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Packet Sniffing Basics

Nov 18, 2011, 16:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Adrian Hannah)


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"Packet sniffing, or packet analysis, is the process of capturing any data passed over the local network and looking for any information that may be useful. Most of the time, we system administrators use packet sniffing to troubleshoot network problems (like finding out why traffic is so slow in one part of the network) or to detect intrusions or compromised workstations (like a workstation that is connected to a remote machine on port 6667 continuously when you don't use IRC clients), and that is what this type of analysis originally was designed for. But, that didn't stop people from finding more creative ways to use these tools.

The focus quickly moved away from its original intent—so much so that packet sniffers are considered security tools instead of network tools now.

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