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Hacking networking packet

I have a question on hacking.  Is is possible for someone to use a network analyser (e.g. wireshack) to capture network packets and then massage it or change the content and resend it as the originator.  Is possible how can I eliminate such threat.  My client/server is running on a public network that can be monitored by outsider.
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tommym121
Asked:
tommym121
3 Solutions
 
Rick_O_ShayCommented:
Yes that is possible and it is called a "man in the middle" attack.
The best way to defend against it is to use some form of authentication/encryption like https vs http.
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Cyclops3590Commented:
this is often handled in one of two areas but with the same mechanism: authentication.  usually its some type of hashing or digital signatures that are used depending on if pre-shared keys or certificates are used.  digital signatures is better though.  authentication maintains the integrity of the data but doesn't keep the data hidden; that is encryption.

it can either be handled by the application itself or a lower layer protocol like IPSec.  I would use IPSec as it should be more transparent to your application functionality and thus no code changes required.

however there are two main issues you need to worry about.  the first you identified, which is that a hacker could perform a man-in-the-middle attack and change the data.  the other is a replay attack in which the attacker doesn't care about the contents (say the password), they just know what data exists (whether encrypted or not).  so they "replay" or resend the captured data to gain unauthorized access.  IPSec can also help alleviate that risk with the ESP function.  IPSec is typically used for VPN only though. What kind of site are you running?  Using SSL may be useful to look at as well.  SSL is just a way to use certificates to identify who you are talking with and then create keys to do encryption, it doesn't have to just be used with HTTP.  It should take care of most of your concerns as well.

hope this explains the risks a little better.  also, keep in mind there is no way to "eliminate" risks, only mitigate, or make the probability of successful attack less.
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ienaxxxCommented:
Use switches that monitors and avoid ARP poisoning and use cryptography for all client/server connections. (you can enable it on your servers infrastructure, same if it's windows or linux).
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tommym121Author Commented:
Thanks
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