4. On-the-fly modifications

Haka can also be used to alter packet content as they pass through the system. The following example will try to blur the web. More specifically, it will add some css trick on every html pages.

4.1. HTTP dissector

As usual we first need to load the http dissector named protocol/http.

As there is no mechanism over TCP to specify the next protocol (unlike IP) we also have to tell Haka which TCP connection it will have to dissect with the HTTP dissector.



By going to the documentation of the HTTP dissector we can see that it provides an interesting event called http.events.request. This event will pass the HTTP connection and the HTTP request to the eval function.

Create a rule hooked on http.events.request. Check it work correctly by logging some part of the request object. You can use haka on real traffic or download the following pcap file: http.pcap.

4.2. Modifying http request

From this request object we are able to get the HTTP headers. It is located in the request field available in the dissector object, for instance:


We will first create a new rule on the request to make sure that the response data will be transmitted in clear text. This is required as we want to modify the HTTP page.


In order to be sure to receive a clear text response (not gzipped) it is required to change the following headers:

  • remove Accept-Encoding
  • set Accept to '*/*'

Write a rule hooked on http.events.request that do the required change.


Also to avoid cache issues, it is easy to remove some cache control headers:

  • remove If-Modified-Since
  • and remove If-None-Match

Update your rule.

4.3. Modifying http response

4.3.1. Request

Our goal is to insert data inside the HTTP page, to be able to do it correctly, a rule on the event http.events.response need to be added. It must call the function <HttpDissector>.enable_data_modification(). This will enable our next rule to insert its data without having to take care of updating the Content-Length header value for instance.

4.3.2. CSS

To blur the web, we will need to add the following snippet:

* {
    color: transparent !important;
    text-shadow: 0 0 3px black !important;

We can define a simple variable to save it:

local css = '<style type="text/css" media="screen"> * { color: transparent !important; text-shadow: 0 0 3px black !important; } </style>'

4.3.3. Stream

In order to add the css snippet on every html page we can use the http.events.response_data event of the HTTP dissector.

This event will be triggered each time response data will be available. This event have a very interesting and powerful option, namely streamed.

    hook = http.events.response_data,
    options = {
        streamed = true,
    eval = function (flow, iter)
        -- Eval function

This option turn on the streamed mode. Consequently the eval function will be called once, and only once. It will automatically wait for data when needed if it uses stream functions.

Next step is to look for the right place in the stream to insert our css snippet. Namely in the <head></head> section. In order to find where is this section in the response data we can use a regular expression.

4.3.4. Regular expression

Regular expression are available through modules in Haka. Currently Haka provide only one regular expression module : pcre.

local rem = require('regexp/pcre')

Then we have to compile a new regexp.

local regexp = rem.re:compile("</head>", rem.re.CASE_INSENSITIVE)

It is important to note that regexp module is stream aware, and so, it can read an entire stream looking for a given pattern before returning.

4.3.5. vbuffer iterator

Both the eval function of the http.events.response_data event and the match() function of the regexp module use a special object called an iterator. This iterator represent a point on the data stream. It can advance on the stream and it can be used to manipulate (insert, remove, replace) it.

For example, finding the right place to insert our css snippet is as simple as:

local result = regexp:match(iter, true)

result will be a sub-buffer representing the matching part of our regexp in the data stream.

Finally if we want to insert our snippet we can use the vbuffer API:



Bring all the pieces together in one rule and test it on live traffic.

Test it on http traffic not on https. http://www.haka-security.org might be a good candidate for it.

4.4. Full script

You will find the full script here blurring-the-web.lua.