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DNETCOM: Learning Log 5


SHARKS! What do you call that creature that hides below the depths of water and waits for its prey and then mercilessly attacks them? That's right, sharks!

This week, we learned how to use a similar tool. A tool that goes into the "water" and waits for its prey to arrive until it attacks. Scary, right? The tool itself was also very scary, to be honest. We learned how to use Wireshark, a network network analyzer.

Wireshark doesn't seem like a scary tool if you look at it's description from its official info page, but what we learned about what it can do was scary.

After making Wireshark listen to the computer's Ethernet port, and visiting Steam's store page, I found something a little disturbing. I saw a bunch of IPs flood the screen and after waiting for the entire web page to load, I saw some of the content loaded through the page. I checked it on Wireshark and I saw some of the things on the Steam store page in the "captured packets" thing in Wireshark.

This was somewhat scary because Wireshark really "sniffs" the packets sent through a particular network and gathers information sent to and from this network.

That's why it's a little scary, and a little creepy.

The fact that this can be used to monitor and, basically, spy on someone is a little frightening. Thankfully, it only works best if content is server through HTTP or just sent as nonencrypted plaintext on the network. Sure, Wireshark works on HTTPS content and captures them, but thankfully they're encrypted, meaning that the server and a client computer can only view the information sent and received, and only them. Like I said, Wireshark still captures content served through HTTPS, but it's encrypted. They show up a garbled messages and a seemingly undecipherable mix of letters, numbers, and characters.

Wireshark sure is one scary program, but thankfully I learned how to use it. I just hope I don't get bit by it.

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