What is Packet Inspection?

IPv6 Secure Communications Project

Originally posted on the XeroCrypt Blog

Packet inspection is something we’ll read about a lot, especially with the Communications Data Bill going through at the moment, and other stuff. It’s directly related to the how of surveillance, traffic management and sometimes censorship. The technology for intercepting Internet traffic and scanning content is commercially available, but who is using it, and how is it being used? As it happens, Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) is deployed widely enough that there’s a good chance everything going over the Internet unencrypted is being read as it crosses the public Internet.

An Overview of Packet Inspection
First it’s important to recognise there’s a difference between packet inspection and Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).
Invented around the mid-1990s, packet inspection was originally for use in a stateful firewall/IDS setup, which is useful where applications might change the ports they’re communicating on, or where someone might attempt…

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