Network Miner is a free software tool that can quickly inform you which devices -or- IP address locations are consuming the most bandwidth. Not only that, but it is able to sort hosts by bandwidth, display open tcp ports and capture every file and picture that is being transmitted over your network! While Network Miner is an incredibly easy to use powerhouse of a tool – It sacrifices some functionality for simplicity and you may need to look elsewhere if you are searching for more advanced features. It is however a great supplemental tool for something like Wireshark or Nmap, It’s all about having the right tool for the job – so lets take a look at our Network Miner tool kit…
Upon installing and running Network Miner for the first time, you will be presented with the following screen. From here you can initiate a scan of your network traffic by selecting your chosen network interface – Then clicking the Start button to the right.
By default Network Miner (hence forth referred to as NM) will place you in the hosts tab. Here you can sort by bandwidth being used by sorting by bytes sent in the drop-down menu. Once sorted you can then dive even further into each listed host to see what ports are open and track how many packets have been sent & received from the selected host.
NM will even start to capture and cache all the Files and Images that are being accessed by hosts on your network. If you browse to the images tab for example – you can view and open each picture that is being transmitted on your network. If you hover over the picture it will give you all the details about the source host.
You may have also noticed by now that NM has a “Credentials” tab, in theory NM has the capability to capture login credentials from users across your network. However in practice I only ever noticed it capturing my login credentials from the PC it was running from. Make no mistake about it – this is a hackers tool, however in the right hands it is an incredibly easy to use and powerful network analysis tool.
I’ve been exploring a number of different tools lately to try and nail down the very best, I would love to hear from other IT pros about what you use in the field.