super_mediator - IPFIX Mediator


super_mediator   [--config CONFIG_FILE_NAME]
                 [--ipfix-input TRANSPORT_PROTOCOL]
                 [--ipfix-port PORT]
                 [--polling-interval POLL_TIME]
                 [--move-dir PROCESSED_INPUT_DIRECTORY]
                 [--out OUTPUT_SPECIFIER]
                 [--output-mode TRANSPORT_PROTOCOL]
                 [--export-port PORT]
                 [--rotate ROTATE_SECONDS]
                 [--fields FIELD_LIST]
                 [--ipsetfile IPSET_FILE]
                 [--sleep MICROSECONDS]
                 [--udp-temp-timeout TIMEOUT_SECONDS]
                 [--log LOG_SPECIFIER]
                 [--log-dir LOG_PATH]
                 [--pidfile PIDFILE_NAME]
                 [--become-user UNPRIVILEGED_USER]
                 [--become-group UNPRIVILEGED_GROUP]
                 [INPUT_SPECIFIER [INPUT_SPECIFIER ...]]

super_mediator   --version

super_mediator   --help


super_mediator is an IPFIX Mediator to be used as a manifold for yaf(1) IPFIX export data. It has multiple means of reading and writing IPFIX. A limited number of options can be specified on the command line. For advanced configuration with multiple collectors, multiple exporters, and filtering, the configuration file super_mediator.conf(1) should be used. Command line arguments for collection will override collectors defined in the configuration file. Command line arguments for exporters will be ignored if a configuration file is provided.

super_mediator supports multiple incoming sources and multiple outgoing exporters. It can read from an IPFIX file, watch for files in a given directory, or collect IPFIX from yaf via TCP or UDP on a given host and port. It can export to a single or to rotating IPFIX, CSV, or JSON files and to a network socket via UDP or TCP.

super_mediator can filter on import and/or export. Filters can be defined in the configuration file.

super_mediator is capable of collecting all of YAF Deep Packet Inspection data (see yafdpi(1)). For advanced configuration of the DPI to CSV output, see super_mediator.conf(1). For DNS, the super_mediator can perform de-duplication on the incoming DNS resource records. It will cache a key containing the resource record name (rrname), resource record type (rrtype), and the resource record value (rrval). When a resource record is seen matching this key, the super_mediator will increment the hit count and the last_seen timestamp associated with the record. If it is a new record, the record will be exported. Each record will be exported to the appropriate exporter. The text format is:

first_seen | rrtype | rrname | rrval

(see below for IPFIX template)

Records will be periodically flushed. The default is to flush a record from the buffer once it has reached the desired hit count of 5000 or a new record has not been seen in 5 minutes. These default behaviors can be modified in the configuration file. Similarly, a file can be written upon flush time. If this is the case, the text format would be:

first_seen | last_seen | rrtype | rrname | hitcount | rrval

There is also the option to BASE 64 Encode all DNS domain names in a text file. This option can be specified in the configuration file.


Configuration File Option

When possible, the configuration file should be used when running the super_mediator. However, some command line options were given as a convenience for quick analysis.


CONFIGURATION_FILE is the configuration file following the guidelines given in the super_mediator.conf man page. If this option is given, most other command line options are not allowed.


When given, super_mediator exits after parsing the configuration file.

Input Options

These options control where super_mediator will get its input. super_mediator can read packets from a file, directory, or live on a TCP or UDP port. By default, if no input options are given, super_mediator reads an IPFIX stream on standard input.


super_mediator treats any command line values that are not associated with an option as an INPUT_SPECIFIER. Zero or more INPUT_SPECIFIERs may be specified; each is treated as an IPFIX collector, and all specifiers must be the same type. If --ipfix-input is given, each INPUT_SPECIFIER is the hostname or IP Address of the host to listen on. If --polling-interval or --move-dir is given, each INPUT_SPECIFIER is a directory that super_mediator periodically scans for files to process. If none of these options are given, the super_mediator assumes each INPUT_SPECIFIER is an IPFIX file.


