Network Packet Analysis with Scapy: A Beginner's Guide

By: vishwesh

Network Packet Analysis with Scapy: A Beginner's Guide

Network packet analysis is a critical skill for anyone interested in networking and security. Understanding how packets move across a network, and how to analyze them, is essential for detecting network anomalies, identifying potential security threats, and troubleshooting network problems. Scapy is an open-source Python library that makes it easy to create, manipulate, and analyze network packets. In this guide, we'll introduce you to Scapy and show you how to use it to analyze network packets.

What is Scapy?

Scapy is a Python library that allows you to create, manipulate, and analyze network packets. It's a powerful tool for network analysis, and it can be used for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Network reconnaissance
  • Packet sniffing and filtering
  • Network traffic analysis
  • Network troubleshooting
  • Network security analysis

Scapy is designed to work with a wide range of protocols, including TCP/IP, UDP, DNS, HTTP, and more. It's also highly customizable, so you can create your own packets and protocols if needed.

Installing Scapy

Before we dive into how to use Scapy, let's first cover how to install it. Scapy can be installed using pip, the Python package installer. To install Scapy, open a terminal and enter the following command:

pip install scapy

This will download and install the latest version of Scapy.

Creating a Packet with Scapy

Let's start by creating a simple packet using Scapy. Open a Python console or create a new Python file and enter the following code:

from scapy.all import *

packet = IP(dst="")/ICMP()


In this code, we're importing Scapy's all module, which includes all the classes and functions we need to work with packets. We're then creating a new packet with an IP header and an ICMP payload. The dst parameter specifies the destination IP address for the packet, in this case, Google's DNS server at We're then using the send() function to send the packet.

Analyzing Packets with Scapy

Now that we've created a packet with Scapy, let's look at how we can analyze packets using Scapy. One of the most basic tasks in packet analysis is packet sniffing, which involves capturing packets as they travel across a network. Scapy makes it easy to sniff packets using the sniff() function.

from scapy.all import *

def packet_callback(packet):

sniff(prn=packet_callback, count=1)

In this code, we're defining a new function called packet_callback() that will be called each time Scapy captures a new packet. The packet_callback() function takes a single argument, which is the packet that was captured. We're then using the sniff() function to capture one packet and call the packet_callback() function for each packet.

The function is used to display the details of the captured packet. This will include information about the packet's headers, payloads, and other details.

Filtering Packets with Scapy

Another important aspect of packet analysis is filtering packets based on specific criteria. Scapy makes it easy to filter packets using the sniff() function's filter parameter.

from scapy.all import *

def packet_callback(packet):

sniff(filter="icmp", prn=packet_callback, count=10)

In this code, we're filtering packets to only capture ICMP packets using the filter parameter. We're also capturing up to 10 packets using the count parameter. The packet_callback() function remains the same as in the previous example, and will be called for each captured packet that matches the filter.

Reading PCAP Files with Scapy

Scapy can also be used to read PCAP files, which are files that contain packet capture data. PCAP files are commonly used to store network traffic for analysis or troubleshooting purposes. To read a PCAP file with Scapy, we can use the rdpcap() function.

from scapy.all import *

packets = rdpcap('traffic.pcap')

for packet in packets:

In this code, we're using the rdpcap() function to read a PCAP file named traffic.pcap. The function returns a list of packets that were captured in the PCAP file. We're then iterating over each packet in the list and calling the function to display its details.

Modifying Packets with Scapy

Scapy also makes it easy to modify packets. Let's take the example we used earlier of creating a simple packet, and modify it to include additional headers.

from scapy.all import *

packet = IP(dst="")/ICMP()/Raw("Hello, World!")


In this code, we've added a new Raw layer to the packet, which contains the string "Hello, World!". We're then sending the packet using the send() function. This will send the modified packet to the destination IP address specified in the dst parameter.


Scapy is a powerful tool for network packet analysis that allows you to create, manipulate, and analyze network packets. In this beginner's guide, we've covered the basics of using Scapy, including creating packets, analyzing packets, filtering packets, reading PCAP files, and modifying packets. With these skills, you'll be well on your way to becoming a proficient network analyst.

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