Packet Sniffer


In this article, we will be reviewing WireShark, one of the most popular Network Protocol Analyzers.


Since 1998, Wireshark has been around as a result of the invention of Gerald Combs and was named Ethereal. However, over the years that followed and in recent times, Wireshark has grown in size and reputation, becoming accepted as the symbolic network protocol analyzer available in today’s tech world. All major and minor operating systems have been known to allow Wireshark to run on their systems, some of which include the popular Windows, OS X, and Linux distros, among other operating systems. The Wireshark program is free software, one with a GPL license, and is, therefore, free to be shared and modified as well

The growth of the technology industry and its activities have given rise to the need for continuous analysis of network traffic and the nature of network activities. When it comes to selecting an efficient network traffic analyzer, Wireshark comes second to none, and as such, is a tool that cannot be neglected by technical security professionals or system administrators as some like to say. When there is a need to troubleshoot specific problems, some of which may include latency issues dropped packets as well as malicious practices and activities on a network, Wireshark can always help. Wireshark helps to magnify every detail entity in a system and makes it visible and available for filtering, likewise providing the tools needed to dive into the traffic and figure out the source of any problem; all these are done in real-time. When identifying network appliances that are now performing below expectation or dropping packets due to malfunctions, or finding latency issues that occur as a result of traffic being routed by machines over a wide range, probably halfway across the world, and hacking attempts by cybercriminals against an organization, the administrator utilizes Wireshark. 

As straightforward as it might seem, sufficient knowledge of networking basics is required to operate Wireshark, which is a potent tool. In the 21st century, this translates to having an understanding of the TCP/IP stack, the ability to read and intercept packets, and finally, a practical understanding of routing, port forwarding, and DHCP. 

How To Use Wireshark

Wireshark is known for its interception of network traffic and the conversion of this traffic to a form that is readable by humans. With this in place, it becomes easier to identify traffic activities on your network and how much of the traffic crossing the network occurs regularly, at the same time giving insight as to the volume of latency present. Irrespective of the ability of Wireshark to analyze over a thousand forms of network protocol, most of them are out of date and no longer in use in the 21st century, therefore, leaving IP packets as the most useful in the present time since most of the packets on your network are most likely to be TCP and UDP. 

On a typical business network, the volume of traffic available is enormous; for this reason, Wireshark’s tool is vital, seeing as they help filter the available traffic, which is one of their most valuable features. The capture filter will only collect traffic types based on the users’ specifications, and the display filters will help magnify and make more readable, the traffic to be inspected. This network protocol analyzer makes search tools available, one of which includes colored highlighting to make easy the task of searching for whatever needs to be found in the traffic. 

To get the best out of Wireshark and find unusual traffic, one must capture everything, and from there on establish a baseline.  We advise you to visit other related articles on how to use Wireshark.

Operating Wireshark

To know what is wrong, one must first understand what the right things are, and tools are made available by Wireshark that will help create baseline statistics. Pointing out the differences that exist between an intrusion detection system and Wireshark, which is a network protocol analyzer, it is, however, very much instrumental in uncovering malicious activities on network traffic, once a red flag has been raised. Wireshark also comes in handy and, if properly utilized, especially by experts, when intercepting and analyzing encrypted TLS traffic. Activities and keys of symmetric sessions are stored in the browser, and when the browser is set in specific ways that grant permission and notify the user, those session keys can be loaded into Wireshark, and unencrypted traffic analyzed. 

For visual aid and to make the analysis of network traffic easier, Wireshark is loaded with a number of graphic tools. Spotting general trends and presenting discoveries to less technical management becomes more natural this way.

The numerous hands-on uses of Wireshark make the negligence of Wireshark as a practical learning tool understandable. When it comes to analyzing and learning how to analyze network traffic, Wireshark is already a learning tool; one used to display and illustrate the various attributes of an efficient network analyzer. The documents in Wireshark are complete enough that any enthusiastic learner can quickly gain access to this network protocol analyzer and examine traffic after sniffing the local wifi access point.  

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