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By Sean Convery, and Bernie Trudel

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Extra info for A Security Blueprint for Enterprise Networks

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Packet Sniffers A packet sniffer is a software application that uses a network adapter card in promiscuous mode (a mode in which the network adapter card sends all packets received on the physical network wire to an application for processing) to capture all network packets that are sent across a particular collision domain. Sniffers are used legitimately in networks today to aid in troubleshooting and traffic analysis. However, because several network applications send data in clear text (telnet, FTP, SMTP, POP3, and so forth), a packet sniffer can provide meaningful and often sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords.

Such software and hardware does not completely eliminate the threat, but like many network security tools, they are part of the overall system. These so-called “anti-sniffers” detect changes in the response time of hosts to determine if the hosts are processing more traffic than their own. One such network security software tool, which is available from Security Software Technologies, is called AntiSniff. com/antisniff/ Cisco Systems Copyright © 2000 Cisco Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Page 57 of 66 • Cryptography – The most effective method for countering packet sniffers does not prevent or detect packet sniffers, but rather renders them irrelevant.

As the user navigates the Web site, certain link selections cause the Web server to initiate a request to the application server on the inside interface. This connection must be permitted by the first firewall, as well as the associated return traffic. As in the case with the Web server, there is no reason for the application server to initiate a connection to the Web server or even out to the Internet. Likewise, the user’s entire session runs over HTTP and SSL with no ability to communicate directly with the application server or the database server.

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A Security Blueprint for Enterprise Networks by Sean Convery, and Bernie Trudel


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