If you just want to analyze one or more pcap files, then so-import-pcap is the quickest and easiest way to get started with Security Onion! It will import one or more pcaps into Security Onion and preserve original timestamps.

It will do the following:

  • automatically run Setup to configure the system if necessary
  • stop and disable Curator to avoid closing old indices
  • stop and disable all active sniffing processes (Zeek, Snort, Suricata, and netsniff-ng)
  • stop and disable ossec_agent
  • reconfigure and restart sguild, syslog-ng, and Logstash where necessary
  • generate IDS alerts using Snort or Suricata
  • generate Zeek logs
  • store IDS alerts and Zeek logs with original timestamps
  • split traffic into separate daily pcaps and store them where sguil’s pcap_agent can find them

Minimum Requirements

  • 50GB storage
  • 4GB RAM
  • 2 CPU cores

Please note these are MINIMUM requirements. If you can allocate more resources, please do so.


Do NOT run so-import-pcap on an existing production deployment!

It is designed for standalone systems designated for so-import-pcap.


If you haven’t already installed the latest Security Onion ISO image, here are the steps to do so:

  1. Download and verify our Security Onion ISO image.
  2. Boot the ISO image and choose the default boot menu option.
  3. Once the live desktop appears, double-click the Install SecurityOnion icon.
  4. Follow the prompts in the installer. If prompted with an encrypt home folder or encrypt partition option, DO NOT enable this feature. If asked about automatic updates, DO NOT enable automatic updates.
  5. Once the installer completes, reboot into your new installation and login using the username and password you specified during installation.
  6. NOTE! It is NOT necessary to run Setup as so-import-pcap will do this automatically.


If you’re running so-import-pcap in a VM with snapshot capability, you might want to take a snapshot before this program makes changes.


Please supply the full path to at least one pcap file.

For example, to import a single pcap named import.pcap:

sudo so-import-pcap /full/path/to/import.pcap

To import multiple pcaps:

sudo so-import-pcap /full/path/to/import1.pcap /full/path/to/import2.pcap


For a detailed walk-through with screenshots, please see


Please note that so-import-pcap will make changes to your system! It will warn you before doing so and will prompt you to press Enter to continue or Ctrl-c to cancel.

If you want to bypass the “Press Enter to continue” prompt, you can do something like this:

echo | sudo so-import-pcap /opt/samples/markofu/ie*