The United States Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
had for years used a sniffer system called the Carnivore Sniffer to help it detect
illegal Internet communications of suspected criminals and terrorists. By
definition, a sniffer is a software program or a piece of hardware with
appropriate software that monitors data in transmission on some network. In
other words, a sniffer acts as a network Â“snoopÂ”
that examines network traffic, including emails, and makes a copy of the data
without changing it. Sniffers are currently popular with hackers and crackers.
As of January 2005, the FBI abandoned Carnivore. According
to reports submitted to Congress, the agency not only changed to using
unspecified software sold to the public but also encourages Internet providers
to conduct wiretaps on suspicious individuals and to pass the intelligence to
Crackers; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Hacker; Snooper.
In Brief. FBI Abandons Carnivore Surveillance Technology. The Globe and Mail, January 20, 2005,
p. B9; Mitchell, B. Â“Sniffer.Â” [Online, 2004.] Compnetworking Website.