Promiscuous mode eliminates any reception filtering that the virtual machine adapter performs so that the guest operating system receives all traffic observed on the wire. By default, the virtual machine adapter cannot operate in promiscuous mode.

Although promiscuous mode can be useful for tracking network activity, it is an insecure mode of operation, because any adapter in promiscuous mode has access to the packets even if some of the packets are received only by a particular network adapter. This means that an administrator or root user within a virtual machine can potentially view traffic destined for other guest or host operating systems.

See the topic on configuring the security policy for a vSphere Standard Switch or Standard Port Group in the vSphere Networking documentation for information about configuring the virtual machine adapter for promiscuous mode.

Note: In some situations, you might have a legitimate reason to configure a standard or a distributed virtual switch to operate in promiscuous mode, for example, if you are running network intrusion detection software or a packet sniffer.