How would one sniff wireless network packets that do not pass directly through my computer- without access the the AP or router?

I want to be able to sniff for network traffic (even while encrypted) when authenticated to the network and when not authenticated.


  • Are you talking about wireless or wired? Also, you want to sniff wifi for a network you are not authenticated on? – d1str0 Mar 15 '16 at 21:11
  • @d1str0 Wireless. And I would like to look at both, but I suppose the authenticated network would be easier at first. – userJoe Mar 15 '16 at 21:13
  • You CAN capture wireless packets, but they will be useless to you unless you know they key to decrypt them. – xorist Mar 15 '16 at 21:13
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    Well your question asked 'is it possible'. not 'how'. – xorist Mar 15 '16 at 21:15
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    If you want to learn how to do this, I can show you. Add me on skype - l1thal. otherwise, please change your question to ask 'how' and not 'is it possible' – xorist Mar 15 '16 at 21:17

Yes. You are looking for promiscuous mode or monitor mode.


  • Thanks. So would Wireshark do the job by itself or is it necessary to use Aircrack-ng suite...assuming you're authenticated? – userJoe Mar 15 '16 at 21:18
  • If only it was enough...There are so much more to it than this. – Rui F Ribeiro Mar 15 '16 at 22:37
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    Nope, promiscuous mode won't necessarily work; you probably need monitor mode. – user26774 Mar 15 '16 at 23:28

You need to run in monitor mode; promiscuous mode doesn't always work with Wi-Fi adapters (and may not even be supported for Wi-Fi on some OSes or with some Wi-Fi adapters).

Whether Wireshark can do it by itself depends on the OS. On OS X, it can; on Linux, it could, in theory, but for complicated reasons it can't, on most if not all distributions, in practice, so you need aircrack-ng's airmon-ng script to turn monitor mode on, and you can capture after that; on Windows, it can't do it at all except with an AirPcap adapter; on other OSes, maybe, maybe not. See the Wireshark Wiki's page on WLAN capturing for details.

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