What are Active Sniffing Attacks?

Active Sniffing Attacks in Ethical Hacking can lead to using the intercepted data for malicious purposes. Sniffing is most frequently used to acquire credit card numbers, passwords, and other private information. Software tools called sniffers allow you to secretly intercept network communication without the user or system administrator’s awareness. To stop losses from what may have a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line, businesses can utilize web application sniffers like Wireshark to identify this type of attack in its early stages.

Types of Sniffing Attacks:

  • ARP Poisoning Attacks: ARP poisoning is a technique for rerouting network traffic that is typically used to seize sensitive data from the network. By broadcasting bogus ARP messages over the LAN, an attacker gains access to the data. The intruder will record ARP request packets and responses for different LAN IP addresses. These ARP reply packets are then sent to the victim’s PC and stored there by the attacker with a spoof IP address. As a result, instead of sending all of its communication to its intended destination, the victim’s computer will send all traffic destined for those IP addresses to the attacker’s machine. Considering that we are sniffing the traffic before to encryption or decryption
  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: In this attack, the attacker uses a sniffer to capture traffic and redirect them to a computer under his control before they reach its original destination.
  • Switch Spoofing Attack: Switches are used to distribute packets across a network. A switch is programmed with an ARP table containing the MAC address and IP address of each machine connected to it. The switch learns MAC addresses by sending out a flood of ARP messages every second until each machine responds with its MAC address. The attacker can use his laptop or PC with a sniffer installed on it to act as an intermediary between the source and the destination host. He then captures the packets on his own computer and alters them. He changes the MAC address of the packets and sends them through his switch to their original destination. Once they arrive at the destination, another router that has never seen these new MAC addresses will switch them onto its own network.
  • DNS Poisoning: DNS poisoning is a malicious activity that can be used to interfere with a target system’s DNS configuration. The attacker will often use a web browser as part of their attack, by visiting a website hosting an exploit kit, loading a malicious application from an email message or file attachment, or even simply visiting an infected site or opening infected text documents (such as Microsoft Word).
Structure of Active Sniffing Attack


Since adding firewalls or secure passwords would add significant expenses and management burdens to the already underfunded IT department, the majority of businesses are reluctant to do so. Because of how frequently this kind of assault occurs, some people think that hackers are actively releasing hacked versions of web-based programs in an effort to undermine these defenses.

  • Some sniffers actively defeat basic security mechanisms such as placing sniffers on networks in administrative areas and then redirecting users to phishing websites where they give up their saved credentials, thus spoofing login attempts and exacting a high toll on this type of attack.
  • Sniffers are also used by many companies to uncover computer viruses and other attacks on their IT networks. Hackers and security analysts harvest packets in order to perform as much forensics as possible. They look for discrepancies in packets, attempt to match passwords in plaintext, or examine the data for what it might reveal about a person or organization.
  • Other types of sniffers exist. These include protocol analyzers, which may be passive or active, or even intrusive. Intrusive analyzers are typically called network analyzers when software is used, though they may be physical devices (as with the AirPcap adapter).

Key Points:

  • An attacker may be able to use the phone’s microphone to listen to a conversation.
  • Interception may cause a significant loss of privacy. For example, criminals have used interception in a variety of ways.
  • In telecommunications, wiretapping, or wiretaps, are techniques involving the use of specialized electronic equipment such as an antenna and receiver to intercept private communications by tapping into local telephone networks.
  • Wiretapping is illegal in most jurisdictions in relation to private communications, including (with some exceptions) all forms of electronic communication such as email and Internet telephony, unless specifically permitted by law.


  • Protect your communication from prying eyes. Trade secrets or copyrighted material should not be transmitted over the Internet. Encrypt all communications. Ensure physical security of the equipment.
  • Install an intrusion detection system and firewall to prevent unauthorized access across the network boundary.
  • Mobile Phones can be used to intercept communications using software that enables monitoring of a GSM phone’s traffic and location without the user’s knowledge by exploiting security flaws in Signaling System 7 used by GSM networks, such as IMSI-catcher.
  • The GSM network itself is not incapacitated, as the victim’s phone continues to function.
  • The stated purpose of this technology was to protect public safety officials from kidnapping victims in crime zones and missing persons, at a cost of around US$100 each for one device.

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