YAF: Installation Instructions & Dependencies

YAF may be installed from pre-built RPM files on supported platforms or by compiling the source code.

When installing from a pre-built RPM, ideally yum should find and install any required dependencies for you. If not, read the next section on dependencies.


Build and/or install these dependencies before installing YAF.

Basic Build Environment

When building from source, ensure you have the packages needed to build software.

Package Dependency Note

On some systems (particularly Linux), many support libraries (for example, libpcap), are divided into two (or more) packages:

  1. One package satisfies a run dependency: It is needed to run another package that depends on it. This package is named libpcap-VERISON.rpm on Redhat and libpcap-VERSION.deb on Ubuntu.

  2. Another package satisfies a build dependency: It is needed only when building a another piece of software, and it contains C header files and additional library files. This package is named libpcap-devel-VERSION.rpm on Redhat and libpcap-dev-VERSION.deb on Ubuntu.

  3. Sometimes documentation is in a third package.

When installing dependencies to build YAF from source, ensure you install the package(s) that require the build dependencies; for example, either libpcap-devel or libpcap-dev. Installing these packages also installs the packages needed for the run dependency (for example libpcap).

When installing dependencies to install an RPM of YAF, only the run dependency is needed (for example libpcap), and often the package manager finds these packages for you.

Required Dependencies

YAF requires GLib-2.0 2.18 or later. Note that GLib is included in many operating environments or ports collections.

YAF requires libpcap. Note that libpcap is included with many operating environments or ports collections.

YAF requires libfixbuf. YAF 3.x requires libfixbuf 3.x. Consult this table for earlier versions.

3.0 3.0
2.11.x, 2.12.x 2.3 and any later 2.x
2.10.x any 2.x version
2.8.x, 2.9.x 1.7 and any later 1.x
2.6.x, 2.7.x 1.4 and any later 1.x

Optional Dependencies

YAF is built with support to process compressed PCAP files when the zlib library is found by configure. Many systems have zlib installed.

The application labeling feature requires PCRE 7.3 or later (but not PCRE2). Many Linux systems already have PCRE installed. If configure does not find PCRE, ensure the directory holding the libpcre.pc file is included in the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable.

OS fingerprinting via p0f requires the libp0f library and specifying the --with-p0f option to configure. You may need to set the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable if libp0f is not installed in the default location.

YAF contains support for PF_RING and PF_RING ZC (ZERO COPY). PF_RING is available through ntop. Download and install PF_RING (v.6.2.0 or higher) kernel modules, drivers, and library. PF_RING ZC requires a license purchase through ntop. Specify --with-pfring on the configure command line to enable this support. To use PF_RING ZC, you are required to run yafzcbalance (a tool installed with YAF) or a similar application which will load balance the traffic on one or more interfaces to one or more YAF applications.

YAF can use the nDPI deep packet inspection library. Specify --with-ndpi to configure and if necessary modify the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable to help configure find the library.

For network card specific dependencies see Integration with Specific Network Cards.

Install from the CERT Linux Forensics Tools Repository

On a Redhat, Fedora, or RPM-based host, the easiest way to install YAF is using the CERT Linux Forensics Tools Repository.

If you follow the instructions to add the Tools Reposistory to the locations your your system looks for packages, you can use yum to find the YAF package and yum will install its dependencies.

An alternative is the to download the YAF package, and install YAF and its dependencies manually. See the dependency section above for the list of dependencies.

Install from Source

To install from source, first download the version of YAF you want to install.

YAF uses a reasonably standard autotools-based build system. YAF finds libfixbuf using the pkg-config facility, and you may have to set the PKG_CONFIG_PATH variable on the configure command line if the library is installed in a nonstandard location; the build process automatically updates PKG_CONFIG_PATH with the directory where YAF is being installed.

To install YAF from source you can run the following commands:

$ tar -xvzf yaf-3.0.0.tar.gz
$ cd yaf-3.0.0
$ ./configure {configure_options}
$ make
$ make install

NOTE Installing from source will overwrite previous versions of YAF's configuration files in the /usr/local/etc directory (the location may be different depending on the options to configure). If you have customized these files, make copies of them prior to installing a new version of YAF: dhcp_fingerprints.conf, p0f.fp, yaf.conf, yafDPIRules.conf

Configuration Options

YAF supports the following configuration options in addition to those supplied by default via autoconf (such as --prefix). Unless otherwise noted, the default behavior is to disable the feature when the option is not given.


Enable support in YAF to load plug-in extensions.


Enable the packet payload application label engine (requires the PCRE library).


Enable the deep packet inspection capabilities (requires --enable-applabel).


Enable the packet payload entropy calculation.


Enable encoding DAG interface numbers into the record output.


Enable export of handshake headers for external operating system fingerprinters to use.


Enable MPLS label hashing and export.


Enable non-IP data decode and flow export (requires --enable-mpls).


Enable export of DNS Authoritative Responses only.


Enable export of DNS NXDomain Responses only.


Use the local timezone for command inputs and for printing records. Default is to use UTC.


Tell configure that pcap.h is in PCAP_DIR/include and libpcap in is PCAP_DIR/lib. YAF requires libpcap.


Enable nDPI application labeling (requires the nDPI library). configure uses PKG_CONFIG_PATH to find nDPI.

--with-pfring, --with-pfring=PFRING_DIR

Include PF_RING or PF_RING ZC (Zero Copy) support; tell configure to find pfring.h in PFRING_DIR/include and libpfring in PFRING_DIR/lib.

--with-dag, --with-dag=DAG_DIR

Include Endace DAG support; tell configure to find dag.h in DAG_DIR/include and libdag in DAG_DIR/lib.

--with-napatech, --with-napatech=NT_DIR

Include Napatech support; tell configure to find nt.h in NT_DIR/include and libntapi in NT_DIR/lib.

--with-netronome, --with-netronome=NFE_DIR

Include Netronome API support; tell configure to find nfe_packetcap.h in NFE_DIR/include.

--with-bivio, --with-bivio=PCAP_ZCOPY_DIR

Include Bivio support; tell configure to find pcap-zcopy.h in PCAP_ZCOPY_DIR/include


Enable the p0f-based OS fingerprinting capability (requires libp0f). configure uses PKG_CONFIG_PATH to find libp0f.

--with-zlib, --with-zlib=ZLIB_DIR

Include the ability to read compressed PCAP files; tell configure to find zlib.h in ZLIB_DIR/include and libz in ZLIB_DIR/lib. The configure script automatically looks for zlib and enables this feature when it is found.


Look for zlib.h in the ZLIB_INCLUDE directory instead of in ZLIB_DIR/include.


Look for libz in the ZLIB_LIB directory instead of in ZLIB_DIR/lib.


Do not enable encoding of Napatech, Netronome, or DAG interface numbers into the record output. (Default is to enable).


Disable use of compact data structures for IPv4 addresses internally and instead use full-sized IP address structures in the flow table. Has no effect on YAF's output.


Disable YAF from being built with payload handling capability; payload processing is required for application labeling, deep packet inspection, entropy support, handshake header (fpexport) support, and p0f fingerprinting support.


Disable the ability to export options records for enterprise-specific information elements and template metadata.