Upgrading from 14.04 to 16.04

Please read through this entire page before beginning!


  • We offer no guarantees that this upgrade process will work perfectly.
  • Before upgrading production sensors, you should fully test this upgrade process on test sensors in a test environment that closely matches your production environment.
  • Argus, Pads, Prads, and ELSA are no longer supported – these software packages will be removed upon upgrade and will not be supported in future releases.
  • If you were previously running ELSA, please ensure your system has been converted to Elastic before upgrading.

Pre-upgrade Notes

  • If you are behind a proxy, make sure that you’ve configured your proxy settings. In the commands below that use sudo, you may need to use sudo -i so that your proxy settings are applied to the sudo environment.

  • The upgrade process will take at least 1-2 hours (per server/sensor), depending on the speed of your server hardware and Internet connection. Please plan accordingly.

  • If you’re upgrading a distributed deployment, you’ll need to perform the steps below on the master server and all sensors, but make sure you start with the master server first!

  • If you’re upgrading a master server and you have a large ip2c table, you may want to truncate it and populate fresh data before initiating the 16.04 upgrade:

    sudo mysql --defaults-file=/etc/mysql/debian.cnf -Dsecurityonion_db -e 'truncate table ip2c;'
    sudo so-squert-ip2c
  • After upgrading the master server, ensure all sensors are upgraded as soon as possible to minimize disruption and/or incompatibility issues. Mixed-release (14.04 + 16.04) environments are currently untested and unsupported.


  • Start with a fully configured Security Onion 14.04 (Elastic Stack) installation.

  • If running in a VM, create a snapshot so that you can revert if necessary.

  • You may want to record a transcript of the full upgrade so you can refer back to it in case of any errors. For more information, please see https://www.debian.org/releases/stable/i386/release-notes/ch-upgrading.en.html#record-session.

  • NON-MASTER MACHINES ONLY - If the master server has already been upgraded, on each forward node, heavy node, or storage node, do the following:

    sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/securityonion-ubuntu-stable-xenial.list
    sudo service salt-minion stop
  • Ensure all 14.04 updates are installed:
    sudo soup
  • If soup prompted to reboot, go ahead and do that. If it didn’t, go
    ahead and reboot anyway:
    sudo reboot
  • Review sostat output to make sure system is healthy before continuing:
    sudo sostat
  • IMPORTANT! Backup Bro config since it will be removed when Ubuntu removes the package:

    sudo sed -i 's|PREV="pre-.*$|PREV="pre-upgrade-to-16.04"|g' /var/lib/dpkg/info/securityonion-bro.preinst
    sudo /var/lib/dpkg/info/securityonion-bro.preinst install
  • Verify that Bro config was backed up to /opt/bro/etc_pre-upgrade-to-16.04/ (you should have files in this directory):
    ls -alh /opt/bro/etc_pre-upgrade-to-16.04/
  • You may want to backup any other files that you’ve manually modified.

Upgrade from Ubuntu 14.04 to Ubuntu 16.04

  • Configure Ubuntu to look for the 16.04 upgrade:
    sudo sed -i 's|Prompt=never|Prompt=lts|g' /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades
  • Kill xscreensaver (otherwise, do-release-upgrade in the next step will prompt you to do so):
    sudo pkill xscreensaver
  • Initiate upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04:
    sudo do-release-upgrade
  • If you receive a message like No new release found., then you’ll need to ensure you can reach the Ubuntu changelogs site:
    curl http://changelogs.ubuntu.com/meta-release-lts

    If you can’t reach the site, try checking for connectivity, or your firewall to see if it is being blocked.

  • If you receive a prompt to restart services during the upgrade, choose Yes.

  • If you receive a prompt to allow non-superusers to capture packets (Wireshark), choose No.

  • If you receive a prompt in regard to grub configuration, choose keep local GRUB configuration.

  • Follow the prompts. If you receive a prompt regarding xscreensaver, select OK. You may receive prompts regarding files that have changed like the following:

    file answer
    /etc/sudoers Y
    /etc/default/grub N
    /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/01autoremove N
    /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99update-notifier N
    /etc/apache2/mods-available/ssl.conf Y
    /etc/apache2/apache2.conf Y
    /etc/apache2/ports.conf Y
    /etc/syslog-ng/syslog-ng.conf N
    /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini Y
    /etc/xdg/menus/gnome-flashback-applications.menu N
    /etc/redis/redis.conf N
    /etc/pulse/default.pa N
  • These are files that Security Onion modifies, and you may receive prompts for additional files that you have modified. The safest option for each of these is to choose to install the package maintainer’s version (Y, where applicable), with the exception of the prompt in regard to syslog-ng.conf. Choosing the installation of the package maintainer’s version will back up the existing file in case you need to review it later for any custom modifications you had made.

