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Data Sources (Experimental)

Data sources are a new feature, which will be the base of allowing access to dynamic data stores in signature writing (currently only available in golang).

Data sources are currently an experimental feature and in active development, and usage is opt-in.

Why use data sources?

Signatures should opt for data sources when they need access to data beyond what is provided by the events they process.

For instance, a signature may need access to data about the container where the event being processed was generated. With Tracee's integrated container data source, this can be achieved without the signature having to separately monitor container lifecycle events.

What data sources can I use

Tracee offer three built-in data sources out of the box. There is also support for plugging in external data sources through the golang plugin mechanism, similar to how signatures are currently supplied (see here). However, there are known technical limitation to this approach, and the aim is to replace it in the future.

Currently, the following data source are provided out of the box:

  1. Containers: Provides metadata about containers given a container id.
  2. Process Tree: Provides access to a tree of ever existing processes and threads.
  3. DNS Cache: Provides access to relaated DNS queries of a given address (IP or domain).

This list will be expanded as other features are developed.

How to use data sources

In order to use a data source in a signature you must request access to it in the Init stage. This can be done through the SignatureContext passed at that stage as such:

func (sig *mySig) Init(ctx detect.SignatureContext) error {
    containersData, ok := ctx.GetDataSource("tracee", "containers")
 if !ok {
  return fmt.Errorf("containers data source not registered")
    if containersData.Version() > 1 {
  return fmt.Errorf("containers data source version not supported, please update this signature")
 sig.containersData = containersData

As you can see, access to the data source has been requested using two keys: a namespace and a data source ID. Namespaces are employed to prevent name conflicts in the future when integrating custom data sources. All built-in data sources from Tracee will be available under the "tracee" namespace.

After verifying the data source's availability, it's suggested to include a version check against the data source. This approach ensures that outdated signatures aren't run with a newer data source schema.

Now, in the OnEvent function, you may use the data source like so:

container, err := sig.containersData.Get(containerId)
if !ok {
    return fmt.Errorf("failed to find container in data source: %v", err)

containerName := container["container_name"].(string)

Each Data source provides a querying method Get(key any) map[string]any. In the provided example, type validation is omitted during key verification. This omission is safe when adhering to the schema (provided by the Schema() method), considering the JSON representation of the returned map, and after an initial check of the data source version.