Causes super_mediator to operate as an IPFIX network collector, listening for connections via the specified protocol TRANSPORT_PROTOCOL, which must be either tcp or udp. UDP is not recommended as it is not a reliable transport protocol and cannot guarantee delivery of messages. The port to listen on is specified by the --ipfix-port option and defaults to 18000; the hostname to listen on must be specified in the INPUT_SPECIFIER.

--ipfix-port PORT

Requires the presence of --ipfix-input and specifies the TCP or UDP port where super_mediator listens for incoming connections. If not present, the default port 18000 is used. The hostname to listen on is specified in the INPUT_SPECIFIER.

--polling-interval POLL_TIME

Causes the INPUT_SPECIFIER(s) to be treated as directory name(s) and tells super_mediator to process files in the directory(s) every POLL_TIME seconds. super_mediator runs forever waiting for files to appear in the directory. After processing the incoming files, super_mediator deletes the files unless a --move-dir is specified.


Causes the INPUT_SPECIFIER(s) to be treated as directory name(s) and tells super_mediator to process files in the directory(s) periodically. The default period is 30 seconds, but may be changed with the --polling-interval option. The incoming files are moved to PROCESSED_INPUT_DIRECTORY after processing. If --polling-interval is specified and --move-dir is not, the incoming files are deleted after they are processed.


Currently unimplemented. Tells super_mediator to ignore the presence of lock files and process all files in the incoming directory when either --polling-interval or --move is specified. By default, super_mediator does not read files that are locked, which means they have the extension ".lock" appended to the end of the filename. This can be used if super_mediator is reading from a yaf export directory and yaf is run with --lock. This will prevent super_mediator from removing the files out from under yaf. This does not lock files that the super_mediator is writing to. Use the super_mediator configuration file to enable locking of output files.

Output Options

These options control where super_mediator will send its output. super_mediator can write flows to an IPFIX file, text file, or to an IPFIX collector over TCP or UDP. By default, if no options are given, super_mediator writes IPFIX to standard out.


OUTPUT_SPECIFIER is an output specifier. If --output-mode is present, and set to TCP or UDP, the OUTPUT_SPECIFIER specifies the hostname or IP address of the collector to which the flows will be exported. If --output-mode is set to TEXT, OUTPUT_SPECIFIER is a filename in which the flows will be written in pipe-delimited (|) format. If --output-mode is set to JSON, OUTPUT_SPECIFIER is a filename in which the flows will be written as JSON. Otherwise, OUTPUT_SPECIFIER is a filename in which flows will be written in IPFIX Format. The string - may be used to write to standard output (the default). If --rotate is present, OUTPUT_SPECIFIER is the prefix name of each output file to write to. When writing to a network socket, super_mediator must be able to make an initial connection to the OUTPUT_SPECIFIER for super_mediator to start. If the connection is lost after the initial connection, super_mediator will immediately retry the connection after reporting a warning message to the log. If the retry is unsuccessful, super_mediator will retry the connection every 15 seconds until the connection is successful. Flows will be lost while the connection is down.


If present, causes super_mediator to operate as an IPFIX, TEXT, or JSON exporter, exporting via the specified protocol TRANSPORT_PROTOCOL to a collector (e.g rwflowpack(8), flowcap(8)) named in the OUTPUT_SPECIFIER. Valid TRANSPORT_PROTOCOL values are tcp, udp, text, and json. UDP is not recommended, as it is not a reliable transport protocol and cannot guarantee delivery of messages.

--export-port PORT

If --output-mode is present and set to TCP or UDP, export flows to port PORT. If not present, the default port 18001 will be used. The host to export to is specified with the --out option.


Causes the OUTPUT_SPECIFIER to be treated as the prefix of an output file name. super_mediator appends a timestamp to the prefix and periodically closes the output file and opens a new open. This switch determines how often that occurs.

--fields FIELD_LIST

If present and --output-mode=TEXT is also present, writes only the fields given in FIELD_LIST. FIELD_LIST is a list of IPFIX element names, separated by a comma. The list of acceptable fields is nearly any IPFIX element.

If present for TEXT Exporters, super_mediator writes a header for delimited flow data. If files rotate, it writes one header at the top of each flow data file.


If present, super_mediator does not forward yaf process statistics records or log statistics. It is possible to configure certain exporters to process stats while others ignore stats messages. This must be done with through the super_mediator configuration file.