  • IMPORTANT! If you receive a prompt regarding syslog-ng.conf, press N to keep your currently-installed version.

  • If you receive an error message in regard to mysql-server, please disregard and continue with the upgrade.

  • When prompted to restart, press Y to continue.

Add back Security Onion packages

  • After rebooting, log back in.

  • If running in a VM, perform a snapshot.

  • Open a terminal, remove the old PPA, and add our stable PPA:

    sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/*
    sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:securityonion/stable
    sudo apt-get update
  • Add back any missing Security Onion packages by installing the securityonion-iso metapackage. If you didn’t install from our ISO and instead installed from your preferred flavor of Ubuntu and added our PPA and packages, then you may not necessarily need to install the securityonion-iso metapackage. In the command below, you can replace securityonion-iso with the same Security Onion metapackage(s) you originally installed (securityonion-server, securityonion-sensor, securityonion-all, etc).:

    sudo apt-get install securityonion-iso syslog-ng-core

  • IMPORTANT! If you receive a prompt regarding syslog-ng.conf, press N to keep your currently-installed version.

  • If you encounter an error in regard to mod_passenger.so, try disabling the module as follows:
    sudo a2dismod passenger
  • Copy backed up Bro config back to /opt/bro/etc:
    sudo cp /opt/bro/etc_pre-upgrade-to-16.04/* /opt/bro/etc
  • Copy OSSEC config back in place:
    sudo cp /var/ossec/etc/ossec.conf-2.8 /var/ossec/etc/ossec.conf
    sudo /var/ossec/bin/ossec-control enable client-syslog
  • Stop salt-minion and salt-master before running soup:
    sudo service salt-minion stop
    sudo service salt-master stop
  • Update all packages that are currently installed:
    sudo soup -y
  • Soup should prompt for a reboot. After reboot, run the following to enable securityonion.service:
    sudo systemctl enable securityonion.service

    run the following to disable MySQL:
    sudo systemctl disable mysql
    run the following to disable salt-master:
    sudo systemctl disable salt-master
    run the following to disable Redis:
    sudo systemctl disable redis
  • Reboot again:
    sudo reboot
  • MASTER ONLY - If sguild does not start after reboot, try running sguil-db-purge:
    sudo sguil-db-purge

Clean Up

  • Review your Snort/Suricata/Bro/other configuration for any local customizations that you may need to re-apply.

  • Clean up old UFW file:
    sudo rm /etc/ufw/applications.d/apache2.2-common
  • Remove old Security Onion init file:
    sudo rm /etc/init/securityonion.conf
  • Remove any unnecessary packages:
    sudo apt-get autoremove
  • Reboot:
    sudo reboot


  • After rebooting, log back in.

  • Verify that /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades has Prompt=never to avoid prompts to upgrade to 18.04 (not supported right now).

  • Keep in mind, Logstash may take a few minutes to initialize, so you may want to wait a few minutes before continuing.

  • Verify services are running:
    sudo so-status
  • Run sostat and look for anything out of the ordinary:
    sudo sostat
  • Check log files for anything out of the ordinary.

MySQL root password

  • We will need to set a randomized root password for MySQL. We can do so by doing the following:

    Reset debian.cnf:

    sudo rm /etc/mysql/debian.cnf
    sudo dpkg-reconfigure --frontend noninteractive mysql-server-5.7

If root password is blank, set random password:

if echo "quit" | sudo mysql -uroot 2>/dev/null; then
     PASSWORD=$(LC_ALL=C </dev/urandom tr -dc '[:alnum:]' | head -c 32)
     sudo mysql --defaults-file=/etc/mysql/debian.cnf -e "ALTER USER 'root'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH mysql_native_password BY


  • Switch to pure GNOME desktop:
    sudo so-desktop-gnome
  • If you disabled the GUI previously, you’ll need to re-apply similar configuration to boot into text mode:

    sudo systemctl enable multi-user.target --force
    sudo systemctl set-default multi-user.target
    sudo reboot