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Eavesdropping Attack: A Dark Shadow on the Network

eavesdropping attack

Eavesdropping attack refers to listen other’s communication silently without a person’s awareness. It is also known as snooping or sniffing on insecure network.

Hacking is ghastly increasing concept in current time where hackers use many sophisticated techniques to steal data from network or servers. Today we are going to discuss about one of the successful hacking techniques named Eavesdropping. What could happen if a person heeds your private communication without your awareness? The term in technical perspective named ‘Eavesdropping’. Let us look it in detail about Eavesdropping attack:

What is Eavesdropping?

Eavesdropping attack is an unauthorized and illegal interception of a private communication. It refers to listening to the private conversions of two or more parties secretly. When an attacker listens to private communication is also referred to sniffing or snooping.

Unexpectedly still major online communications take place in unsecured manner, which allows an attacker to gain access to network traffic by listening or interpreting the travelling information.

Eavesdrop allows attackers to observe the network, is the major web security problem that network administrators face up in an organization. Eavesdroppers can make a successful attack in different ways, including wiretapping, email, and online chat. As the internet has expanded, people across the globe are using different web services. If all these services are not fully encrypted, then privacy of web users will be always at risk.

Few Examples of Eavesdropping attack:

In case of email, if the email communication is not encrypted with digital signature, the eavesdropper could sniff the communication. He may alter the message before recipient receives it. The recipient believes that the message is coming from the original sender and surrenders his details to the attacker.

Online shopping websites or social networking sites dictate users to login to access their respective accounts. There are even many payment service providers, financial agencies involved in online payment transactions. In the absence of encryption, eavesdroppers can sniff the plain text information during the transition of details like credit or debit card.

Therefore, encryption should be there, which encodes the details to save from prying eyes and eavesdropping.

How Network Eavesdropping attack happens?

An attacker in search of sensitive data, catches and reads the transmitted packets from the network in the network eavesdropping attack. The captured data can be analyzed with eavesdropping tool. It is hard to detect network eavesdropping as it is a kind of passive attack (an attack that use information without affecting system resources).

Network eavesdropping can be done on wired and wireless network. In a wired network, an eavesdropper has to be in touch with the wire of the network and can sniff packets using a network tap (a hardware tool). While in a wireless network, an unsecured wireless network attached to the computer could welcome eavesdropper to intercept or read the network packet coming from a different network address with proper software tool.

What is the solution to Eavesdropping Attack?

If you are using an email service, simple content website or an online payment website, an SSL Certificate is an ideal solution to make your server or website secured. It helps your data from being theft or sniff. Your data will have robust encryption with an SSL certificate that saves the data from being revealed to a third party.

What are security measures against Eavesdropping attack?

  • To prevent eavesdropping attack, always use SSL protocol that makes online communication encrypted and data security over the internet.
  • A Firewall is a wise choice to protect the network traffic as it filters out malicious or unauthorized access.
  • Install antivirus product and keep it patched regularly that helps to keep most of the virus out of the system.
  • Install Malware Scan on the system, as it will alert about any malicious code or virus on the system.
  • Keep your password long and strong by including capital & small alphabets with numbers and special characters. Never reveal your password to anyone and change it frequently.
  • While doing online transactions, make sure that website is properly secured.
  • An intrusion prevention system on the network can help the organization to spot and avert additional attacks by eavesdroppers.
  • Use Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) that allows mutual verification. The server authenticates the user’s computer before processing the transaction. The usage of PKI helps to diminish the risk of potential MITM (Man-in-the-Middle) attack.
  • Network segmentation can provide ample security to the network as it restricts access to certain individuals related to network security and administration.
  • The NAC (Network Access Control) used for endpoint security also defines the policy of securing a network. It ensures that the devices connected to the network (even if it is wireless) is trusted.


Eavesdropping remains a concern for network administrators, which requires proper security measures defined as above.

The proper security training about eavesdropping attack should be given to every level of employees in organizations, which will help to keep away potential damage.

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