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Lua Rules Reference

Lua Resources

There are resources for Lua available that will be helpful in understanding the following descriptions of LogZilla Lua rule usage. An in-depth examination of this information is not necessary at this point but the detailed breakdown will make more sense after at least a cursory review. For creating these Lua rules Lua version 5.1 is supported.

Detailed Example

The reference material below uses the following detailed example rule file and tests file for illustrative purposes.

Detailed Lua Rule File


local lpeg = require "lpeg"
local core = require "lpeg_patterns.core"
local IPV4_EXP = require "lpeg_common".IPv4_simple

local SEP_EXP = lpeg.S(", \t")
local ALPHANUM_EXP = core.ALPHA + core.DIGIT
local ELEMENT_EXP = (lpeg.P(1) - SEP_EXP)^1

        lpeg.P("infoblox-responses: ")
        -- 18-Jun-2018 
        * core.DIGIT^2 * "-" * ALPHANUM_EXP^3 * "-" * core.DIGIT^4 * SEP_EXP^1
        -- 17:07:34.171 
        * core.DIGIT^2 * ":" * core.DIGIT^2 * ":" * core.DIGIT^2 *"." * core.DIGIT^3 * SEP_EXP^1
        -- client 
        * ALPHANUM_EXP^1 * SEP_EXP^1
        * lpeg.Cg(IPV4_EXP, "ip") * "#" * core.DIGIT^1 * ":" * SEP_EXP^1
        -- UDP: 
        * ALPHANUM_EXP^1 * ":" * SEP_EXP^1
        -- query: 
        * ALPHANUM_EXP^1 * ":" * SEP_EXP^1
        * lpeg.Cg(ELEMENT_EXP, "query") * SEP_EXP^1
        -- IN 
        * ALPHANUM_EXP^1 * SEP_EXP^1
        -- A 
        * lpeg.Cg(ALPHANUM_EXP^1, "qtype") * SEP_EXP^1
        -- response: 
        * "response:" * SEP_EXP^1
        -- NOERROR
        * lpeg.Cg(ALPHANUM_EXP^1, "msg")

function process(event)
    if event.program == "named" then
        local match = INFOBLOX_DNSQUERY_EXP:match(event.message)
        if match then
            event.program = "Infoblox"
            event.user_tags["SrcIP"] = match.ip
            event.user_tags["Query"] = match.query
            event.user_tags["Query Type"] = match.qtype
            event.user_tags["Response"] = match.msg

Detailed Tests File

- event:
    program: named
    message: 'infoblox-responses: 05-Nov-2018 13:42:54.339 client UDP: query: IN AAAA response: NOERROR +'
    program: Infoblox
      Query Type: AAAA
      Response: NOERROR


Lua Rule File

The Lua rule file is a plain text file that consists only of valid Lua code. The naming convention is 123-sourceortype.lua, where 123 provides a numeric ordering for the sequence in which LogZilla processes rules on incoming log events; sourceortype corresponds to some indication of the source or type of log message handled by the rule (this could be cisco_ise or mswindows for example), and then the .lua extension.

First of note is that Lua rule files benefit from including comments, which are lines that are prefixed with --. The example includes many such for explanatory purposes.

Second, there are many utility functions provided by the LogZilla Lua interpreter that assist with logic within the Lua rule function. These utility functions are described in the Lua Utility Functions section below.

Somewhere in the Lua rule file (in this case, at the top) should be the declaration of any high-cardinality user tags that are going to be assigned. "High cardinality" indicates that there will be a great many individual values for those user tags, for which maintaining indexes of that data will require special handling. Examples of such data include source and destination IP addresses, which could possibly include thousands of "random" internet IP addresses.

LogZilla needs to be alerted to user tags that meet this condition. This is done by setting the HC_TAGS table to include the user tag names for such user tags. (This is the section of the example that starts with HC_TAGS={).

Similary, if your app is using computationaly expensive functions, you can allow source filtering by defining SOURCE_FILTER="foo" in your rule file. Then user can create a dedicated syslog source for events that should be processed by this rule - then only events from this source will be processed by this rule. See Source Filtering for more information.

Near the top of the Lua file should ordinarily be statements "importing" any of the utility libraries or functions just mentioned (in this case local core = require "lpeg_patterns.core, also local IPV4_EXP = require "lpeg_common".IPv4_simple). There is a list of some of the libraries and functions provided by LogZilla listed in the Utility Functions reference below.

