I have an ultra old (don't ask why) BusyBox (BusyBox v1.01 (2008.12.19-21:31+0000) Built-in shell (ash)) on my DreamBox. I would like to find out which process opened which connection using netstat. But I found out that BusyBox's netstat doesn't contain the -p option. What other possibilites do I have to find out which process has opened (and is using) the corresponding socket?

  • Is lsof part of that version of busybox?
    – Zoredache
    Jan 7 '11 at 21:07
  • Unfortunately not.
    – a1337q
    Jan 7 '11 at 21:10

You can find the equivalent information in slightly uglier form (a.k.a. hexadecimal) in /proc/net/tcp. There, you can find the inode of the connection, which you can look up under /proc/$pid/fd/.

For example:

$ cat /proc/net/tcp
sl  local_address rem_address   st tx_queue rx_queue tr tm->when retrnsmt   uid  timeout inode
 0: 00000000:0016 00000000:0000 0A 00000000:00000000 00:00000000 00000000     0        0 6115 1 f5adc4c0 300 0 0 2 -1

(In normal netstat, but not in busybox netstat, the -e option also gives you that extra information.)

You can find the process which corresponds to the inode with the following command:

# for x in $(find /proc/ | grep /fd/); do ls -la $x 2>/dev/null done | grep 6115
lrwx------ 1 root root 64  7 jan 22.50 /proc/2560/fd/3 -> socket:[6115]

You need root access for the second step.

Not as convenient as the -p option, obviously, but works in a bind. Could be scripted, if necessary.

  • Sounds cool, but my netstat doesn't work as it should, it outputs nothing additional with the -e option. I have 6 columns also with -e: Proto, Recv-Q, Send-Q, Local Address, Foreign Address, State. Is there a way with the ports? I can see the port..
    – a1337q
    Jan 7 '11 at 21:05
  • You're right, I must have messed up my tests. I edited it to give you a working solution. Jan 8 '11 at 8:39
  • 2
    How do you find the number "2560" you type in your second command? That's the question.
    – ygoe
    Mar 22 '19 at 11:17
  • 1
    @ygoe you have to use 6115 and use it like this: find /proc/ -type l | grep /fd/ | xargs ls -la 2>/dev/null | grep 6115
    – Sam
    Jun 27 '19 at 12:44
  • You'll need a semicolon after the 2>/dev/null Sep 30 '20 at 9:56

This may not help, if you don't have the opportunity to rebuild Busybox, but in case it helps anyone...

Busybox does have a configuration option to support the -p switch of Busybox netstat. See option CONFIG_FEATURE_NETSTAT_PRG, selected in busybox menuconfig via Networking Utilities → netstat → Enable PID/Program name output.


If you have or can get ss on your device it can show you the PID too:

ss -ltp # for TCP
ss -lup # for UDP

A slight variant that might be easier for some:

  1. Identify interesting protocol and port from netstat or other source
  2. Convert port to hex: echo | awk '{ printf "%x\n", $1 }'
  3. cd /proc/net
  4. grep -i <hex_port> {upd|tcp} | awk '{ printf "local: %s inode: %s", $2, $10 }' If you get multiple lines, look for the one that has the matching hex_port in the second half of the "local" string.
  5. ls -al /proc//fd/ 2>/dev/null | grep

This should return a line similar to: lrwx------ 1 root root 64 May 22 20:02 /proc/1148/fd/26 -> socket:[4520]

Telling you that PID 1148 has a socket open on inode 4520

Example: Looking for the SSDP process on a Philips Hue Bridge V2.x:

root@Philips-hue:/proc# netstat -an | grep 1900
udp     2176      0  *                           
root@Philips-hue:/proc# echo 1900 | awk '{ printf "%x\n", $1 }'
root@Philips-hue:/proc# grep -i 76c /proc/net/udp | awk '{ printf "local: %s ino
de: %s\n", $2, $10 }'
local: 00000000:076C inode: 4520
root@Philips-hue:/proc# ls -al /proc/*/fd/* 2>/dev/null | grep 4520
lrwx------    1 root     root            64 May 22 20:02 /proc/1148/fd/26 -> socket:[4520]

So we identified process PID=1148 as the listener:

root@Philips-hue:/proc# ps w | grep 1148
 1148 root     64016 S    /usr/sbin/ipbridge -p /home/ipbridge/var -z /dev/ttyZigbee -u /etc/channel/channel-config -h /home -e ecb
 1696 root      1284 S    grep 1148

So now I know that the ipbridge daemon controls the SSDP listener among the many other things it controls on the Hue Bridge.

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