A network protocol analyzer is a combination of programming and hardware and in certain cases, a separate hardware device that can be installed in a network or computer in order to improve its security level against viruses and other types of malicious activities.
When used as a corporate security tool, it's important to keep in mind that a NPA needs to be distributed since this is going to make it possible for it to cover all of the network's areas. On top of that, the NPA should also be capable of capturing and decoding all protocols from every type of media, including 802.11, WAN, Ethernet, etc) on which the corporate data flows.
It's essential that the NPA also supports flexible filtering that’s capable of allowing triggered notifications. After all, NPA will only be capable of capturing and decoding data it can actually understand. Therefore, if it's going to be used in a switched network environment, then it's only going to detect the traffic that’s local to the switch. A great network protocol analyzer to start with is WireShark.
Packet sniffing, in the wrong context, is illegal and governed by multiple laws. For example, the Wiretap Act states, "to intercept and monitor [communications] placed over their facilities in order to combat fraud and theft of service."
We offer reviews on the top software network analysis tools and services. Before purchasing or downloading any network analyzer or monitoring tool, we recommend an in-depth research for beginners that want to start learning about packet sniffing. Take the needed time to discover tools that are considered to be the foundation of network security utilities and our NPA FAQS section.