Wireshark-dev: Re: [Wireshark-dev] GSoC 2013 Project Proposal for Root permissions in wireshark
From: Surbhi Jain <[email protected]>
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2013 20:28:23 +0545

I got your point regarding the security as it depends on wired or wireless network or further the internal network design of an organisation and the WEP/WPA security of their network.

When we install WIRESHARK or most of the softwares on any distro, window prompts up asking for root password. When the installation of the software starts, can't we run a script which will allow the logged in user or third-party user to view the listed interfaces of the system. I want to ask that "If I will study all installation criteria and changes it makes to the other folders and files, am I proceeding in right direction?".


Surbhi Jain
3rd year , Computer Science Engineering
University School of  Information & Communication Technology
Contact Email ID - [email protected]

On Sat, Apr 27, 2013 at 11:40 AM, Guy Harris <[email protected]> wrote:

On Apr 25, 2013, at 7:26 AM, Surbhi Jain <[email protected]> wrote:

> Would it mean that end user can also capture traffic which won't belong to him or if he is not the owner of the packet? Security has no concern for capturing packets?

If somebody's concerned about capturing "third-party" traffic not being sent by or to the machine running the sniffer, then:

        if the network is wired, they should require that they be able to control what software is installed on machines plugged into the network and ensure that it can't put an interface into promiscuous mode;

        if the network is wireless, they should use at least WPA/WPA2 encryption on the network;

so that only traffic to or from the machine running the sniffer can be seen un-encrypted.

If somebody's concerned about capturing traffic to or from the machine running the sniffer that's not being sent by or to a process running as the user running the sniffer, then they should only allow administrators to run sniffers.

If somebody's concerned about a user of a personal computer being able to capture traffic to or from their own machine, they should only allow administrators to run sniffers and not make the users of the PCs they provide to employees have administrative privileges.

There are already plenty of packet sniffers out there that, if they can capture traffic at all, can capture traffic regardless of who it's to or from on the machine.  This project is about giving users *full* Wireshark capabilities without requiring them to run as root; it's not about limiting Wireshark's capabilities so as to make it acceptable to run on machines on corporate networks so locked-down that they don't even want users to see what daemons are doing on their own machines.

> Root permissions are therefore OS dependent? Am I right?

The privileges required to capture packets, and the mechanisms for getting those privileges, are OS-dependent.

> Or are we supposed to edit the dumpcap file.

No.  As I said, this project is not about figuring out how to limit Wireshark's capabilities, it's about figuring out how to *increase* Wireshark's capabilities when run as the user, so they don't have to run as root.
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