Ferret Underscores Pesky Privacy Problems

    Date05 Mar 2007
    Posted ByBill Keys
    Security researchers announced on Thursday the release of a network sniffing tool that conveniently categorizes the data leaked by laptops and other devices during routine operation.

    The tool, dubbed Ferret, analyzes information that computers and other network devices regularly send out as a matter of course--a problem that Robert Graham, CEO of startup Errata Security, called data seepage. Ferret captures and analyzes the administrative parts of 25 different protocols--such as the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), the Common Unix Printer Service (CUPS), and Apple File Protocol (AFP)--to glean information about the target computer and its user.

    For example, a computer searching for a wireless connection will name all the access points to which it recently connected. As a computer's user roams the Web, the machine's Internet browser reveals a ream of information, including the computer's operating system, patch level of the browser and, of course, destinations.

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