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Friday, May 04, 2007

The Art of Packet Sniffing: What Does Your Traffic Look Like?

A packet sniffer is a program that captures the information going into and out of your computer. Normally, it's not too pretty: it's just a bunch of text that doesn't mean anything to most people.

Packet Garden, on the other hand, turns packet sniffing into an art form, letting you visualize your footsteps on the Internet. The developer, Julian Oliver, describes it like this:
To do this, Packet Garden takes note of all the servers you visit, their geographical location and the kinds of data you access. Uploads make hills and downloads valleys, their location determined by numbers taken from internet address itself. The size of each hill or valley is based on how much data is sent or received. Plants are also grown for each protocol detected by the software; if you visit a website, an 'HTTP plant' is grown. If you share some files via eMule, a 'Peer to Peer plant' is grown, and so on.
Not to worry, though. All the information that is captured is stored on your computer so there aren't any privacy issues.


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