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1. Packet Analysis and Network Basics > Packet Analysis and Packet Sniffers

Packet Analysis and Packet Sniffers

Packet analysis, often referred to as packet sniffing or protocol analysis, describes the process of capturing and interpreting live data as it flows across a network in order to better understand what is happening on that network. Packet analysis is typically performed by a packet sniffer, a tool used to capture raw network data going across the wire.

Packet analysis can help with the following:

  • Understanding network characteristics

  • Learning who is on a network

  • Determining who or what is utilizing available bandwidth

  • Identifying peak network usage times

  • Identifying possible attacks or malicious activity

  • Finding unsecured and bloated applications

There are various types of packet-sniffing programs, including both free and commercial ones. Each program is designed with different goals in mind. A few popular packet-analysis programs are tcpdump, OmniPeek, and Wireshark (which we will be using exclusively in this book). tcpdump is a command-line program. OmniPeek and Wireshark have graphical user interfaces (GUIs).


  

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