Cyber Safety Cyber security

How to detect a Wireless Sniffer on your Network

A wireless sniffer is a piece of software or hardware designed to gather and collect data that is transmitted through a computer network and decode the data into a format that is readable for humans. Wireless sniffers are like packet analyzers specifically created for capturing data on wireless networks. Wireless sniffers are also commonly referred to as packet sniffers, wireless packet sniffers or wireless network sniffers.

Wireless sniffer tools have many uses in commercial IT environments. Their ability to monitor, intercept, and decode data as it is in transit makes them useful for:

  • Diagnosing and investigating network problems
  • Monitoring network usage, activity, and security
  • Discovering network misuse, vulnerabilities, malware, and attack attempts

Wireless Packet Sniffers Attacks

Hackers use wireless sniffer software to spy on open networks, steal data, gather confidential information to use in attacking a network. Login credentials are common targets for hackers using wireless sniffer tools. Wireless sniffing usually targets open networks, such as free WiFi at cafes, airports, hotels, etc.

Wireless sniffer tools are widely used in “spoofing” attacks, where an attacker uses data collected by wireless sniffer to impersonate the other recipient on the network. Spoofing attacks usually target business networks to steal information or run Man-In-The-Middle attacks. 

Preventing Wireless Sniffer Attacks

There are several measures that organizations can take to mitigate wireless packet sniffer attacks: 

1) Organizations and individual users should refrain from using insecure protocols. Commonly used insecure protocols include basic HTTP authentication, File Transfer Protocol (FTP), etc. Secure protocols must be used instead as they ensure that any information transmitted will automatically be encrypted. Secure protocols such as HTTPS, Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), and Secure Shell (SSH) should be replaced by their insecure alternatives whenever possible. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can also be used to encrypt internet traffic.

2) Organizations can prevent attacks by using wireless sniffer software to sniff their own networks regularly. This allows security teams to view their networks from an attacker’s perspective and discover any vulnerabilities and attacks in their networks.

3) Companies must make sure to educate their employees to not open work files on Public WiFi. Anyone else connected to the same network can help themselves to your data. If it’s a matter of urgency, always protect yourself behind a VPN and use the unprotected network. 

4) Encrypt! Encrypt! Encrypt!: Encrypt all the traffic that leaves your system. This will ensure that even if the traffic is being sniffed, the attacker will not be able to make sense of it. But, encrypting the data is not enough as the attacker might be able to capture a lot of data and try to decrypt it. Use secure protocols at all times to be safe.

If you want to remain secure on the web and keep away from packet sniffers, you have to stay on top of the game. You can’t rely on mediocre tools all the time as the best security comes from you. If you’re not taking security as a primary concern, then you really can’t expect tools to keep you masked at all times.

No matter what’s the intention of the attacker, always use precautionary measures to stay secure.


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