Skip to content

Signatures written in Go-Cel (POC)

Tracee has introduced, on its last version, a new type of signatures, the Common Expression Language, or Go-Cel, signatures as a PROOF OF CONCEPT.


The Common Expression Language (CEL) is a non-Turing complete language designed for simplicity, speed, safety, and portability. CEL's C-like syntax looks nearly identical to equivalent expressions in C++, Go, Java, and TypeScript.


Go-Cel based signatures are experimental and part an on going development proof-of-concept. The feature is not finished and writing signatures in Go-Cel might need tracee code updates such as creation of internal parser helpers and/or event types declaration in a protobuf wrapper internal structure.

This feature is enabled by placing CEL signature definition files (.cel, .yaml, .yml) in the the --rules-dir directory. Sample definition files can be found in the pkg/rules/celsig/testdata/rules/ directory.


kind: SignaturesConfig
  - metadata:
      id: "Mine-0.1.0"
      version: "0.1.0"
      name: "My Own Signature"
      description: "My Own Signature Detects Stuff"
        - "linux"
      - source: tracee
        name: openat
    expression: |-
        input.eventName == 'openat' &&

After placing your signature_example.yaml inside dist/rules directory you may execute tracee selecting only the event you just created, if that is what you want:

$ sudo ./dist/tracee-ebpf \
    --output json \
    --trace comm=bash \
    --trace follow \
    --output option:detect-syscall \
    --output option:parse-arguments \
    -trace event=$(./dist/tracee-rules --rules Mine-0.1.0 --list-events) \
    | ./dist/tracee-rules \
    --input-tracee \
    format:json \
    --input-tracee file:stdin \
    --rules Mine-0.1.0

Loaded 1 signature(s): [Mine-0.1.0]

*** Detection ***
Time: 2022-07-10T05:49:48Z
Signature ID: Mine-0.1.0
Signature: My Own Signature
Data: map[]
Command: batcat
Hostname: fujitsu


Like said previously, Go-Cel signatures are experimental and considered proof-of-concept for now. If you decide to develop Go-Cel signatures you may face some issues:

  1. Go-Cel depends on protobuf and tracee.Event is not yet a protobuf object. Because of that, there is a wrapper in place converting tracee.Event into protobuf so the evaluations can happen (check files inside pkg/rules/celsig/wrapper/ directory.

  2. When writting your signature, it might happen that the event you're filtering for does not have all of its arguments types wrapper into the protobuf wrapper. You may face errors such as:

    Unrecognized event arg: eventName: "openat" name: "mode" type: "mode_t" valueType: uint32 value: 0
    It means you have to add that type to Tracee's go-cel wrapper so it is able to evaluate it.

  3. Your signature might need helpers/macros that don't exist yet. A good source of an example is pkg/rules/celsig/library.go file and functions:

    • sockaddrArg
    • stringArg
    • argByName