Sniffing is a term used to describe tracing online activities and Internet transactions in real-time. Just the idea of someone tracking your every move online is enough to clarify how lethal this attack can be. Sometimes sniffing is done under legal terms however, usually, it is used by hackers to feed you information as they see fit and deceive you into thinking what they want.
Sniffing, precisely referred to as packet sniffing, can be helpful and harmful depending on who is using it and with what intentions. There are multiple terms associated with sniffing. Some of the commonly known ones are –
- Packet Sniffers
- Packet Analyzers
- Network Probes
- Wireless Sniffers
- Ethernet Sniffers
All these terms direct a user towards the niche of sniffing and where it is working.
How is Sniffing Used? Is it Legal?
As mentioned earlier, sniffing is used both legally and illegally. If we talk about legal uses, sniffing helps the internet provider analyze the packets shared online by a user to identify the bandwidth usage. It directly allows the provider to cap the bandwidth for a user depending on their plan.
Sniffing is also used for basic and advanced operations on a user system, such as –
- Network testing and troubleshooting
- Firewall testing
- Traffic analysis and filtering
- Identifying traffic demographics
However, there’s an evil side to sniffing. Since sniffing is practically eavesdropping on someone’s internet connection to analyze their usage and identify what information they are sending and receiving in the form of data packets, it can allow an attacker to intercept the data and use it as they see fit.
For instance, with the help of sniffing techniques, a hacker could easily –
- Access your private information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, etc.
- Capture your emails and messages
- Scam you with identity fraud
- Commit financial fraud
Clearly, there’s only a thin line between legitimate and illegitimate uses of sniffing. More importantly, it lies in the user’s intent. Hacking becomes super easy with sniffing. While it is not a spyware or virus that can be injected into your PC directly, it can be bundled with malware by hackers to track your internet activity. This way, you do not even realize that the hackers keep getting hold of your data without any worries.
How Sniffing Works? Understanding the Fundamental Concept
When working with the internet, you have a seamless flow of information with the help of data. While that is what appears, you do not realize that data packets are being interchanged between your computer and other servers. These packets hold the data and function as their carrier.
Now, a sniffer tool intercepts these packets and identifies what data is being shared. There are dedicated sniffing applications that make it possible for ethical hackers to perform the task.
The concept of sniffing is familiar to those who have already studied ethical hacking and cybersecurity; however, can be relatively new and surprising for those who have no clue about any of these.
Ways To Protect Yourself From Sniffing
So, how do you protect yourself from something you do not realize is happening? Well, prevention is the key! Detecting sniffing is only possible if you have a security protocol in place. The best way to handle it is using the T9 Antivirus. It has real-time security checks that allow your system to analyze every tiny operation that is being carried out. This means if someone is trying a sniffing technique on your network, it will instantly alert it.
Not only that, but the majority of hackers prioritize bundling the sniffing tool with malware to penetrate your system, and that is where the T9 Antivirus ensures that they do not succeed.
Measures that you can take to protect yourself from sniffing include –
- Avoid Public Networks – Public Wi-Fi is the most common source from where hackers can intercept your data and implement sniffing on your PC. Since these are open networks, the security of your PC is compromised, and the sniffing tool can be easily run. ( Make Public Wi-Fi Safe )
- Use a VPN – In case it is urgent that you have to use a network outside of your trusted ones, make sure you have enabled a VPN. This way, a website that may harm your system via IP will no longer be effective.
- Avoid Clicking on Pop-Ups And Random Mails – If you tend to click on a link as soon as you see one, you are more prone to becoming a victim of sniffing. The best practice here is to avoid clicking on such clicks and check their authenticity before proceeding.
- Look for Necessary Protocols – This may seem advanced, but you should always check for security protocols before leaving your data on any website. Check for the S in HTTPS in any URL to ensure that you are on a legitimate website that is secure to use.
After making all the necessary changes and implementing the security checks, you can say that you are secure from sniffing. However, you should always be alert as a user, as it only takes a few seconds for an intruder to change the game.
Hope these fixes help! Stay safe, stay secure. Good luck!