Sniffing attacksSniffing attacks refer to the interception of data by capturing the network traffic using a packet sniffer to compromise network security. They enable common network threat types such as man-in-the-middle attacks, insider threats etc. Packet-sniffing tools are also often used by system-administrators to monitor security, network traffic and network performance and errors. Those are legal ways of using packet-sniffers.
But sniffing is a popular way of data-breaching by malicious attackers as well and can do any kind of harm. We see these tools being used by black-hat hackers and other cybercriminals who use packet sniffers to access configuration files and/or steal data and sensitive information from e-mail or web traffic over an unsecured network. Mostly people fall prey to sniffing attacks when they use unsecured Wi-Fi.
To prevent sniffing attacks you can avoid unsecured networks, encrypt your messages with a VPN and scan and monitor your network regularly.