What is a WiFi Sniffer and Why You Should Care

Let’s start this article with some words for future readers: girls, boys, dear all. We don’t know in the 2020 summer how and when Coronavirus pandemic will be over. But maybe some valuable lessons will come out for sure with all that happened. As it happens, we are going to remember some of the discussions we are having now, regarding security.

There are countless hats in the world, be it for their types, brands and models. People often wonder what the perfect hat would be for them.

If there was a votation, and a possible solution was to give up the privacy of your data to control this virus. Will you feel ok doing it? It is, of course, a tricky question with no easy answers, like most of the solutions related to “security” and “order” perceptions each one of us has. Why are we giving you all of this here? Because WiFi Sniffer is a security issue and its use is something that could surprise you. 

WiFi in time 

This story begins in the first years of the twentieth century, thanks to the gifted curiosity and scientific genius of Nikola Tesla.  He started a revolution with the invention of the AC power that soon will change the world completely-. But more important for this story is the conviction that Tesla had about the existence of a way to transmit electric energy through the thin air.

Tesla used all the last part of his life and spent most of his money to prove his theory, and even failing, he said that sooner or later, humankind will discover and use this technology. Guess what: we are those spirits from the future inhabiting Tesla’s dreams. 

Nowadays, more than 85% of houses of western rich countries use routers that provide WiFi connectivity to their flats. Most of the public spaces like parks, metro stations, bus stations, airport or supermarkets, offer for free to people access to the Internet as an essential feature as we understand these environments in our days. 

The WiFi Sniffer 

Just the “WiFi Sniffer” name might give you some clues about this particular device. In simple words, a WiFi Sniffer is an analyser network designed to work with wireless networks. WiFi sniffing is more a concept of something you want to achieve, than a specific piece of electronic gear or software. 

You should notice that WiFi sniffing is a way to break into the privacy of a network, so in some cases could be the equivalent to wiretapping a phone line. In both cases, you can spy on a communication process without involved people noticing. Science and technology only amplify the consequences of our decisions, that usually represent the shades of our morality.  

Can I give WiFi sniffers a fair and legal use?  

It is necessary to understand two important things to really appreciate all the complexity of this question. First of all, the answer is yes. There are fair uses for this technology. They are part of the routine of a professional employee with a degree that is called “network administration.”   

So WiFi sniffers allow network administrators to have control to manage, secure and monitor a specific network under their supervision. It is possible even that an average user utilises a WiFi sniffer for check and have ea better acknowledge of their home network. 

The major downside of these devices is that being honest, one critical security situation that you may deal with someday. WiFi sniffers are usually used by dishonest people with the intention of stole information from an unsafe network and gain access to it with dubious purposes. And even this is not something that is far from happening regularly; a wireless WiFi sniffer has the potential to attack from a distance without being detected. 

How Does a WiFi Sniffer Work? 

WiFi sniffers come in two flavors: hardware and software. They perform the same tasks, though the software route may be more popular in most cases. You can obtain software WiFi sniffers for Windows, Mac, and mobile operating systems. In the case of a mobile device, you are in essence turning it into a hardware sniffer when using it with a sniffing application. 

WiFi Sniffers: Hardware  

You have to take into account that it is not needed to be a hacker or something like that to operate a WiFi sniffer and compromise the security of a wireless home network. These small pocket-sized devices are totally portable, so it is possible to execute a devil plan in a quick movement from a little bag to a table, and keep going unnoticed. 

It does not take any particular level of technical expertise to operate a hardware WiFi sniffer. Most devices are small and portable, able to fit in your pocket or laptop bag easily. You point the device in the direction where you believe a wireless network can be detected. You will be alerted by display lights when a wireless network is found within range of your device. 

A WiFi sniffer for Android devices uses add-on tools and will offer a similar display when searching for networks. Quality hardware sniffers will be able to detect a wireless signal despite interference from Bluetooth devices, microwaves or cell phones.