9 best Wireshark alternatives for Android

Wireshark is the most popular, free and open source packet analyzer. You can see all network communication going in and out of all computers on the network. It means that someone using Wireshark can see anything on your network that is not encrypted. But sadly, it is not available for Android. That doesn’t mean that you can’t track, monitor, or capture network packets on your Android smartphones. These are some of the best Wireshark alternatives for Android to monitor traffic and capture packets.

Read also: 8 Best WiFi Manager for Android

screenshot of wirehark desktop app

Why do most of the Network Sniffer apps on Android require root access?

Before moving on to the list of Wireshark alternatives for Android, you should know that most of them require root access to capture packets. The reason is the promiscuous mode or monitor mode. You will see that all packets are transmitted over the network when you run a packet sniffing tool in promiscuous mode. If not encrypted separately, all traffic can be read and analyzed.

In general, most Windows computers require a Wifi adapter to enable promiscuous mode, while some macOS devices can use the built-in WiFi card in promiscuous mode. Android, on the other hand, can also use the built-in WiFi adapter for promiscuous mode. But to avoid misuse, most manufacturers disable this feature. And the only way around this is with root access. In short, without root, you can only monitor the traffic from your device. Also for obvious reasons, most of the following apps are not available on the Google Play Store.

Read also: Top 6 Wireshark Alternatives for Windows and macOS

Wireshark alternatives for Android

one. zAnti (Root)

zAnti is not just a simple network tracker, it is a complete penetration testing tool for your Android device. You can perform full network tests and many other tests at the touch of a button. Some of the things you can do with zAnti include but are not limited to modifying HTTP requests and responses, exploiting routers, hijacking HTTP sessions, changing the MAC address, and checking the 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 harden defenses to protect your network from potential attacks.

ZAnti Test Network Configuration

Being a complete penetration testing tool that was specifically designed for professionals and businesses, zAnti needs root access to work. Also, for most of the advanced features to work, you will change some SELinux settings and put your device into permissive mode. Therefore, if you choose to use zAnti, I would recommend that you use a dedicated device that is separate from your work or personal device.

Price: Free, but requires an email id before you can download it.

two. cSploit (Root)

cSploit is very similar to zAnti in that it is a comprehensive and professional penetration testing tool for advanced users. In fact, cSploit is a fork of dSploit that was bought and merged with zAnti. You can think of cSploit as Metasploit for Android. Some of the features of cSploit include the ability to collect and view fingerprints from host systems, map the local network, perform MITM (man in the middle) attacks, built-in traceroute functionality, ability to add your own hosts, create or spoof TCP and / or UDP packets, and more. When it comes to network-specific tools, cSploit enables real-time traffic manipulation, DNS spoofing, connection drops, traffic redirection, pcap network traffic file capture, and session hijacking.

Screenshot of the cSploit application for Android

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Above all, cSploit has a built-in RPCd framework from Metasploit that allows you to scan for known vulnerabilities and create shell consoles on target systems. Also, the developer is actively working on the app and there are plans to add features like installing back doors on a vulnerable system, cracking WiFi passwords, and more in the future. A worthy alternative to Wireshark for Android.

Price: Free and open source.

3. Packet capture

zAnti and cSploit are full-featured penetration testing tools for Android, but not everyone needs them. Packet Capture is an application dedicated to capturing and registering network packets. With this application, you can not only capture and log packets, but also decrypt SSL communication using MITM (man in the middle) attack. Since Packet Capture uses a local VPN to capture and log all its traffic, it can be run without root permissions. If you are looking for a simple and straightforward packet capture application, try Packet Capture.

Read also: How to share Android VPN connection via WiFi access point (root)

packet capture app list with packet details

Upon startup, you will be prompted to install an SSL certificate which is required to record and capture HTTPS traffic. Depending on your requirements, tap Install or Skip to continue. Note that if you do not install an SSL certificate, some applications may not be able to connect to the Internet when using the local Packet Capture VPN. With that said, you can always install the SSL certificate from the settings panel later on.

On the home screen, tap the Play icon in the upper right corner. This action will start the local VPN and all your traffic will be automatically monitored and logged. If you did not install an SSL certificate when prompted, you can do so by navigating to Settings and then selecting Status in the Certificate section.