After any utility libraries or functions are imported should be the definitions of any LPEG expressions that are to be used in the rule function. As described in the LPEG reference links above these expressions are composed of multiple LPEG clauses that together match the incoming log messages and break those log messages down into their constituent parts, for further handling. (This is the section of the example that starts with local SEP_EXP = lpeg.S(", \t") and continues on through local INFOBLOX_DNSQUERY_EXP = lpeg.Ct().

The main portion of the Lua rule file is the Lua function that does the handling of each incoming log message. This function is executed once per every incoming log message. This function must be named process and takes a single argument, which argument corresponds to a Lua object that holds all the relevant information regarding that incoming log message. (This section of the example starts with function process(event)).

This function's purpose is to inspect the log message event data that is coming in from the incoming log message and to rewrite that event data for storage or display by LogZilla. As such, the event object that is the argument to the process function should be modified as desired for that purpose -- rather than the function returning any value, the function "result" is the modification of that event object.

There are multiple constituent fields of the event argument (please note that most of these fields correspond to the data that would come in on a standard syslog-protocol log message - (RFC3164 format)[] (RFC5424 format)[]) . These fields are read-write (for the same event argument the function should read in the incoming log event data then write out the desired data to be stored/displayed).

Field Explanation
message the text log message portion of the incoming log event data
program the program field of the incoming log data (such as per syslog log format)
host the source host of the log data (such as per syslog log format)
timestamp the date and time of the log event, in (unix epoch)[] microseconds
severity as per syslog, the numeric severity value of the log event
facility as per syslog, the numeric facility value of the log event
cisco_mnemonic event Cisco mnemonic, if available
extra_fields JSON fields from incoming JSON log messages (see below)
user_tags the Lua table (or dictionary) of the user tag key/values to be set (see below)

Two of the log message formats LogZilla can accept are syslog formatted messages (as referenced above) and JSON formatted messages (using standard JSON format).

For syslog messages, the incoming data is broken down into the fields listed above ( event.program,, event.timestamp, etc.)

For JSON messages all the incoming JSON fields are put into extra_fields in the event object. For example, this JSON would result in the event fields that follow:

  "host": "",
  "program": "myprogram",
  "message": "this is the text of the log message",
  "timestamp": TODO timestamp value,
  "somekey": "somevalue"

Event fields:


Please note that for syslog messages the log data is placed directly into the LogZilla event fields, from which it can be used (displayed and stored) without requiring any handling or modification.

However for JSON data only the host and timestamp fields are directly set, without modification -- the host field corresponding to the sending host from which the log message was received, and the timestamp corresponding to LogZilla's receipt of that message. Any of the other LogZilla event fields must be set in the Lua rule by reading the JSON extra_fields and accordingly setting the event fields from that data. In the JSON example given above the likely desired behavior would be that event.program = event.extra_fields["program"].

Each rule must specify a process() function; however preprocess(event) and postprocess(event) functions can also be provided. These functions are used as follows: first for every rule the preprocess function is called (if it exists), then for every rule there’s call to process and finally for every rule there’s call to the postprocess. If any of the functions are not defined they are skipped without any error or warning.

Although the main purpose of each rule is to modify the contents of the event argument to reflect the desired results, the process (and preprocess and postprocess) functions can return special values indicating desired handling: * Result.CONTINUE : (this is default) - continue processing with other rules * Result.STOP : stop processing this stage, so if for example this is returned by the process function, then no other process will be called, but all postprocess (if any defined) will be called normally. * Result.DROP : event will be deleted and any further processing will be stopped (as pointless)

Debugging of Lua rule files can be assisted by the use of the print command. The print() command allows the display of specified values during the execution of the rule, to provide for inspection of those values at various stages of event processing. An example:

function process(event)
     print("Starting processing, program=" .. event.program)
     if event.program == '-' then
         print("Inside the if block")
         event.program = 'Unknown'
     print("Finishing processing, program=" .. event.program)

print() takes one argument which is the string to be printed; furthermore the .. operator can be used to concatenate multiple strings and variables (such as demonstrated in the second print() statement above).

