Eavesdropping Attack: A Dark Shadow on the Network

eavesdropping attack

An eavesdropping attack refers to listening to others’ communication silently without a person’s awareness. It is also known as snooping or sniffing on insecure networks.

Hacking is a ghastly increasing concept in the current time where hackers use many sophisticated techniques to steal data from networks or servers. Today we are going to discuss 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 is named ‘Eavesdropping’. Let us look at in detail about Eavesdropping attack:

What is Eavesdropping?

An eavesdropping attack is an unauthorized and illegal interception of 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 as sniffing or snooping.

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

Eavesdrop allows attackers to observe the network, which 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 the privacy of web users will be always at risk.

Few Examples of Eavesdropping attack:

In the case of email, if the email communication is not encrypted with a digital signature, the eavesdropper could sniff the communication. He may alter the message before the 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 log in 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 cards.

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

How Network Eavesdropping attack happen?

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 an eavesdropping tool. It is hard to detect network eavesdropping as it is a kind of passive attack (an attack that uses the information without affecting system resources).

Network eavesdropping can be done on wired and wireless networks. 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 eavesdroppers to intercept or read the network packet coming from a different network address with a proper software tool.

What is the solution to the 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 secure. It helps your data from being theft or sniffed. 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 attacks?

  • To prevent eavesdropping attacks, 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 products and keep them patched regularly which 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 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) are trusted.


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

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

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