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The 5 Best WiFi Sniffer Software & Apps

The 5 Best WiFi Sniffer Software & Apps

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Wireshark: Open Source Network Protocol Analyzer​

Wireshark is a highly respected open-source application that provides users with the ability to conduct network protocol analysis. It's a comprehensive tool used by network professionals around the world for troubleshooting, analysis, software and protocol development, and education. As an open-source project, it's continually evolving thanks to the contributions of networking experts across the globe.

The software is known for its profound ability to decode various protocols and capture packets in real-time. With Wireshark, you can easily analyze your network at a microscopic level, which is an essential feature for identifying potential issues or threats that might be present in your network environment.

Key Features​

  1. Deep Inspection of Hundreds of Protocols: Wireshark has the capability to read live data from different types of networks including Ethernet, IEEE 802.11, PPP/HDLC, ATM, Bluetooth, USB, Token Ring and many others.
  2. Live Capture and Offline Analysis: The software allows you to record packet data from a live network connection or read from an existing capture file. It also supports reading/writing many different capture file formats like tcpdump (libpcap), Pcap NG, Catapult DCT2000 etc.
  3. Rich VoIP Analysis: Wireshark comes with all necessary tools to analyze VoIP calls made within captured traffic and includes features like playback and detailed call statistics.

Pricing​

As an open-source tool, Wireshark is completely free of charge. However, it's worth noting that while the software itself doesn't come with any costs attached to it; acquiring the skills necessary to use it effectively might require some investment in training or education.

Kismet: Wireless Network Detector, Sniffer, and IDS​

Kismet is a highly versatile wireless network detector, sniffer, and intrusion detection system. As an open-source tool, it is widely used by businesses, educational institutions, and individuals for a range of network monitoring and troubleshooting tasks. Kismet operates by passively collecting packets of data from network interfaces in promiscuous mode and decoding them to analyze the wireless environment. This allows it to detect hidden networks and rogue access points that may pose security threats.

Beyond its primary function as a sniffer, Kismet also includes robust features for intrusion detection. It can detect suspicious network activities such as unusual traffic patterns or attempts to use outdated encryption protocols. By providing real-time alerts on these potential security threats, Kismet enables network administrators to take immediate action to secure their networks.

Key features​

  1. Wireless Network Detection: Kismet can detect all wireless networks within range, even those that are hidden or not broadcasting their SSID.
  2. Intrusion Detection System: The tool can identify potential security threats such as rogue access points or attempts at unauthorized access.
  3. Data Packet Sniffing: Kismet captures and decodes packets of data transmitted over the wireless network, providing valuable insights into the network's performance and usage patterns.
As for pricing, since Kismet is an open-source tool, it is available free of charge. However, donations are encouraged to support the ongoing development and maintenance of the software. Users who require additional functionality or support may also consider purchasing commercial plugins or services offered by third-party vendors in the Kismet ecosystem.

AirSnort: WiFi Encryption Cracking Tool​

AirSnort is a reputable software tool in the realm of network security, specifically designed to crack weak WiFi encryption. Developed by the Shmoo Group, AirSnort operates by passively monitoring transmissions and computing encryption keys once enough packets have been gathered. This open-source utility has become a go-to solution for network administrators and cybersecurity professionals looking to ensure the robustness of their wireless networks.

This software operates on the premise that while WiFi technology provides convenience and flexibility, it also opens up potential vulnerabilities. As such, AirSnort serves as a necessary tool in identifying and addressing these weak points. It is compatible with most wireless NICs that support raw monitoring mode and can be run on platforms like Windows and Linux.

Key Features​

  1. Passive Monitoring: AirSnort does not actively probe or attack the network but instead passively captures data packets to analyze them for potential vulnerabilities.
  2. Encryption Key Calculation: Once enough data packets have been captured (usually between 5-10 million), AirSnort can compute the encryption key used.
  3. Compatibility: The software is compatible with most wireless NICs supporting raw monitoring mode and can be run on operating systems like Windows and Linux.

Pricing​

As an open-source project, AirSnort is available free of charge for anyone who wishes to use it. However, it should be noted that while free, using this tool requires a certain level of technical expertise to effectively operate it and interpret its results.

inSSIDer: WiFi Troubleshooting and Optimization Tool​

inSSIDer is a powerful WiFi troubleshooting and optimization tool that is designed to provide a comprehensive view of the wireless environment around you. Developed by MetaGeek, this software offers a unique approach to identifying and resolving common WiFi issues such as signal strength, channel congestion, and overlapping networks. It utilizes a visually intuitive interface to display real-time data about your network and surrounding networks, enabling you to make informed decisions about your WiFi setup.

The software is built on the premise that understanding your wireless environment is the key to optimizing it. By providing detailed insights into the wireless landscape, inSSIDer empowers users to troubleshoot performance issues effectively and optimize their WiFi for maximum speed and coverage. It's an ideal tool for network administrators, IT professionals, or anyone who needs a deeper understanding of their wireless network.

Key Features​

  1. Visual Network Overview: inSSIDer displays all nearby WiFi networks in a color-coded layout, showing critical information like signal strength, channel usage, network security type, and more at a glance.
  2. Channel Optimization: The software analyzes the usage of different channels within your vicinity and recommends the best one for your network to minimize interference and maximize performance.
  3. Network Security Analysis: inSSIDer can identify potential security risks such as unauthorized access points or weak encryption protocols on your network.

Pricing​

inSSIDer comes with a tiered pricing model:

  • For personal use, it costs $149 with lifetime updates included.
  • For professional use (includes additional features like packet capturing), it costs $199 per year.
Please note that these prices are subject to change based on the discretion of MetaGeek.

Acrylic WiFi Professional: Advanced WiFi Sniffer​

Acrylic WiFi Professional is a comprehensive and advanced WiFi sniffer tool that is designed to cater to the needs of network professionals and enthusiasts. The software provides a deep insight into the wireless networks by capturing and analyzing the WiFi data packets. Acrylic WiFi Professional stands out in its ability to identify access points, to map out signal strength, and to provide detailed information about network security.

The software is built with a robust set of features that make it a powerful tool for anyone involved in network analysis or WiFi troubleshooting. It provides real-time data about the WiFi environment which can be invaluable in identifying problems, optimizing performance, and ensuring network security.

Key features​

  1. Advanced Packet Analysis: The software captures 802.11/a/b/g/n/ac/ax data packets from any wireless network. This allows for detailed analysis including viewing of connected users, signal levels, and protocol distribution.
  2. Network Security Information: Acrylic WiFi Professional provides comprehensive information about network security including details about hidden SSIDs, WPS availability, and encryption type.
  3. Heatmaps: The software includes a heatmap feature that visually represents the coverage area and signal strength of your wireless networks.
When it comes to pricing for Acrylic WiFi Professional, it offers three different licenses depending on your needs:

  • A Personal license is available at $19.95
  • A Technician license costs $39.95
  • An Enterprise license is priced at $99.95
Each license offers additional features with increasing price points such as advanced packet capture capabilities or multiple installations on different devices.
 

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