If present, super_mediator will not overwrite the observation domain in the incoming IPFIX records. If given and the incoming records do not have an observationDomainId element, the exported records will have a domain of zero. super_mediator's default behavior is to copy the observation domain ID from the incoming IPFIX messages' headers to the records it exports, overwriting any previous observationDomainId value in the records.


If specified, super_mediator will, for IPFIX exporters, rewrite the SSL certificate records that are represented in a subTemplateList on the SSL DPI record (template 51722 (0xca0a)). The rewriting changes the structure of template 51723 (0xca0b) and eliminates template 52756 (0xce14). The new SSL certificate record has explicit information elements for parts of the certificate's issuer and subject instead of having data stored in a list of key-value pairs.


If present, super_mediator does not include information element and template metadata in IPFIX output.

--ipsetfile IPSET_FILE

Exits the program due to missing IPset support


If present, super_mediator sleeps for MICROSECONDS between each call to fBufAppend, which appends the IPFIX messages to the output source. This is useful if super_mediator is reading an IPFIX file and transmitting IPFIX over UDP. super_mediator may send the messages too quickly for the IPFIX Collector to receive them (possibly dropping messages.) This option is only available with one collector and one exporter when executing super_mediator from the command line.

--udp-temp-timeout TIMEOUT_SECS

Currently unimplemented. Set UDP template timeout in seconds if --ipfix-mode is set to UDP. As per RFC 5101 recommendations, super_mediator will attempt to export templates three times within TEMPLATE_SECS. The default template timeout period is 600 seconds (10 minutes).

Logging and Daemon Configuration


Specifies the destination for log messages. LOG_FILE can be a syslog(3) facility name, the special value stderr for standard error, or the absolute path to a file for file logging. To write messages to rotating files in a directory, use the --log-dir option. The default log specifier is stderr. The log level can be specified by the LOGLEVEL keyword in the super_mediator configuration file or by using either --verbose or --quiet. The default level is WARNING.

--log-dir LOG_PATH

Tells super_mediator to write log messages to files in LOG_PATH. LOG_PATH must be a complete directory path. The log files have the form LOG_PATH/sm-YYYYMMDD.log where YYYYMMDD is the current date. The log files are rotated at midnight local time. When the log files are rotated a new log is opened, the previous file is closed, and gzip(1) is invoked on the previous day's log file. (Old log files will not be removed by super_mediator.)


Enables logging of all messages. The default log level is WARNING. This option changes the log level to DEBUG and logs all yaf(1) and super_mediator process statistics, along with any IO operations.


Turns off logging completely. super_mediator will not log errors.


Causes super_mediator to become a daemon.

--pidfile PIDFILE_NAME

Sets the complete path to the file in which super_mediator writes its process ID (pid) when running as a daemon. --pid-file is ignored if --daemon is not present.

Privilege Options

These options are used to cause super_mediator to drop privileges when running as root for live capture purposes.


Tells super_mediator to drop its privileges to UNPRIVILEGED_USER after starting. Using --become-user requires super_mediator to be run as root or setuid root. This option will cause all files written by super_mediator to be owned by the user UNPRIVILEGED_USER and the user's primary group; use --become-group as well to change the group super_mediator runs as for output purposes.

We highly recommend the use of this option, especially in production environments, for security purposes.


Tells super_mediator to change its privileges to UNPRIVILEGED_GROUP after starting. The --become-group option allows changing the group from the default of the user given in --become-user. This option has no effect if given without the --become-user option as well.

Help Options


Instructs super_mediator to print its version number and the optional features it supports to the standard output and then exit.


Causes super_mediator to print a brief summary of its command line options and then exit.

IPFIX Export Templates

The following IPFIX fields are exported by the super_mediator. DPI information will be exported in the same format as received by yaf(1), with the exception of the de-duplicated DNS records. Any statistics option messages will also be formatted in the same format as they are received.


