The Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP) is a simpler version of the Network Time Protocol (NTP). SNTP synchronizes the time between networked computer systems and is relied on when data is being transferred via the Internet. The NTP protocol is one of the most established protocols still used on the Internet. It uses a GPS or radio clock to tell time and is accurate past the seconds place.
Why is the SNTP Necessary?
The need for precise time synchronization has continued to increase with the evolution of computer technology over the past several decades. In the networking field, network servers and their client computers require precision to the millisecond and beyond in order to ensure data file transfers occur without errors. Computers also require specific time synchronization in order to ensure data packet and email delivery in the proper sequence to destination networks and email recipients. The importance of the SNTP and NTP protocols exponentially expands with the number of computers that are on a network in order to prioritize network traffic appropriately.
Computers that Use the SNTP Protocol
Servers are the primary SNTP protocol users. Servers use the protocol in order to keep the time on network services and client computers synchronized based on Internet standards. Web servers that put a heavy demand on traffic may have to switch to the NTP for time service requirements. However, the SNTP protocol is suitable for providing the time for all services and client computers on small to medium networks.
What are the Security Implications of the SNTP Protocol?
The SNTP protocol’s data is subject to packet sniffing since it is plain text that is transmitted over a local network and the Internet without encryption. It may also be susceptible to a dictionary or brute force attack in order to guess the authentication and encryption keys and strings. The protocol also uses the UDP communications protocol, which may be open to IP spoofing attacks.