Building Kismet-Git remote capture for OpenWrt

A number of people have asked how to get Kismet remote capture running on OpenWrt - until the final release of the new Kismet is done, or if you’d like to play with the git version going forward, here’s a quick tutorial.

Please remember git versions of Kismet are unstable and under development - not everything may work, or things may change rapidly. Generally the git versions are usable but every so often you’ll get a bad version.

These instruction are meant to be a quick guide to getting the Kismet specifics compiled, so I recommend checking out some OpenWrt build guides if you’re completely new to the whole process.

Step one: Install build-essentials or your distros equivalent

If you don’t have them already, you’ll need build-essentials and git.

Get the Kismet code

You’ll want the Kismet source code to get the openwrt package definition.

$ git clone

This will take a little while to download, and due to how Git handles https servers, may look like it’s hung - just give it time.

Get the OpenWrt code

$ git clone

Do the basic OpenWrt Config

You will need to select the basic options for OpenWrt and enable the external feed for additional libraries Kismet needs. When running make menuconfig you may see warnings about needing additional packages - install any that OpenWrt says you are missing.

# Go into the directory you just cloned
$ cd openwrt

# Start the configuration tool
$ make menuconfig

Inside the OpenWRT configuration you will want to:

  1. Confirm that the correct platform is selected. For example: Target System (Atheros AR7xxx/AR9xxx) and ` Subtarget (Generic)` Because we are only trying to build packages and not a complete system, we don’t need to configure the image formats; default is fine.
  2. Navigate to Image Configuration.
  3. Navigate to Separate Feed Repositories.
  4. Select Enable feed packages.
  5. Exit the config tool. When prompted to save, do so.

Install the feeds

We need to tell OpenWrt to pull the feeds into the build system. Still in the openwrt directory you checked out, run:

$ ./scripts/feeds update -a
$ ./scripts/feeds install -a

This will download all the third-party package definitions.

Copy the Kismet package definition

We want to copy the Kismet package over, because we’ll potentially be making some modifications.

$ cp -R kismet/packaging/openwrt/kismet-remote-2018 openwrt/package/network

Where, of course, you want to copy from your checked-out Kismet code to the checked-out OpenWrt code; your directories might be different.

Install libprotoc-c

In a perfect world the libprotoc-c package in OpenWRT would install the proper host binary for protoc-c, but it does not. Fortunately, there is only one version of libproto-c (the C-only version), so the package for your host distribution should be sufficient.

$ sudo apt-install protobuf-c-compiler

will suffice on Ubuntu-style distributions; your distribution may vary. Note: This is for the protobuf-c version, not the normal protobuf (which is C++, and which has a working openwrt package with proper host tools).

Enable Kismet

Now we need to enable the Kismet package. Still in your OpenWrt directory:

  1. Enter OpenWrt configuration again: make menuconfig.
  2. Navigate to ‘Network’.
  3. Scroll all the way down to ‘kismet-remote’, it will be several screens down.
  4. Enable kismet-remote as a module. Hit ‘m’ to do so.
  5. Exit, saving when prompted to do so.

Compile OpenWrt

Now we need to start the build process: It will take a while.

$ make

Depending on how many processors your system has, you can speed this up with

$ make -j4

or similar.

If you still get an error regarding protoc-c not found, you may have to link you local version where the OpenWrt version is supposed to be, like:

ln -s /usr/bin/protoc-c staging_dir/target-<arch foo>_musl-1.1.16/host/bin/protoc-c

Copy the packages!

If everything went well, you now have two packages to copy to your OpenWrt:

$ cd bin/packages/<architecture>/
$ scp packages/libprotobuf-c<arch foo>.ipk base/kismet-remote<arch foo>.ipk root@openwrt-machine:/tmp 

Install Kismet on OpenWrt

SSH into the OpenWrt and install the packages:

$ ssh root@openwrt-machine
# cd /tmp
# opkg install *.ipk

Run Kismet!

Fire up Kismet remote capture and see how it goes. While SSHed into the OpenWrt as root:

# kismet_cap_linux_wifi --connect [host]:[port] --source=wlan0

or alike. Use --help for more information.