When Should I Use an HTTP/HTTPS Sniffer? by@yarche

When Should I Use an HTTP/HTTPS Sniffer?

In this article, I will tell you what role the HTTP/HTTPS sniffer plays in data parsing and why it is very important. What is important to note is that all of the above material is relevant only if there is access to the user's device. This is needed to install a certificate, which is necessary to decrypt web traffic. This device can be your own computer, for example, to test the security of the requests sent between your computer and a web server. You also need to configure your web browser to reroute traffic through the sniffer.
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Yaroslav Menshikov HackerNoon profile picture

Yaroslav Menshikov

I've been a programmer for 7+ years. C#, Java, SQL.


In this article, I will tell you what role the HTTP/HTTPS sniffer plays in data parsing and why it is very important.


What is important to note is that all of the above material is relevant only if there is access to the user's device.


This is needed to install a certificate, which is necessary to decrypt web traffic.


This device can be your own computer, for example, to test the security of the requests sent between your computer and a web server. You also need to configure your web browser to reroute traffic through the sniffer.


Possible Uses


1. Traffic Analysis


Users on your network use your proxy server.


You can collect statistics of such users by the following parameters: At what time the work was carried out, for how long, how much data was downloaded, and which web portals were accessed.


2. Proxy Task


You can restrict access to web portals: by access time, by data type, by destination domain name, by source IP address.


3. HTTP/HTTPS Packet Spoofing


You have full access to on-the-fly editing of all downloaded data: CSS-styles, javascript files or methods, images, HTTP tags.


For your users, you can change the look of the site, cut out forbidden words, phrases. You can cache frequently downloaded images to save bandwidth and improve web page loading speed.


4. Data Collection


Automatic saving of certain information: downloaded files or any valuable information.


For example: once an hour, your program makes requests to several Internet resources of the same type. The sniffer intercepts the necessary data and saves this data in the database.


5. Changing Outgoing GET/POST Data


You can automate the authorization process on the web portal by automatically changing the data sent.


For example, if a thousand of your users must work on the cookies of one account, then it is advisable to configure the sniffer to substitute valid cookies for each user's request in order to exclude the authorization step on the web portal.


6. Security Testing


It's hard to imagine checking the security of a web portal without a sniffer.


And not all even large companies pay due attention to this issue. Incorrect captcha configuration leads to the vulnerability of the web portal by bot programs.


Incorrect setup of the payment system leads to huge financial losses. A security specialist using a sniffer finds security holes in web portals.


7. Performance Testing


The sniffer is a great tool for testing performance issues.


The sniffer shows all requests between the device and the web portal, allowing you to evaluate problems in operation.


Problems may be related to the speed of the web portal's response to user requests, the size of the downloaded data, and work with the cache.


8. Debugging


Unfortunately, no development happens without some number of bugs. Nothing helps better than using a sniffer.


I hope this article was useful to you! And remember, do not install unknown certificates on your devices to avoid decrypting your traffic!



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