Kismet Webserver

Kismet now integrates a webserver which serves the web-based UI and data to external clients.

THE FIRST TIME YOU RUN KISMET, you must go to the Kismet web UI and create a login and password. This password is stored in ~/.kismet/kismet_httpd.conf which is in the home directory of the user which started Kismet.

You will need this password to log into Kismet in the future, and to give scripts and tools which need administrative access to Kismet the login.

The webserver is configured via the kismet_httpd.conf file. These options may be included in the base kismet.conf file, but are broken out for clarity. We recommend you use kismet_site.conf to make changes to the configuration.

HTTP configuration options:

  • httpd_username=username

    Set a global, fixed username. This overrides any per-user login information in ~/.kismet/kismet_httpd.conf. This can be used to set a fixed password during deployment, for instance via kismet_site.conf overriding. If httpd_username= is specified, httpd_password= must also be provided.

  • httpd_password=password

    Set a global, fixed password. This overrides any per-user login information in ~/.kismet/kismet_httpd.conf. This can be used to set a fixed password during deployment, for instance via kismet_site.conf overriding.

    It is generally preferred to keep the username and password in the per-user configuration file, however they may also be set in the global config.

  • httpd_allow_cors=true|false

    Enable cross-origin resource sharing (CORS). To access the REST API from an web app hosted on a different origin (domain, protocol, or port) to the Kismet webserver this option needs to be set to true. The http_allowed_origin option will also need to be configured to pass CORS.

  • httpd_allowed_origin=http://origin.url

    Sets the webserver Access-Control-Allow-Origin response header. The origin is the full address of the server hosting your web app including protocol and port number. Because nearly all Kismet REST endpoints require authentication an actual origin, not a ‘*’ wildcard, should be specified to meet the CORS specification.

    The httpd_allow_cors option is also required to enable CORS cross-site requests.

  • httpd_port=port

    Sets the port for the webserver to listen to. By default, this is port 2501, the port traditionally used by the Kismet client/server protocol.

    Kismet typically should not be started as root, so will not be able to bind to ports below 1024. If you want to run Kismet on, for instance, port 80, this can be done with a proxy or a redirector, or via DNAT rewriting on the host.

  • httpd_bind_address=a.b.c.d

    Typically Kismet listens on all interfaces; To restrict Kismet to a single interface (such as the loopback address), set the address in the httpd_bind_address option.


    This will restrict the Kismet interface to ONLY the local host, however it can still be reached via mechanisms like SSH tunnels.

    This option became available as of 2019-03.

  • httpd_uri_prefix=/prefix

    Sets the URI prefix - this prefix is an optional lead-in value to all the existing URIs in Kismet which allows it to be run via a HTTP proxy such as nginx. For example, setting a httpd_uri_prefix of /kismet/ would allow proxying from the /kismet/ directory of a nginx server.

    This option became available as of 2019-03.

  • httpd_ssl=true|false

    Turn on SSL. If this is turned on, you must provide a SSL certificate and key in PEM format with the httpd_ssl_cert= and httpd_ssl_key= configuration options.

  • httpd_home=/path/to/httpd/data

    Path to static content web data to be served by Kismet. This is typically set automatically to the directory installed by Kismet in the installation prefix.

    Typically the only reason to change this directory is to replace the Kismet web UI with alternate code.

  • httpd_user_home=/path/to/user/httpd/data

    Path to static content stored in the home directory of the user running Kismet. This is typically set to the httpd directory inside the users .kismet directory.

    This allows plugins installed to the user directory to install web UI components.

    Typically there is no reason to change this directory.

    If you wish to disable serving content from the user directory entirely, comment this configuration option out.

  • httpd_session_db=/path/to/session/db

    Path to save HTTP sessions to. This allows Kismet to remember valid browser login sessions over restarts of kismet_server.

    If you want to refresh the logins (and require browsers to log in again after each restart), comment this option.

    Typically there is no reason to change this option.

  • httpd_mime=extension:mimetype

    Kismet supports MIME types for most standard file formats, however if you are serving custom content with a MIME type not correctly set, additional MIME types can be defined here.

    Multiple httpd_mime lines may be used to add multiple mime types:


    Typically, MIME types do not need to be added.

Runtime web tweaks

Kismet can do a few tricks with the web UI:

  • Runtime censorship of MAC addresses

    MAC addresses of access points can disclose your location; if you are demoing, screenshotting, or otherwise sharing the Kismet UI, you might want to prevent them from being shown. By passing ?censor_macs=1 as part of the Kismet URI, (ie http://localhost:2501/?censor_macs=1), Kismet will attempt to filter any mac-like string to show only the first 3 bytes.

    This may break parts of the UI, and may not catch every MAC. In particular, this hack currently breaks:

    • Client displays on Wi-Fi access points (much of it is accurate, but some fields will not display properly)
    • ADSB live plane map

Kismet and SSL

The best way to provide SSL support for Kismet is to wrap it with a HTTP proxy such as nginx. This simplifies the process of obtaining public certificates from services like letsencrypt.

When should I use SSL?

SSL provides encryption between the Kismet server and the web browser, and between the Kismet server and remote capture sources.

SSL is usually not considered necessary when using Kismet exclusively locally (such as on a laptop or on a dedicated capture device connected to your laptop), however if you plan to use Kismet remotely over a public network or over the Internet, enabling SSL is a must.

Using proxies and forwarding

Kismet supports being proxied through a HTTP/HTTPS proxy such as nginx. This allows using standard configuration of certs on the public server, instead of moving the configuration to Kismet.

  1. Set up Kismet to support a proxy URI. By setting the httpd_uri_prefix variable, Kismet can handle a proxied URI directory:
  2. Set up the nginx proxy

    nginx proxy can connect HTTPS and HTTP endpoints. In /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default, a location stanza similar to:

     location /kismet/ {
         proxy_pass http://localhost:2501;
         proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
         proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
         proxy_set_header Connection "upgrade";
         proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
         proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
         proxy_set_header X-Scheme $scheme;
         proxy_set_header X-Proxy-Dir kismet/;
         add_header X-Proxy-Dir kismet/;
         proxy_http_version 1.1;
         client_max_body_size 0;

    Note the trailing slash on the proxy_set_header and add_header lines!

  3. Tunnel the Kismet server over SSH

    SSH supports port forwarding/tunneling; We can use this to bring a connection to the Kismet server to the proxy system:

     $ ssh -R *:2501:localhost:2501 user@host

Using LetsEncrypt certificates

LetsEncrypt (https://letsencrypt.org) provides free, signed SSL certificates which are accepted by most browsers. These certificates can be used with Kismet and may offer a simpler and more secure option than self-signed certificates.

LetsEncrypt currently uses a set of python (or third-party) clients to automatically generate certificates. In order to verify that you control the domain the certificate is issued for, you must run these scripts on the webserver with that domain.

The LetsEncrypt software can automatically configure Apache and nginx.