I want to put my network card into monitor mode to try out some simple network packet capturing but i need to have root on my user account in order to enable it. is There someway to do this without having root privileges? I am using a stock network card with my PC and it does support monitor mode.

1 Answer 1


No. But...

The NIC driver is in kernel space. Unprivileged users generally aren't allowed to monkey with that.

But you could change it permanently.

A permanent change is possible by configuring either promiscuous mode or monitor mode in the appropriate config file for that device. You typically need privileged access to edit the config file, but once it's done the NIC will start in that mode.

Note that monitor mode captures all wireless packets in the air, while promiscuous mode captures packets only from the WLAN you're connected to. You can set whichever is preferable, but you will need root/sudo to change it later.

  • Thank you for clarifying, i dont know where the hardware configuration files would be i know there is some files at /etc/sysctl.conf but that file is not specific to the hardware device.
    – Poiuyt
    Jun 10, 2019 at 19:04
  • Which distro are you using? A lot of them have moved to systemd. E.g., wlan0 in /etc/network/interfaces.d/
    – DoubleD
    Jun 10, 2019 at 19:07
  • Ubuntu 18.04 but that folder is empty, yet i have internet connection.
    – Poiuyt
    Jun 10, 2019 at 19:09
  • Ubuntu uses netplan, so it would have to be set in the /etc/netplan/*.yaml files, but I don't see where it's supported. This is pretty straightforward on older systems, but I don't really use Ubuntu. There is an Ubuntu SE site though---they'll probably know
    – DoubleD
    Jun 10, 2019 at 22:18

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