Now when running the tests each print() will be displayed:

$ logzilla rules test --path err.lua
================================= test session starts ==================================
platform linux -- Python 3.8.5, pytest-6.2.2, py-1.10.0, pluggy-0.13.1 -- /usr/bin/python3
cachedir: .pytest_cache
rootdir: /tmp
collected 3 items

err.tests.yaml::test_case_1 PASSED                                               [ 33%]
err.tests.yaml::test_case_2 PASSED                                               [ 66%]
err.tests.yaml::test_case_3 PASSED                                               [100%]

================================== 3 passed in 0.02s ===================================
Starting processing, program=-
Inside the if block
Finishing processing, program=Unknown
Starting processing, program=xyz
Finishing processing, program=xyz
Starting processing, program=fail
Finishing processing, program=fail

Note print() should only be used during testing of the rule; every print() statement should be removed before adding the rule to LogZilla.

Utility Functions

There are many utility expressions and functions provided by LogZilla for use in Lua rules. Here is a list of some of the expressions provided:

For the following note that if you local core = require "lpeg_patterns.core" at the top of the rule then you would use for example ALPHA as core.ALPHA. The LPEG expressions below are described in terms of their equivalent regular expressions.

LPEG expressions in lpeg_patterns.core:

LPEG Regular Expression
ALPHA [a-zA-Z]
BIT [01]
CHAR [\x01-\x7F]
CR \r
CRLF (\r\n)
CTL [\x00-\x1F\x7F]
DIGIT [0-9]
HEXDIG [0-9a-fA-F]
LF \n
VCHAR [\x21-\x7E]
WSP [ \t]
LWSP ( \r\n )*

In lpeg_common:

LPEG Explanation Examples
IPv4_WITH_PORT numeric IP v4 address followed by either : or / followed by numeric port number,
IPv6_WITH_PORT hexadecimal IP v6 address followed by either : or / followed by numeric port number 12:34:56:78:9A:BC:DE:F0:443, 12:34:56:78:9A:BC:DE:F0/443
IP_WITH_PORT either of IPv4_WITH_PORT or IPv6_WITH_PORT, 12:34:56:78:9A:BC:DE:F0/443
MAC_ADDR hexadecimal MAC address 11:22:33:44:55:66
IPv4_simple standard 4-part-separated-by-periods numeric IP address
PROTOCOL network protocol TCP, tcp, UDP, udp

In helpers:

  • get_port_name(port): returns the port service name for the given numeric port, such as get_port_name(22) returns ssh and get_port_name(443) returns https
  • get_kv_parser(sep_sign, delimiter_sign, quote_sign, key_pattern) : returns an LPEG expression that parses key-value pairs (such as firstkey="firstvalue", secondkey="secondvalue") into a Lua key-value table. The function arguments are: sep_exp is the separator expression, such as lpeg.P(" ") for space or lpeg.P(",") for comma; delimiter_sign is the key-to-value indicator, such as lpeg.P("=") for =; quote_sign is the quote character surrounding values, such as lpeg.P("'") or lpeg.P("\"") for ' or "; and key_pattern expresses the valid values for the key name, such as lpeg.R("az", "AZ", "09") + lpeg.P("_") or in regex terms [azAz09_]
  • get_csv_parser(): returns an LPEG expression that parses comma-separated values (CSV), such as firstvalue, secondvalue, thirdvalue, into a Lua table
  • get_ip_with_port(o): uses the above IP_WITH_PORT LPEG expression to parse o into a two-value Lua table consisting of ip and port parts
  • get_GeoIP(): returns a geo-ip converter that allows to:
    • geoip:get_values(ip_address) - extract data such as city / state / country from the given IP address:
      • returns the map containing City, Country and State
      • returns the empty map if given ip is not valid IP address or geoip data can't be found
    • geoip:add_geo_tags(event, user_tag) - add extra GeoIP user tags based on the selected user tag:
      • adds a set of geoip user tags to the event
      • new geoip user tags consist of the original tag name and City/Country/State postfix
      • no tags are added if given user tag value is not valid IP address or geoip data can't be found
    geoip = get_GeoIP()

    function process(event)
        -- add "ScrIP City", "ScrIP Country", "ScrIP State" user tags to the event
        geoip:add_geo_tags(event, "ScrIP")

        -- extract geo-ip City/Contry/State from the host
        local geoip_data = geoip:get_values(
        if geoip_data["City"] ~= nil then
            event.program = geoip_data["City"]

Note that there is a help video available for geoip use here.