Suricata is a free and open source, mature, fast and robust network threat detection engine. Suricata inspects the network traffic using a powerful and extensive rules and signature language, and has powerful Lua scripting support for detection of complex threats.

Suricata NIDS alerts can be found in Alerts, Hunt, and Kibana. Here’s an example of Suricata NIDS alerts in Alerts:


If enabled, Suricata metadata (protocol logs) can be found in Hunt and Kibana.

Community ID

Security Onion enables Suricata’s native support for Community ID.


Suricata uses AF-PACKET to allow you to spin up multiple workers to handle more traffic.

To change the number of Suricata workers:

  • Stop sensor processes:

    sudo so-suricata-stop
  • Edit /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/minions/$SENSORNAME_$ROLE.sls and change the suriprocs variable to the desired number of workers.

  • Start sensor processes:

    sudo so-suricata-start

See also

For best performance, Suricata should be pinned to specific CPUs. In most cases, you’ll want to pin sniffing processes to a CPU in the same Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) domain that your sniffing NIC is bound to. Accessing a CPU in the same NUMA domain is faster than across a NUMA domain.

See also

For more information about determining NUMA domains using lscpu and lstopo, please see:

To pin Suricata workers to specific CPUs:

  • Stop sensor processes:

    sudo so-suricata-stop
  • Edit /opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/minions/$SENSORNAME_$ROLE.sls and add the following under sensor:

      - <cpu_1>
      - <cpu_2>
      - <cpu_3>
  • Note: To avoid inconsistent Suricata workers being allocated, ensure suriprocs is removed from under sensor: or is equivalent to the number of cpu cores being pinned.

  • Start sensor processes:

    sudo so-suricata-start


To configure HOME_NET, please see the Homenet section.


You can configure Suricata’s suricata.yaml using Salt. The defaults for this have been defined in Under suricata:config, the pillar structure follows the same YAML structure of the suricata.yaml file.

For example, suppose you want to change Suricata’s EXTERNAL_NET setting from the default of any to !$HOME_NET. You could add the following to the global pillar file (/opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/global.sls) or minion pillar file (/opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/minions/$SENSORNAME_$ROLE.sls) on the manager:


From the manager, then run:

sudo salt $SENSORNAME_$ROLE state.highstate

Some of the settings normally found in suricata.yaml can be found in the sensor pillar instead of the Suricata pillar. These options are: HOMENET, default-packet-size, and the CPU affinity settings for pinning the processes to CPU cores or how many processes to run.

If you would like to configure/manage IDS rules, please see the Managing Rules and Managing Alerts sections.


To enable thresholding for SIDS, reference the example pillar at

To view the acceptable syntax, view the file located at

This pillar can be added to Salt in either the global pillar file (/opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/global.sls) or minion pillar file (/opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/minions/$SENSORNAME_$ROLE.sls).


Salt sls files are in YAML format. When editing these files, please be very careful to respect YAML syntax, especially whitespace. For more information, please see


Depending on what options you choose in Setup, it may ask if you want to use Zeek or Suricata for metadata. If you choose Suricata and later find that some metadata is unnecessary, you can filter out the unnecessary metadata by writing rules. We have included some examples at

The global pillar on your manager node controls the metadata engine on each sensor. Only one metadata engine at a time is supported.

To change your grid’s metadata engine from Zeek to Suricata:

  • On the manager, edit the global pillar file (/opt/so/saltstack/local/pillar/global.sls) and change the mdengine variable from ZEEK to SURICATA.

  • Stop Zeek on all nodes:

    sudo salt '*' 'so-zeek-stop'
  • Update all nodes:

    sudo salt '*' state.highstate

File Extraction

If you choose Suricata for metadata, it will extract files from network traffic and Strelka will then analyze those extracted files. If you would like to extract additional file types, then you can add file types as shown at

Diagnostic Logging

If you need to troubleshoot Suricata, check /opt/so/log/suricata/suricata.log.


For detailed Suricata statistics, check /opt/so/log/suricata/stats.log.

More Information

See also

For more information about Suricata, please see