Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Packet Sniffer, Basic Tool for Network Administrators

packet sniffer screenshot

Packet sniffers are a valuable tool for both network administrators and hackers. There are many packet sniffers on the market and one of the most sophisticated is the packet sniffer from Colasoft

Packet sniffers are one of the best tools a network administrator has at his or her disposal to analyze network traffic and to troubleshoot problems. On the other hand, when a Packet sniffer is in the wrong hands – i.e. hackers use it – this can cause quite a lot of damage to a company or an individual, especially if the victim hasn't taken the required protective measures. You see, as with many things in life, packet sniffers can be a great tool to maintain a network, yet they can be very destructive, if misused.

Packet sniffers are very common, choose a best packet sniffer for you. There are many packet sniffers on the market and they range from free, to cheap, to expensive, from very simple, to advanced, to packed with features. Each type of packet sniffers has its purposes and if you need a simple tool for quick results on a small network, you don't have to buy the most expensive packet sniffers, no matter that they have tons of features. But in reality, if you need a packet sniffer for professional use, low-end sniffers are not the answer and you need something more sophisticated, for example Colasoft Network Analyzer. Colasoft Network Analyzer is built around packet sniffing but includes many other useful features as well.

As any other packet sniffer, the packet sniffer from Colasoft, intercepts and logs traffic, transmitted within a network (or a network segment). A packet sniffer can be really invisible because it monitors the network (almost) unobtrusively. Since a packet sniffer just sniffs the packets without modifying them, it doesn't cause disturbances to alert the administrator that something is going on. Unless the administrator doesn't run an anti-sniffer, the traffic can be eavesdropped and nobody will know about it.

Of course, a good network administrator knows how to detect a packet sniffer, so if you plan to get Colasoft packet sniffer and use it in a malicious way, don't expect that this will go unnoticed. The packet sniffer in the Colasoft Network Analyzer is not stealth but since anyway Colasoft Network Analyzer is intended for network troubleshooting, not network hacking, there is no reason to worry that the packet sniffer is not hidden. When a network administrator uses a packet sniffer in order to legitimately monitor network traffic, he or she doesn't need cover.

One of the most important features of a packet sniffer is the protocols it can sniff. In this aspect Colasoft Network Analyzer is an unbeaten packet sniffer because it can monitor over 300 protocols. Colasoft knows that when the packets of major protocols are not captured, this gives a wrong impression about the traffic in the network and that is why Colasoft Network Analyzer supports so many protocols. And no, the protocols Colasoft Network Analyzer can sniff are not exotic ones – they are protocols used frequently in networks.

Additionally, new and new protocols are added to the packet sniffer from Colasoft, so even if your network uses some really rare protocols, which are currently not supported by Colasoft Network Analyzer, they could be added in the future. Well, if you expect that the packet sniffer from Colasoft will sniff encrypted traffic, this will not happen because no packet sniffer can do it!

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