I’ve been tinkering with driftnet over the past day or so, in a little experiment born out of a suspicion that a web site was preloading images before a link was clicked. It’s completely out of context for this site, but it did introduce me to another console tool.
Mostly I want to keep a note of driftnet here, because I have a feeling I will want to use it again in the future.
And to be honest, as far as driftnet’s console output, there isn’t much to see. In its “default” form, driftnet sends its findings to a viewer window, which suggests it is more intended for a graphical audience anyway.
But it does have an “adjunct” mode that omits that. Instead it keeps a running list of images it senses, and otherwise follows its standard operating procedures. Armed with that much function, you could make a case that it has a nongraphical format as well. (It supposedly can also sense audio files that are transferred, but I didn’t test that.)
And as you can see in that wide and spacious screenshot above, it does a good job grappling with images that pass through an interface, and stashing them for your later perusal.
Of course, the obvious uses for driftnet would be threefold: (1) too keep a local copy of images that your machine retrieves, (2) to access images that are otherwise unsave-able from a browser, or (3) to later accuse some miscreant of abusing their Internet access privileges by requesting images that are inappropriate. 😡
There may be other applications; however you use it, in its console-only format it should be lightweight enough to run in a spare tty, and duly make duplicates of what activity transpires.
driftnet is in Debian-based distros as you can see above. It’s also in AUR but neither the GTK nor Debian patch version would build for me. I didn’t work to hard to get an Arch copy though; it may be acceptable just to hijack the binary from Debian and run from there. 😉