How To Protect Yourself From Packet Sniffers

When you do anything online, you’re sending packets of data all across the globe. To simplify, think of it this way: when you type in a web address in your browser or post a new update on your social media channels, your information gets broken down into packets of data and sent to its intended destination.

Whether it’s a computer, a smartphone, a tablet or any other device, information is broken down into tiny packets and sent to data centers thousands of miles away. If you think that you and the receiving end are the only ones who have clear access to these data packets, you might want to reconsider.

Security experts would argue that you are not the only parties that might have access to the data. While you may believe you’re the only one, somewhere someone would be sitting and sniffing on any and all information that travels through the wires of your local network and the internet.

Speaking of an intruder, who’s this evil-minded individual(s) who’s interested in your online activities?

What is a Packet Sniffer?

A packet sniffer is a software or an individual who closely monitors and analyzes your network traffic to discover glitches and improve the efficiency of the network. A packet sniffer isn’t necessarily evil-minded, and it could be the IT guy at your office.

However, a packet sniffer can very well be malicious at the same time. The sniffer attack may use its power to infiltrate your network and clearly observe the ins and outs of your online activities.

A packet sniffer can monitor nearly everything that passes through them, including unencrypted passwords and usernames which can then be used by hackers who continuously target sniffers to gain uninterrupted access to a wide range of information.

What’s worse is that a sniffer can be configured on any device that’s connected to a local network or the internet without having to install it on the device itself. This means that once a packet sniffer is installed on a device, other devices connected on the same network are vulnerable and – in other words, it can go undetected for the duration of the connection.

All-in-one Hacking Tool

A sniffer can be anybody who’s making their way to your device so that they get access to your financial, social, work or other details. Nowadays, cybercriminals use ingenious tools, and these hackers cannot only pry, but steal your data by spying on your network activity and accumulating information on thousands of users.

As a hacker, the main aim is to acquire passwords and account information that’s flowing through the veins of the network. Usually, hackers place packet sniffers in places that are most susceptible and are offering unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots such as those found at cafes, hotels, and airports.

How do you know you’re affected?

A packet sniffer is not your standard hacking tool, and illicit data sniffers can be practically challenging to notice. The sheer size and sneaky coding of this software can easily fool any antivirus or firewall, duping them into inserting this menace almost anywhere, making them extremely threatening to any network's security.

It’s very likely that an ordinary user might never know if a packet sniffer is spying on their online data. To know if you are in danger, you could run your own sniffer and monitor your DNS traffic to find other sniffers. But you don't know how to do that, than it’s much simple to run an anti-sniffer software instead to catch intruders or you can use an internet security program that can hide your online browsing activity.

However, all is not lost, because there are tools that strengthen your network security, making your digital existence much more secure and invulnerable.

How to protect yourself against packet sniffers?

For every invention that boasts threats, there are specific ways those risks can be minimized or prevented altogether.

As far as a packet sniffer is concerned, there’s little you can do to prevent a well-equipped and well-placed packet sniffer from plucking up your network traffic. Nevertheless, numerous methods can render monitoring of your activity completely unusable.

Packet Sniffer – what it is and how to defend against sniffing Photo: Lynda

To begin with, understand that there’s a thing called encryption and befriend it. Encryption is what keeps your private data secure from malicious intruders and maintains a healthy network environment by keeping devices safe on the network.

To fully secure your network, you’ll need a Wi-Fi VPN which fortifies your network and ensures the utmost security of all the devices connected to the network from ground-up. A Wi-Fi VPN comes packed with encryption which is your elite shield against any form of eavesdropping, and packet sniffers are no exception.

Apart from encryption, a Wi-Fi VPN is armed with security protocols that ensure that your encoded data passes through guarded tunnels and reaches its destination untouched. With AES 256-bit encryption, you can rest assured about your online privacy and security.

Additionally, you should check the website’s security by ensuring that you only visit encrypted websites (starting with https). HTTPS refers to Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, and as opposed to HTTP, the S at the end can go a long way in securing and preventing packet sniffers from seeing the content or the specific page you’re visiting.

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 other 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.

Like any other security tool, packet sniffers have loads of good and evil usages. It eventually depends on the intention of the user; nonetheless, you must use precautionary measures to stay secure.
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