Installation and basic use of Kismet on a Raspberry Pi 3. Kismet is a wireless network detector, sniffer, and intrusion detection system.


This guide will start with a basic Raspbian build, connected to a wired network. Follow the RPi Initial Setup Guide to get started. A Raspberry Pi 2 may also be used.

For full Kismet usage, GPS should be available on the pi. Follow the GPS on Raspberry Pi 3 guide for GPS.

Parts List

Install Kismet

Kismet is a wireless network detector, sniffer, and intrusion detection system. Kismet works predominately with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) networks, but can be expanded via plug-ins to handle other network types.

Install dependencies

  • sudo apt-get update

  • sudo apt-get upgrade

  • sudo apt-get install gpsd gpsd-clients

  • sudo apt-get install libncurses5 libncurses5-dev

  • sudo apt-get install libnl1 libnl-dev

  • sudo apt-get install libpcap-dev libpcap0.8 libpcap0.8-dev

Match MAC addresses to manufacturers

  • cd ~/Downloads

  • wget -O manuf ";a=blob_plain;f=manuf"

  • sudo cp manuf /etc/

Download and extract Kismet

Make and install Kismet

  • ./configure

  • make dep

  • make

  • Install with suid-root, sudo make suidinstall

Add user pi to group kismet

Allows the user pi to run kismet without using sudo.

  • sudo usermod -a -G kismet pi

Configure Kismet

  • sudo mkdir /var/log/kismet

  • sudo chmod 777 /var/log/kismet

  • sudo nano /usr/local/etc/kismet.conf

# Set the log prefix

# Set the wireless network source interface

# Change the write interval from 300 to 180 seconds

Interactive Kismet

Before starting kismet, make certain GPS is running and has a fix.

  • sudo gpsd /dev/ttyUSB0 -F /var/run/gpsd.sock

  • Once it has a fix verify with cgps

Start kismet

  • kismet

  • Follow the prompts to start the server and view the UI.

  • When done, stop and exit kismet with [ALT][k] then [Q].

Headless Kismet

The kismet_server may be started as a daemon from the command line. This will make it available to client interactions and also start logging. No changes to the above configuration are needed. It is also possible to start kismet_server from boot but this is not my preference due to GPS Fix delays.

  • Start kismet_server /usr/local/bin/kismet_server --daemonize

  • Stop kismet_server killall kismet_server



GISKismet converts the data into a format viewable in Google Earth. GISKismet first converts the access point data from the Kismet data file into a SQLLite database and then into a KML data file. KML is the format used by Google Earth.

I do not plan on running GISKismet on the pi but instead on a more capable computer or cloud cluster.


  • Choose your location, cd ~/Downloads

  • Download giskismet, git clone

  • Install prerequisites, sudo apt-get install libxml-libxml-perl libdbi-perl libdbd-sqlite3-perl

  • cd giskismet

  • perl Makefile.PL

  • make

  • sudo make install

Example commands

Add data from a kismet log file to a SQLLite database file.

giskismet -x /inputfile/Kismet-date.netxml --database /outputfile/wireless.dbl

Extract data from the SQLLite file to a KML file.

giskismet -q "select * from wireless" -o /outputfile/ex1.kml --database /outputfile/wireless.dbl