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I'm trying to figure out how a program communicates with its website. I've edited my hosts file so that their website points to my computer and set up a script that logs every time it's accessed.

But the program is still able to function at times and I'm thinking it's because it's going to another website I don't know about or a subdomain of their main website.

How would I find exactly what page on the Internet a program tries to access?

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5 Answers 5

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If you specifically want to monitor access to a website, I recommend HTTPWatch (http://www.httpwatch.com/) or fiddler ( http://www.fiddler2.com/fiddler2/ ). Otherwise , try wireshark or TCPView.

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Fiddler at least works as an HTTP proxy - so unless the program supports and is specifically configured to use the proxy it won't be much help. I don't know how httpwatch works - but since it claims to only "seamlessly integrate" with MSIE or Firefox, it looks like it may be working too high in the stack to be applicable to a different program. –  symcbean Nov 16 '10 at 13:02
    
fiddler is what I'm looking for. Has very convenient features too. –  this is a dead end Nov 16 '10 at 13:28
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Use a net sniffer like Wireshark Capture some traffic, Find the HTTP requests (or TCP three-way handshakes) then use "Follow TCP Stream" to see what exactly is happening on each connection.

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For just a quick look without going into a packet capture, I always keep a SysInternals program called TCPView in my bin dir. Fire that up for a look at where it is trying to go. Obviously for a more in-depth look at it's request, wireshark/windump is the answer.

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One of the peculiarities of MSWindows is that winsock.dll allows sockets to be reconciled against individual programs quite easily - most MSWindows firewalls (Kerio, ZoneAlarm etc) allow you to specify which programs are allowed to connect to which servers / ports. Its been some time since I played with these tools but IIRC Kerio certainly allows limited logging - all you'll see is the server/port it has connected to though but this approach would complement use a wiretap (e.g. wireshark) to capture details of the conversation.

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My favourite is smsniff

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