If you knock, I'll let you in. Marking UDP traffic as Established.

By Brandon James on 2021-04-29

Despite being a connectionless protocol, many firewalls are able to track the state of UDP communication. One such firewall is IPtables on Linux. Let's consider a simple IPtables input policy permitting related and established traffic, but dropping everything else.

Chain INPUT (policy DROP)
target     prot opt source               destination
ACCEPT     all  --  anywhere             anywhere             state RELATED,ESTABLISHED

Now, let's consider a GoPro Hero8 in webcam mode. After you've sent an HTTP GET request to the API endpoint /gp/gpWebcam/START, the GoPro will begin streaming video to your device on UDP/8554 via a network connection that exists between your host and the GoPro's USB-C port. IPtables has no way of knowing you've requested the service start streaming UDP data. So, it's going to drop the traffic at ingress.

Since I wanted to use my GoPro as a webcam and didn't have a great way to modify my firewall rules1, I needed to come up with a workaround.

IPtables state tracking

State tracking in IPtables works similarly to state tracking in other firewall systems. A connection is marked as ESTABLISHED if the firewall has seen bidirectional traffic. For instance, if I send an HTTP request with a SRC PORT of 485034 and a DST PORT of 80, return traffic from the webhost with a SRC PORT of 80 to TCP 485034 would be marked as ESTABLISHED.

RELATED traffic is a little trickier and requires some knowledge of specific protocols to implement. In the case of our GoPro, if this was a well known protocol someone might be able to write a connection tracking helper that says if our host sends a HTTP GET request to the API endpoint /gp/gpWebcam/START, then traffic from the GoPro to UDP/8554 is RELATED and should be accepted.

Since the stream from the camera is not considered RELATED or ESTABLISHED, it will be dropped by IPtables.


A possible workaround is to 'trick' IPtables into thinking this traffic is ESTABLISHED. To do this, we can use ncat to send a single packet, sourced from UDP/8554 destined to the UDP source port of the camera for this stream.

echo -n "camera" | nc --send-only -u 41115 -s -p 8554 >/dev/null

In the case of a GoPro camera, the source port actually changes each time a new stream is started. So, we can use TCPdump to find the source port before using ncat to send the packet that marks the connection as established.

goproport=$(sudo tcpdump -ni $dev -c 1 dst port 8554 2>/dev/null| grep -o '51.[0-9]*' | grep -o '.[0-9]*$' | cut -c2-)
echo "sending a packet to UDP $goproport so IPtables marks the traffic as established"
echo -n "gopro" | nc --send-only -u $gopro_ip $goproport -s $ip -p 8554 >/dev/null

Once this is done, the traffic is marked as established and is permitted by our IPtables policy.

Additional Notes on using the GoPro Hero 8 as a webcam

In an effort to get a free upgrade of my video conferencing setup, I've been working on a way to use my GoPro Hero 8 as a webcam. I use Linux at home and at work, so the official GoPro Webcam software doesn't work for me. Joshua Schmid wrote a very nice service to handle GoPro's in Linux, but for my use I just wanted a script I can kill once the VC is over. So, I took the relevant bits of his service and added a couple of options to crop the output and packaged it into a script.

When the GoPro is plugged in and powered on, it appears as a USB network adapter. Your computer will receive an IP address via DHCP from the GoPro. The GoPro network will be a random /24 in the address space.

└─$ dmesg | tail -n 8
[90741.967632] usb 1-4: new high-speed USB device number 15 using xhci_hcd
[90742.095883] usb 1-4: New USB device found, idVendor=2672, idProduct=0050, bcdDevice= 4.04
[90742.095896] usb 1-4: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[90742.095903] usb 1-4: Product: HERO8 BLACK
[90742.095907] usb 1-4: Manufacturer: GoPro
[90742.095911] usb 1-4: SerialNumber: <REDACTED>
[90742.101411] cdc_ether 1-4:1.0 usb0: register 'cdc_ether' at usb-0000:00:14.0-4, CDC Ethernet Device, e2:24:93:81:5f:87
[90742.141368] cdc_ether 1-4:1.0 enp0s20f0u4: renamed from usb0
└─$ ip a show dev enp0s20f0u4
11: enp0s20f0u4: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc fq_codel state UP group default qlen 1000
    link/ether e2:24:93:81:5f:87 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet brd scope global dynamic noprefixroute enp0s20f0u4
       valid_lft 863384sec preferred_lft 863384sec
    inet6 fe80::323:669:22c1:a37d/64 scope link noprefixroute
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever

The GoPro itself will be on 172.16.x.51 and listening on 5 ports. Four of these ports all seem to implement the exact same RESTful service. I've made no attempt to enumerate the API's endpoints, but its fairly well documented that gp/gpWebcam/START causes the camera to start streaming video and gp/gpWebcam/STOP causes it to stop.

└─$ nmap -sT
Starting Nmap 7.80 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2021-04-20 22:54 CDT
Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.015s latency).
Not shown: 995 closed ports
80/tcp   open  http
8000/tcp open  http-alt
8001/tcp open  vcom-tunnel
8080/tcp open  http-proxy
8081/tcp open  blackice-icecap

Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 13.20 seconds
└─$ curl
    "status": 1,
    "error": 0
└─$ curl
    "status": 2,
    "error": 0
└─$ sudo tcpdump -i enp0s20f0u4
dropped privs to tcpdump
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v[v]... for full protocol decode
listening on enp0s20f0u4, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), snapshot length 262144 bytes
23:22:04.036631 IP > t470s.rtsp-alt: UDP, length 564
23:22:04.036984 IP > t470s.rtsp-alt: UDP, length 1316
23:22:04.037243 IP > t470s.rtsp-alt: UDP, length 1316
23:22:04.037522 IP > t470s.rtsp-alt: UDP, length 1316
23:22:04.037663 IP > t470s.rtsp-alt: UDP, length 1316

Finally, the stream can be sent to a v4l2loopback device using FFMPEG. This will give you a device called GoPro you can select using your video conferencing software.

# Create the v4l2loopback device
sudo modprobe v4l2loopback exclusive_caps=1 card_label='GoPro' video_nr=42
# No Crop
ffmpeg -nostdin -threads 1 -i 'udp://@' -f:v mpegts -fflags nobuffer -vf format=yuv420p -f v4l2 /dev/video42 >/tmp/ffmpeggopro 2>&1 &
# Crop to 720p
ffmpeg -nostdin -threads 1 -i 'udp://@' -f:v mpegts -fflags nobuffer -vf 'format=yuv420p,crop=1280:720' -f v4l2 /dev/video42 >/tmp/ffmpeggopro 2>&1 &
# Crop to 480p
ffmpeg -nostdin -threads 1 -i 'udp://@' -f:v mpegts -fflags nobuffer -vf 'format=yuv420p,crop=720:480' -f v4l2 /dev/video42 >/tmp/ffmpeggopro 2>&1 &

I am not an expert on ffmpeg or video streams in general. Other then the crop settings, these were lifted from Joshua Schmid's Linux GoPro service. Roughly, we are telling ffmpeg to take the mpegts stream from the GoPro and convert it to a v4l2 stream.

  1. The subnet, source port and interface name used by the GoPro isn't consistent between reboots so any permanent IPtables changes would need to be overly broad.