Zeek is formerly known as Bro. From https://www.zeek.org/:

Zeek is a powerful network analysis framework that is much different from the typical IDS you may know. (Zeek is the new name for the long-established Bro system. Note that parts of the system retain the “Bro” name, and it also often appears in the documentation and distributions.)



We compile Zeek to support both PF-RING and AF-PACKET so that you can spin up multiple Zeek workers to handle more traffic. Modern versions of Setup now default to AF-PACKET.

For best performance, Zeek should be pinned to specific CPUs. In most cases, you’ll want to pin sniffing processes to the same CPU that your sniffing NIC is bound to. You can do this using the pin_cpus setting as shown at https://docs.zeek.org/en/stable/configuration/#using-pf-ring.


Zeek logs are stored in /nsm/bro/logs. They are consumed by syslog-ng, parsed and augmented by Logstash, stored in Elasticsearch, and viewable in Kibana.


By default, we configure Zeek to output in JSON for higher performance and better parsing. We recommend that most folks leave Zeek configured for JSON output. If you need to parse those JSON logs from the command line, you can use jq.


If you really need the traditional Zeek TSV (Tab Separated Values) format, you can disable JSON:

sudo sed -i --follow-symlinks 's|@load json-logs|#@load json-logs|g' /opt/bro/share/bro/site/local.bro

and then restart Zeek:

sudo so-zeek-restart

Zeek monitors your network traffic and creates logs, such as:


  • TCP/UDP/ICMP connections
  • For more information, see:



  • HTTP requests and replies
  • For more information, see:



  • SSL/TLS handshake info
  • For more information, see:



  • Zeek notices
  • For more information, see:


…and others, which can be researched here:

As you can see, Zeek log data can provide a wealth of information to the analyst, all easily accessible through Kibana.



  • To configure email notifications, please see the email section.



  • To forward Zeek logs to an external syslog collector, please see the syslog-output section.


Custom Scripts


  • You can add custom scripts in /opt/bro/share/bro/policy/ and then reference the scripts in /opt/bro/share/bro/site/local.bro.

Below is an example how to do so:

  • Create a new directory under /opt/bro/share/bro/policy/. sudo mkdir /opt/bro/share/bro/policy/custom-scripts

  • Add your custom script(s) and __load__.bro to this directory.

  • Modify __load__.bro to reference the scripts in the custom-scripts directory:

    @load ./script1.bro
    @load ./script2.bro
  • Edit /opt/bro/share/bro/site/local.bro so that it will load the new scripts in /opt/bro/share/bro/policy/custom-scripts, by adding @load custom-scripts at the bottom of the file and saving the file.

  • Restart Zeek. sudo so-zeek-restart

  • Check /nsm/bro/logs/current/loaded_scripts.log to see if your custom script(s) has/have been loaded.

  • Check /nsm/bro/logs/current/reporter.log for clues if your custom script(s) is/are not working as desired.

To check and see if a Zeek script has fired a Notice, go to Kibana and check our Zeek Notices dashboard. Alternatively, you can check for entries in /nsm/bro/logs/current/notice.log.


In a distributed deployment, all custom scripts created under /opt/bro/share/bro/policy/ on a master server will be replicated to sensors via Salt, however, they will not be enabled, as /opt/bro/share/bro/site/local.bro is not replicated. Therefore, you will either need to manually add a reference to the scripts in /opt/bro/share/bro/site/local.bro, or add additional configuration in /opt/onionsalt/salt/sensor/init.sls for Salt to replicate this information.

  • Make a symlink to local.bro:

sudo ln -s /opt/bro/share/bro/site/local.bro /opt/onionsalt/salt/sensor/bro/local.bro

Then add the following to /opt/onionsalt/salt/sensor/init.sls:

   - name: /opt/bro/share/bro/site/local.bro
   - source: salt://sensor/bro/local.bro

Then test, using:

sudo salt "SENSOR" state.highstate

You can then have Zeek automatically restart upon a detected change in local.bro from the master by modifying init.sls similar to the following:

  - name: /usr/sbin/nsm_sensor_ps-restart --only-bro
  - cwd: /
  - watch:
    - file: /opt/bro/share/bro/site/local.bro


You can import Zeek logs into Elasticsearch by dropping them into /nsm/import/bro/. Logstash monitors that directory as defined in 0007_input_import.conf.


If you find that /nsm/bro/spool/tmp contains lots of old crash files, you can clean them up with:

sudo su sguil -c '/opt/bro/bin/broctl cleanup --all'

More Information

For more information about Zeek, please see https://www.zeek.org/.