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Packet sniffing

Packet sniffing

Packet sniffing definition

The inspection of online traffic flowing across the network. Packet sniffing can be used for legitimate purposes, for example, by network administrators to determine issues, validate the incoming traffic for malware, or monitor users. But it is also favored by hackers for stealing login credentials, monitoring their target’s online behavior, spying on businesses, or infecting devices with malware. Packet sniffers can be both software and hardware.

How to avoid packet sniffing

  • Use a VPN. It reroutes your traffic through an encrypted tunnel, so no one will be able to see what data you’re sending or receiving.
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi hotspots without a VPN to protect your browsing. You never know whether you’re connecting to a genuine hotspot or one set up by hackers to monitor your traffic.
  • Make sure the websites you’re visiting use HTTPS protocol — look for the padlock icon next to the URL.
  • Avoid malware by regularly updating your devices, being aware of phishing, and using additional security software like NordVPN’s Threat Protection. It helps you identify malware-ridden files, stops you from landing on malicious websites, and blocks trackers and intrusive ads on the spot.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security