In this section, we’ll cover creating a virtual machine (VM) for our ISO image in VMware Workstation Pro and VMware Fusion. These steps should be fairly similar for most VMware installations. If you don’t already have VMware, you can download VMware Workstation Player from https://www.vmware.com/products/player/playerpro-evaluation.html.


With the sniffing interface in bridged mode, you will be able to see all traffic to and from the host machine’s physical NIC. If you would like to see ALL the traffic on your network, you will need a method of forwarding that traffic to the interface to which the virtual adapter is bridged. This can be achieved with a tap or SPAN port.

Workstation Pro

VMware Workstation is available for many different host operating systems, including Windows and several popular Linux distros. Follow the steps below to create a VM in VMware Workstation Pro for our ISO image:

  1. From the VMware main window, select File >> New Virtual Machine.

  2. Select Typical installation >> Click Next.

  3. Installer disc image file >> SO ISO file path >> Click Next.

  4. Choose Linux, then choose the closest Linux distribution and click Next.

  5. Specify virtual machine name and click Next.

  6. Specify disk size (minimum 200GB), store as single file, click Next.

  7. Customize hardware and increase Memory and Processors based on the Hardware Requirements section.

  8. Network Adapter (NAT or Bridged – if you want to be able to access your Security Onion machine from other devices in the network, then choose Bridged, otherwise choose NAT to leave it behind the host) – in this tutorial, this will be the management interface.

  9. Add >> Network Adapter (Bridged) - this will be the sniffing (monitor) interface.

  10. Click Close.

  11. Click Finish.

  12. Power on the virtual machine and then follow the installation steps for your desired installation type in the Installation section.


VMware Fusion is available for Mac OS. For more information about VMware Fusion, please see https://www.vmware.com/products/fusion.html.

Follow the steps below to create a VM in VMware Fusion for our ISO image:

  1. From the VMware Fusion main window, click File and then click New.

  2. Select the Installation Method appears. Click Install from disc or image and click Continue.

  3. Create a New Virtual Machine appears. Click Use another disc or disc image..., select our ISO image, click Open, then click Continue.

  4. Choose Operating System appears. Click Linux, choose the closest Linux distribution, then click Continue.

  5. Choose Firmware Type appears. Click Legacy BIOS and then click Continue.

  6. Finish screen appears. Click the Customize Settings button.

  7. Save As screen appears. Give the VM a name and click the Save button.

  8. Settings window appears. Click Processors & Memory.

  9. Processors & Memory screen appears. Increase processors and memory based on the Hardware Requirements section. Click the Add Device... button.

  10. Add Device screen appears. Click Network Adapter and click the Add... button.

  11. Network Adapter 2 screen appears. This will be the sniffing (monitor) interface. Select your desired network adapter configuration. Click the Show All button.

  12. Settings screen appears. Click Hard Disk (SCSI).

  13. Hard Disk (SCSI) screen appears. Increase the disk size to at least 200GB depending on your use case. Click the Apply button.

  14. Close the Settings window.

  15. At the window for your new VM, click the Play button to power on the virtual machine.

  16. Follow the installation steps for your desired installation type in the Installation section.


If you’re using VMware ESXi, then you’re likely familiar with VM creation and installation and so we won’t detail that here. There are a few things specific to ESXi that you might want to be aware of:

VMware Tools

If using a graphical desktop, you may want to install open-vm-tools-desktop to enable more screen resolution options and other features. For example, using our ISO image or standard Oracle Linux 9:

sudo dnf install open-vm-tools-desktop