Some fields are only exported if they are non-zero and were enabled in yaf. super_mediator exports many variations of the following template. The following list contains all of the possible elements that could exist in the FLOW_ONLY record. Reverse elements are only exported if reversePacketTotalCount or reversePacketDeltaCount is nonzero.

flowStartMilliseconds, IE 152, 8 octets, unsigned

flowEndMilliseconds, IE 153, 8 octets, unsigned

octetTotalCount, IE 85, 8 octets, unsigned

reverseOctetTotalCount Reverse IE 85 (PEN 29305), 8 octets, unsigned

packetTotalcount, IE 86, 8 octets, unsigned

reversePacketTotalcount, Reverse IE 86 (PEN 29305), 8 octets, unsigned

octetDeltaCount, IE 1, 8 octets, unsigned

reverseOctetDeltaCount, reverse IE 1 (PEN 29305), 8 octets, unsigned

packetDeltaCount, IE 2, 8 octets, unsigned

reversePacketDeltaCount, reverse IE 2 (PEN 29305), 8 octets, unsigned

sourceIPv6Address, IE 27, 16 octets, unsigned

destinationIPv6Address, IE 28, 16 octets, unsigned

sourceIPv4Address, IE 8, 4 octets, unsigned

destinationIPv4Address, IE 12, 4 octets, unsigned

sourceTransportPort, IE 7, 2 octets, unsigned

destinationTransportPort, IE 11, 2 octets, unsigned

flowAttributes, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 40, 2 octets, unsigned

reverseFlowAttributes, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 16424, 2 octets, unsigned

protocolIdentifier, IE 4, 1 octet, unsigned

flowEndReason, IE 136, 1 octet, unsigned

silkAppLabel, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 33, 2 octets, unsigned

reverseFlowDeltaMilliseconds, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 21, 4 octets, unsigned

tcpSequenceNumber, IE 184, 4 octets, unsigned

reverseTcpSequenceNumber, Reverse IE 184 (PEN 29305), 4 octets, unsigned

initialTCPFlags, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 14, 1 octet, unsigned

unionTCPFlags, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 15, 1 octet, unsigned

reverseInitialTCPFlags, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 16398, 1 octet, unsigned

reverseUnionTCPFlags, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 16399, 1 octet, unsigned

vlanId, IE 58, 2 octets, unsigned

reverseVlanId, Reverse IE 58 (PEN 29305), 2 octets, unsigned

ipClassOfService, IE 5, 1 octet, unsigned

reverseIpClassOfService, Reverse IE 15 (PEN 29305), 1 octet, unsigned

mplsTopLabelStackSection, IE 70, 3 octets, unsigned

mplsLabelStackSection2, IE 71, 3 octets, unsigned

mplsLabelStackSection3, IE 72, 3 octets, unsigned

observationDomainId, IE 149, 4 octets, unsigned

    The observation domain ID of the yaf(1) process that
    generated the flow.

subTemplateMultiList, IE 293, Variable Length

DNS De-duplicated Record

flowStartMilliseconds, IE 152, 8 octets, unsigned

    The time in milliseconds of when the DNS resource record was
    first seen.

flowEndMilliseconds, IE 153, 8 octets, unsigned

    The time in milliseconds of the last record seen by the
    B<super_mediator>. This is only exported if the
    B<super_mediator> is configured to LAST_SEEN.

sourceIPv4Address, IE 8, 4 octets, unsigned

    The IPv4 Address found in a DNS A Record.

dnsTTL, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 199, 4 octets, unsigned

    The maximum TTL seen for the aggregated DNS records.
    This is only exported if the B<super_mediator> is
    configured to LAST_SEEN.

dnsRRType, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 175, 2 octets, unsigned

    The type of Resource Record.  This corresponds
    with the QTYPE filed in the DNS Question Section
    or the TYP field in the DNS Resource Record Section.

smDedupHitCount, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 929, 2 octets, unsigned

    The number of times the B<super_mediator> saw
    this record in the FLUSH TIMEOUT period.
    This is only exported if the B<super_mediator> is
    configured to LAST_SEEN.

dnsName, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 179, variable length

    A DNS Response Name.  This field corresponds
    with the NAME field in the DNS Resource Record Section.

smDNSData, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 927, variable length

   A DNS Resource Record Data Element.  This field
   corresponds with the RDATA in the DNS Resource
   Record Section.  For CNAME records, this will be the
   canonical name. For NS Records, this will be the
   name server name.  For AAAA records, this will be an
   IPv6 Address, etc.

observationDomainName IE 300, variable length

   This field is populated if the DEDUP_CONFIG block was
   configured with B<ADD_EXPORTER_NAME>
   or DNS_DEDUP was configured with a B<VLAN_MAP> or B<OBID_MAP>.
   See super_mediator.conf(1) for more information on MAPS.

