Python for Network Programming: Scapy

Python is a versatile programming language that can be used in a wide range of applications, including network programming. When it comes to network programming, one of the most popular Python libraries is Scapy. Scapy is a powerful tool for interacting with network protocols and analyzing network traffic. In this article, we will explore how Scapy can be used for network programming and examine some of its key features. Whether you are a seasoned network programmer or just starting out, Scapy is a must-have tool in your toolkit.

Introduction to Scapy

Scapy is a versatile Python library designed for network programming and packet manipulation. It allows you to create custom network packets, analyze network traffic and perform various networking tasks. Scapy is also an interactive shell that allows you to perform network operations directly from the command line.

Some common use cases for Scapy include network discovery, security testing, network monitoring and packet analysis. Scapy has support for a wide range of network protocols, including IP, ICMP, TCP, UDP and many more.

While Scapy is a powerful tool, it should be used responsibly and ethically. Be sure to adhere to your organization’s policies and local laws when using Scapy for network analysis and testing.

2. Installation and Setup

To get started with Scapy, you’ll first need to install the library. Scapy is compatible with Python 2.7 and Python 3.3 and later versions. You can install Scapy using pip, the Python package manager:

pip install scapy

Alternatively, you can download the source code from the [Scapy Github repository]( and install it manually. After installing Scapy, you can use it in your Python scripts or interactively through the command line.

To use Scapy in your Python script, simply import it:

from scapy.all import *

To start the Scapy interactive shell, run the following command in your terminal:


Creating and Manipulating Packets

Scapy allows you to create and manipulate network packets easily. Network packets are composed of layers and each layer is represented by a Python class in Scapy. For example, to create an IP packet, you would use the IP class.

Here’s an example of how to create a simple ICMP packet:

from scapy.all import *

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


In this example, we first create an IP packet with a destination address of (Google’s public DNS server). Then, we create an ICMP packet. We combine the two packets using the / operator, which appends the ICMP packet to the IP packet.

The show() method displays a summary of the packet’s contents. You can also manipulate packet fields directly by setting their values:

packet[IP].src = ""

packet[ICMP].type = 8

Packet Sending and Receiving

Scapy provides functions for sending and receiving packets. The send() function sends packets at layer 3 (the network layer), while the sendp() function sends packets at layer 2 (the data-link layer).

Here’s an example of how to send an ICMP packet:

from scapy.all import *

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


To send and receive packets simultaneously, you can use the sr() and srp() functions. These functions return a list of received packets and unanswered packets.

Here’s an example of sending an ICMP packet and receiving the response:

from scapy.all import *

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

answered, unanswered = sr(packet)

for response in answered:

Sniffing and Filtering Network Traffic

Scapy allows you to capture and analyze network traffic using the sniff() function. You can specify a filter using the BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter) syntax to capture only specific types of packets. Additionally, you can provide a custom function to process the captured packets in real time.

Here’s an example of how to sniff and filter ICMP packets:

from scapy.all import *

def process_packet(packet):
    if packet.haslayer(ICMP):

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

In this example, we define a function process_packet that checks if a packet has the ICMP layer and then prints the packet’s contents. The sniff() function captures 10 ICMP packets and calls the process_packet function for each packet.

Scapy and Network Scanning

Scapy can be used for various network scanning tasks, such as port scanning and host discovery. For instance, you can perform a simple TCP port scan using Scapy:

from scapy.all import *

target_ip = ""
start_port = 1
end_port = 100

for port in range(start_port, end_port + 1):
    tcp_packet = IP(dst=target_ip) / TCP(dport=port, flags="S")
    response, _ = sr1(tcp_packet, timeout=1, verbose=0)
    if response is not None and response[TCP].flags == "SA":
        print(f"Port {port} is open")

In this example, we create a TCP packet with the SYN flag set and iterate through a range of ports. We send the packet to each port and check for a response with the SYN-ACK flags set, indicating that the port is open.

Visualizing Network Data with Scapy

Scapy includes several built-in functions for visualizing network data, such as plotting packet routes and creating graphs of network traffic. You can use these functions to analyze and understand your network data better.

Here’s an example of how to visualize a traceroute using Scapy:

from scapy.all import *

target = ""
traceroute_result, _ = traceroute(target)


In this example, we use the traceroute() function to perform a traceroute to the domain. The plot() function generates a graphical representation of the traceroute results, showing the path the packets take through the network.

Advanced Scapy Features

Scapy includes several advanced features that can be used for more complex network tasks. Some of these features include:

  • Support for additional network protocols and layers, such as IPv6, ARP and DNS
  • Fuzzing capabilities for security testing and vulnerability discovery
  • Stream reassembly for analyzing and reconstructing TCP streams
  • Support for wireless protocols, such as 802.11 and Bluetooth

To explore these advanced features, be sure to check the [official Scapy documentation](


Scapy is a powerful and versatile Python library for network programming and packet manipulation. With Scapy, you can create, manipulate and send packets, as well as analyze and visualize network traffic. This article provided an introduction to Scapy’s features and showed how you can use them for various network programming tasks.

Remember to use Scapy responsibly and ethically, adhering to your organization’s policies and local laws when conducting network analysis and testing. Happy network programming!