Kismet (especially in beta) is in a state of rapid development - this means that bad things can creep into the code. Sorry about that!

If you’re interested in helping debug problems with Kismet, here’s the most useful way to do so:

  1. Compile Kismet from source (per the quick start guide above)

  2. Install Kismet (typically via sudo make suidinstall)

  3. Run Kismet, FROM THE SOURCE DIRECTORY, in gdb:

$ gdb ./kismet

This loads a copy of Kismet with all the debugging info intact; the copy of Kismet which is installed system-wide usually has this info removed; the installed version is 1/10th the size, but also lacks a lot of useful information which we need for proper debugging.

  1. Tell GDB to ignore the PIPE signal

    (gdb) handle SIGPIPE nostop noprint pass

    This tells GDB not to intercept the SIGPIPE signal (which can be generated, among other times, when a data source has a problem)

  2. Configure GDB to log to a file

(gdb) set logging on

This saves all the output to gdb.txt

  1. Run Kismet - in debug mode
(gdb) run --debug [any other options]

This turns off the internal error handlers in Kismet; they’d block gdb from seeing what happened. You can specify any other command line options after –debug; for instance:

(gdb) run --debug -n -c wlan1
  1. Wait for Kismet to crash

  2. Collect a backtrace

(gdb) bt

This shows where Kismet crashed.

  1. Collect thread info
(gdb) info threads

This shows what other threads were doing, which is often critical for debugging.

  1. Collect per-thread backtraces
(gdb) thread apply all bt full

This generates a dump of all the thread states

  1. Send us the gdb log and any info you have about when the crash occurred; or swing by IRC or the Discord channel (info available about these on the website,

Advanced debugging

If you’re familiar with C++ development and want to help debug even further, Kismet can be compiled using the ASAN memory analyzer; to rebuild it with the analyser options:

    $ make clean
    $ CC=clang CXX=clang++ ./configure --enable-asan

ASAN has a performance impact and uses significantly more RAM, but if you are able to recreate a memory error inside an ASAN instrumented Kismet, that will be very helpful.