When a NIC is placed in promiscuous mode, it will pass all data it receives onto the CPU. Normally, a NIC will ignore data not intended for it's IP or MAC Addresses.
In computer networking, promiscuous mode is a mode for a wired network interface controller (NIC) or wireless network interface controller (WNIC) that causes the controller to pass all traffic it receives to the central processing unit (CPU) rather than passing only the frames that the controller is specifically programmed to receive. This mode is normally used for packet sniffing that takes place on a router or on a computer connected to a wired network or one being part of a wireless LAN. Interfaces are placed into promiscuous mode by software bridges often used with hardware virtualization.
In IEEE 802 networks such as Ethernet or IEEE 802.11, each frame includes a destination MAC address. In non-promiscuous mode, when a NIC receives a frame, it drops it unless the frame is addressed to that NIC's MAC address or is a broadcast or multicast addressed frame. In promiscuous mode, however, the NIC allows all frames through, thus allowing the computer to read frames intended for other machines or network devices.
Many operating systems require superuser privileges to enable promiscuous mode. A non-routing node in promiscuous mode can generally only monitor traffic to and from other nodes within the same broadcast domain (for Ethernet and IEEE 802.11) or ring (for Token Ring). Computers attached to the same Ethernet hub satisfy this requirement, which is why network switches are used to combat malicious use of promiscuous mode. A router may monitor all traffic that it routes.
Promiscuous mode is often used to diagnose network