Monitoring and capturing network traffic seems like a complex process. It requires custom hardware that costs tens of thousands of dollars, a dedicated network sniffing guru, re-cabling the entire network infrastructure, reconfiguring all the routers and switches, and a hundred other special and expensive things. Right?
Wrong. Sniffing network traffic is far easier than most of us think. It is frequently done today on hand-me-down hardware like older laptops with their built-in network cards. Network monitoring software no longer requires special operating systems or text-based interfaces, instead being replaced with functional and usable Windows and Linux applications. And the software is quite cost-effective as well – many of the best network sniffing tools are inexpensive or even free.
The learning curve for network traffic analysis has also flattened out considerably. Most software performs analysis on its own. Instead of having to decode the 0’s and 1’s as they come off the network, an administrator needs only basic training in order to understand the simplified software reports. Detailed analysis can always be conducted later by network specialists, forensic technicians, law enforcement, or others, but their involvement may not be required. And these software tools provide the network administrator with some insight into what’s happening without weeks or months of protocol analysis and network signaling training.
All of this innovation and progress makes a formerly expensive task reasonably priced and within the reach of any size organization.
This article shows how easy it really is to implement network sniffing in your company today with simple tools and techniques that you can try out immediately.