST

This tcp transaction from the smtp port of host was RESET.  In many cases this indicates that the transaction was rejected, however some os's will use RST to close an active TCP.  Use either the -z or -Zb options to specify exactly what conditions existed during the connection.

Thu 12/29 03:39:05  M  igmp       <->       CON

This is an igmp transaction state report, usually seen with MBONE traffic. There was more than one source and destination MAC address pair used to support the transaction, suggesting a possible routing loop.

Thu 12/29 06:40:05 *   tcp  <-> TIM

This is an X-windows transaction, that has TIMEDOUT.   Packets were retransmitted during the connection.

Thu 12/29 07:42:09     udp   ->  INT

This is an initial netbios UDP transaction state report, indicating that this is the first datagram encountered for this transaction.

Thu 12/29 06:42:09     icmp       <->      ECO

This example represents a "ping" of host, and its response.

This next example shows the ra output of a complete TCP transaction, with the preceeding Arp and DNS requests, while reading from a remote argus-server.   The '*' in the CLO report indicates that at least one TCP packet was retransmitted during the transaction.  The hostnames in this example are ficticious.

% ra -S argus-tcp://argus-server and host i.qosient.com
ra: Trying argus-server port 561
ra: connected Argus Version 3.0
Sat 12/03 15:29:38     arp  i.qosient.com     who-has  dsn.qosient.com  INT
Sat 12/03 15:29:39     udp  i.qosient.com.1542  <->    dns.qosient.53   INT
Sat 12/03 15:29:39     arp  i.qosient.com     who-has  qosient.com      INT
Sat 12/03 15:29:39 *   tcp  i.qosient.com.1543   ->    qosient.com.smtp CLO


Carter Bullard (carter@qosient.com).



See Also

rarc(5) argus(8)

Postel, Jon, Internet Protocol, RFC 791, Network Information Center, SRI International, Menlo Park, Calif., May 1981.

Postel, Jon, Internet Control Message Protocol, RFC 792, Network Information Center, SRI International, Menlo Park, Calif., May 1981.

Postel, Jon, Transmission Control Protocol, RFC 793, Network Information Center, SRI International, Menlo Park, Calif., May 1981.

Postel, Jon, User Datagram Protocol, RFC 768, Network Information Center, SRI International, Menlo Park, Calif., May 1980.

McCanne, Steven, and Van Jacobson, The BSD Packet Filter: A New Architecture for User-level Capture, Lawrwnce Berkeley Laboratory, One Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, Calif., 94720, December 1992.

Referenced By

argus(8), rabins(1), racluster(1), raconvert(1), racount(1), radecode(1), radium(8), radump(1), raevent(1), rafilteraddr(1), ragraph(1), ragrep(1), rahisto(1), ralabel(1), ranonymize(1), rapath(1), rapolicy(1), rarc(5), rasort(1), rasplit(1), rasql(1), rasqlinsert(1), rasqltimeindex(1), rastream(1), rastrip(1), ratop(1).

12 November 2007 ra 3.0.8