Packet Sniffing Prevention
Blocking a Wireless Sniffer-Public Connection
• Disable the automatic connection feature in wireless settings
• Configure a firewall that is automatically installed with Window updates. Enhance the strength of the firewall and increase security settings to “block all incoming connections”
• Use sites with ‘https’ at the beginning of the URL instead of ‘http’. The ‘s’ = security
Tips to Defend against Sniffing
• Restrict the physical access to the network media to ensure that a packet sniffer is not able to be installed
• Use encryption to protect confidential information
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(each packet has a header is encrypted which contains the major information like addresses)
• PGP and MIME: Commonly used Email services. As emails are stored for extended periods, it is best to use them so emails don’t end up in wrong mailboxes.
• VPN (Virtual Private Network – provide encrypted data across the Internet. They are more secure, but if hacked the data may be seen even before encryption.
• Scan networks to determine if any NICs are running a promiscuous mode
• Run tools regularly
• They act as an alarm triggered by evidence of a sniffer
Crime - Three International Hackers Indicted for “Sniffing”
Payment Card Numbers - 5/14/2008
• Hacked electronic cash registers of US restaurant Dave and Busters (D&B) between May and August of 2007
• Stole credit and debit card numbers
• Cost of New York store at least $600,000 and 5,000 credit/debit card numbers stolen
• Illegal accessed 11 national chain servers by installing packet sniffers at each location
• The sniffers “vacuumed up Track 2 data from credit card magstripes as it traveled from the restaurants servers to D&B’s headquarters in Dallas, TX.”
• Track 2 data comprises only the credit/debit card’s numbers, expiration date and security code.
• Names or other personally identifiable information like social security number or bank account numbers were revealed.
• Ken Pappas, security strategist at Top Layer Networks, states the breaches occur as retailers fail to encrypt the card data at the point of the swipe.
• Pappas stated companies don’t encrypt card number sent from cash registers until they reach a centralized location, headquarters. At headquarters they are encrypted and sent to third party for verification. Recommendation: invest in point of swipe encryption.