HTTP vs HTTPS Packet Analysis

Analyze HTTP vs HTTPS packets in Wireshark and observe the difference

231 Participants 30 Minutes Beginner

In this exercise, we will delve into the fundamental concepts of HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and HTTPS (HTTP Secure) to understand how these protocols differ in terms of data transmission and security. We will perform packet analysis with Wireshark.

In this lab we will:

1. Analyse https packets by analyzing a http pcap file using the Wireshark software.

2. Repeating the same for another pcap file for understanding https protocol.

3. Draw comparisons between the two.


HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol):

Basics of HTTP:

HTTP is a protocol used for transferring hypermedia documents, such as HTML files, over the World Wide Web.

It operates on top of the TCP/IP protocol and typically uses port 80 for communication.

Working of HTTP:

HTTP is a stateless protocol, meaning each request from a client to a server is independent and carries no information about previous requests.

It follows a client-server model, where a client (usually a web browser) requests resources, and a server responds with the requested content.

Data Transmission:

HTTP transmits data in plain text, making it susceptible to eavesdropping and interception.

This lack of encryption means that sensitive information, such as login credentials or personal data, can be easily intercepted by malicious actors.

HTTPS (HTTP Secure):


Introduction to HTTPS:

HTTPS is a secure extension of HTTP that uses encryption to protect the confidentiality and integrity of data transmitted over the web.

It operates on top of the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol and uses port 443 for secure communication.

Encryption in HTTPS:

HTTPS employs SSL/TLS encryption to secure data in transit.

SSL/TLS encrypts the data exchanged between the client and the server, ensuring that even if intercepted, it remains unreadable to unauthorized parties.

Security Benefits:

HTTPS mitigates various security risks associated with HTTP, such as man-in-the-middle attacks and data interception.

It provides authentication, ensuring that the client is connecting to a legitimate server, enhancing trust.


Key Differences:

Data Encryption: HTTPS encrypts data, while HTTP transmits data in plain text.

Security: HTTPS provides a higher level of security, protecting against eavesdropping and data tampering.

Authentication: HTTPS ensures the authenticity of the server, reducing the risk of connecting to malicious websites.


Security Considerations: 

HTTP is vulnerable to various attacks, including eavesdropping, data tampering, and man-in-the-middle attacks.

HTTPS mitigates these risks by encrypting data and providing server authentication.


Use Cases:

HTTP is suitable for scenarios where data security is not a concern, such as reading news articles or publicly available information.

HTTPS is essential for secure transactions, login pages, and any situation where sensitive data is involved.



After this lab, we will have explored the fundamental differences between HTTP and HTTPS. While HTTP is a basic protocol for transmitting data over the web, HTTPS enhances security by encrypting data and ensuring the legitimacy of the server. Understanding these concepts is crucial for anyone involved in web development or cybersecurity, as it directly impacts the safety of online interactions.



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