Compiling quickstart

Compiling: Quick Setup

Kismet has many configuration knobs and options; but for the quickest way to get the basics working:

  1. Uninstall any existing Kismet installs. If you installed Kismet using a package from your distribution, uninstall it the same way; if you compiled it yourself, be sure to remove it

  2. Install dependencies. Kismet needs a number of libraries and development headers to compile; these should be available in nearly all distributions.


    $ sudo apt install build-essential git libmicrohttpd-dev pkg-config zlib1g-dev libnl-3-dev libnl-genl-3-dev libcap-dev libpcap-dev libnm-dev libdw-dev libsqlite3-dev libprotobuf-dev libprotobuf-c-dev protobuf-compiler protobuf-c-compiler libsensors4-dev libusb-1.0.0-dev python3 python3-setuptools python3-protobuf python3-requests python3-numpy python3-serial python3-usb python3-dev librtlsdr0

    On some older distributions, libprotobuf-c-dev may be called libprotobuf-c0-dev.

    For rtlsdr rtl_433 support, you will also need the rtl_433 tool from if it is not otherwise provided by your distribution.

    Fedora (and related)

    $ sudo dnf install make automake gcc gcc-c++ kernel-devel git libmicrohttpd-devel pkg-config zlib-devel libnl3-devel libcap-devel libpcap-devel NetworkManager-libnm-devel libdwarf libdwarf-devel elfutils-devel libsqlite3x-devel protobuf-devel protobuf-c-devel protobuf-compiler protobuf-c-compiler lm_sensors-devel libusb-devel fftw-devel

    You will also need the related python3 packages.

  3. Clone Kismet from git. If you haven’t cloned Kismet before:
    $ git clone

    If you have a Kismet repo already:

    $ cd kismet
    $ git pull
  4. Run configure. This will find all the specifics about your system and prepare Kismet for compiling. If you have any missing dependencies or incompatible library versions, they will show up here.
    $ cd kismet
    $ ./configure

    Pay attention to the summary at the end and look out for any warnings! The summary will show key features and raise warnings for missing dependencies which will drastically affect the compiled Kismet.

    If you’re compiling for a remote capture platform only, check the remote capture docs for more information.

  5. Compile Kismet.
    $ make

    You can accelerate the process by adding -j #, depending on how many CPUs you have. To automatically compile on all the available cores:

    $ make -j$(nproc)

    C++ uses quite a bit of RAM to compile, so depending on the RAM available on your system you may need to limit the number of processes you run simultaneously.

  6. Install Kismet. Generally, you should install Kismet as suid-root; Kismet will automatically add a group and install the capture binaries accordingly.

When installed suid-root, Kismet will launch the binaries which control the channels and interfaces with the needed privileges, but will keep the packet decoding and web interface running without root privileges.

   $ sudo make suidinstall
  1. Add your user to the kismet group.
       $ sudo usermod -aG kismet $USER

    This will add your current logged in user to the kismet group.

  2. Log out and back in. Linux does not update groups until you log in; if you have just added yourself to the Kismet group you will have to re-log in.

  3. Check that you are in the Kismet group with:
       $ groups

    If you are not in the kismet group, you should log out entirely, or reboot.

  4. You’re now ready to run Kismet! Point it at your network interface… Different distributions (and kernel versions, and distribution versions) name interfaces differently; your interface may be wlan0 or wlan1, or it may be named something like wlp0s1, or it may be named using the MAC address of the card and look like wlx00c0ca8d7f2e.

You can now start Kismet with something like:

   $ kismet -c wlan0

or, you can just launch Kismet and then use the new web UI to select the card you want to use, by launching it with just:

   $ kismet

Remember, until you add a data source, Kismet will not be capturing any packets!

THE FIRST TIME YOU RUN KISMET, you MUST go to the Kismet WebUI and set your login and password.

This login will be saved in the config file: ~/.kismet/kismet_httpd.conf which is in the home directory of the user starting Kismet.

If you start Kismet as or via sudo (or via a system startup script where it runs as root), this will be in roots home directory: /root/.kismet/kismet_httpd.conf

You will need this password to control Kismet from the web page - without it you can still view information about devices, view channel allocations, and most other actions, but you CAN NOT control Kismet data sources, view pcaps, or perform other actions.

  1. Point your browser at http://localhost:2501 (or the address of the server Kismet is running on)

If you are running Kismet on your laptop (or other system with a browser), you can see the Kismet UI at http://localhost:2501.

If you are running Kismet on a Raspberry Pi, Wi-Fi Pineapple, or other device, you will need to point your computer at the address of the device running Kismet. You will need to have the system running Kismet plugged into wired Ethernet, or it will need a second Wi-Fi card configured to connect to your network: You cannot run Kismet and connect to a network on the same Wi-Fi card at the same time.

You will be prompted to do basic configuration - Kismet has many options in the web UI which can be tweaked. Explore and have fun!