This chapter deals with capturing the packets and handling them in Wireshark. It might seem too simple a topic to dedicate a chapter to, but Wireshark offers enough flexibility in handling packet capture files to fill more than a few pages. We also discuss the intelligence between the capture and what shows on the GUI. The tool's interpretation of packets, or how the tool “dissects” the captured packets, is also clever and adaptable.
We delve into packet capturing on various operating systems, as well as how to handle the challenges of a switched network. With a brief introduction to TShark, you will capture packets both with the GUI and the command line.
With packets captured, we move on to handling capture files. Wireshark offers several options on how to save and manage your packet captures, according to the time, size, or even number of packets. We discuss the powerful interpreters behind Wireshark, the dissectors. Dissectors enable Wireshark to give the raw bits and bytes streaming across the wire some context by decoding and displaying them into something that is meaningful to the human analyst. We explore how Wireshark colorizes packets to add more meaning, as well as how you can adjust the colors to meet your own needs.
Finally, we offer a couple of resources full of capture files to study, just in case your own network isn't active enough. In fact, if at work or on a public network, capturing network traffic might be a policy violation. On ...