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MiTM Attack: Sniffing Images In a Network

Hello aspiring ethical hackers. In this article you will learn how to sniff images in a network using MiTM attack. In our previous article, readers have learnt how plaintext credentials passing through the network can easily be captured by attackers using Wireshark.

In this article, readers will learn about a different type of sniffing. i.e capturing images being transmitted through the network. As good as Wireshark is, it cannot be used to sniff images being sent through the network.

      For this tutorial, we will be needing any program that requires images to be transferred in a network. For this purpose, we will use Netop Vision Pro Classroom Management Software ( As its name implies, this is a classroom management software used for distance learning. It has two modules:  the Teacher module and Student module. The Teacher module is installed on one system and the student module is installed on all the student systems. The computer running the Teacher module has complete control over the computer running the student module and the student has no or very small limited role. The Teacher can view the Desktop of the Student’s Desktop to make sure the student is on track.       

Remember the sniffing lab we used in one of our previous article. In the same Sniffing Lab, we will add three systems: two Windows 7 systems with Netop Vision Student Module installed on one system and Netop Vision Teacher Module installed on another Windows 7 system. The third system is Kali Linux which is the attacker system and used for sniffing images. Let’s setup the Lab first. Download the Netop Vision Pro software onto the first Windows 7 system and click on it. Select the “Run Installer” and click on “Next”.

Click on “I Accept The Terms in the license agreement” and click on “Next”.

Select the Vision Student Module and click on Next.

Select the option as a Windows Startup Service and click on Install.

Check the IP address of this system and restart it.

Here’s the Student’s Windows system. There is some program running on it.

Now, in the second Windows 7 system, install the Teacher module of Netop Vision.

When it prompts for the license key, click on “Next”.

Click OK to restart the computer.

After the computer (on which Netop Vision’s Teacher Module) reboots, open the Netop Vision application. This should open the class room manager window automatically. If that did not happen, open it from the File menu. Create a new classroom. Click on “New”.

Click on “Next”.

Add the student system. Click on “Add” and add the IP address of the student system as shown below. Then click on “translate addresses”. You will get the IP address translated to the name of the computer. Click “OK”.

Click “Next”.

Click on “Finish” to finish the installation.

We have set up a new classroom. From the classroom manager, open the new classroom you just created.

We can see the Desktops of connected Student computers. Since we have connected only one student computer, only one system is shown.

The target is ready. On the Kali Linux system, install the Driftnet tool as shown below.

Check the name of the network interface.

Now all we have to do is to start the driftnet tool on that interface.

A small window will open as shown below.

When you maximize the window, you can see the live capture of the images of the Student’s Desktop. These images of the student computer are being captured by the teacher module. As already said, the feature is available in Netop Vision classroom management software to monitor student computers. These images are captured at regular short intervals and transmitted in real time to the Teacher computer.

But how are these images being sniffed by Driftnet? Just like in the case of plain text protocols, these images are being transmitted in the network without any encryption. Hence, driftnet has been able to capture them by sniffing on the network.

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Packet Sniffing : Part 1

Hello, aspiring Ethical hackers. In this article, you will learn about basics of packet sniffing. You should have observed that almost all the websites you have visited recently have a padlock sign and begin with HTTPS. Google started giving minor ranking boost to websites with HTTPS enabled since year 2014.There is a good security reason behind this. In this first article on Sniffing our readers will learn and understand about basic concepts about Sniffing and why plaintext protocols are considered bad from security perspective.

Plain text protocols are those protocols in which confidential information like usernames and passwords are passed to the server in complete plain text. This allows anyone in middle to sniff on these usernames and passwords. This attack is known as sniffing attack or Man in The Middle (MITM) attack or Janus attack.

 In ancient Roman mythology, Janus is a God who presided over both beginning and end. In a packet sniffing attack, as an attacker is in middle and can see the data going between server and client, this attack is also known as Janus attack. You are going to see how sniffing works on plaintext protocols in this article. In our present Issue, we will demonstrate the basic level of sniffing on plaintext protocols. For this, we will be using three virtual machines which are on the same network.

They are  Metasploitable 2 which acts as server, Ubuntu which acts as client and of course Kali as our Attacker system.  As you can see, the IP addresses of the three machines are

     Metasploitable2 – (Server)

     Ubuntu – (Client)

     Kali – (Attacker system)

Let’s start Wireshark on the attacker machine (on interface eth0). It starts capturing packets on the network.

The reason why we are using Metasploitable 2 as our target is that it already has many services that we need for this tutorial preinstalled.  The first service we will be using is Telnet. It is a protocol that is used for remote access on another system. On most Linux systems, Telnet clients are installed by default.

So we Open a terminal and log into the Metasploitable 2 Telnet server with the credentials shown below.

The login is successful. Now on the Attacker system, we can observe the traffic being captured by the Wireshark sniffer. You can see data related to Telnet being transferred.

We can Right Click on that Telnet data stream and click on “Follow” as shown below.

In the sub menu that opens when we click on the only option “TCP stream” a new window opens that will show only the TCP stream.

In this window, you can see the credentials we just used to login into the target system. Telnet is a plain text protocol which transfers credentials and other sensitive data in plain text. This allows sniffing of data. That’s the reason it has been mostly replaced by Secure Shell (SSH) nowadays.   

Let’s see another protocol. File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a protocol that is used to share files. It is another protocol that transfers data in plain text. From our client, we login into the FTP server with credentials “anonymous:anonymous”.

Anonymous account in FTP is used to share files to anyone without the need for them to know credentials.

On the Wireshark interface, you can see FTP data being transferred.

We can view the TCP stream

This once again shows credentials.

Instead of observing LIVE data transfer and following TCP stream from there, we can also just save the packet capture file and open the file later for analysis.

After opening the file, we can search for specific terms as shown below. 

Then following the TCP stream gives us the credentials.

Seeing the vulnerability due to sniffing, many protocols have been replaced with secure protocols which transfer data in encrypted form instead of plain text form. We will learn more about sniffing in our next Part.