Do you have a program out there on the network that is communicating over a open port you know nothing about? Perhaps it’s your job to analyze what other people are sending on the network or perhaps you want to monitor the network to make sure a virus or trojan is not calling home – all this can be done with a network analyzer free of charge!
What I consider to be the best network analyzer on the net is Wireshark and offers you the ability to capture and record all the packets traveling along your network for later review or even analyze the network in real time as it happens.
Wireshark comes with a TON of filtering options so you can zero in on the data you are looking for, for example, search for the term passwords or username to see if your network traffic is secure. Perhaps you have something communicating on a specific port, simply use the network analyzer to filter everything except those ports and then see what the associated packets contain.
Although Wireshark is by far my favorite analyzer, I started off with ethereal.com which was at the time the world’s number one open source network protocol analyzer and in fact, wireshark was built upon this open source software package.
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