Password sniffer definition
A password sniffer is a type of malware that intercepts and steals data packets as they pass over a computer network in order to obtain login credentials. They are often used to steal accounts from unsuspecting users or for further cyberattacks, like gaining access to secure systems or accounts to steal more valuable data inside. Password sniffers can be particularly effective when used on unsecured or public networks, where data is often transmitted without encryption.
How do password sniffers work?
Password sniffers work by intercepting and analyzing the data packets that are transmitted over a network. When a user logs into a website or application, their login credentials, like all other traffic, travel through data packets. Anyone who can intercept and read these data packets can easily obtain the user’s login information. Once the data packets have been captured, the password sniffer software can analyze them to identify login credentials.
How to protect yourself from password sniffers
- Use a VPN to encrypt your data as it travels. A VPN creates an encrypted connection. High-end VPN providers, like NordVPN, have extremely strong encryption algorithms in place guarding their users’ data — even if it was intercepted, it would be virtually impossible to decrypt.
- Enable two-factor authentication. It provides an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of authentication, like a code sent to your phone or a fingerprint scan. This makes it much more difficult for attackers to gain access to your accounts, even if they obtain your password.