Price: The application is completely free but with advertising.

Four. Debug proxy

Debug Proxy is another Wireshark alternative for Android that is a dedicated traffic tracker. Like Packet Capture, you can capture traffic, monitor all your HTTP and HTTPS traffic, decrypt SSL traffic using MITM technique, and view the traffic live. The good thing about Debug Proxy is that its user interface is very intuitive and captures all packets in native code, which makes it quite fast and responsive. Apart from that, Debug Proxy also provides access to other tools that allow you to accelerate bandwidth, HTTP response, and test latency, as well as a network security for MITM attack vulnerabilities, web debugging, SSL monitoring, and more.

Debug Proxy capturing network traffic

As before, you will be asked to install an SSL certificate. Install it if you want to decrypt SSL traffic. On the main screen, tap the ‘Play’ button that appears in the middle right corner of the screen to start capturing traffic. By default, Debug Proxy will capture traffic from all applications. If you want to capture the traffic of a specific app, tap on the ‘Android’ icon on the top navigation bar and select the app you want to log or monitor.

Price: The base app is free and there are no ads to deal with. For advanced features like the ability to filter the system-wide capture and display the request body and response data, you need to upgrade to the premium version for $ 3.

5. WiFinspect (Root)

WiFinspect is another free powerful packet capture and network tracker. WiFinspect features include but are not limited to Pcap scanner, network tracker, host discovery, port scanner, internal and external network vulnerability scanner, traceroute, ping, etc. Unlike the alternative Packet Capture or Debug Proxy Wireshark apps for Android, you need root permissions to work with most of WiFinspect’s features.

WiFi inspector user interface

If you are looking for an application that does much more than just packet capture and not a full penetration testing tool like cSploit or zAnti, then WiFinspect is for you.

Price: Free

6. tPacketCapture

tPacketCaputre does one thing and that is to capture your network traffic, just like Packet Capture or the Debug Proxy Wireshark alternative for the Android app. However, unlike these two applications, tPacketCapture will save the captured data in pcap file format. To read the captured data, you need to transfer the pcap file to your computer and use packet capture applications like Wireshark. Other than that limitation, tPacketCapture is pretty good at what it does. So if you don’t mind the limitation, give the app a try.

Screenshot of the tPacketCapture app for Android

Price: The base app is free and there are no ads. However, if you want to capture application-specific traffic, you have to buy the pro version for around $ 8.5 (which is a lot).

7. Nmap

Nmap is a popular open source network scanning application for Android and desktop. While it works on both rooted and non-rooted Android, you obviously get more functionality on a rooted Android smartphone.

Nmap screenshot

The only caveat here is that Nmap isn’t available directly from the Google Play store or even their official websites like most of the other apps on the list. Rather, you will have to compile it by running some commands using ADB or a third-party terminal emulator like Su / Root Command. If you get a permission denied error during installation, make sure you have given permission to the entire Nmap directory.

8. Android tcpdump (Root)

Android tcpdump is a command line tool for Android phones, which means it’s not exactly easy to use, but it’s great. Linux operating system users will feel right at home because they already have experience with command line tools and tcpdump.

android terminal with tcpdump

The phone must be rooted and you will also need access to the terminal. For that, you will need terminal emulators and there are many available on the Play Store.

9. NetMonster

NetMonster will help you with the illegal signals you have been receiving by scanning nearby cell phone towers and networks. It will collect information from CI, eNB, CID, TAC, PCI, RSSI, RSRP, RSRQ, SNR, CQI, TA, EARFCN, Band + and send it to your phone screen. You can use all this information in network testing and penetration attacks.

netmonster collecting data

NetMonster will collect all the data from the nearby network and you won’t even know it. NetMonster is completely free and there are no ads. Just use it and collect and analyze all that data.

Conclusion: alternatives to Wireshark for Android

These were some of the best Wireshark alternatives for Android phones. zAnti and cSploit are the closest when it comes to packet capture and man-in-the-middle attack. However, if all you want is to boot people off your WiFi network, consider using Netcut application. However, it also requires root access.

Read also: Top 10 Network Monitoring Apps for Android

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