5. Security Considerations

Suricata is a security tool that processes untrusted network data, as well as requiring elevated system privileges to acquire that data. This combination deserves extra security precautions that we discuss below.

Additionally, supply chain attacks, particularly around rule distribution could potentially target Suricata installations.

5.1. Running as a User Other Than Root


If using the Suricata RPMs, either from the OISF COPR repo, or the EPEL repo the following is already configured for you. The only thing you might want to do is add your management user to the suricata group.

Many Suricata examples and guides will show Suricata running as the root user, particularly when running on live traffic. As Suricata generally needs low level read (and in IPS write) access to network traffic, it is required that Suricata starts as root, however Suricata does have the ability to drop down to a non-root user after startup which could limit the impact of a security vulnerability in Suricata itself.


Currently the ability to drop root privileges after startup is only available on Linux systems.

5.1.1. Create User

Before running as a non-root user you have to choose, and possibly create the user and group that will Suricata will run as. Typically this user would be a sytem user with the name suricata. Such a user can be created with the following command:

useradd --no-create-home --system --shell /sbin/nologin suricata

This will create a user and group with the name suricata.

5.1.2. File System Permissions

Before running Suricata as the user suricata, some directory permissions will need to be updated to allow the suricata read and write access.

Assuming your Suricata was installed from source using the recommended configuration of:

./configure --prefix=/usr/ --sysconfdir=/etc/ --localstatedir=/var/

the following directories will need their permissions updated:






Read, Write


Read, Write


Read, Write

The following commands will setup the correct permissions:

  • /etc/suricata:

    chgrp -R suricata /etc/suricata
    chmod -R g+r /etc/suricata
  • /var/log/suricata:

    chgrp -R suricata /var/log/suricata
    chmod -R g+rw /var/log/suricata
  • /var/lib/suricata:

    chgrp -R suricata /var/lib/suricata
    chmod -R g+srw /var/lib/suricata
  • /var/lib/suricata:

    chgrp -R suricata /var/run/suricata
    chmod -R g+srw /var/run/suricata

5.1.3. Configure Suricata to Run as Suricata

Suricata can be configured to run as an alternate user by updating the configuration file or using command line arguments.

  • Using the configuration file, update the run-as section to look like:

      user: suricata
      group: suricata
  • Or if using command line arguments, add the following to your command:

    --user suricata --group suricata

5.1.4. Starting Suricata

It is important to note that Suricata still needs to be started with root permissions in most cases. Starting as root allows Suricata to get access to the network interfaces and set the capabilities required during runtime before it switches down to the configured user.

5.1.5. Other Commands: Suricata-Update, SuricataSC

With the previous permissions setup, suricata-update and suricatasc can also be run without root or sudo. To allow a user to access these commands, add them to the suricata group.

5.2. Containers

Containers such as Docker and Podman are other methods to provide isolation between Suricata and host machine running Suricata, however we still recommend running as a non-root user even in containers.

5.2.1. Capabilities

For both Docker and Podman the following capabilities should be provided to the container running Suricata for proper operation:

--cap-add=net_admin --cap-add=net_raw --cap-add=sys_nice

5.2.2. Podman

Unfortunately Suricata will not work with rootless Podman, this is due to Suricata's requirement to start with root privileges to gain access to the network interfaces. However, if started with the above capabilities, and configured to run as a non-root user it will drop root privileges before processing network data.