Frequently Asked Questions — Please send all bug reports to so we can fix them!

What happened to CarnivorePE?
After ten years, we have stopped supporting the stand-alone "CarnivorePE" application. Please use the Carnivore Library for Processing to develop your clients from now on. You can still download the last supported version here if you wish: Mac or Win. But note that they will not be supported going forward.

What data does Carnivore monitor?
Your data. Whatever network you are plugged into. If your computer is at work, then Carnivore will "hear" the web traffic from your co-workers. If you take Carnivore home, then it will "hear" the data at your home... and so on.

What do the port numbers mean?
Each port represents a different type of communication that's going on. For example, email is on one port, while web pages are on another. You can read a sample /etc/services file to see how to replace specific port numbers to specific services. Yes, there are a lot of them... Here is a shorter list of services to start with.

Why is Carnivore not showing all traffic on my LAN? Why can I only sniff UDP packets?
This happens when using a switched hub on your LAN. Check your hub/router. If it says "switch" you're out of luck. Switched hubs send data directly to each computer on the LAN rather than broadcasting, essentially disabling the ability to packet sniff other people's TCP traffic. Sucks, huh?

solution #1: put a dumb, unswitched ethernet hub (30 bucks at Best Buy) immediately downstream from your router, then plug all your local machines in to that. You will be able to sniff everything downstream of the unswitched hub.

solution #2: even on a switched hub you will ways be able to sniff the data coming to/from your own machine. so design a client for which this constraint is an asset.

solution #3: TCP is boring, make a client that responds to other kinds of packets :)

Is Carnivore open source?
Yes, the code is available at Github. The source is covered by the Gnu General Public License.

I'm making a client, can I use the Carnivore logo?
uv courz. here's the logo, which incidentally was designed by Ryan McGinness

Where can i learn more about TCP/IP, packet sniffing, etc.?
Our favorite two books on TCP/IP are Stevens's TCP/IP Illustrated, Volume 1 (Addison Wesley) and Hall's Internet Core Protocols (O'Reilly). Or try searching on Sniffing FAQ. The RFCs on TCP and IP are also quite interesting and helpful.

Is Carnivore spyware?
Nope. Carnivore does not communicate back to any central server.