Wireshark is the most popular, free, and open-source packet analyzer. It can see all the network communication going in and out of all the computers in the network. It means someone who uses Wireshark Android can see anything on your network that’s not encrypted. But unfortunately, it is not available for Android. That doesn’t mean you cannot track, monitor, or capture network packets on your Android smartphones. Here are some of the best Wireshark alternatives for Android to monitor traffic and capture packets.
Why Most Network Sniffer App on Android Require Root Access?
Before you jump to the Wireshark alternatives for the Android list, you should know that most of them require root access to capture packets. The reason being the promiscuous mode or monitor mode. You will see every packet being transmitted over the network when running a packet sniffer tool in promiscuous mode. If it is not separately encrypted, all traffic can be read and analyzed.
Wireshark Android Alternatives:
1. zAnti (Root) Wireshark Android
zAnti is not just a simple network sniffer, it is a complete penetration testing tool for your Android device. You can do complete network testing and a whole lot of other tests with a simple tap of a button. Some of the things you can do with zAnti include, but is not limited to, modifying HTTP requests and responses, exploiting routers, hijacking HTTP sessions, changing MAC address, and checking target device for vulnerabilities. Apart from that, zAnti can also find security gaps within your existing network and gives you detailed reports on how to fortify the defenses to protect your network from possible attacks. Being a complete penetration testing tool that was specifically designed for professionals and businesses in mind, zAnti needs root access to work. Moreover, for most advanced features to work, it will change a few SELinux configuration settings and put your device into permissive mode. So, if you chose to go with zAnti, I would recommend that you use a dedicated device that is separate from your work or personal device.
2. cSploit Wireshark Android
cSploit is very similar to zAnti in that it is a complete and professional penetration testing tool for advanced users. In fact, cSploit is a fork of dSploit which was bought by and merged into zAnti. You can think of cSploit as Metasploit for Android. Some of the features of cSploit include the ability to collect and see host systems fingerprints, map local network, perform MITM (man in the middle) attacks, built-in traceroute functionality, ability to add your own hosts, create or forge TCP and/or UDP packets, and more. When it comes to network-specific tools, cSploit allows real-time traffic manipulation, DNS spoofing, breaking connections, traffic redirection, capture pcap network traffic files, and session hijacking Most of all, cSploit has a built-in Metasploit framework RPCd which allows you to scan for known vulnerabilities and create shell consoles on target systems. What’s more, the developer is actively working on the application and there are plans to add features like install backdoors on a vulnerable system, decrypt WiFi passwords, and more in the future. A worthy Wireshark alternative for Android.
3. Packet Capture Wireshark Android
zAnti and cSploit are full-fledged penetration testing tools with all the bell and whistles for Android but not everyone needs them. Packet Capture is a dedicated app to capture and record network packets. Using this app, you can not only capture and record packets but also decrypt SSL communication using MITM (man in the middle) attack. Since Packet Capture uses a local VPN to capture and record all your traffic, it can run without root permissions. If you are looking for a simple and straightforward packet capture app then try Packet Capture.
Upon launch, you will be prompted to install an SSL certificate which is necessary to record and capture HTTPS traffic. Depending on your requirements, either tap on Install or Skip to continue. Do mind that if you don’t install an SSL certificate, some apps might not be able to connect to the internet when you are using Packet Capture’s local VPN. That being said, you can always install the SSL certificate from the settings panel later.
On the home screen, tap on the Play icon appearing in the upper right corner. This action will start the local VPN and all your traffic will be automatically monitored and recorded. If you didn’t install an SSL certificate when prompted, you can do so by navigating to Settings and then selecting Status under the Certificate section.
4. Debug Proxy Wireshark Android
Debug Proxy is another Wireshark alternative for Android that’s a dedicated traffic sniffer. Just like Packet Capture, it can capture traffic, monitor all your HTTP and HTTPS traffic, decrypt SSL traffic using MITM technique, and view live traffic. What’s good about Debug Proxy is that its user interface is very intuitive and captures all packets in native code which makes it pretty fast and responsive. Other than that, Debug Proxy also gives access to other tools that let you do throttle bandwidth, HTTP response, and test latency as well as a network security for MITM attack vulnerabilities, web debugging, SSL monitoring, and more. Just like before, you will be prompted to install an SSL certificate. Install if you want to decrypt SSL traffic. On the main screen, tap on the ‘Play’ button appearing in the center-right corner of the screen to start capturing traffic. By default, Debug Proxy will capture traffic from all apps. If you want to capture the traffic of a specific app, then tap on the ‘Android’ icon in the upper navigation bar and select the app you want to log or monitor.
In this article, we have given a brief introduction of what is Wireshark and some Wireshark alternatives.