Thursday, February 12, 2004

Spy on Your Neighbors

Dark Tipper teaches you how to be a first-class network snoop

Some of us can be a little too nosy for our own good. I, for one, really enjoy kicking back at my desk reading other people's email, Web, and instant messaging conversations (you should see some of the stuff that goes around TechTV!).

Up until now, I've been using Ethereal or Iris for my network traffic analyzing . For the time being, I have a new favorite called NetworkActiv PIAFCTM. I'm not saying NetworkActiv is the shiznit, but I am saying it's free and does a pretty damn good job.

Don't break the law

Warning: Viewing network communications that aren't your own may be illegal in some states. Check with your local law enforcement or legal council before attempting to intercept or view any network traffic that's not yours.

Onto the instructions

Make sure you're running Windows 2000 or later.
Fire up NetworkActiv and choose file mode to take all the TCP/IP packets the application receives and reconstruct them in file form.

Kick back, let the app run, and in an hour's time you'll have (with a moderately busy network) hundreds of webpages and I.M. conversations that have been floating across your network.

How should you use it?

Besides spying on your friends (which you should not do without their permission), knowing what information is sent via plain text will help you determine what needs encryption. Is your new secure I.M. client working? Is your PGP email encrypting working correctly? The only way to truly know is to capture the information and view it to make sure.

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