Tombstone Options Template

Super_mediator will forward and can optionally generate tombstone records using IPFIX Options Template Records. These records are intended to allow the analysis of the time it takes for records to be processed by each tool (e.g., YAF, Super Mediator, SiLK) in your environment. Each tombstone record generated by super_mediator consists of six information elements: the observation domain ID set by the --observation-domain argument, the exporting process ID which is the PID of the YAF process, a user- settable tombstone ID, a sequentially increasing "tombstoneID" for each record, the timestamp of the record's creation, and a subTemplateList of the time each program interacted with the tombstone record. With ideal randomness and/or proper user arguments, the 4 IDs taken together should uniquely specify a record. Tombstone record generation is not on by default and can be turned on using the TOMBSTONE_CONFIG section of the config file. Tombstone Records are only sent/forwarded to exporters configured to receive stats records.

The following Information Elements will be exported:

observationDomainId, IE 149, 4 octets, unsigned

   The (user-set) observation domain of the generating sensor.

exportingProcessId, IE 144, 4 octets, unsigned

   The PID of the generating sensor.

certToolTombstoneId, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 550, 4 octets, unsigned

   A sequentially increasing identification number unique to each tombstone
   record in a run of a given program.

certToolExporterConfiguredId, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 551, 2 octets, unsigned

   An identification number for the record that is user specifiable at
   runtime and shared across all records in a run of the given program.

observationTimeSeconds, IE 322, 4 octets, dateTimeSeconds

   The UNIX timestamp of when the record was created.

certToolTombstoneAccessList, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 554, variable length, subTemplateList

   A subTemplateList consisting of Tombstone Access Templates (see below)
   that specify when each program that supports tombstone time-stamping
   interacted with the tombstone record.

Tombstone Access Template

The following two Information Elements will be exported as a template within the subTemplateList of a Tombstone Options Template:

certToolId, CERT (PEN 6871) IE 553, 4 octets, unsigned

   The identification number of the program that interacted with the record.
   B<super_mediator> has and ID of 2.

observationTimeSeconds, IE 322, 4 octets, dateTimeSeconds

   The UNIX timestamp of when the program interacted with the record.


To run super_mediator with the configuration file:

super_mediator -c /usr/local/etc/super_mediator.conf

To read a yaf(1) file and write delimited text to the standard output:

super_mediator -o - -m text yaffile.yaf

To listen for connections from yaf via TCP and write to rotating text files:

super_mediator --ipfix-port 18000 --ipfix-input TCP --out /tmp/mediator --rotate 120 --log /tmp/mediator.log -v localhost

To listen for connections from yaf via UDP and send output to a rwflowpack(8) process running on TCP port 18001:

super_mediator -p 18000 --ipfix-input UDP -o localhost -m TCP --export-port 18001

To only print the time and 5-tuple for each flow to standard output:

super_mediator -o - -m TEXT --fields=flowStartMilliseconds,flowEndMilliseconds,sourceIPv4Address,destinationIPv4Address,sourceTransportPort,destinationTransportPort,protocolIdentifier ./myyaffile.yaf


super_mediator will not create new file directories. All output directories must exist before you start super_mediator.

yaf presently encodes the ICMP type and code information into the destinationTransportPort information element for ICMP and ICMP6 flows. super_mediator running in TEXT output mode writes the type in the sourceTransportPort field and the ICMP code in the destinationTransportPort field.


Emily Sarneso and the CERT Network Situational Awareness Group Engineering Team <>. Bug reports and feature requests may be sent via email to <>.


super_mediator.conf(1), yaf(1), yafdpi(1), rwflowpack(8), flowcap(8), and the following IETF Internet RFCs: Specification of the IPFIX Protocol for Exchange of IP Traffic Flow Information RFC 5101, Information Model for IP Flow Information Export RFC 5102, Export of Structured Data in RFC 6313.