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What exactly is a Netnode? What are they used for and how can I manipulate them with IDC or the SDK?

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The online IDA SDK has an excellent description: https://www.hex-rays.com/products/ida/support/sdkdoc/netnode_8hpp.html

An IDA database is one large table of key/value pairs. All keys associated with a single address together form a netnode.

There are two kinds of netnodes:

  • related to addresses associated with the binary loaded in ida.
  • for internal items, these are used to store structs, stack-frames, enums, scripts, etc.

These internal items usually have addresses which start with 0xFF0.... Because of this it can be a bit of a challenge to reverse engineer binaries which happen to use that address range.

A list of items which are stored in netnodes can be found in netnode.hpp and nalt.hpp

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