#include <pcap/pcap.h> void pcap_breakloop(pcap_t *);
This routine is safe to use inside a signal handler on UNIX or a console control handler on Windows, as it merely sets a flag that is checked within the loop.
The flag is checked in loops reading packets from the OS - a signal by itself will not necessarily terminate those loops - as well as in loops processing a set of packets returned by the OS. Note that if you are catching signals on UNIX systems that support restarting system calls after a signal, and calling pcap_breakloop() in the signal handler, you must specify, when catching those signals, that system calls should NOT be restarted by that signal. Otherwise, if the signal interrupted a call reading packets in a live capture, when your signal handler returns after calling pcap_breakloop(), the call will be restarted, and the loop will not terminate until more packets arrive and the call completes.
Note also that, in a multi-threaded application, if one thread is blocked in pcap_dispatch(), pcap_loop(), pcap_next(), or pcap_next_ex(), a call to pcap_breakloop() in a different thread will not unblock that thread; you will need to use whatever mechanism the OS provides for breaking a thread out of blocking calls in order to unblock the thread, such as thread cancellation or thread signalling in systems that support POSIX threads.
Note that pcap_next() and pcap_next_ex() will, on some platforms, loop reading packets from the OS; that loop will not necessarily be terminated by a signal, so pcap_breakloop() should be used to terminate packet processing even if pcap_next() or pcap_next_ex() is being used.
pcap_breakloop() does not guarantee that no further packets will be processed by pcap_dispatch() or pcap_loop() after it is called; at most one more packet might be processed.
If -2 is returned from pcap_dispatch() or pcap_loop(), the flag is cleared, so a subsequent call will resume reading packets. If a positive number is returned, the flag is not cleared, so a subsequent call will return -2 and clear the flag.