If your computer is always connected to the Internet or local network, it’s vulnerable to hacker attacks and malware infections. In addition to using a powerful and updated antivirus solution (obligatory for any responsible PC user), you can also use a network analysis tool to identify the malicious packets and block them. Such an application is Wireshark and it’s free to use.
Customizable setup pack
When deploying Wireshark on your computer, you can choose the plugins and extensions you want to install, such as the Dissector plugin, Tree Statistics, SNMP MIBs, or the Meta Analysis and Tracing Engine.
Since these utilities are meant to provide a wider range of information about your network traffic and they can be easily disabled, it is advisable to install them alongside Wireshark. The same advice applies to the extra tools bundled with the setup and to the recommended file associations for trace files found on the PC.
The final step before finalizing the initial configuration is for the setup to check whether you have WinPcap installed on your computer, and to install it if missing.
Set filters to capture network traffic
If you are using several network cards, Wireshark lets you choose the one for capturing the network traffic. Once the capture has begun, you can monitor all the connections and their corresponding details – you also get the chance to create filters to keep an eye on just certain types of connections.
Color-coded packet types to spot them easier
Another way to make sure you correctly monitor the type of packets you want is to apply color schemes for each type of connection, so that the most important ones are the most visible. If you are not satisfied with the color templates provided by Wireshark, you can create a custom one by specifying the shade and string to be monitored.
Wireshark also comes with a Statistics function that can be used to generate reports to be analyzed at a later time. Depending on your necessities, you can choose to view the details of the protocol hierarchy, endpoint, packet lengths, or the IO graph.
Overall, an advanced and dependable protocol analyzer
With all things considered, Wireshark can come in handy to all those who want to be in control of their network connections and limit them whenever needed. However, it does take an expert to use the app to its full potential.
OS: Windows Vista / 7 / 8 / 2008 / 10 (32/64-bit) and 2003 / 2008 R2 / Server 2012